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Great PaulVDV 2021-08-23 5:28

Hello Gert,

I don't find it easy to compare the water village from my memories of March 2020 with the situation of 1976 as we see it in your photo here.
I had seen your previous photos of Brunei before going there but actually I should have printed the view from above of the minaret to make a comparison with the reality during my visit. Also, I never got on top of the minaret ... (Visits weren't possible anymore)

I believe that Kampong Ayer has changed on different places.
First of all, the part that is located that close to the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque no longer exists. In 2020, Kampong Ayer consisted of two water villages on the other side of the river. Two parts that between themselves were not connected by walkways but only by boat.
But when I look at the most remote part of the water village in your picture here, I don't recognize the village I saw there either.
I think Kampong Ayer has really changed a lot.

I was told on site that fires are the biggest problem for a water village that is mainly built from wood and with houses relatively close to each other.
On site I also saw remnants of former homes
(especially metal pillars in the water that supported the earlier wooden houses). Houses will then be rebuilt in the same place. Also in other nearby places. In this way, a water village is always in transformation.
This is probably not the only reason for a strongly changed situation. Government decisions and housing projects (such as the one I visited) also provide a new image of the village.

When I look at your main photo here, I get the impression that the water village was much poorer back then than it is today.
Possibly the view from above leads to a different impression. I could never see the village from such a height.
Of course, the country has now become a lot more prosperous and the poorest will also have benefited from this.

Your photo here clearly strikes me as a third world picture where I wouldn't have described Brunei and Kampong Ayer that way during my visit.

Remarkable, but the village seems to be located a lot lower than the street that runs around the pond in which the boat-shaped pavilion is located. So I guess that the entire area where the park is now has been accumulated.

Since I couldn't/shouldn't (?) go to the top of the minaret, I didn't see the view in the other direction (your WS1) as you did. But I've gone through that part more than once.
I think that neighbourhood has remained fairly unchanged. The tall buildings and the wooded hills are for me still the situation of March 2020.
However, new construction has been added between that district and the river, including a shopping center and fast food restaurants.
No idea what used to be on that new site. Possibly nothing, maybe it was also a part of Kampong Ayer.
I also searched on Google Map but unfortunately that map confuses me even more than my memories.

Oops, a message says my critique is too long ...

Best regards,

Old 08-23-2021, 01:23 PM
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holmertz holmertz is offline
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Thank you Paul,
I don't know how long a reply is allowed to be, so I'll keep this short. No wonder this kampong ayer is unfamiliar to you since it no longer exists. I got the impression from your photos that today's water villages look much neater and more prosperous than in my memory. Almost half of a century wouldn't go without improvements, or at least change, anywhere. I was almost shocked to see Kuala Lumpur in 2007, coming there with memories from 1976. And Jakarta also changed almost beyond belief between 1976 and 1999. They were like completely different cities.
I will post a few photos from inside the kampong ayer in my next two uploads, so you can make new comparisons.
I just remember another big change in Brunei. Beer was readily available in 1976. I think you said it's a dry country now.
Best regards,
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Old 08-23-2021, 03:40 PM
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PaulVDV PaulVDV is offline
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Hi Gert,

Officially since 2014 Brunei's sharia law bans the sale of alcohol.
However, Sharia only applies to Muslims.

Tourists would be allowed to drink alcohol in hotel rooms or private homes. However, the alcohol that is consumed can only come from the duty-free shop at the airport. I arrived at a seaport and remember a tiny shop. No idea if the goods were duty free. I didn't ask about alcohol but I don't think they had it.

However, tourists may not be drunk in public.
A Bruneian told me that if he was caught drinking a beer in a public place, he would be sentenced under strict sharia law. If I were caught in a public place, I would be sentenced according to a civil court. No idea what can happen to Muslim visitors from abroad.

During my three days in Bandar Seri Begawan, I never saw beer or other alcohol anywhere, nor did I see anyone intoxicated. Three days without a beer is not immediately insurmountable for me

In Malaysia you could easily buy beer, for example in the 7-eleven shops that were everywhere.
However, you couldn’t order a beer in a budget restaurant because restaurants needed a special permit for selling alcohol and the cheaper eateries had never applied for that permit.

Kind regards,
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