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Snap Shot: "Moving" by Joel Ang

Written by Delwin Keasberry Wednesday, 15 August 2012 16:15

Greetings Readers! Check out this photograph by a Bruneian photographer in the US. Click on this link and hit 'like' to help him win the People's Choice Awards!

"Moving" by Joel Ang


How to Raise an Avid Reader

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 16:50


As an avid reader and an English teacher, allow me to share with you some methods to get your offspring to pick up a book and cultivate a love for the printed word in three easy steps:

1. Make sure there is lots of material – don't discriminate, don't judge.
Obviously, you will have to have material around. It is no good nagging someone to “go read” when there is nothing that interests them in the house. And DON'T dictate what a good book is. Accept that a good book is anything that the reader is interested in. Treat your children's book choices the way you would treat their movie choices – after a certain age, you should leave them pretty much to their own devices.

Make sure that you don't belittle their choices, no matter how childish you feel the book is. Even at 30, I am reading and enjoying “children's” books with a total of less than 50 words. Sometimes the best stories are told with a minimum of words – Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess are perfect examples of such writers.

Granted, books are pricey, but you can always go to the local libraries to borrow from a huge selection. Just because a book is not the latest best-selling teen read does not mean it is boring. Alternatively, cultivate e-reading. Yes, your children probably spend more time than you like on their electronic devices so download ebooks.

Personally, I never buy a book until I have tested it out – either by borrowing a copy from a friend or reading the ebook version. When I do decide to buy a book, I go to Delivery is free and the books are extremely affordable!

Books are NEVER a bad investment. Some people object because they think that it is a waste of money to spend so much on something that you only read once. A good book is NEVER just read ONCE.

2. Have someone to share with.
A lot of the fun of watching television programmes is being able to talk about why a character did what they did or how dastardly / annoying / funny that character is. I think that this is one of the fundamental things people forget about trying to get their children / students to pick up a book: Half the fun of a hobby is being able to share it.

As an English teacher, I try to get students to read something and then recommend it to their friends. It's tough going for the first few weeks (because we only have one hour a week in class, they read slow and I don't have multiple copies of everything) but it is great at the end when they are telling each other things like, “Baca yang ani – SIOK!!” or, “Berijab this one,” or, “Memberi kesian ah!” I also talk to them about the books they have read so they can discuss it with someone before their friends are ready to talk about it with them. It's awesome to watch happen.

But you don't have to be an English teacher to show genuine interest in what your child is reading. Just casual questions will do. Or, if your child asks you to read something, don't brush them off with an excuse. Make the effort to share.

Ghandi put it best: Be the change you want to see.

3. Reading is not work.
Always remember, READING IS NOT WORK. You don't want your young reader to associate reading with work or a chore of any kind. This means, they shouldn't have to meticulously record the number of pages they are reading per day. As an avid reader, I can assure you that there is no faster to kill the very habit you are trying to cultivate.

Also, do NOT put your readers through the third degree, “Who were the main characters and why did you like them?”, “Summarise the plot in 100 words”. Ugh... Even I shudder at these questions. Your children get enough of these types of questions in school. Why would anyone voluntarily CHOOSE to do this at home for fun?

Remember, show GENUINE interest. Don't fake it. We can tell.

If you insist on some kind of a record, make it fun and keep it minimal. Have pretty forms that are easy to fill in – tick the words that describe what you just read (scary, boring, sad, funny, rude, really really boring, so exciting I couldn't put it down, etc) – and have them stick the review in an old desk organiser. That's what my mum had me do when I was seven. I would write the title, author and give each book a rating out of five stars. As I got older, I decided to include a few more comments on my own.

If a book turns out boring, don't insist that they finish it. Again, use the movie rule. If they are halfway through a programme and change the channel, do you object and insist they finish watching it even if it is boring?

And...that's it! Three simple steps to raising your own reader.

1150319 10200756948498558 2074737976 nAbout the Contributor: Joyce is a dedicated teacher at a Sixth Form centre in Brunei where she daily entreats, begs, threatens, cajoles and teases her students in an attempt to develop their skills in the English Language. She is a self-confessed bibliophile and excessive book addict who enjoys doodling, diving once every school holiday, messing about with bits of paper and string, and dancing in her car at traffic lights. In her free time, she annoys her fighting fish and long-suffering hamster who oversee her day to day adventures. She plagiarises from the Pixar cartoon “Up” to remind everyone that, “Adventure is out there!” and from Tae Joon in “A Beautiful You” to say, “Miracle is just another word for effort.”


Selamat Hari Raya 2017!

Written by Delwin Keasberry Sunday, 25 June 2017 15:31

Meet Faiq, the visionary behind the Visiting The Mall project

Written by Delwin Keasberry Thursday, 19 July 2012 20:04

Faiq_Airudin_Prof2What do you do?

I am currently developing a documentary on domestic workers in Brunei with Dr. Kathrina Daud and have just finished recording a yet to be aired youth orientated talk show for RTB as a co-host. I also volunteer for SEEDS (Students' Extracurricular and Educational Dramatic Society) and was a co-founder of B:READ (Bruneians Read).

Describe yourself.


Tell us about the Visiting the Mall project.

The "Visiting The Mall" project was developed for The Creative Industries Festival. I was approached by Low Kok Wai a member of the Creative Industries Research Cluster (CIRC) to exhibit during the festival, and was was provided a space to exhibit my work. The project emerged from observations of how people walked through The Mall, and I wondered where people were heading to. I had already produced a body of work documenting the space, such as The Mall Escalator and another being a video called The Mall, Gadong.

These works didn't require direct interaction with those that visited The Mall and were far more abstract in style. While the previous body of work would fit within a traditional art gallery space, given the huste and bustle that is usually found around the entrances to the ground floor, it required a far more interactive approach that would make people stop and engage with the work.

Photographs from the Creative Industries Festival at The Mall, Gadong




(Note: Here are some of the photographs from Faiq's "Visiting The Mall" project. The folks were asked why they were at The Mall on that particular day.)

Abby & Dad - “Visiting”


Farah Muhammad - “Family Outing :D”


The Mall, Gadong

The Mall, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam, 2011 from Faiq Airudin on Vimeo.

Portraiture in Brunei is usually confined to studio spaces, while location shooting is practised by fashion photographers and street photography is supposed to be candid and informal. The project is an attempt to combine these styles of photography, taking portraiture into private spaces which required asking the names of who you photograph and strike up a conversation.

The project is also an attempt to create a modern portrait of Brunei; of what people wear and what kinds of things people do in The Mall. The photographs in the project aren't so much about technique, but more about the people in the photographs, hence the social media aspect and the assistance of volunteers. The volunteers for the festival helped by using their own cameras, initiating the conversation and photographing people on their own terms.

How have the public responded to being part of this 'live' project?

The responses of families that were photographed were especially endearing, some running over to the photo in excitement, while others walk over tentatively completely surprised their photograph is actually displayed. Friends of those displayed in the booth usually go directly to the photograph in amusement, and have a discussion among themselves. Others pass the booth hoping to spot a person they might recognise and then wonder why people in a photograph seem familiar and then walk away.

Attending the booth had the advantage of knowing what people think of the work and responding directly, that’s if they wanted to share their thoughts with me of course! Most of the questions fall either into those that wonder about photographic technique or questioning if the work is art or something else completely different.

Monica Law & Ann Goh - “Shopping”


Amirah M. Villamin & Martina Joy A. Abgayani - “to watch a movie with my friend”


Get To Know Fairuz 'Zabady, Local Graffiti Artist

Written by Shaun Lim Monday, 20 March 2017 11:05

1003320 4414185931085 939645478 nEditor's Note: We are happy to introduce you to Fairuz 'Zabady. He's a recognised figure in the street art scene in Brunei. In this feature, Fai shares about his humble beginnings and offers sage advice from years of practising this craft. Follow his journey on Instagram and reach out to him for all things murals, graffiti and art supplies and workshops. Keep up the good work, bro!

Tell us about yourself.
For my day job, I'm a film maker working at Origin Films. But my first love has always been painting. I graduated from University of Southampton, UK with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and have been actively painting (specifically Graffiti Art) since 2005.

When did your passion for art begin?
Both my parents are creatives, I guess that's where I got most of the drive from. I've always enjoyed drawing, scribbling and painting ever since I can remember. But about 2005 was when I first picked up and fell in love with spray paint, graffiti and its culture, the rest was history. It was unique, rebellious and I was determined to be the best at it. It became my main medium of producing art.



How did you develop your talent? Share with us your choice in medium of art.
I never considered myself talented, but people started noticing my work. Maybe because spray paint was not an ordinary medium to use for painting, and the attention that I received from it, drove me to do better each time I produced an artwork. I spent a lot of time experimenting with my medium, trying out different techniques and brands, analyzing my latest work, and to identify what needs to be improved, added, removed in the next one. My work consists of a lot of visual problem solving to achieve a piece of work that is visually pleasing. I spent years with this process. I painted almost daily when I could.



At the start, did you have a mentor or attend workshops?
With graffiti, it's a very lonely world when you are starting out. It still is. Maybe it's because of the negative connotation that lingers around it. You secretly sketch in your sketchbook out of interest / curiosity and there isn't anybody to tell you what's wrong or right. It was the same for me too. I never attended any workshops nor had a mentor, and everything in my practice is self-taught. This was because these resources were not easily available. All I had were "graff" friends and we bounced ideas and sketches off each other and that's how we improved.

After a while, you will start to notice your own weaknesses in your work and act upon them. We were our own mentors. We had to figure out ourselves how to work the spray paint, which nozzles to use, which brands to use, etc. But today, with the advanced technology of internet and social media, everything is within reach. A simple search on YouTube can already teach you the basics of graffiti.




In your perspective, what do you think about the art scene in Brunei?
Young and a little bit all over the place.

It's not a bad thing, and because it's dominated by the youth, the drive is strong. Everybody wants to prove something in their work and it's great. However, it's not as united as it should be. Maybe because the support given to creatives are limited, whether in the sense of education or even professionally. We grow up brainwashed to accept the skewed fact "If you aren't smart enough, you go to art class". So when artists try to make a living here professionally, we are considered less equal and less valuable by majority of the public regardless of how talented one is.

Within the art communities itself, it is noticed that the political / personal agendas affect the unity of the art community as a whole. The unity between the different generations (young & old) of artists is also non-visible. I strongly believe, Art should speak as one, art should have a united voice. There is much growing up to do in the current art scene in Brunei.

Any suggested solutions?
A more focused syllabus in the art education system. Also, greater support for the local artists by relevant bodies. And of course, someday an arts district to be allocated, where everything creative is in one area/place, including more wall space for our mural art.

Are they any future projects or something you're working on that you'd like to share with everyone?
The second Graffiti Art competition "Write This". Which is scheduled to happen middle of the year. If you've missed last year's, check out these videos on YouTube.

Finally, any advice to those who want to get into graffiti art?
A lot of of the younger creatives that I've met always question their ability to produce good work. They don't believe in themselves enough to produce good work, or refuse to challenge themselves to produce work because they are scared of judgement, or come up with many excuses to start making good work, for example the latest I've heard when I asked, "When are you gonna start with spray?". To my surprise their answers were along the lines of "nda berani bro, tunggu handal bro." Which loosely translates to "I'm not courageous enough, wait till I become an expert".

In a country of limited freedom of expression, there should be a drive to produce more mind awakening art. But instead we see a wave of "Let's not do that because we might get into trouble". We need to rid ourselves off this mentality. Work within your bubble, but make the bubble grow. My advice is, to tell you the hard truth. I did not get to where I am just by talent alone. It took years of almost daily painting and practice to master my art, and I am still learning constantly.

Every day is a learning process. The more you wait, the more you are scared to learn from your mistakes and another day is lost for improvement. If you are interested in graffiti, just pick up that spray can and do it. There's nothing to lose if you start now. If you need specific technique advice, just contact me on Instagram, I'll do my best to advice.image3


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