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Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People

Monday, 14 January 2013 18:13

Greetings Readers! Lately I have been on the hunt for healthier and / or organic food options. I came across the following picture from the local H.O.P.E. (Healthy Organic People & Environment) FaceBook Page which pointed out an organic section at the Utama Grand Department Store at The Mall, Gadong. (If it has been there for a while now, I had never noticed it before!)

A little more about H.O.P.E. (from their About page), their "vision is to transform Brunei's eating habits by being the change we wish to see through a thriving culture of seamless cooperation, creativity, contribution, integrity and partnerships with like-minded businesses and individuals, supplying the abundance of food that is safe, nutritious and beneficial to our community". Their Mission, to "build a self-sustaining non-profit group" that seeks to:
- promote organic farming (permaculture) in our own backyard
- gather people to share bulk buying of basic natural / organic ingredients direct from genuine producers so its cheaper for all
- work with local SMEs to produce healthier food (e.g. organic soy butter, cheese, jams, sauces, cakes, dishes, etc) so we all have our very own local supplies of healthier food to help our community eat healthier
- to increase awareness of better nutrition for beauty and preventive health

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I went to check it out for myself and found that they stocked a range of cereals, pastas, sauces, supplements, oils, etc. If you know of other places that stock health foods and organic supplies, do share the info via the comments section below. Big Love!

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Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:51

Greetings Readers! Came across three fairly new music pieces I wanted to share with you. The first one is called Juliet by Neff Aslee, followed by Permaisuri by Adi Rani (featuring 1D), and finally Salahkah Aku by Fakhrul Razi (featuring Andy Suziki & The Methid). Enjoy!

Thursday, 20 December 2012 17:33

Profile Pic - EiaWhat do you do?

I am currently in my second year of a BA in Performing Arts, majoring in Pop Vocals. In my free time? Honestly, besides university and rehearsals? I like to curl up on my bed a watch a good movie. Probably a chick flick! But yes, I do go out, mostly to watch gigs done by friends and other artists. I also enjoy writing songs, reading new books and collecting CDs! Say NO to piracy.

Describe yourself in a few words.

Bubbly, outgoing, and optimistic :)

How long have you been away from Brunei, and what do you miss most about Brunei?

I have been away from Brunei since 2010 (did a Foundation in Performance first) and I would have to say that I miss my family and friends the most. But if I didn’t count that, then DEFINITELY the food. I miss the food so much! And how reasonably priced it is! (Thanks, now I am really craving some Nasi Katok and Thien Thien Chicken Rice :( not to mention Escapade and Lé Taj’s Indian food…)

Are there a few 'must-visit' places / events for students for a true Singapore experience?

Hmmm… if I were to bring you around in Singapore, I would most probably bring you on a food hunt. That is something you cannot not do if you come here. Other than that,  I would recommend coming during the times where there are Music Festivals going on, like “Timbré Rock and Roots”, “F1 Concerts”, “Music Matters”… not just because I am a musician, but because the vibe that you get is something you cannot experience in Brunei. Plus, you get to watch awesome shows! Coming back to the food… there are tons of tourist-y places, yes. But thanks to my local friends, I have discovered all of the little coffee shops and eating places that you would not normally step into. And oh! You should really hit Gardens by the Bay – it’s beautiful!

When did your musical journey start?

Really, really start? At the age of three. I started doing JMC (Junior Music Course) at YAMAHA, and then Piano at age five. I then started the violin and only in 2008 did I start proper vocal lessons. PJC Music School believed in me then, and granted me a Vocal Scholarship.

Click in the picture link below to hear a preview of "Hello World" by Maria Grace, a.k.a. Eia

Maria Radio 2

"With my dad, my producer and manager and sound engineer in Thailand"

Maria 3

"With a few friends after recent workshop"


What / When was your first public performance? What has been the highlight of your musical journey to date.

My first public performance was probably during a Piano Recital at YAMAHA when I was three, but other than that my first major performance would probably have to be Expression Music’s “The Dream Begins”, first major concert in their amazing chain of concerts they have done at The Empire Theatre / Jerudong Park.

Highlight of my musical journey to date… definitely working on my Album with the best team anyone could ever ask for. Performance wise, there are a few that I would have to name. The Jerudong International School (JIS) Concerts – if not for JIS, I definitely would not be the artist I am today. Singing In front of Prince Charles and Princess Camilla with the JIS Orchestra was priceless! As for Singapore, it was awesome performing with the LASALLE Rhythm Ensemble at Esplanade for the Sun Festival in 2010, being a part of the short set on the Roof Garden of MBS and doing charity concerts.

What opportunities has being in Singapore presented you with?

Singapore has really widened my perspective of the music industry, especially because in Brunei gigs and such are not common. I have done gigs and charity concerts here and there; these have introduced me to the most amazing musicians.

The BIGGEST opportunity Singapore has presented me with, was LASALLE bringing in my first producer, Joseph Curiale (composer and conductor for Santana, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross… to name a few) in. Thankfully I was brave enough to approach him after his talk, and he agreed to give me feedback on my songs and he really liked them! It was after this, that all of the recording stuff happened, getting introduced to Chris Craker (most recently the General Manager and Senior Vice President of the International Division of Sony BMG Masterworks) took place.

"My friends and I after watching Stevie Wonder at Java Jazz Music Festival, Jakarta"

Maria 1

"One of the many pictures I've taken of my fav artists at their concerts"

Maria 2

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About the Editor

new about me profI am a born and bred Bruneian who lived and worked in Australia for over 10 years. I am now based in Brunei. Having spent time away from Brunei, I have learnt that, to know a country is to know the people. To truly appreciate a new place is to see it through their eyes, to listen to their stories, to taste, smell, do and feel as they do.

Everyone has a Story, and this blog - Projek Brunei, features the stories, music, photography and art of locals and of people who have lived or worked in Brunei before. Join me on this project, a project to discover and rediscover this country they call the Abode of Peace, the Heart of Borneo, this place they call the Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures...through the stories of the People.

You may know me by my online moniker, @BruneiTweet. I created BruneiTweet in 2009, and currently (February 2016), I have over 24,000 followers. I am passionate about community, and use social media to connect with people - both on and offline.

I have an MBA, a keen interest in business-development and marketing, and I am a three-time TEDx speaker. I believe in the power of social media and collaboration. I have worked alongside corporate organisations on various community projects. Some highlights from my journey to date: In 2011, I co-organised Twestival Brunei to raise awareness and funds for Brunei’s Child Development Centre. That year I also organised Convergence, Brunei’s first youth led leadership forum. In 2012, I co-organised Movember to raise awareness on men's health issues. In 2013, I participated at various forums including Brunei's National Environment Conference and the ASEAN Social Media Exchange in Thailand. In 2014, I was selected to represent Brunei at the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Programme. In 2015, I was involved as a panel moderator in an International Women's Day event, and was invited to speak at the Green Leaders Eco-Camp in Brunei about using social media with purpose.
But enough about me.

If you have something interesting to share with the rest of the world about Brunei or are interested in being featured on ProjekBrunei, reach me here or email me at

I would love to hear your side of the story.

You, You and You

Something interesting to share with the rest of the world about Brunei? Interested in being featured on Reach me here.