Travel to Kuwait: Grand Avenue

Photos during my short trip to Kuwait City. Most of these photos were on May 17, 2015


Standing in the middle of the street at Grand Avenue in Kuwait City.

I was with the Info Department crew to capture moments at one of the biggest Mall in Kuwait City.

A light moment with Penerangan crew from Brunei to stroll the many wonders of the Kuwait City’s finest Mall; Grand Avenue.


Like in Brunei, family members are seen holding hands around the Mall here.


A father and his daughter sitting on a wooden bench, talking in their native language while a woman walked towards them with hands carrying shopping bags of NEXT brand. Infront of them stood an international brand shop Dior.


A Bruneian walked passed one of the many doors to the wonder of luxurious items in branded shops. Notice that one of the doors in this photo was a gent’s room, equipped with a cleaner clad in black vest, white shirt underneath and black trouser.


Three boys walked infront of a gigantic looking octagon building The Cheesecake Factory with its sandy-coloured marble featuring its grand towering the many shoppers below.


Most Kuwaiti men wear a dishdasha, which is long-sleeved, floor length with a button – down opening to the waist. The long side pockets are sufficient for their paraphernalia: mobile phone, wallet, misbaah (prayer beads), and so forth.


The hovering drone above the many people controlled by a shop seller, the envy of many kids on the ground floor. I was one of the kids.

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There’s a wishing fountain too. I think no one really believes in fairytale here. Shoppers don’t seem to care.

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Pronovias – a wedding shop that offers virgin white wedding dresses for women.

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This blue set of dining chairs and tables comes from a diner for people to relax and chill. Simple but elegant. The narrow hall leading to many doors to perfume shops are enterprise of its own.


After hours of walking and strolling in the Mall, sunset awaited outside. Our shopping bags left on the stairs at the entrance Mall, but no one bothered to steal them. Now this is an Islamic country that Brunei needs to follow.


The evening had not ended yet because we had to fight neck to neck with traffics and crazy drivers driving their vehicles whilst playing with their mobile phones.

Before our journey ended, we had a miscommunication with our driver. He had to wait for half an hour because he could not locate where we were, despite our repetitive and specific order that we were waiting at the entrance door of the Grand Avenue overlooking a furniture building – Midas.

Bruneians looking for our driver in this photo.


Now, to hit the sink and spend the evening to myself.



The reporter and the barber

The reporter and the barber

“Your thoughts on something are best explained in metaphors for it shows genuine understanding of your feelings to others because only those who understand will get it.”

In other words, use metaphors to convey messages.

Picture this scenario.

You are a teenager who just started to learn that you can get girls with better grooming. You’re a boy. And you care so much about your hairstyle. You talk about hairstyle with your friends. You talk about hairstyle with your maids. You even talk about hairstyle with your cat.

Then one day, you find out that one of your friends has a bad taste in hairstyling. Like a good boy you are, you are concerned about him not being the handsome dude that he should be, had it not for his hair.

This friend of yours doesn’t know where to go. He is clueless. He doesn’t know which barbershop to visit.

So you introduce your friend to your barber and you left him in his shop.

You left him there.

Your friend then talks to your barber and wants the barber to cut the latest hairstyle.

The problem is that your barber is a very boring, old man. He is over 70 years old and has a hearing problem. He occasionally watches TV and barely listens to the latest trend around the world.

The barber is so old that his concern is just to make a living by paying monthly rent to the landowner.

Here’s the hint:

You; the reporter, is the person who introduces the friend to the barber. 

Your friend; who is your barber’s new client, is your source. He is your article. He is your story. He is the people you interviewed. He is the man or woman or manager or minister or business entrepreneur that you met and had conversations with. He is your life.

Meanwhile, the barber; he is your editor who holds the fate of your friend’s hairdo. But mind you, he is very old.

When you left your friend (the source) alone with your grandpa barber (editor) in the barbershop, your friend is bound to be disappointed.

This is because your barber doesn’t know your friend. It is the first time they met. Your barber (editor) will definitely do not know what your friend (the source) is talking about.

Your friend (the source) will request the latest hairstyle from your barber (editor). Your friend wants a haircut just like one of the character in the Korean Tv Show Running Man; Gary.

Your barber (editor) is confused now because he doesn’t know what your friend (source) really wants.

Fortunately, the barber (editor) knows your handphone number. So when the barber phones you (reporter), you pick it up and you will him about what your friend really wants.

Your friend (source i.e. your article) will talk in length; in 10 to 20 paragraphs; in between 400 – 900 words; and in the language that you and your friend only know.

You left the barber in a maze. Your friend wants the barber to have “a Mohawk hairstyle but not too short.”

Your barber (editor) knows what a Mohawk is. However, he heard about the hairstyle few ages ago. He wanted to know whether the hairstyle has returned. The barber was puzzled about this request. He wanted to know more about any new trend following this particular hairstyle.

At this point of time, the barber (editor) thought that it’s best to call you (reporter) again on this matter.

You, as the reporter, have to provide as much background stories as possible about your friend (source).

In a newsroom, you have to back up your stories with past articles; information from reliable websites; latest development; recent follow-ups; recognised statistics and even recent hansard.

You need to provide information useful to your editor as this can reduce the time spent in editing.

You cannot just leave your Indian friend, who only speaks Tamil and English, to talk with a barber from Sarawak.

You cannot just leave your editor and expect him to understand if your source is not reliable; if your story is incomplete; if your story is stupid; and if your story is just not a story.

Going back to the metaphor story in the barbershop, your barber (editor) gets back to cut your friend’s hair (story editing process).

When your barber (editor) is half way shaving the hair at the back of your friend’s head, he finds out that your friend’s hair has dandruff.

Your friend may be allergic to some kind of condition. Your friend’s condition may get worse if the barber use any of the shampoo or conditioner available in the shop.

Even the landowner doesn’t know about this. Only your barber knows about this dandruff.

(Hint: the landowner is the one who owns the newspaper)

The dandruff is the hole in your story. Your article lacks information. Your story may be too sensitive. Your source doesn’t provide his disease. The editor may have to kill your story because it’s not worth to be published.

So your barber calls you again for the thousand times and asks about the dandruff (questions in your story).

You tell your barber (editor) that your friend (source) can be reached because you know your friend (source) well. So you call the source again and ask the questions that should be asked during the interview.

You ask your friend (source) via phone and start asking about the history of his dandruff; when did he get it, how did he get it, why did he get it, did he seek medical attention, what hospital/ clinic did he go to, how did he fund his bill; is his father wealthy, from what family background, does his family own land or business; what business……(and the list goes on).

The point here is that reporters have to cooperate with the editors to produce the best article for readers to learn and enjoy.

There is no harm to wait and sit beside your editors. Do you want the editor to shave your head pristine like the lake in Tasek Lama in the 17th century?

Another point that needs to be highlighted is that, I think the barber has to learn more about the situations outside his shop.

Barbers usually sit inside his comfortable air-conditioned shop for many hours and listen to world news in the radio.

We, as the client, go to his shops to have the best hairstyle that is. So, to make his shop grow, we bring our friends and relatives to his shop.

Sometimes, we spend a lot of time talking and convincing our friends to visit his shop. We spend a lot of car gas to meet with friends around the town and other districts. This is to ensure that the barber will get the best clients that he could ever have.

But, sometimes the barber comes as early as 10 in the morning, expecting to see clients when in fact it is a dry Sunday. A number of them only come after 3pm and drag us along with him past midnight.

Although there are clients who send their children to cut their hair in his shop before noon, this is a problem too because the client hasn’t paid.

I think the reason why clients only come late in the afternoon is mainly because there is no used to come early and finish early, especially to new clients.

They will have to stay until past midnight regardless he has finished his work before 6pm.

Here is my point. I have recently met with my old self last month and he told me how big I am right now.

It has been a year now and I have learnt a lot.

I have learnt how to stay up late. I have learnt how to wake up early. I have learnt to wake and sleep at odd hours.

I have learnt to respect, to be patient, to be tolerant, to endure criticisms and to fake smiles.

I have learnt about office politics, networking, socio-economic issues, governance, religion, business, and absolute power.

I have learnt death and the unbearable truth of journalism that seeking stories is more important than remembering the moments with your colleagues.

But the most important thing, I have learnt on what it means to become a person.

I have a family here. I am part of The Brunei Times’ family trees. I have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the office. I talk to my boss almost every day, share stories with colleagues every hours and treat the office as our second home.

Before this, I worked in various offices and the difference is apparent. Working in BT matures your mental capacity but have the potential to sag your man boobs if not treated with physical activities.

What prompts me to write is due to the recent sarcastic slur via email forwards to the Home News email.

I think pressure in work may blind a person’s integrity to the abyss of disrespect and incompetence.

I learned from a source that BT has a high turnover of staff.

I am learning to find out why.


Shadow inside the mirror (horror) Page Intro


I know it. I can feel it. Even when my eyes focus on the screen, I can feel that someone is standing behind me. But when I turn my head, I see my own reflection in the cabinet mirror. The me inside the mirror stares back at me. I know the one inside the mirror is me. Somehow, I also feel strange about it. I don’t look right in the mirror. It looks a bit too ‘happy’.


Zak Hamed works for the Microsoft Brunei Sdn Bh. It’s been a year now. Yesterday was his one year anniversary. He celebrated the joyous moment with his work colleague at the nearest restaurant eating fried food and sugary drinks.

But just like any other day, the day has to turn the page from evening to morning.

He is not a morning person. He dislikes waking up early before 6am. The history behind it was dated back to when he was unemployed for three years after graduating from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam in 2033. His Technology and Computing Degree certificate that he obtained costed him 5 years in student loan with the Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam  (BIBD).

His mother, when she was alive, used to remind him to take care of his two younger brothers.

However, the death in the family caused him dearly.

When we are no longer here, make sure you and your siblings take care of each other.

The clock turns 4pm. He looks at how the time goes by. Head Manager Chris Tan told him to upgrade the security network coding requested by the Ministry of Communication. The programming stage has to be completed by next week. The project was handed to him three months ago. Although he has completed the third and fourth stage of processing the Cyber and Web Security Network, he procrastinated the last stage of Implementing Portal Management Procedure. He works closely with his work colleague Ibrahim Akim.

They complained on the work hours and the pay. They said that their salary did not cover the working hours they had to sacrifice. But they could not do anything. They have to work and work endlessly, doomed in the world of employment.

Frustrated over deadlines, he has to work long hours in his bedroom at the Flat Permaisuri located 30 kilometers away from the capital, overlooking the Sg Kebun Bridge in the capital.

His family business comprised five oversea hotels, 10 local eateries and 12 apartments across the Sultanate made him and his three siblings a fortune. However, his uncle took all the wealth in a single case proceeding which caught international uproar when he was 15-year-old. Now he is 35-year-old, the memory still resides in him.

This was apparent when his three brothers died in a tragic train wreck happened three years ago.

Family Death of Mukim Mentiri left eldest on top of a hill – The Headline in the front page of The Brunei Times dated March 5 2013. The news brought to a standstill when police investigation running low.

It is a mystery to the general public. But it was a tragedy to Zak. His past made him to become a computer engineering because that’s what his brother wants. To be able to create a video games. Playstation 4 had just came out in 2013. But his 10-year-old brother left him along with the rest of the family.

20 years passed in a glimpse of an eye.

Now he is sitting at his desk working on this programming.

The moonlight shines through the curtain. The dark night whispers wind against the window. The sound of the soothing water by the river can be heard from the land. Wild dogs howling from somewhere down the lane. The music of nature has always been the reason for him to be able to focus on work.

Until he heard a squeaking noise behind him.

He turned. He swore that the the squeaking noise came from the bed.

End page 1 

Click here to Page 2

Spoken words of love

Love in one of the rose’s petals is more delicate than the tender heart.

It seeps blood to join the living. When the time comes, the blood turns red like roses in the garden of Eden.

One has to understand the ultimate sacrifice when rosy feeling shares the same blood color.

The temperature starts to speak, mingling about what it means to be alive.

Alive with the one you share the bed with is something that needs to be cherished.

I am not sure if the temperature in the room is the right degree to withstand the heat within.

Love has the shapes that only fits the space. This space will only bring the truth when the two share the same heart.

People may find fault to really understand what the universe is saying. But sometimes the language only understand the spoken words from the same background.

Where should you begin to contemplate the meaning of life. As you go along with the patina of time, I think it’s best to speak than being mute.


Review: The Babadook

The Ü

The Babadook

Director: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell


Single mother Amelia struggles to raise her son, as his constant fear of a book’s monster begins to take its toll.


The Babadook offers a compelling look into the dark corners of motherhood in the clever, unnerving guise of a literal demon.

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See you in the office Bro

Good bye friend

Yassin recitation at Kg Salambigar for late SY

“Bah bro…karang jumpa di office ah..ada ku process the photo tu.”


THE heavy rain of December 23 put a damper along the road of Jalan Kumbang Pasang. Passing vehicles survived through the night with flashes of headlights and varieties of music. The rain washed the street with darkness and danger. The music in the car sounded deaf.

Tired from work, a photographer gripped his hands on the steering wheel and focused on the road to reach the office. He had just taken photos for his assignment.

Shifting gears through the dark narrow streets from the JPM roundabout, a phone call broke the silent night. He knew his caring girlfriend wanted to say hello.

He knew this already because they kept contacting every night.

His phone vibrated somewhere in the dark car. He searched for it whilst cruising through the night. With the help of the flickering lights from the passing streetlights, he finally found the handphone sitting on the passenger’s seat.

He answered.

“I just came back from stadium. There was a football match. I miss you too. I will come back…….”

The voice cut short. The person on the other line did not hear any other sound other than his breathing. The breathing was heavy and yet so slow. It sounded like the person was gasping for air. The girl hit the red button and dialed the number again for three times. There was no answer.

The rainy night washed her thoughts with fear. She started to think there was something wrong with her boyfriend.

She exited the house and drove to the Jalan Kumbang Pasang. She knew this because it was the only possible route from stadium to the office.

She parked her car on the side road and saw a team of paramedic carried her boyfriend into the backdoor of the ambulance car. She tailed them to the RIPAS Hospital.

That’s when she phoned me to tell that her boyfriend (my colleague) had sustained an injury due to a car accident which involved three cars collision.

I went there with a couple of other colleagues. At first, there were two of us who met the girlfriend. Her face was filled with concern and guilt. Then another two of my colleagues came by.

At approximately 2.30am, he passed away, filling the busy hallway of the emergency department with the wailing of his girlfriend and tears of friends who never have the chance to say the last good bye.

It was ironic that I was the last person from my company that he talked to.

He had two assignments. First, he had an assignment at Jame ‘asr Mosque for the dzikir event hosted by MIPR. Then, his second assignment was at stadium to cover a football match.

Before he went to the stadium at the mosque, he said that he would meet me back in the office.

“Bah bro…karang jumpa di office ah..ada ku process the photo tu.”

If only I told him not to cover the football match, he would still be around.


The Mortality of Love

A heart-shape leaf for an angry girl

AN innocent touch may resonate into many sounds of sighs and longing, with a little hint of love aside.

Many times over, this small touch that begins innocently may turn into wild flowers that climb the tall gates of relationship.

Through interaction with the common birds of our everyday internet, messages flown from one place to another like a flash of light, only to be unappreciated by a man of two personalities.

A girl can send as many letters to a man, but sometimes the letters are buried under the ruble of works.

Apology may not take you into my arm again, but I hope this can fix the broken pieces scattered on the floors of our new home.

To be fair, we only built the home recently.

The building of any new structure with strong pillars of trust, steady base of understanding and solid walls of caring, require a long period of construction.

All we need is a little bit of bonding and talking.

Anger over trivial things will shake our newly-refurbished home. In fact, it can destroy the very foundation of trust and loyalty. These pillars support the many stories and memories on the first floor. Don’t make it collapse over past mistakes.

I hope you understand that when you read this message, you will not see me as this man that plays you around. I may enjoy your company and the sexy entertainment you’ve given me. But that doesn’t mean I do not care about your life. I’m sorry that you have to read the last few blogs; Ammy.