2009-08-24 Brunei (English)

Hello all,
Here we are again with a new story. This time we are in the small sultanate Brunei. The sultan of Brunei, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, is one of the richest man of the world. I’ll tell you more about that later. We get our clearance at a nice modern building where you find customs, immigration and harbour authority in Kuala Belait. This is a harbour for work boats and supply for the many drilling and petrol/gas workstations at sea. Things proceed in a serious way and meticulous we’re checked for H1N1, you never can tell. Imme-diately it is clear that we are in a rigid Islamic state. At customs is a big sign that tells us that it is forbid-den to import parts of the Koran or other religious texts in to the country. One cannot buy beer any-where and you better forget an investment in booze whatsoever. However, the  customs officer gives us a special dispensation letter so we can carry around 12 cans of beer and 2 bottles of spirits.  Fortunately both officers discard to come in our little dinghy to check the boat. That was a wise decision because our supplies would have been a stunning experience for them, I guess. Anyway, Kuala Belait is not really exciting and the local yacht club is at least boring so it’s time to go. Of course all paperwork has to be done again and we are charged the full amount of € 1.50 for harbour fees. We wantto go to Muara where a better yacht club appears to be. This trip is just too long for one day so we decide to overnight  between the breakwaters of the private harbour of a prince, one of the brothers of the sultan. That’s no problem and it’s allowed as long as you stay aboard. The facility is big and the breakwaters reach 1.5 Km in sea but is virtually nused. The little distance to Muara is easily done next day and especially for Jacquelines pleasure we are welcomed with a big thunderstorm with  heavy rain and a barrage of lightning. The anchor-age is excellent however, there is a swimming pool at the yacht club and it is allowed to bring your own drinks for dinner or whatever. We understand instantly that we can manage for a while at this place. We take the bus to the capital  Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB). All busses cost one B-dollar, that is € 0.5, that’s for a two minute trip but this one goes 30 Km. The sultan appears to be a popular guy and the city is full of his huge pictures. We act like tourists should do but we’re not really impressed. We take the bus to the palace of the sultan but we’re not allowed to enter. After that we go to a huge mosque but again we are not allowed to enter this time because we are not Muslim. Besides that there is female company and that is good enough for two times NO. It wasn’t too much of a hard decision to go back to the swimming pool. In one or another way Brunei is not really our thing. In this country live about 300.000 expats and they work for Shell or that kind of companies. Locals are definitely different from the Malayan people and we miss something. We just cannot exactly tell what it is but when we got our clearance, again much paperwork and we have to produce five!! crew lists, and we crossed the 20 miles to the Malayan Labuan, it felt like coming home.

And Allah says,”And those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend on them in the Way of Allah (i.e. by giving Zakat), give them the tidings of a painful punishment. This will be on the Day when those treasures will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it their foreheads, bodies and backs will be branded”. (And it will be said to them):”This is the treasure that you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.”

Zakat is paid at  almost a uniform rate of 2.5%. There is no Zakat on less than 5 camels. Upon 5-9 camels Zakat is one goat and on 10-14 two goats and so on. 20% of buried treasure, i.e. wealth that does not imply exertion of effort in collecting it as for agricultural crops that require labor to gain, Zakat would be 10%. No Zakat for less than 40 goats but one goat for every 30 cows.

MUSIC.
The Quran disapproves every such thing that diverts attention from serious matters of life to non-serious concerns.
The  English radio station, however, is very popular…..

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah is rich, bloody rich. His palace is bigger than the Vatican and he loves cars. He possesses about 6000 cars and you cannot find another human being possessing more Rolls Royse’s than him. He’s got a big cattle ranch in Australia (NT) and he flies in once every while. Because the Aussies decided his passport must be stamped every visit he decided that all Australians visiting Brunei must pay 20 B$ as a kind of repercussion for this inconvenience. The good man lives now together with his third wife but the divorce with the first wife is still pending. Bigamy doesn’t seem a big problem.
In Brunei you’re Legal to have sex from the age of 14, for girls that is 16.
Driving a car from 18, Muslims go in prison for drinking alcohol and if you want to vote you better forget it because it’s not gonna happen.
Prince Jefri, a brother of the sultan is a very special case on his own. He was minister of finance and a little bit corrupt so the sultan sacked him. Illicit commissions were his speciality and by the time he lost his job he had spend 4 BILLION US$ on himself. He owns only 2000 cars, private jets and golden toilet brushes. Jefri is now a kind of expat living in London. He, together with his five wives and 35 children, has some difficulties to stay adrift with an allowance of only 500.000 US$ per year.

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Reacties 1

Marianne 30-10-2009 10:50

Ik heb bewondering voor jullie en geniet van de verhalen die jullie met enige regelmaat sturen.
Blijven doen.....
Groeten, Marianne

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