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

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