Brunei Darussalam


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Love, bond and kinship are indeed special elements in everyone’s life and Mother’s Day is not just about a day of recognition for mothers. It is about spending time with those we care about, and making a difference in someone’s life.


For some individuals, driving home the message and lessons of love on Mother’s Day was a trip to the Old Persons Home in Seria. The old folks home was set up in 1957 and officiated by the late father of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei. Today, it houses about 10 elderly residents. Some of them do not have next of kin, or may have been deemed “inconvenient” to their families due to their old age and lack of mobility.


The visit to the Old Persons Home was organised by Sekolah Bimbingan Seri SiapSiaga, a company which provides consultation and tuition services for Brunei citizenship candidates, and saw about 80 past and present students and their families coming together to partake in the special celebration – one for all and all for one, united in the spirit of unity.

siapsiaga-citizenshipclass↑ click on image to view large version

Sheikh Mansor or more affectionately known as Cikgu Mansor by his students, shared with everyone the importance of being a good citizen, loyalty and respect to His Majesty and the role in contributing to the nation. He reiterated that such values, however, begins with oneself, family and the community.


During the visit, tokens of love including “ang pows” (red packets containing some money) and hampers were given away to cheer up the residents. Everyone had the opportunity to enjoy a meal together with a sumptuous spread where those who were not so agile, had help from the citizenship students. In this spirit of togetherness, it was evident that it does not matter whether one knows the other, but rather, the love and care that we can share with those who are alone. Even the simple act of bringing a child to see the old people in the home may cause tears to well up in some eyes, or bring the joy of touch and sense of belonging to some.


And it is not just about the visit to the Old Persons Home that is important for us to reflect in our daily thoughts. Cikgu Mansor, in guiding his students by Sekolah Bimbingan Seri SiapSiaga, has always extolled that regardless of whether one is already a citizen or a student getting ready for the citizenship exam, or for any matter, anyone residing in Brunei Darussalam, should have a passion for the country. After all, Brunei is an abode of peace and if we are residing here, each and everyone of us should contribute to the progress, safety and well-being of the country.


A student helps an elderly resident with her meal while keeping her company
A student helps an elderly resident with her meal while keeping her company


Respect for His Majesty and the “Melayu Islam Beraja” (MIB) philosophy should be a way of life. He has done an admirable job and nurtured in his students the spirit of loyalty, togetherness, harmony and cooperation. He always says, “Jadilah rakyat yang bersatu hati, rakyat yang bertanggung jawab kepada negara. Jadilah tauladan yang baik. Kasih sayang tiada sempadan” (Be citizens who are united and of one mind, be citizens who are responsible to your country).

"Jadilah rakyat yang bersatu hati, rakyat yang bertanggung jawab kepada negara. Jadilah tauladan yang baik. Kasih sayang tiada sempadan" reminds Cikgu Mansor
"Jadilah rakyat yang bersatu hati, rakyat yang bertanggung jawab kepada negara. Jadilah tauladan yang baik. Kasih sayang tiada sempadan" reminds Cikgu Mansor

To The Class of May 2009 — A New Chapter, A New Beginning — WISHING YOU ALL THE VERY BEST !

The Class at the Billionth Barrel Monument in Seria. An icon of prosperity that has for decades been the main driver of the nation's economy. Class is reminded of the risks of dependency of oil and the need to "mempelbagaikan ekonomi" for a sustainable future.
The Class at the Billionth Barrel Monument in Seria. An icon of prosperity that has for decades been the main driver of the nation's economy. Class is reminded of the risks of dependency of oil and the need to "mempelbagaikan ekonomi" (economic diversity) for a sustainable future.

Read this story in full on BT online
Read Cikgu Mansor’s Blog
More images from the visit at Cikgu Mansor’s Prahara’s Site

Related story: Teach the young how to treat old folk

Photograph captured on the EOS 5D MkII EF 17-40mm with a single Speedlite 580EX bounced to light subjects in the back row and with some spill to fill the  shadows of the front. As for the diminishing effect of the ultra wide lens, this could not be avoided due to space and time. Regardless, the opportunity to immortalize this memorable event and moment—a priceless gem to all who came. I am humbled again and again by the determination and spirit of my classmates in and outside of the classroom. Seri SiapSiaga is a school like no other and as former student Lin Ji so eloquently puts it — we have become a FAMILY.

44 thoughts on “THE CLASS OF MAY 2009. A CUT ABOVE.

  1. Thats very nice. Mothers day for me this year was hosting my family for a night.

    Thats really cool people took their time to visit those other who dont have a living family to support them.


  2. Good luck Jan, without a doubt u deserve it, I bet you know more bout Brunei than I do 😉 keep those pics rollin. I’m curious now though, how many homes for the elderly are there in Brunei?


      1. Hi, does the Old Persons Home have an official name? Do you have the contact number of the person in charge? We would like to donate some money if possible =)


        1. Hi Sheena,

          “OLD PERSONS HOME” is the home’s official name. When this visit was being organized, we learned that the residents do not require financial aid but rather they very much appreciate the company of visitors — the intimacy that has longed disappeared from their lives.

          Thank you for your kindness.


  3. All the best Jan. I recall when someone made a remark when the person found out that I have a citizenship certificate (compared to that person who is a Rakyat Jati) my reply was I believe that loyalty is not in the piece of paper but in everything that you personally do to show your loyalty and affection to the country.


  4. Hi Jan Shim! some of your shots are breath-taking! I enjoy a lot of them pictures! haha Good luck in your big big exam! =D regards!

    P.s.: I shall link your blog to mine! hehe. I hope to see more nature pictures! *grins*


    1. Thanks Stephanie! 6 weeks and countless hours commuting later, the big exam is over. The countdown however is far from over and though things are supposedly back to normal, i can’t help but feel a tinge of nervousness about the whole experience. Everyone around me incl Cikgu seem confident I’ll make it … Everyone except me … that’s how nervous I am.

      As a photographer who has managed to build a name locally and regionally in a rather short name, i’m confident about going the extra mile to make Brunei my country proud. With that i hope i did well enough in my paper to pull through this time.

      I told Cikgu I hope to take over the torch from you. One that you’ve illuminated through your blog posts all this while. Thanks for your well wishes.


      1. Hi Jan!!! I am glad it all went well. Im sure things will go smoothly and i am also sure that you can succeed!! hehe. And you know what, I was in the same position as you were – all sooo nervous!! and that tension where you know people KNOW that you will make it but you just have that feeling of uncertainty..haha. It is rather annoying.

        I have indeed linked you to my blog and I look forward to seeing all the pictures you take, because my friends (Dr.Charles, and some seniors from UBD) all have shown me great pictures you’ve took… =D

        best regards!!


  5. How can you mention that? Other people will be wandering “WHAT HOLE PUNCHER” When I read your mail… suddenly I go BONK! too much influence from Cikgu…. Of course I will miss that…Thanks for letting me use it … (don’t get wrong ideas)


  6. Lol~~~~ at Jellen’s comments!!! OMG, I so miss you guys and gals there! When I look back at all the pictures, they brought back so much memories! None bitter of course! We must have a gathering at the tuition centre again man !!!!!!!! I do not mind reliving one of those “intensive” days! Eh, why not we have another trip to the old people’s home too??


  7. Hohoo! dear classmates! cikgu sms me and said he miss us so much..and he plan to organise a gathering at the millitary school this Sunday. I told him to contact you guys to check it out.
    indeed i think all of us miss the class, especially the people and the teamwork, hmmhmm! who’s turn to wash the toilet and mob the class today ah ? 🙂
    Time flies really fast, at first i thought 3 weeks was too long, but now, how i wish today would be the date of 04.05. where the millitary training begin….’n**i mu’ !! haha


  8. When they told me how intense intense it will be in the two weeks course? The Cikgu will go chaos and incld the students… I was really prepared for that .. My hubby even buy Popmee for me to be ready incase cikgu don’t let us go out for meals..But I don’t think any of us experience that… Sometime we even get to go home at 4.30pm or 8.30pm.. I told some of the formers classmate they don’t believed me… I really miss the class… I didn’t get any msg from Cikgu yet…


  9. Hiiii all….I miss our class of May 2009, really…even thought I only joined for 2 weeks but I feel like I have known you guys for ages…
    Cikgu has taught me the real meaning of LIFE… sometimes we took thing for granted … Now the seed of Oneness…berkerjasama…caring and respect for elders..has grown inside me ….looking back I still recalled how Cikgu call ‘eveeee….’ it really make me laugh n smile….and I still remembered all the advised given by Cikgu and I’ll treasured it for life….Cikgu Mansor, to me you are the best guru or teacher that I have known….miss u all guys/gals…


  10. Finally I have sometime to myself today without the feeling of rushing or being rushed. I just returned from a 2D1N trip to Singapore and even when I was there “The Class” followed me. I was at the Tiong Bahru where I noticed a trading signboard that had the word “Criteria” which in a split moment I had seen as “Cheteria” 🙂

    Till now, I’m still conscious when I yawn recalling the times when fellow classmates who were caught yawning in class received the signature tennis ball treatment! Ah, those memories.


  11. On the last night of the class, I brought home a handful of Nescafe 3-in-1 packs. For the first time I enjoyed the taste of the red packs over the Nescafe Gold 3-in-1 which appear to be more aromatic than the Gold ones. I finished the last pack this morning during breakfast and have found myself at the crossroad of deciding if I should start drinking the red cap Nescafe instead. Care for some Jacob’s Hi Iron Cream Crackers? I hear they go well with coffee 🙂


  12. The way you all say it here, don’t make me wish to have you all as my students, yet again…. Hehehe….

    (now life is so boring, nobody to be shouted at – and KISSED…!!!)


        1. Sounds good to me. The last time I visited Tasek Merimbun the bridge had collapsed. I understand it’s fixed and would be good to revisit it late afternoon to catch the sunset.


          1. 22nd is my youngest son’s last O Lvl papers from 4-6.15pm and I want to be there for him. Can we go on 23rd? Where do we meet and what time? I would be staying in Beribi that week.


  13. I volunteered in a senior citizens home for years. Visiting them I enjoyed myself, learned a lot. Also had some wonderful debates with some of the residents.

    I also left with sadness. Those that had no other person to visit them. The way they were talked down to and treated by those who worked there sometimes. Anger stepped in, and I did something about it.

    Generations of the past have so much information. I love history.


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