Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Malay Technology Museum, Part 1

Kind of a misnomer. If you're expecting rockets, computers, heavy science, forget it. The Malay Technology Museum in Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei is all about displaying the traditional technologies, the way of life of the local people.

Most of the museum is a parade of life size scenes of traditional village life. The technology is mostly related to fishing, food preparation, textile making, metal smithing, whatever keeps the village humming.

The display is also good for portrait photography, with a little selective composing.

Peeking out of a traditional hut.


Fixing a fishing net and a woman's portrait.

Building a raft.


Local flora and pounding sago.

Time to fly a kite.


Time to go fishing. Mysterious metalsmith.

Hanging out on the porch of his hut.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Details Of Kampong Ayer

What's happening in all those stilt houses along the Brunei River? Let's take a look.

Portrait of a restaurant cook.


Kampong ayam (village chicken), her specialty. Fancy vinyl wallpaper at a house entrance.

Meeting hall.


Drape behind a window and a store food menu.

Living room kids portrait.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Kampong Ayer In Brunei

Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, started out as a village built above the area's waterway and that village (Kampong) still exists today.

It's called Kampong Ayer and it started centuries ago along the Brunei River. Today, about 11,000 people live there, down from 28,000 inhabitants in 1981. We'll blame video games.

Random overview of the kampong. It's a maze of houses, stores, government buildings on stilts.


Upkeep and downtrodden. The housing ranges from fancy to ruin.

And suburbia. In the hopes of keeping people in the village, there are now blocks of modern housing.


Living room of a traditional house. Water taxi stop. Obviously, getting around is by boat and there are specific stops all over the kampong.

Wood walkways are the other way around. Blue pipe is utilities.

Monday, 6 July 2020

The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque In Brunei

The most famous building in the Brunei capital skyline of Bandar Seri Begawan is the impressive Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. Named for the 28th Sultan of Brunei who started the mosque's contstruction, the building was completed in 1958.

Unsurprisingly, designed in the modern Islamic style. The central dome is finished in pure gold.


Inside, dark wood and more gold tones.


A look up at the interior dome. Sunset arrives, the mosque taking on a pink hue.

The call to prayer.


The glow of the setting sun gives way to the glow of the mosque.


Sunday, 5 July 2020

Details Of Bandar Seri Begawan

Not a lot of life in the downtown. Still, a few small sites worth a pause.

Social media prop, lined up for the main mosque. Welcome to hip Brunei.


Moody clothing store. Shoe storage at a museum. "You want your footwear on turf or no turf?"

Chinese temple, parking garage backdrop.


Old Muslim cemetery beyond a retaining wall. Downtown mosaic mural detail. The universal theme: work is the highest calling.

Used up TV set at a grandstand.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

The Curious Architecture Of Bandar Seri Begawan

Suave Sultan? Muslim Mashup? In Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, the government architecture is a curious mix of traditional Islamic style with a hefty dose of fantasy sultan bling thrown in for impressive measure.

Municipal building, rich.


An example of older downtown architecture, hints of Moorish fantasy. Reviewing stand, trimmed for royalty.

What's being reviewed? The Sultan, of course.


More government bling and a fancy gate.

A fun mix of restrained mid-century, International style modern bones with royal adornment.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Empty Brunei

Brunei only has about 400,000 citizens. It's a small Sultanate, located in the middle of Malaysian Borneo. Sleepy is a fitting description of the country. Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital. Bustling? Not even close.

For Friday prayers in this Muslim country, Bandar can look like the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Streets, empty.


Alley, stairs and escalator, abandoned.

Main square, nobody.


More streets, less people.

The only sign of movement are the hands on a funky clock in an empty downtown intersection.