Lest We Forget


Compiled by Chan Chee Khiong

Travelling to Miri was not that easy in the past

Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman

March 5, 2011 – Going back in time when travelling to other neighbouring states, namely Sarawak and Sabah, was not that easy.

Travelling on a bus would have taken several hours – and the duration would take extra hours when ferry crossing on major rivers were involved.

Take the case of travelling to Miri, for instance. Passengers along with their motor vehicles on board a ferry from Kuala Belait at 9am – just to reach the Kuala Belait Immigration Post Control – had to cross Sungai Tujoh river in order to reach the Sungai Tujoh Immigration Post Control.

Today, travelling time and hassle has been cut due to a systematic road system with a toll bridge.

In the past, travelling abroad required some sort of a plan taking into account the weather just to avoid dusty or muddy road surface – so as to avoid travel glitches.

Waiting for the ferry at Kuala Baram reaching Miri. PHOTO: HAJI MOHD DAUD ABD RAHMAN

On past experience that the writer recalls when it was raining and the bus we were travelling got stuck in the mud where passengers had to come down to help the bus driver to push the bus.

That incident took us almost two hours just to reach the Sungai Tujoh Immigration Post Control. The bus even had to travel very slowly just to avoid any more incidents.

But soon after arriving at the checkpoint, they were lucky enough when everything went smooth.

Worst still, in another event that happened on the way to Kuala Baram. Miri, during high tide, the bus driver and passengers had to take a rest for few hours just to wait the sea level to recede. But there were incidents that though seawater resided gradually, they still continued their journey, travelling along the beach to reach Kuala Baram in about two hours.

Nonetheless, due to the fact that the bus driver was experience enough and familiar with the situations, no serious incidents happened until everyone reached Kuala Baram checkpoint safely.

After several kilometres on the road, everyone had board a ferry before continuing the journey to Miri through Lutong town.

These were the memories of around 1957 to 1969 when proper road infrastructure and system were yet to happen.

Now with systematic planning, travelling to Miri shortened.

From the Sungai Tujoh Immigration Post Control reach Miri would only take around 30 minutes under normal speed.

Alarming rise in net junkies

Bahreen Hamzah

March 3, 2001 – Concern is growing of the reportedly increasing number of mostly young people spending hours upon hours surfing and charting on the Internet and consequently dis playing an adverse effect in their health and social behaviour.

According to some net surfers approached by the Bulletin in the month of February, they had felt ‘empty’ and lost’ as a consequence of “Blank Screen Friday” or to be exact, Friday February 9, when whole chunks of the Internet were lost due to a severed cable line off the coast of Southem China.

The blackout was widely reported in Asian newspapers as access to large sections of the Internet disappeared. According to those who the Bulletin spoke to popular e-mail websites such hotmail.com, yahoo and msn.com drew blank responses and was virtually impossible to access. More importantly, there is concern that a small but growing number of net “junkies” suffered some sort of withdrawal symptom as a result of Blank Screen Friday such as restlessness and getting easily irritated.

“On the Net, most people have created their own little “world” where everything is perfect and is often an escape route to their normal lives according to a local psychologist who declined to be named.

However, she added that this will also create a false sense of security and when that is taken away as what happened on February 9, most junkies feel that they cannot function and begin to display some sort of abnormal behaviour.

According to an interviewee who only wished to be known as “Sheila-on 7” who works in an Internet firm in Gadong, it’s mostly young adults and teenagers who spend hours chatting and surfing the net in turn creating a new culture of net addicts

She added that most of the time these people play games, IRC (a chat room) and surfing and described February 9 as a “Kiss of death” to junkies in Brunei. It is understood that some junkies even check their emails every hour of every day.

Ironically, the Bulletin understands that a website has been set up to help net addicts overcome this problem at netaddiction.com which is run in a similar fashion to those seeking to give up smoking and alcohol.

KB students scar chins to ape idols

Saemah Zulkefli

March 9, 2001 – More than 20 primary four students from a school in Kuala Belait were reported to have scratched their chins using coins, pen-sized cutters, fingernails and spoons to create scars on their chins, similar to that of the members of a popular music group whom the students idolised.

The students, all boys and aged between seven and 10 years, were reported to have scratched their chins until they bled so as to have a small beard-shaped scar underneath their chins.

An alert teacher noticed the rather strange behaviour as nearly 10 of his students had cuts under their lips. He reported the matter to the counselling and disciplinary teacher.

Investigations revealed that the boys had copied a group called Limp Bizkit from the United States (US) who are growing in popularity among the youth.

Their elder brothers and sisters from higher classes reportedly assisted the students in cutting their chins.

Scar seen below the lip of one of the students. PHOTO: SAEMAH ZULKEFLI

A number of students explained that the cuts must be done in such a way that it leaves a deep and distinct mark that lasts longer. They also admitted that the process was painful and more so while taking a bath. Unfortunately these students who are influenced by their friends subject themselves to the pain and suffering so as to keep up with their favourite group.

Parents of these students were called to the school for clarification. However, the students changed the tune in front of their parents and claimed that the cuts were as a result of them falling at school grounds.