Sunday, 6 January 2008

No longer Bustling in Bandar Seri Begawan?

soas mosque

I'm not really sure when but I read an article by Ignatius Stephen in the Borneo Bulletin, that's a local newspaper with one of the highest circulation in Brunei Darussalam, and as I recall, he wrote that Bandar Seri Begawan is now akin to a ghost town. Especially, with a lot of well known businesses moving out and opening branches in other parts of Brunei like Gadong, Kiulap or Batu-bersurat.

I can't believe this, I am a proud Bruneian. And I'm proud even though we are a small country, Bandar Seri Begawan is still recognised as one of the capitols of the world worth visiting, for the SOAS mosque, for the Royal Palace, for the Kampong Ayer. We have a lot of heritage in this country, and it shows. Which means that we can't have Bandar Seri Begawan dying in front us.

So I had to see it with my own eyes, I want share to , and I went on a visiting to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam capital at night. And what I saw was shocking, it was seriously empty. Mind you, I didn't go there at midnight on a Tuesday, this was 8.30 pm on a Saturday, and during the start of the weekend bazaar held there. It was empty, there were nearly no cars on the road, and as I looked closer at the stores, it was true, most of them have moved or closed down. Even the Borneo Cinema was closed down, my first memory ever of watching a movie was there, I watched Isabella there, starring Search and Ramona Rahman. And now, that part of my memory doesn't even have a physical connection anymore, it's just a memory.

Which brings us back to the photo above, that's a picture of an alleyway behind the many buildings in Bandar, and now it's empty, no cars passing by, no cars parking, just a solitary sitting figure, probably trying to figure out where to move his shop. It doesn't look like the bustling Bandar in my memories anymore, but that's what it was, just Bandar. It's a good thing I had my camera then, and I took a lot of pictures of Bandar, so I won't lose most of my memories there.


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