The Teapot Kingdom

When I first saw this giant teapot adorning a roundabout near Kuala Belait in Brunei, I was thinking, at the time, it must be a British hangover. After all, Brunei was a former British colony and tea drinking must be a culture it inherited from the British. The structure’s construction was sponsored by Brunei Shell Petroleum.

It is known as the Teapot Roundabout and the four cups represent the four districts of Brunei-Muara, Tutong, Belait and Temburong. The central teapot represents the central government and the benevolent Sultan. Nice symbolism but how many Malaysians can forget one man after seeing this?

Seeing it, reminded me of the famous local cult leader Ayah Pin who built a giant teapot in his Sky Kingdom in Terengganu. In 2005, the commune was ruthlessly smashed by unknown masked men.

The authorities persecuted him and and his followers, accusing them of subscribing to deviant teachings. Ayah Pin became a fugitive and died of old age on 22 April 2016, according to Wikipedia.

#brunei #teapot #kualabelait #terengganu

Lim Teh In The Sultanate

Lim Teh In The Sultanate.

Since we are looking at Brunei, let’s visit a Chinese kopitiam in Pekan Seria, Brunei. The shop was even more authentic than the many found in Malaysian towns. .

It featured old school coffee shop chairs and real marble table-tops from the 1950s or 1960s. There was also the quintessential bored cashier or proprietor sitting behind the counter. There were no big candy jars on the counter however,

At the time I was at Universal Cafe, the country had a reversed and practical system of halal certification. Since non-halal food outlets are few, non-halal shops are required to display a sticker or sign declaring Muslims are not allowed.

The are many Indian and Mamak eateries in the nanny state too, if you know where to look. Seria the coastal district and Chinese town was fascinating. It had a frozen in 50s or 60s look. Many of our kopitiams were once pristine like this. If authentic, the original shop ought to have the disgusting spittoon containers since the early patrons were refined tin mine workers. If you are unrefined, you just spit on the floor. Haha.

The majority of the Chinese speak Hokkien (Fujian dialect) here and were happy to converse in the mother tongue if you engage them. .

I still think Pekan Tutung, also on the coast, is the real Chinese town where Chinese schools and Chinese temples are found.

Chinese Bruneians are said to form 15 % of the Sultanate’s population and have considerable presence and clout in commerce and the economy. A characteristic of the worldwide and far flung Chinese diaspora.

There are many oil refinery ‘flare stacks’ visible from Seria and you can photograph the dramatic flames shooting up. A nice reminder that Brunei is an oil rich state.

Only one good hotel in Seria and it is the modern Roomz Hotel.

#documentaryphotography #streetphotography #travelogue #chinese #tutung #chinesekopitiam #kopitiam #coffeeshop #chinese #brunei #seria

The Bruneian Poor Man’s Harley

The Bruneian Poor Man’s Harley.

Brunei’s Kuala Belait wet market is like what our Central Market used to be; except the art deco building is circular.

I met vegetable seller, Bujang, inside. Somehow, we started talking about big bikes and he said he’ll go home to get his bike to show me.

It was the fairly rare Hyosung GV650 Aquila, a shiny cruiser. I remember distinctly Bujang telling me is China-made but a Google search later revealed it is a Korean product.

He described it as a poor man’s Harley for those facing mid-life or three-quarter life crisis. Bujang was 65 at the time.

The poor man’s Harley for Bruneians still cost a hefty USD 8,000 before tax. It is tax-free in Brunei, of course. I like the reaction of his then six-year-old daughter when she saw her dad returning with the bike. That’s Bujang’s wife’s bike behind the daughter.

Kuala Belait is the second largest town in Brunei, after capital Bandar Seri Begawan.

There are now 5 good hotels or more in small town Kuala Belait.

Book here:

#documentaryphotography #streetphotography #travelogue #travel #market #biker #motorcycle #cruiser #superbike #harley #hyosung #aquila #brunei


If You Scroll, A Thousand Bed Bugs Will Crawl Out From Your Bed And Bite You Where The Sun Don’t Shine.

Some of you may wonder why I am creating so much content related to hotels. Fair question. As I explained from the onset, I decided that becoming a hotel booking affiliate partner can hopefully and God Willing (please type InShaAllah or إن شاء الله‎‎ in comments) – provide a potential residual income. It is not passive but active, as I have to think of ways to market it legitimately and legally within the terms of use.

Anyone from anywhere in the world can be a user. Everybody travel these days and they can use the booking service from anywhere to anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world. For example, it can an be someone in Iceland looking for accommodation in Fiji. Or a local in Ipoh wanting to go to Penang. I have many social media friends from over the globe who followed me for a long time already. So what are the setbacks? People forget. Therefore I have to keep it sticky, visible and fresh in people’s minds regularly.

After my hospitalization, I needed to find a stable revenue stream that is reliable. The advantage is I have plenty of time. I can create content easily from my library of images, I am fairly competent technically, an experienced webmaster and know the in and outs of SEO. I have much travel related content and it meant easier and faster approval when applying to be an affiliate.

I also have many sites to cross link. Still, I need to reach a critical mass of regular users before I can see fruitful results. Many search engines, I suspect, are also affiliates. Why not? They need revenue too and they compete with me. So I try to think of creative ways to value add. Is all blood, sweat and tears, even though it is an online business.

Webmasters will know this. Regular citations mean faster search engine spidering and indexing. It is very hard mental and physical work as I need to be diligent in ensuring specific hotels are correctly linked. I also need to keep an eye on server performance, bandwidth management and hard disk space utilization. There are many more technical challenges and costs to worry about. Not a business, I’ll recommend to the faint hearted or to a newbie.

A sale is not a sale until the money is in the bank. Some people might cancel their bookings. Also affiliate partners dont pay you immediately even though or because the commissions are micro in nature. Have to wait until you reach a certain threshold and time is needed before commission are even tallied and accumulated payment is sent out, if it reaches the month’s minimum quota.

Anyway, in case you have forgotten, my landing page is at:

You can also help me by introducing me to friends who travel frequently. Thank you for your support.

You can share this post too, if you like and I won’t hit you with puzzling fuckery such as “copy and paste, don’t share”

Also no silly WTF conditions like:

don’t scroll without typing amen.
this baby is too cute, scroll if you are heartless.
Ignore if you have no heart or liver.
1 like = 100000 prayers.
Leave this on your Fb for 2000 hours so I can see who my friends are

Picture of hotel guests looking at very scary torrential rain from the lobby. I love this hotel as it is opulent, classy and very grand – The Empire Hotel and Country Club in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. If I remember correctly, it is near the abandoned Neverland amusement park built for Michael Jackson. I checked the rates today from my provider and it was quoted at around RM 850. Prices may vary depending on the dates you selected.