Brunei Darussalam


The first time I visited Tasek Merimbun was an outing with David in 2007. The outing was supposed to be our timeout from work but as photographers, there is very little distinction between work and leisure considering we ended up lugging our equipment there only to have trip cut short because of a premature shutter failure on his EOS 1D MkII. Two years on, I revisited Tasek Merimbun with Cikgu Mansor, Husini and Gavin, a trip I had been looking forward to since the the Class of May 2009 and the BBQ. It was also an opportunity for Gavin (a fellow Brunei PR himself) to meet his future tutor. Check out their blog for more pictures from our sunset rendezvous.

The $10,000 bridge that connects to Jelundong Island
Shot of the bridge from Jelundong Island
A hut overlooking the Tasek Merimbun river and sunset
Not exactly the tree of knowledge but this is one of many fruits from the “University of Life”
Not exactly the tree of knowledge but this is one of many fruits from the “University of Life”
Husini demonstrates how the fruit is removed from the plant and describes the process by which cashew nut is obtained
Rare sight where the cashew fruit is seen in abundance including ripe ones that had fallen to the ground
I don’t know what these plants are called but they are wild and beautiful. I took this shot because it reminded me of a scene I had seen in an American film. Through creative use of Depth of Field and the right aperture, many effects can be produced right at home.
The wind-swept grass is a feature of the Tasek Merimbun landscape though not exclusively so. You can also find them at the Sungai Liang forest reserve.
An interesting tree with thorny features. Someone please tell me the name of this tree and the fruit (if any) it bears.
What an incredible visual of what I think is the bark of the same tree.
Fishing by the river a favourite past time. Like photography, you have to have bucket loads of patience to want to fish. Unlike photography, the fishing rod isn’t a tool which records one’s catch, great or otherwise.

A bees nest discovered by Husini that fascinated both of us who had our 100mm macro lens
My favourite shot of the day—the view of bridge and gentle ripples at twilight which was featured on a DST B$10 EASI Prepaid Card. Click on image to see card sample.


  1. Jan, looking at your photos I think I’ll keep mine in my hard drive for the future.

    The thorny tree, if I’m not mistaken is a nibong tree. The shoots are eaten either raw or cooked.

    I like your shot of the “kelulut bee”. Mine didn’t even come close to this. Now I wonder what Bro Choy will think of macro.


      1. Husini’s Canon EF100mm macro lens doesn’t fit and isn’t compatible with your Nikon D90 body. It would help if the “Italian Mafia” know how to get a converter for you on eBay 😀


  2. Wow Jan, the last photo is really beautiful! haha and with that camera of yours, the wind swept grass look utterly calming~ i bet it’ll look magnificent if that picture is used to blend with the oceanic waves… hehe =D


  3. The thorny tree is most likely to be nibong, and as mentioned earlier, the shoots can be eaten as “umbut”. The timber is also used for making walls and flooring, and makes nice souvenir chopsticks and nicknacks!


  4. Seeing Brunei through the lens of Jan Shim is really inspiring. Love the one with the wind-swept grass and the one with the picnic table looks like it’s taken from a Four Season Country.


  5. Thank you all for your comments of appreciation.

    I am taking this opportunity to clarify what I think is a common misconception of the term “PRO”. So happened that one visitor asked me recently asked me what the term means and when is it appropriate to use. Quite simply, “pro” means professional (I think this one many know). What being a professional means is that photography is his/her means of living. A “pro” can either be full time or part time and in the case of the latter, he’s often referred to as “Semi Pro”.

    What [is] commonly misunderstood and often misinterpreted is when people associate PRO with perceived quality of work. ANY photographer who gets paid a photography service he renders automatically becomes a pro. If, however, the photographer has a full time job and he/she shoots for a client at night or during the weekend, that can be termed as “semi pro”, to simplify things. A pro may possess all the qualities that one perceives to be good or favourable to his/her taste simply by virtue of his/her work experience. A pro may also be a working photographer but whose work you may completely not appreciate and maybe even throw in some nouns like crap, shit and rubbish. Thing is, this photographer is still a pro regardless of whether his/her work appeals to you or not.

    Having said this, it’s important to find out if a photographer’s work suits your style. Every photographer has a style that bears his signature. Over time, this style changes but it would be wrong to simply hire a photographer because he’s a pro. It’s a costly and embarrassing mistake to make this assumption because I speak from personal experience with clients who failed in due diligence.


  6. apologies for replying that late and this series of picture is my favorite. love the bridge and wind shots…you are showing the true beauty of Brunei to me, as usual.

    I can’t wait to explore this land very soon!


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