Travel Brunei

Vol 2-Issue 2 BruneiTo the casual visitor, the Abode of Peace lives up to its name despite its current infrastructure, contemporary architecture, and wide roads with the latest cars.


Brunei is a relatively new country, having achieved its independence from Britain in 1983. The nation’s main benefactor was the Sultan’s family. Using the country’s oil revenues, this royal family began to modernize the country and improve its infrastructure for their people.


The special thing about Bruneian cooking is the miscegenation of various cultures that have settled in the country. Hence, it tastes a little bit Malaysian, Filipino, Thai, Indonesian and Chinese.

If you are on a tight budget, then head to the hawker centers that offer fine delicacies at reasonable prices. Some of the favorite dishes are Satay, noodles, whole roasted chickens, grilled fish, and steamboats. From Western meals to local delicacies, one of their selling statements is that they have a melting pot of dishes guaranteed to make the mouth water profusely.

  • Roti Prata – a kind of fried bread served with Dahl and Sambal or fish/chicken curry. Can also be ordered with eggs (Roti Telur).
  • Nasi Lemak – coconut rice served with anchovy Sambal (spicy sauce), peanuts, eggs, and cucumbers.
  • Lontong – cubes of rice served with Sayur Lodeh, a vegetable curry made with coconut milk and turmeric.
  • Mee Goreng – fried noodles. Turmeric powder is used to give this dish a nice orange colour.
  • Nasi Goreng – fried rice.

Special Interests

Most activities in Brunei are of the organized, lycra-sports-gear, pay-to-play variety. The Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium is of Olympic proportions and includes a track and field complex, a tennis center, squash courts and a swimming pool. Golfers can enjoy an international standard course at Mentiri Golf Club, as well as a driving range near the airport. You can also hear the pins rattle at the bowling alley on Jalan Tutong.


In Brunei, festivals are always celebrated with colour and enthusiasm. Young and old from different races come together in the spirit of unity.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Hari Raya is a time for celebration after the fasting month of Ramadan. Prayers are held in the early morning all out the country mosques on the first day of Shawwal marking Hari Raya.

Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day

The formation of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces is commemorated every year on the 31st of May with a military parade.

Hari Raya Aidiladha

It marks the time, when Muslims embark on the Hajj. A usual practice – for those who can afford it – is to sacrifice goats and cows.

Places of Interest

Following are some famous locations worth a visit:

  • Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque – situated in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan, it flaunts a gold dome, observation deck, finest marble, carpets and furnishings.
  • Jerudong Park – located in nearby Jerudong and is basically Disneyland for free. A big ride and entertainment complex that provides the only night recreation in Brunei.
  • The Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – grand and opulent, with shimmering golden domes and intricately ornamental minarets set in a landscape of gardens and fountains. This mosque is undoubtedly the most magnificent in Brunei today.
  • Kampung Ayer “Villages on Water” – Brunei’s famous water village.
  • Yayasan Complex – a sparkling new shopping complex built by the Sultan. Contains a nice public square in the center from which you can get a stunning view at night.
  • Masjid Jamek Asr Hassanil Bolkiah – this mosque was built to commemorate the 25th year of the reign of the present Sultan.
  • Ulu Temburong National Park – ferries to Temburong leave Bandar Seri Begawan whenever full from the Jalan Residency jetty in the center of the city. From Temburong, access to the park itself is by Temuai, or longboat. Not so easy to get to but something worth considering, if you want to get off the tourist trail.
  • Gadong’s ‘The Mall’– Brunei’s first, recently opened, largest and the most sophisticated shopping complex with more than 150 shops and a hotel.
  • Brunei Museum – attractions: artifacts of the history of Brunei Darussalam, both ancient and the relatively recent. Among the most interesting items are ancient canons, gongs, and kettles. There is also an exhibition on different ethnic communities in the country.
  • Malay Technology Museum – attractions: technological tools utilized by the Malays in ancient times.
  • Royal Regalia Building – attractions: artifacts used in royal ceremonies, the Royal Chariot, the gold and silver ceremonial armory, and the jewel-encrusted crowns.
  • Brunei History Centre – established in 1982, the Brunei History Center was founded to undertake research on the rich history of Brunei Darussalam.
  • Lapau and Dewan Majlis – traditional royal ceremonies are normally held here. Adjoining the Lapau is the Dewan Majlis or Parliament House.
  • Tasek Recreational Park – this is one of the oldest recreational parks within the city. For those, who want to get away from the noisy traffic of the city, this park is an ideal place to spend some time.
  • Tamu Kianggeh – the Tamu, or open market, is where one can find a wide variety of items including local dishes, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and handicrafts.
  • The Istana Nurul Iman and Taman Persiaran Damuan – it is the largest residential palace in the world, and its golden domes, vaulting roof, and riverside setting make it a spectacular object for photographers.
  • Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation Complex – it is a commercial and shopping complex, designed to generate revenue for a foundation dedicated to the welfare of the people.

This tiny oil-rich Islamic sultanate lying on the northwest coast of Borneo is known chiefly for the fabulous wealth of its Sultan, its tax-free subsidized society, and the fact that (statistically at least) its 280,000 people enjoy one of the highest per capita income on earth.

Say ‘Yes!’ to Yoghurt

Naba Basar explains why this milk product should be a part of everyone’s diet.

Cleopatra bathed in this milk product for a smooth and tender complexion. Genghis Khan fed it to his soldiers to give them courage. Though a cherished food in the Middle Eastern and Central Asian lands for centuries, only recently has yoghurt gained universal popularity. It was discovered about 5,000 years ago on the Mesopotamian plains. Later, the Turks introduced it into Eastern and Central Europe, giving it the name – yoghurt.

Modern nutritionists have justified its reputation as an almost medicinal food. The Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria found in yoghurt, which convert pasteurized milk to yoghurt during fermentation, aid in digestion of food within an hour of consumption. Humans produce this digestive enzyme naturally during childhood, but it declines, when we reach adulthood.

Yoghurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. It is so protein-dense that it is now considered a meat alternative. It has been proven that yoghurt contains a teeming load of healthy bacteria – about 100 million per gram. Its antibiotic effects help combat infections and protect the stomach lining from toxins, as it flourishes in the digestive tract. Containing high levels of natural prostaglandins, yoghurt can prevent diarrhoea and dysentery – especially in infants.

Yoghurt helps prevent cancer in colon by suppressing activity that converts harmless chemicals into carcinogenic agents. It is also known to help prevent yeast infections. As a source of calcium, yoghurt can even prevent osteoporosis. Many doctors recommend live yoghurt for patients on antibiotics to replenish good bacteria. Some argue that yoghurt live cultures may reduce the occurrence of colds, allergies, and hay fever. It also counteracts lactose intolerance by its association with lactase.

Much more easily digestible than milk, yoghurt is ideal for pregnant women, children, the aged, and the sick. In addition, it is believed that regular eaters of this fermented milk tend to have clear skin and find no problem in enjoying a good night’s sleep. Yoghurt also reduces bad breath and internal gas and keeps vaginal flora in balance.

Increased yogurt consumption may help increase one’s resistance to immune – related diseases, such as cancer and infections, particularly gastrointestinal infections. Partly, this increased resistance is because of the live and active cultures (LAC) found in yoghurt.

Contrary to the general notion, yoghurt is not fattening. For those wishing to cut down on the amount of fat, cholesterol, and calories in their diets, yoghurt made from skimmed milk is highly recommended. In preparing meals, brands labeled low-fat and low-cholesterol can be substituted for mayonnaise, sour cream or similar products. This will result in tremendous improvement in diets – at times working wonders.

All types of milk, ranging from reindeer to cow, can be utilized in the making of yoghurt. However, the nutrient and fat values vary depending on whether it is prepared from cream, whole, partly-skimmed or skimmed milk, and if it has additives, such as fruits or syrups.

As for yoghurt’s taste, the more cream is used the tastier. However, if made from skimmed milk, it is somewhat weaker in flavour but also lower in fat and calories.

Besides its notional value, yoghurt is high in protein, convenient, marvelously versatile, and adaptable – a naturally sweet, tangy, and smooth milk product. It adds richness, flavour, and an appetizing aroma to myriad of dishes. The possibilities of cooking with this cultured milk are infinite. It blends well with cheese, eggs, grains, meats, fruits, vegetables and makes an excellent marinade. Delicious when flavoured with syrups, nuts, herbs and spices, it enhances and is enhanced by other ingredients of foods.

Dishes prepared from yoghurt, especially in the Arab world, are endless. In numerous Muslim countries, yoghurt is often drunk to break the Ramadan fast. A yoghurt drink is the thirst quenching beverage much favoured by most strata of North African society. During hot summer days, cold soups similar to the famous Spanish Gazpacho are on the menu in many Arab homes. In winter, nothing is more satisfying than Libaniyah, a piping hot soup made from yoghurt, garlic, mint, and rice.

Labneh, a type of cheese made by placing yoghurt in a cloth bag and allowing it to drain, is a favourite healthy breakfast and snack food or a tasty dip, enjoyed in the Middle East. However, in the greater areas of Syria, Sheesh Barak, a type of dumpling in yoghurt, is the king of yoghurt dishes. To the peasants, a steaming hot aromatic bowl of Sheesh Barak is heaven-sent on cold winter days.

Because of its appealing taste and healthy properties, yoghurt continues to command the interest of cooks and medical scientists around the world. Researchers are continuously investigating the beneficial effects this nutritious food may have in reducing cholesterol levels and preventing a good number of diseases.

According to a new study published in The Lancet, the British Medical Association Journal, treating pregnant women with ‘good bacteria’ such as Lactobacillus in yoghurt may prevent thousands of children from contracting asthma by strengthening the baby’s fledgling immune system before birth. For postmenopausal women, increasing calcium intake may be critical in helping to reduce bone loss. A recent study showed that women three to six years past menopause, who increased their calcium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day for three years, slowed bone loss. Scientific evidence also indicates that for the elderly, calcium lowers the rate of bone loss and lessens the effects of osteoporosis. The results are promising.

Conflict Resolution in Schools

Conflict is a natural, vital part of life. Teaching our youth, how to manage conflict in a productive way, can help to reduce incidents of violent behavior. Conflict Resolution Education is a beneficial component of a comprehensive violence prevention and intervention program used in schools.

Experts identify four school-based conflict resolution strategies which can be employed in other settings also. These are commonly known as:

(1) Peer Mediation Approach                                               

This strategy enables specially trained student mediators to work with their peers in resolving conflicts. It has been reported that this approach to conflict resolution reduced playground fighting to the extent that peer mediators found themselves out of job.

(2) Process Curriculum Approach

Teachers implement the Process Curriculum Approach by devoting a specific time – a daily lesson – to the principles and processes of conflict resolution. This helps disputants envision scenarios and generate options for achieving results.

(3) Peaceable Classroom Approach

This is an integration of conflict resolution in the curriculum and daily management of the classroom. Instructional methods of cooperative learning and academic controversy are used, thus decreasing the need of teacher to address the problems directly.

(4) Peaceable School Approach

The Peaceable School Approach incorporates the above three approaches for creating schools, where conflict resolution is adopted by every member of the school community. These schools promote a climate that challenges all its members to believe and act on the understanding that a diverse, non-violent society is a realistic goal.

Constructive Criticism and Conflict

Here are some constructive feedback techniques which volunteers and supervisors can use for avoiding anger and conflict.

(a) Use positive language. Such questions as “did you ever try to do it, like this?” are much better as compared to, “You never seem to get this right.”
(b) Constructive feedback comes without strings. The supervisors should present feedback in an unthreatening manner designed to help. This allows the student to ask questions, take risks with the new things, and not to fear retribution or rejection.
(c) Be specific. Even if the student has several areas needing improvement, stick with one at a time.
(d) Set the tone for change. It may be outlining new training, assigning a mentor, monitoring by volunteer or supervisor, and giving an award, when the change is fully implemented.

The 5 Win/Win Steps

1. Cool down – those involved in the conflict are asked to collect their thoughts calmly.

2. I feel… – one person explains their side of the story, using the “I feel” message.

3. You feel… – the listener paraphrases what was said.

4. Brainstorm – those involved suggest ideas to solve the problem.

5. Shake hands – this is the ending step, signaling that all is done and things are okay.

Note: Steps #2 and #3 are done twice.


Literature is a natural vehicle for teaching. Stories dealing with conflict management can be used as tools for observing and reinforcing conflict management concepts and skills. While reading the stories, the teacher may do the following:

1. Stop reading at the point of conflict and ask: “What is the conflict? How do you think it will be resolved?”

2. After completing the story, ask: “How was the conflict resolved? Was it an effective, win-win resolution? Would you have done differently?”

The Garbage Can

The teacher explains that the classroom is a positive place for learning. Furthermore, she understands that the students are often carrying to school a lot of problems, which she refers to as garbage: they may have gotten up late, missed the bus or had an argument. This garbage is distracting and might interfere with learning in class. Therefore, students are encouraged to deposit all negative thoughts and feelings into an imaginary garbage can outside the classroom.

Taking a Look at Conflict Behavior

Students are asked to analyze a situation of conflict they were recently involved in by answering the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • How did you feel?
  • What did you do?
  • Did this resolve the conflict?
  • If not, what could you have done to solve it?
  • What will you do next time?

Conflict Web Subject

This activity invites students to consider the big picture of the conflict.

1. In the center of a paper, the word ‘conflict’ is written and circled.

2. Students suggest associations and memories the word ‘conflict’ evokes. A line is drawn from the main circle, and each suggestion is written down.

3. The web continues to grow, as long as interest remains high.

This is followed by a discussion about the elements all conflicts seem to have in common, and the actions that make the conflict worse or cool it down.

Options for Conflict Resolution

Active Listening – have one-to-one meetings with each of the conflicting parties. Do not offer or promise resolution; rather, assure each side of a safe, non-judgmental, and confidential forum for talking.

Shuttle/Liaison – seek to help each side to articulate their grievances and needs in a way that the other side can recognize and understand. This helps both to step back and calmly analyze what is happening, as well as find constructive ways of expressing their concerns.

Encounter/Facilitate – serve as a facilitator and bring the parties together to facilitate the process.

Seek Support – call someone unrelated to the conflict to assist you and/or the parties in working through their conflict.

‘I feel’ Messages

These messages allow the students to voice their feelings.

Building an ‘I feel’ Message I feel ______ (explain, how it made you feel)

When ______(tell the person exactly, what they did)

I want ______(say, what you want from them)

“I feel mad, when you don’t listen to me.”

“I feel sad, when you call me names.”

Adopting such strategies for conflict management will enable our kids to deal with conflict, empathize with their peers, and, eventually, work towards creating an environment of mutual understanding all around them, Insha’Allah.