Friday, June 21, 2024
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Brunei Town

Capital comes alive with BandarKu Ceria

Lyna Mohamad

The resumption of the BandarKu Ceria (BKC) yesterday offered a breath of fresh air to visitors who flocked to the capital for recreational activities.

Kampong Pandai Besi resident Haji Rashid lauded the decision to reopen BKC, describing it as “timely, now that the fasting month is over”.

The 68-year-old retired government servant, who suffers from diabetes, hypertension and gout, has made it a point to exercise during the weekends, with the BKC serving as a perfect venue.

He also takes comfort in the knowing that should a health issue arise while exercising, others would be nearby to offer him a hand.

“Although the Ministry of Health (MoH) has relaxed the face mask requirement while outdoors, as responsible citizens, we must remain cautious. Wear a mask and observe standard operating procedures (SOPs) when there is a crowd,” he added.

ABOVE & BELOW: Visitors at the BandarKu Ceria stalls; and children, accompanied by their parents, having fun at the Sunday event. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

ABOVE & BELOW: Haji Rashid speaks to the Bulletin; Pengiran Joehani bin Pengiran Haji Jaluwi with his children; and Red Bull Brunei personnel helping to quench the thirst of parched visitors

ABOVE & BELOW: Visitors check out the options at the food and drink stalls; and cyclists break a sweat in the capital

Pengiran Joehani bin Pengiran Haji Jaluwi from Kampong Lambak was stoked to bring his four young children to the event for the first time yesterday.

“Friends and family members often speak of how BKC is such a colourful affair, so I just had to come see for myself.

“Sadly, it wasn’t as colourful as I had expected, but perhaps that is because it has only just re-opened, or people are still busy with Hari Raya open houses.”

Pengiran Joehani lauded the government’s decision to bring back the weekly Sunday event, noting that it serves as a “good retreat for my children to decompress from the stress of staying at home”.

Meanwhile, Red Bull promoters made their rounds handing out free energy drinks to thirsty visitors.

The brand promoter said the complimentary hand out is part of an ongoing Red Bull campaign, and that “we will do this every Friday and Sunday for the whole of May.

“On Fridays, we will distribute sugarless Red Bull beverages in Kiulap and Gadong as a means of promoting healthy drinks”.

Meanwhile, stall operators were glad to be back in business after over a month of inactivity.
However, they are calling for the authorities to consider relocating them back to their original space in the city centre.

“Business hasn’t been as brisk since we were moved to the parking area opposite the Royal Regalia. Perhaps this is because most visitors, particularly those with young children, find it quite a distance to walk,” a thrift stall vendor said.

Another vendor lamented that the new location is “not strategic”. He added, “There are less attractions here, so the foot traffic is far less than the city centre.”

Food and drink vendors are feeling the pinch too, reportedly raking in smaller incomes and at times leaving with much left unsold.

Some visitors also share the sentiment.

Hajah Siti typically parks her vehicle in the Tamu Kianggeh area before making her way over to Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien, with her children in tow.

“It is quite a distance to walk just to get food and drinks for my children, after a long day of playing in the field,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mudin and family opined that the lack of fun activities may be the reason why visiting the stalls is not “worth the walk”.

“With only five or six stalls set up, food and drink options are limited.

“There also aren’t creative activities being held there, unlike at the previous location, where we could enjoy entertaining acts, animal shows and the likes,” he added.

The authorities are said to have called for the temporary relocation of stalls to ensure operators and visitors adhere to the Early Endemic Phase SOPs, which include the scanning of the BruHealth QR code and body temperature checks.

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