Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
More sights and sounds from my recent trip to London.
Just a few more sleeps until we get to watch Team Brunei's award winning performances folks!
The trio of Fakhrul Razi, Kevin Lo and Maria Grace Koh will be showcasing their winning performances. Fakhrul Razi will be belting out “One Moment in Time”, “Feeling Good”, “And am I Telling You”, “Someone like you” and his original work “Senyuman Gelapmu”. Kevin Lo will lead some of the local actors in doing “The Crucible” and an excerpt from “My Fair Lady” both of these plays are part of his award winning performances in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Maria Grace Koh our youngest delegate, will be playing her award winning songs “At Last”, “Somewhere”,” Wide Awake” and her original composition “ You”.
21 September 2013 is also the deadline for the submission of application to those who wants to audition and be part of WCOPA Team Brunei Darussalam delegates. Actors, Instrumentalists, Vocalists, Dancers and Variety Acts from age seven and up will be allowed to audition. [Get the application form from the participating outlets listed below and attach the audition slip and submit it on the same day of the showcase.]
Tickets are available from the following participating outlets: The Body Shop, Mr. Baker’s Bakeshop, Armtrix Enterprise, Laily’s Boutique, Deseo Boutique, BATA Shoes, Pho Real Restaurant, Kimchi Restaurant, Paddington House of Pancakes, Pet Link, Pet Vision, Virtuoso School of Music, Studio Scene, Vision Care in Kuala Belait and Muffins N Co.
Tickets valued at B$30 for Gold, B$20 for Silver and B$10 for Bronze. You can also call +6737236243 for more details.
What do you do?
A freshly graduated fashion designer specializing in conceptual womenswear clothing.
Describe yourself in a few words.
Optimistic and loves indulging in anything creative.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is to persevere despite the many obstacles and negativity that you may face.
When I see the words 'fashion designer', I think of The Devil wears Prada and Ugly Betty. Exaggerations? Or pretty close to reality?
Perhaps some scenes are quite true as being in an industry where competition is always never-ending, catty attitudes are not uncommon. But, the way they portray interns in the movies is probably exaggerated as it really depends on the company on how they treat their interns, as generally interns are not paid as we are giving free labour but, I guess it is up to us individuals on whether we can find ways in learning through that experience. There are times where I had to do simple errands such as walking around the city to collect things or send things; it may seem boring but I take it as a way to observe the sights and sounds of the city whilst doing so. At the end of the day, it is how you perceive these small tasks in a different light.
Apart from that, designing clothes may seem like a glamorous career but it is actually a lot of hard work, talent and dedication. I remember being in the studio doing my own tasks and observing the long hours that the designers dedicate their time towards their designs.
Have you always been creative? Or was it something that grew on you?
I have always enjoyed drawing and making creative crafts as a child so I think that came quite naturally to me. In middle school and high school, I was in the Science stream so, for a few years I did not have any formal education in art and design and did not have the opportunity to yield my creativity. However, that is the period in my life when I realized that I wanted to pursue something creative as I really missed drawing and having the freedom to create something artistic on a daily basis.
A peek into my sketchbook
Hunting for fabric
Editor's Note: Greetings Readers! Here's a write-up by Brunei's own Angelyn Choo. Her Instagram profile (@angelshameless) reads "I followed my heart and it led me to my fridge." She also has a tumblr you can check out - ChooingOnThis (hah!). I asked her for a short snippet about herself.
"My name is Angel Choo, and I am 22 years old. I enjoy long romantic walks to my fridge, and I like my coffee black. While working and finishing up my final year in Universiti Brunei Darussalam, I go on food adventure around Brunei (and across the oceans) to try all kinds of everything. Occasionally, I document things as I go. The world is delicious."
Bistro Chez Fio
By Angelyn Choo
This is the third time this week that I've visited Bistro Chez Fio [bis-troh; shey; fee-oh].
Tucked in between Netzone Cafe and Bridgelink Enterprise, Bistro Chez Fio also sits right across Petlink, Kuilap.
I'm always welcomed by Fiona's warm hello and the smell of freshly baked (flavour of the day) muffins.
In one word, Chez Fio, is quaint. Wooden tables and chairs, jazz swimming through the air and two Canadian flag sitting proudly at the front counter.
According to Fiona, “Bistro Chez Fio started off as just a dream that one day I would open a business in the food industry.” Having lived most of her life in Vancouver, Fiona brings her heart for Vancouver to share with us here in Brunei.
To start, I had my usual order of miniature coffees. A tray of four different styles; latte cappuccino, macho and one with a little surprise.
I know I always talk about decreasing my caffeine intake, but now that Chez Fio is just within a ten minutes drive from my way to work, it's really hard to say no.
Since her opening in January, Chez Fio changes her menu once in every few months. Keeping the Canadian favourites like poutine and constantly adding in something new for her customers to try, as well as for the chefs to make. Good to keep everyone on their toes.
PB Extreme Burger is my current favourite on the lunch menu. Sink your teeth into a juicy beef patty, topped with cheese, a crunch from the crispy beef rashes and a unique peanut butter sauce that just gives it an extra punch of delicious.
Even though Hui Ting, Abi and I were stuffed after sharing two mains and two sides, I could not resist ending our meal with the dessert special of the day; Chez Fio's signature cheesecake. It was love at first bite.
I quickly called Fiona over and asked her what she added into the cheesecake. She answered, “cinnamon and.. sweet potato” Sweet potato! And my heart swooned. I love it when a not so typical ingredient is added in something we're all so used to.
It's easy to lose track of the world outside while you're in the bistro. There have been times when I leave the out the door, and I have forgotten how hot it is outside or where I parked my car.
Kudos to Fiona and her team for making an effort to serve every meal with friendly smiles and warm conversation (which to me, is just as important as the food and ambience). All that said, I already look forward to my next visit and definitely to explore the rest of the new menu.
Bistro Chez Fio (Facebook)
Unit 13, Ground Floor,
Block A, Q-lap Complex,
Kg. Kuilap, BE 1518
Mon – Sun, 8am – 6pm
Closed on Fridays, 12pm - 2pm
Editor's Note: Hi Readers! Allow me to introduce you to guest blogger Kathrina Daud. Kathrina reached out to me via Instagram after I called out for writers. Kathrina is usually a lecturer of English Literature and Creative Writing at UBD, but is currently on a year-long sabbatical. She received an MA in Writing from the Uni of Warwick and completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the Uni of Manchester in 2011. At the moment, Kathrina lives in Oxford, where she spends her time researching the Venn diagram of Islam, Southeast Asian literature and popular fiction, watching plays and being rejected by publishers. She will move to Seattle in December, where she expects to do more of the same, plus snow.
I am a Bird was a shortlisted story selected by a panel of judges appointed by the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival on culture360.org.
I am a Bird
By Kathrina Daud
I migrate with the seasons. I fly away from the monsoons and the heat of Brunei in September, using metal wings to alight into London Heathrow, where I am searched and questioned. I heave a sigh of relief when my bag, which is stuffed secretly with harmless contraband, sugared cuttlefish and tins of corned beef, white rabbit sweets wrapped in edible transparent plastic, makes it docilely through customs and immigration. Years ago, when I first arrived in London, the grey cold of the air outside the airport was a revelation – clear and crisp and burning through my lungs. These days, I make sure I am wrapped up against the chill, and I can make my way from baggage to the coach station with my eyes closed.
In the summer, the Junes and the Julies, when the academic year is over, I fly away from the dry heat of England back to the heavy humidity of Brunei. As soon as I step off the plane into the terminal building, the air compresses and exhales droplets of moisture. The lines here are slower-moving, less anxious. My heartbeat is steady and home. My bag will be heavy, with Marks and Spencers biscuits, Harrods trinkets, requests from Mothercare, all the chains that we do not have. As I step outside, I know my family, my parents, will be waiting for me, waiting to greet me with smiles. I will have chosen light clothing, airy, weightless, a barrier against the press of the air, and of expectation.
In the months and seasons in between, I will use my legs to walk – walk – walk everywhere. It feels sometimes that I have walked the length of England on my way to school, to the bus stop, to the grocery store, to the train station. I marvel at the white-haired men and women who seem to think that walking at their age is natural, a necessity, who have no expectation that their sons and daughters will go to the grocery store for them, will replace their old legs with the service of their own. In the spaces between, the Decembers and the Marches, I fly tentatively to new places – the Spains, the Frances, the Italies and Hollands, and my eyes are dazzled by tulips and paintings which blend into each other, always the same Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, the white-and-pink complexions daubed onto canvas, immortalized into smooth white marble. I don’t see my own brown skin anywhere in these masterworks, or even in the newspapers in England, the Daily Mail and the Guardian. I see black and white and sometimes dark brown – usually Pakistani or Indian – sometimes designated “South Asian” but never Southeast Asian. The missing syllable is a missing me.
So this is why, when you ask me to marry you, when I look at your light brown hair and your brown eyes, and your pink-whiteness and your lovely strong bones and jaw, and my heart breaks with the loving of you, I say, “No.”
You ask, Why? Your face is confused and betrayed and I can hear your heartbeat shock into speed and heat, the way mine does when my visa is scrutinized at the borders of your country.
I could tell you that I have loved you, have loved the loving of you, but that when I dream I dream of a heat that warms the bones instead of the skin. That when I picture you in Brunei, I see you confused and lost and increasingly angry when the queues become slower, the explanations vague, and there is no number to call when your pizza comes more than an hour late and you cannot return your socks for a refund and there is a directive from the ministry which you disagree with.
When I tell you, I could only love you in England, I also mean that you could only love me here, as well, but I cannot say this because you would not understand, you would argue, and tell me that love conquers all. We speak in English, and I cannot tell you that I know this is not true.
I saw the truth while I was in the air, when I looked down past my metal wings and saw the dark heavy solidity of land stopping the movement of the vast ocean, and there was a moment when I could not tell, from up there, whether I was coming or going.
If you are interested in guest blogging, reach me here. I'd love to hear from you!
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