BKC abuzz after vendors’ return

Syazwani Hj Rosli

Downtown Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) was lively again after the return of vendors to Bandarku Ceria (BKC) yesterday.

After two weeks’ absence, the vendors were back as early as 6am. Groups of people were seen jogging, skating, cycling and walking the streets of BSB while many were enjoying street food and shopping.

Vendor Haji Mohd Nur Ilham bin Haji Abdul Hamid, 53, attracted visitors of all ages as he exhibited exotic pets such as slow loris, hedgehog, bearded dragon, frilled neck dragon, sandfish skink, peters banded skink, blue tongue skink and tarantulas.

He often joins the BKC programme since it first started in 2016. Like many vendors, he revels in the great turnout of visitors after a decline in visitors due to COVID-19 and the two-week suspension of business.

Another vendor, who declined to give his name, was grateful to the authorities for allowing them to return.

Visitors at Bandarku Ceria.
ABOVE & BELOW: People taking part in activities during Bandarku Ceria. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

A girl touches an albino python

“My family and I have been selling food and drinks every Sundays for years and it was put on hold due to COVID-19. It was really difficult for my family. Alhamdulillah for the announcement that we can return and resume business. It felt like a burden was taken off my shoulders. I will work hard to earn more for the sake of my family,” he said.

BKC visitor Siti Kamilah binti Haji Jini said she came to BKC almost weekly with her family.

“It is good that the authorities listened to the vendors’ voices. It was good news when the announcement was made for the vendors and us visitors too. Our Sundays in the past two weeks were quiet with a few people out and about. Today, it is far more livelier and fun.”

Vendors must apply to the BSB Municipal Department for a limited weekly slot. Registration can be made during working days and will be based on first-come-first-served basis.

Applications are only open for Brunei citizens and permanent residents aged 18 and above.

Successful applicants will be given designated areas to set up 10×10 foot tent with a three metre gap between vendors.