Lance Thoo

7 crazy things you can do for the price of the new iPhone

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have known that Apple recently unveiled its spanking new premium iPhones – the flagship iPhone Xs Max and its little brother iPhone XsIt also unveiled the so-called “more affordable” iPhone XR – which is considered a mainstream replacement for the iPhone X.

A lot of big, meaningless numbers were thrown around during the Apple keynote address last week but let’s face it, at the end of the day, if you’re a hardcore Apple fanboy (or girl), there’s no stopping you from acquiring these must-have iPhones – no matter the cost.

So for this article, we won’t be boring you with a mobile review.

Instead, we’ll be looking at the iPhones solely from a price standpoint.

‘Neue’ (@whatsneue) has compiled a list of CRAZY things that you can do around the world for the price of the new iPhone. (Editor’s note: The prices quoted below were compiled from a search conducted on September 16, 2018, and are subject to change.)

First off, let’s take a closer look at the iPhones’ price tags:

All screen makes all the difference (iPhone photos courtesy of Apple)

64GB iPhone Xs ($1,649) = Sky diving in Dubai

Skydiving has become one of the most sought after extreme sports. Thousands upon thousands of jumps are made around the year and one of the most popular places to experience this thrilling sport is Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

For the price LESS than an iPhone Xs (64GB), you would be able to purchase a Brunei-Dubai return ticket via RB (Royal Brunei Airlines, @royalbruneiair) for $827.

If you have not skydived before, fret not, Sky Dive Dubai’s (@skydivedubai) tandem skydive is the quickest and easiest way to experience the thrill of free fall at over 120 miles per hour.

You would also be able to experience tandem skydiving, a type of skydiving where you will be connected to a harness attached to an experienced instructor, for $700 (1,699 UAE Dirham).

Total cost = $827 (flight) + $700 (sky diving) = $1,527

Cost of iPhone Xs (64GB) = $1,649

That means you’ll still have over $100 (or $122 to be exact) to spare if you went for skydiving in Dubai instead of getting the Xs.

64GB iPhone Xs Max ($1,799) = Abseiling down UK’s tallest sculpture

Urban thrillseekers can enjoy the ultimate adventure of abseiling down London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit (@amorbit) – the tallest sculpture in the UK.

The 114-metre tall tower, which is located in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, has become one of the city’s most recognised landmarks since opening as part of the 2012 London Olympics.

Here you’ll experience the most spectacular views of London, whilst dangling in free space, 80 metres above the ground, for about $198 (100 Pound Sterling).

If you fancy something really outrageously different to do in London with a pique of adventure, then this is the activity for you.

Total cost = $1,596 (Brunei-London return ticket) + $198 (abseiling ticket) = $1,794

Cost of a 64GB iPhone Xs Max = $1,799

Isn’t it time that you treat yourself to a holiday?

64GB iPhone XR ($1,229) & 128GB XR ($1,299) = Swim with sharks in Melbourne

Do you want to swim with sharks? Of course you do!

For the price of an iPhone Xs Max (64GB), you would be able to purchase a Brunei-Melbourne return ticket via RB for $916.

You will also be able to experience a thrilling shark dive at the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium (@sealifemelbourneaquarium) for about $323 (299 Australian Dollars).

You’ll don a wet suit and scuba mask where you’ll be within arm’s reach of sharks. No scuba experience is necessary and an experienced guide will be accompanying you to ensure a safe dive.

Be sure to wave to your friends and family on the other side of the glass for an interesting picture moment.

Total cost = $916 (flight) + $323 (shark dive) = $1,239

Cost of iPhone XR (64GB) = $1,229

Cost of iPhone XR (128GB) = $1,299

Perhaps, it’s time for you to get over your fear of sharks.

256GB iPhone Xs ($1,889) = World’s highest* bungee jump in Macau

Do you believe that everyone should do something that reminds them they’re still alive? Well, how about braving the world’s highest commercial bungee jump – diving 764 feet (233 metres) from the top of the AJ Hackett Macau Tower(*It was reported that a new 260-metre-high (853 feet) bungee-ump platform would be added to the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge in China sometime this year).

For just about $768 (3,988 Hong Kong dollars), you’ll be able to experience the ultimate adrenaline rush.

How much to fly to Hong Kong from Brunei? A return ticket will set you back about $730.

A Hong Kong-Macau return ferry ticket will cost you about $64 (330 HK dollars).

Total cost = $768 (bungee jump) + $730 (flight) + $64 (ferry) = $1,562

Cost of a iPhone Xs (256GB) = $1,889

That’s about $327 extra cash you would have if you went for a Macau trip instead of getting the iPhone Xs.

Hope you’re not afraid of heights!

256GB iPhone Xs Max ($2,039) = Dinner with friends … in the sky!

Over the past years, ‘Dinner in the Sky’ has criss-crossed the skies of over 40 countries (Photos: Shutterstock)

‘Dinner in the Sky’ (@dinner_in_the_sky_malaysia) is a Belgian based novelty restaurant service which uses a crane to hoist its diners, table, and waiting staff 150 feet (50 meters) into the air. Guests are served a 3-course dinner prepared by renowned chefs from famous hotels and restaurants in the city.

From now until December 31, 2018, ‘Dinner in the Sky’ will be available in Kuala Lumpur. (To find out where it’ll be headed next, visit

The price for one ‘Economy Class’ dinner ticket is about $135 (369 Ringgit Malaysia).

The price of a Brunei-Kuala Lumpur return ticket is $209.

So that means it would cost $344 for each person you plan on bringing (in this case, from Brunei) for this fancy dinner (airfare included).

For the price of an iPhone Xs Max (256GB), you would be able to take as many as 5.9 friends (let’s round this number up to 6).

Sounds like a great dinner outing to me, don’t you think so?

512GB iPhone Xs ($2,199) = Enjoy the Grand Prix

If you are wondering what you could spend your money on rather than getting the 512GB Xs, I’m here to tell you that you could have witnessed

Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton emerging as the champion at the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix last night (Sunday, September 16).

It only costs about $300 for a Brunei-Singapore return ticket and $1,488 for a 3-day Grand Prix ticket where you will have access to the upper rows of the Pit Grandstand, which is guaranteed to give fans spectacular views of the team garages, starting grid or finish line. 

Over the weekend, Grand Prix ticket holders also witnessed performances by international acts such as Jay Chou, The Killers, Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa.

Let’s do the math: $300 (flight) + $1,488 (Grand Prix ticket) = $1,788

That’s about $411 you would have extra in your wallet if you had decided to go to the Grand Prix instead of putting money aside for your iPhone Xs.

Perhaps now would be a good time to make plans for 2019’s Grand Prix in Singapore?

512GB iPhone Xs Max ($2,349) = Craziest party on the seas!

Boasted as Asia’s largest festival at sea, this year, “It’s The Ship” (@itstheship) will be celebrating its 5th anniversary this year.

Rather than forking thousands of dollars for a phone, how about chilling out in this high seas by signing up for a 4-day, 3-night party from Singapore to Phuket and back on board a luxurious cruise ship with non-stop music from November 4 to 7, 2018?

How much does it cost? $300 for a Brunei-Singapore return air ticket and about $1,490 (986 US dollars) for a twin sharing cabin.

If you forgo buying the $2,349 iPhone Xs Max, you would still have $559 extra after having the time of your life on that cruise.

Heck! For that money, you could even squeeze in a night’s stay at the grand Marina Bay Sands resort (@marinabaysands) in Singapore before flying back. Sounds like a plan!

We’d love to hear from you

Do you have any other ideas of crazy things you could do around the world for the price of the new iPhones? Be creative!

Will you be buying the new iPhone?

Smashing gender barriers: Mahkota Design BN

Adika is the genius designer of shawls and scarves behind the ‘Mahkota Design BN’ brand (

You’re probably thinking to yourselves: “Wait a minute! Are you telling me that Adika’s a guy?”

Don’t worry. You’re not the only ones.

A female shopper at Aman Hills Shopping Centre that ‘Neue’ (@whatsneue) approached asked: “Why is he involved in the women’s clothing line?”

Kept his identity secret

Adika, who was one of the participating vendors of the ‘Brunch & Crafts’ that was held at the shopping centre’s Atrium last Sunday, said this was why there was a period of time when he did not disclose that he was the designer in the Instagram account of Mahkota Design BN.

“I also did not state my gender because I was afraid that people would not book a tudong (headscarf) with me,” he said.

Yuri of Kaleidoscope Studio ( – the facilitator of a brunch talk about Brunei’s craft industry last Sunday – found it hard to believe that in this day and age, people still had this kind of gender bias on who should be designing clothes or cooking.

“After all, we do have male chefs and female chefs. We also have men who are designers,” she said.

Adika said all this doesn’t bother him as much as it did in the past because those women who used to ask him THAT question don’t bother asking that question any longer after they have seen first-hand the quality of his work.

His workshops are always full house

Wan Nurul Naszeerah, the founder of BenchLab (, which hosts skills workshops by matching tutors with enterprising participants, vouched for Adika, saying that he is “so talented, much more talented than any other woman” she’s ever met.

“In fact, every workshop that Adika has done with BenchLab has had a full turn up. He’s a wonderful talent,” said Wan, who was one of the panelist members of the talk.

Adika runs the Mahkota Design BN business with two other friends, Nasroul Hizam and Md Sumardi – who are also males. (Does it still matter?)

Adika (left), the designer behind the ‘Mahkota Design BN’ brand, is pictured with his business partners, Nasroul Hizam and Md Sumardi

Speaking to ‘Neue’, the trio said: “Our business approach is different because we do not mass produce. We are focussed more on personalisation or special limited edition prints.”

So can males wear stuff from Mahkota Design BN? The trio said: “Yes! They can wear it as a cravat – a short, wide strip of fabric round the neck and tucked inside an open-necked shirt.”

Given the fact that all of Mahkota Design BN’s products are custom, they said: “Our designs are perfect for any occasion, even as wedding gifts! One of our approaches is to use people’s names as part of the design.”

Would you be interested in getting yourself a one-of-a-kind design by Mahkota Design BN?

Bubbles out of thin air: A soapmaker’s humble tale

What would you recommend to someone who wants to get rid of stress?

“Definitely something with lavender! This soap has very good quality lavender oil that came all the way from Croatia. It’s got milk in it and it’s creamy too!”

This was what Didi told ‘Neue’ (@whatsneue) at the ‘Craftworks Kitani’ (@craftworkskitani) gathering, where she was selling her home-made soaps at the atrium of Aman Hills Shopping Centre last Sunday.

Didi, who admits that she’s “obsessed” with skincare, had always wanted to try making her own soap.

“I never got around to getting all the ingredients in the past. With the support of my partner, Eze, I decided to pursue this,” she said.

However, both Didi and Eze agreed that it’s always wise to do extensive market research before launching a new business.

“As of yet, we have not set up a dedicated Facebook and Instagram account for this business,” they said, adding that it could tentatively be called ‘Bubble Bear Bathworks’. However, nothing’s finalised yet.

“We’ll update the public once we have a dedicated social media account for our home-made soap business,” they said. For now, the public can reach out to Didi via her other skin care Instagram account, @_neverendingsearch4hg.

“We are still in the experimental stage. We want to see how it goes … whether the people would buy our home-made soaps and what price range they are comfortable with. We’re also interesting in getting feedback from the public about our soaps.”

Humble beginnings

Nur Khalisah Ahmad, the founder of Kaleidoscope Studio (

Nur Khalisah Ahmad, the founder of Kaleidoscope Studio (, said Didi and Eze had in the past attended an insightful workshop conducted by Aloha Nature House (@alohanature_house.brunei).

She said: “Aloha Nature House was once a vendor that participated in one of Kaleidoscope’s past events, when we had a couple of pop-up sales. I suggested the founder of Aloha Nature House to conduct workshops, as she would not only be able to sell her own products and services, but also provide her clients with the raw materials so that they can make their own crafts.

“Fast forward to the future, Aloha Nature House has opened up its own beauty school. Both Didi and Eze had attended one of her workshops and they have started making their own soaps.

“Although we didn’t do all the work. It’s like sowing the seeds. And this is a really good example of how it is growing… that’s what we can do. We want people to come to these events to engage with the vendors and show them that their products are appreciated.”

Photos above & below: All smiles at the Craftworks Kitani photo booth

Thrill-seekers: Couple celebrates anniversary at over 6,000 metres

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” – Sir Edmund Hillary

This quote by the world famous climber was shared by Bruneian adventurer Michelle Charlene Basir (@life.on.the.verge), who spoke to ‘Neue’ after returning from an expedition to Stok Kangri, the highest peak (6,153 metres above sea level) in the Stok range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region.

A sports scientist by profession, Michelle said that the quote above is a perfect reminder for her to keep on overcoming challenges, such as scaling Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m), which is the highest mountain in Africa. 

View point just before Advance Base Camp at 5,100m. Acclimatisation walk on Day 3.

Self-funded expedition

Michelle and her husband, Cheong Kok Liang, a banker, summited Stok Kangri at 5.41am (India time) on August 21, 2018.

Their 8-day self-funded expedition began in Leh, a high desert city in the Himalayas, located at India’s northern states of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was the 4th time that they’d climbed together. Their latest expedition to Stok Kangri was the highest mountain summit thus far. They had previously summited Mount Rinjani (3,726m) in 2017, Mount Kinabalu (4,095m) in 2015 and Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m) in 2012.

The couple revealed to ‘Neue’ that they will be celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary this month and that their recent expedition to Stok Kangri was their “anniversary adventure”.

Reflecting on her recent expedition to Stok Kangri, she said: “The whole experience has been overwhelming – from the trainings, obtaining all my gears, getting to the destination to the climb itself. Juggling work and training at the same time can be exhausting.

“But I’ve learnt that I’m able to climb higher than what my mind tells me.

“I initially thought that it would be impossible for me to summit. I almost didn’t want to attempt the summit climb because I wasn’t feeling the best at the time. But I overcame it and went for it … And seven-and-a-half hours later, I found myself at the top. The feeling was surreal!

“I’ve learnt that to do the most extreme, we need to commit fully – financially, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Wearable tech such as the Garmin Fenix 5 watch has also helped me a lot with my training. ”

What was it like up there?

Kok Liang: It was an ‘Achievement Unlocked’ moment! And of course, absolute relief as it was quite a tough climb due to the high altitude, steep incline and rugged terrain. It took us over 7 hours to reach the summit from base camp.

Michelle: A great sense of relief! I was in awe of the beautiful view. However, reaching the summit wasn’t the end of the journey for the day. Coming down the mountain was another important part of the climb too! Stok Kangri is a steep mountain so we had to be extra careful when coming down. 

Is it recommended?

When asked if they would recommend mountain climbing/trekking to other couples, this was what Michelle and Kok Liang said: “A couple that climbs/treks together, stays together. In a modern, digitised world, it’s good to unplug and enjoy each other’s company. Discover each other and be humbled by the magnitude of the mountains.”

How about insurance?

Unfortunately, insurance agencies in Brunei do not cover trekking from a certain altitude. According to Michelle, most international insurances only cover trekking up to 6,000 metres and when there are no ropes or climbing equipment involved.

“This is why we purchased trekking insurance based on those factors,” she said, adding that for the recent expedition to Stok Kangri, the couple purchased one from ‘Global Rescue’, an insurance agency that covers mountaineering. “Most people who climb Mount Everest would also get coverage from this agency.”

Any advice?

When asked if they had any advice for anyone interested in tackling their first mountain, Michelle said: “Start somewhere. Every mountain is difficult but after a difficult climb, you will be rewarded with the best views. And always train for any climb so you will enjoy your trek. Climb a mountain and you will be hooked for life. A good beginner mountain would be Mount Kinabalu. It’s very close to us (geographically), straightforward and non-technical.”

Where can people learn to climb in Brunei?

There is a difference between mountain trekking and mountain climbing, Michelle told ‘Neue’.

“Stok Kangri is a non-technical mountain so no climbing experience is needed but you would need previous high altitude trekking experience. If one wants to climb a technical mountain, definitely training at UP Climbing Centre (@up_climbingcentre) would be an advantage. A technical mountain requires more than wall climbing techniques though. For this one would need to go for a mountaineering or alpine course,” she said.

‘Neue’ wants to hear your story

Are you a thrill-seeker? We’d love to feature your story (where ever you may be in the world) in our next write-up. Drop us an e-mail here or reach out to us via social media on Facebook or Instagram.

Laundry-math: Which one is more worth it?

Should you do your laundry in the comfort of your own home or take it to a self-service laundromat in Brunei?

To learn more about the ‘laundry-math’, ‘Neue’ spoke to two Bruneian families – Fizah, a government sector employee, and her family of 5 , and Azmi, a private sector employee, who is living with four of his cousins.

Fizah, who hails from Kampong Beribi, says she prefers doing her family’s laundry at home rather than at a self-service laundromat.

Azmi, a resident of Kampong Serusop, on the other hand, believes that it’s so much more convenient for his cousins and him to do their laundry at any of the 24-hour laundromats in Brunei.

For this article, we will be looking at this from 3 perspectives – (1) Cost, (2) Time & (3) Experience.

#1. Cost

(Photos: Shutterstock)

The following assumptions are to be taken into consideration:

(1) There is no maintenance cost for 3 years for the washer and dryer that Fizah purchased for her home.

(2) Fizah and Azmi do the same amount of laundry each month – 15 rounds of laundry (9kg) each month (once every two days).

(3) Both Fizah and Azmi come from a household of 5.

How much over 3 years?

First, let’s look at the numbers provided by Fizah who does her own laundry at home and Azmi who prefers going to laundromats.

Doing laundry at home (Fizah):

Upfront cost of installing a washer and dryer = BND 1,200 

Monthly utility bills (electricity & water) = BND 50 

Detergent & softener (for each round of laundry) = BND 1 per wash

Doing laundry at laundromat (Azmi):

Upfront cost of installing a washer and dryer = N/A (cost is borne by laundromat operator)

Monthly utility bills (electricity and water) = N/A (cost is borne by laundromat operator)

Detergent & softener = N/A (cost is borne by laundromat operator)

Cost of using washer (9kg capacity) = BND 4 for warm water option 

Cost of using dryer = BND 3 for 30 minutes (BND 1 for each 10-minute interval) 

Travelling cost to get to laundromat = BND 1 per trip

The table below projects how much Fizah and Azmi would have spent on their families’ laundry over a period of 3 years.

So which is better in terms of cost?

If we are looking at this solely on operational cost, it would be CHEAPER to do you washing at home if you have lots of laundry rather than at a laundromat.

#2. Time

A boy plays with his mobile phone to pass the time at a laundromat

Doing laundry at home:

“I love the convenience of being able to do my family’s laundry at home,” said Fizah. “I do not have to spend about 15 minutes driving from my home just to get to a laundromat.”

Even though Fizah has a dryer at home, she said she prefers drying her laundry in the sun. “The smell of the sun is the best scent,” she said. “However, I often worry about leaving the clothes out to dry because the weather can sometimes be unpredictable.”

When asked how long it would take to dry her clothes, she said, “If it’s a bright sunny day, between 2 and 3 hours on the clothesline outside would do the trick. But if it’s indoors, it could take between 6 and 8 hours.”

Now, let’s take a closer look at the amount of time she spends doing laundry at home.

Washing: At least 40 minutes per round of laundry

Drying clothes (with a dryer): At least 30 minutes per round of laundry

Drying clothes (without a dryer): Between 2 and 3 hours (outdoors) or between 6 and 8 hours (indoors)

Travelling: N/A

Doing laundry at a laundromat:

“I miss the good old days of when my mom would help me with my laundry,” Azmi said. “Ever since I moved out of my parent’s home after I found a job, it has never crossed my mind to invest in a washing machine or dryer.”

When asked how much time it takes for him to do his laundry at a nearby laundromat, he said, “It would take me about 15 minutes to drive there (and to find parking). But this is a ‘small price’ to pay to enjoy the convenience of a 24-hour laundromat.”

Now, let’s take a closer look at the amount of time he spends doing laundry at a laundromat.

Washing: At least 40 minutes per round of laundry

Drying clothes (with a dryer): At least 30 minutes per round of laundry

Travelling: 15 minutes per trip

So which is better in terms of time?

If we were to compare the two solely from the perspective of time, doing laundry at home seems to be the SMARTER OPTION, as you do not have to spend time travelling.

#3. Experience

“Doing your laundry at home will always be more comfortable,” Fizah said. “One reason why I prefer doing it at home rather than at a laundromat is that I can do other things at home such as watching television in my living room or even taking a nap. There’s nothing you can do at a laundromat … you just sit and stare at the machines.”

Azmi disagreed with what Fizah said.

“Anyone who says there isn’t anything to do at a laundromat obviously has no idea what they are talking about,” he scoffed. “You could read a book, watch a TV show on your smart phone, run your errands or if you’re sociable, get to know the people you’re doing your laundry with at the laundromats. After all, they are also waiting for their laundry to be done.”

“You’d be surprised just how many people from your neighbourhood you’d bump into at the numerous laundromats that have popped up across the nation,” he added. “I would even go as far as saying that doing your laundry at a laundromat is therapeutic.”

So which is better in terms of experience?

Judging from what the two said, all signs point to LAUNDROMATS.

Final thoughts

In our opinion, if you are just to be doing lots of laundry, buying a washing machine would be more worth it in the long run.

However, if you do less than 9kg of laundry a week, then it would be better for you to go to a laundromat instead.

We’d love to hear what your thoughts about this.

Where will you be doing your laundry?

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is NOT a movie. It’s a movement

(Photos: Warner Bros/Shutterstock)

Crazy high expectations are riding on ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (@CrazyRichAsians), which is set to premiere in Brunei this Wednesday (August 22).

It is the first modern story with an all-Asian cast and an Asian-American lead in 25 years. The last time that a major Hollywood studio released a movie with an all Asian-American cast was back in 1993 – ‘The Joy Luck Club’.

(Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures)

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is based on a novel by Kevin Kwan about three ultra-rich Chinese families and the gossip and backstabbing that occurs when the heir to one of the massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ‘ABC’ (American-Born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

While both movies have all the supposedly family dramas, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is basically ‘The Joy Luck Club’ with billionaires.

Let’s take a look at the trailer of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ below. (Don’t worry it’s spoiler free!)

The next Asian ‘Black Panther’, really?

Some people are saying that ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ could be the next Asian ‘Black Panther’.

Marvel’s movie ‘Black Panther’, which was released earlier this year, was so much more than about a superhero’s journey. It was about black culture’s journey.

At the time, the hashtag – #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe – was trending on Twitter, which is proof that the movie had a significant emotional impact on a lot of people, particularly the black community.

Jon M Chu, the director of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, was quoted in a report as saying that the romantic-comedy is “not a movie … it’s a movement.”

A report in the New York Times noted that there is a primary worry that the Warner Bros film focuses on Singapore’s Chinese, the dominant ethnic majority, at the expense of Malays, Indians and other ethnic minorities who collectively account for about a quarter of Singapore’s 5.6 million people.

Actress Constance Wu at the premiere of “Crazy Rich Asians” at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Los Angeles, California

In a Twitter post, the movie’s lead actress, Constance Wu (@constancewu), acknowledged that the film “won’t represent every Asian American”. She said, “For those who don’t feel seen, I hope there is a story you find soon that does represent you… I am rooting for you.”

Doesn’t represent every Asian, but it’s okay

Let’s be honest here. How are you supposed to cram all the richness and complexities of the Asian diaspora into a 2-hour-long romantic-comedy? But it’s a good attempt.

“There have been complaints that the film doesn’t represent the true diversity of Southeast Asia or Asia or the Asian-American experience. And they are absolutely right; it doesn’t. In fact, it doesn’t even come close,” Audrey Cleo Yap said in a column.

“Can a movie about outrageously rich Chinese Singaporeans really mean something to every Asian, a group that holds so many ethnic groups and languages and skin tones within it? Isn’t it unfair to expect that?” asked Anisa Purbasari Horton in an online report.

She noted that while ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ may not represent every Asian, it does do a good job in other areas.

(Crazy Rich Asians) portrays Asian and Asian American characters as complex, flawed human beings with their own unique stories to tell – stories that are worthy of screen time and for the most part, not relegated to some stupid stereotype Hollywood has generally imposed on Asian characters,” she said.

Final thoughts

There is something special about 2018.

It’s been 25 years since a Hollywood studio released a film featuring an all-Asian cast since ‘The Joy Luck Club’.

It’s undeniable that social media is raving about how this movie is going to be THE movie to do Asians proud.

Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 25 years until we celebrate films like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Black Panther’ for breaking diversity milestones. Who knows? By then (hopefully sooner), it could just very well be the norm. (Fingers crossed!)

Which cinema in Brunei will you be catching 'Crazy Rich Asians'?

What it’s like to model in Brunei

What do you think of the modelling profession?


Some people seem to think that as long as you have (1) a good camera, (2) a great outfit and (3) lots of ‘likes’ on Instagram, then you are instantly “a model” in Brunei Darussalam.

But this is actually not! Being a model is so much more than having just these 3 things.

This was what Siddiqah Rosli (@siddiqahrosli), a Bruneian who does modelling part time, told ‘Neue’ in a recent interview.

Siddiqah, who currently has close to 4,000 followers on her Instagram account, and two other Bruneians – Jessica Tieng (@jessicatieng) who describes herself as ‘petite’ and Balqis (@aishahyazid) who describes herself as ‘plus-sized’ – are hoping to smash any misconceptions of modelling in Brunei.

Modelling in Brunei: What does the local community think about it? Is it frowned upon?

Siddiqah Rosli (@siddiqahrosli) wearing a creation by @naforrer during the ‘NFormation Campaign’ back in January 2017 (photo courtesy of @moderatefilms)

The modelling community (not industry) in Brunei developed only recently due to high demand for human resource in the emerging local fashion market.

For this reason, I think the matter of “frowned upon” is highly subjective to how Bruneians view modelling in the country.

For example, local fashion designers may see it as opportunities to revamp their brand (having fresh faces or looks), while others may mistakenly see them a nuisance (being vain and full of themselves) on social media. More often than not, they are just trying to promote themselves as aspiring models.

However, I personally think that modelling in Brunei “may” be easily frowned upon if individuals who are serious in pursuing a modelling career do not possess certain qualities or do not monitor what they post on their social media accounts. At the end of the day, what they post up will indirectly reflect their reputation, as far as modelling is concerned.

Modelling is both fun and challenging. It sparks my creativity especially when I have to think of what poses to do next.

It is always rewarding whenever my clients are satisfied with my performance and they actually like the shots.

Every time after a photoshoot, I will always do some self-reflection and think about what I can do to improve at my next modelling gig.

Being a model is not just about being good at posing, having the right facial expression and embodying certain characters, to me it’s about creating a platform, to have a voice and to have audience who will actually listen to what you have to say and at the same time, to help and inspire others. – Siddiqah

Balqis (@aishahyazid) wearing a design by @bazlahannah_boutique

Modelling, in my perspective, isn’t at all frowned upon in Brunei. When I first started, I thought that that was the case so I kept my identity a secret by not mentioning it at all in hopes that no one would recognise me.

But, I guess Brunei really is small so I started getting noticed even though I had only modelled for one boutique.

My family and friends have been nothing but really supportive of my choice. I sometimes get recognised at events, where people would come up to me to say they had seen me somewhere before.

It’s inspiring to know that people like me are accepted even if we do not fit in the typical beauty standard. – Balqis

Petite model … Jessica Tieng (Photo courtesy of @ns72_)

Personally, I feel that the local community seems okay with people modelling. I don’t think it is frowned upon. However, pursuing a career in modelling is difficult in Brunei because there isn’t much of a market here yet. On the contrary, the small-scale fashion industry in Brunei is slowly growing lately. This provides opportunities to aspiring models such as myself to model and gain experiences which is great. Additionally, nowadays with social media, it is easier to network with other people in the modelling community such as photographers and designers.

Some businesses now also take advantage of social media to grow their business such as sponsoring social influencers to make an awareness of a certain product or service that they are providing. Therefore, I feel like in the future there might be more opportunities for growth to pursue modelling in Brunei.

Being a model (although, I still don’t call myself one because I feel like I still have lots to learn) is really fun! You get to meet and work with a lot of different people. It may seem scary meeting new people at first, but you’ll slowly learn to get used to situations like that.

Also, I used to have very low self-esteem and disliked some features of my body while growing up! Surprisingly, modelling actually helped me in terms of building up my self-confidence and self esteem. I also get to learn to love myself more, flaws and all, which is a great. – Jessica

Power of Social Media

Kendall Jenner (Photo: Shutterstock)

Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner), with 94 million followers on Instagram, is living proof that social media’s influence has forever changed the modelling industry. Last November, she was ranked as the highest-paid model in the world, knocking supermodel Gisele Bundchen (@gisele) off the top spot for the first time since 2002. According to Forbes, Jenner’s earnings totalled US$22 million that year.

Siddiqah spoke about a funny encounter at a primary school classroom where she was assigned as part of a teacher training programme.

“The first thing that a student said to me when the classroom teacher introduced me to the class was, ‘You’re a model, right? I know you from Instagram.’ It was such a humbling experience. This was when I realised that the students look up to me positively. It is for this reason that I would like to use my modelling career as a stepping stone, where I would be able to reach out to these kids. This is the direction I’m taking … to inspire people,” she said.

Balqis, meanwhile, said that it’s comforting to know that people these days are accepting of people like me who are plus-sized. “Brunei is a small community, and word quickly spread that I had pursued modelling. People here don’t really say things like ‘Oh! Why is she a model?’ People have actually been quite accepting of me,” she said.

What do I need to know if I’m thinking about pursuing modelling?

#1. Be ready for rejection 

It’s not always gonna be a smooth ride – you’re not gonna be booked every single time. The important thing is to never give up. Even though, it may never seem like it, there’s always bound to be a person who will see potential in you, take you under their wing and give you opportunities to help you gain experiences and grow.

“I’m lucky to have a few people who saw potential in me and took me under their wing,” said Jessica. “That’s how I slowly grew in modelling.”

Be prepared to hear this often – “Sorry! You’re not the type of model we’re looking for.”

It’s normal to have rejections. So don’t be so hard on yourself. – Siddiqah

#2. Don’t take things so personal

Sometimes, if you go to a casting and you didn’t get the gig in the end, it’s not because of your appearance or anything like that. Sometimes, it could be just that you are probably not what they are looking for at the moment for their project (they might be looking for a specific look as well). – Jessica

#3. Have a good support system

It’s good to have people around you who will support you during the good times and bad, especially when you feel inadequate and feel like giving up sometimes. At times, you need a good pep talk to get you back on your feet. Being surrounded with good company will also help you boost your self confidence. – Jessica

#4. Getting scouted is not easy

It’s not going to be easy. There will always be people prettier than you. Just because you’ve done a lot of things before, it doesn’t guarantee you the spot. So it’s not going to be easy. Casting calls can be a nerve wreck-inducing affair and a stressful process for any model. At the end of the day, you just have to keep putting yourself out there.

#5. People are going to critique you once you put yourself out there so be ready mentally

Siddiqah told ‘Neue’ that when she first launched her website, someone sent her an e-mail saying, “So you think you’re a model? Keep on dreaming girl!” (Editor’s note: Whoever wrote that mean e-mail … Shame on you!)

“Getting these kinds of comments or people bashing about you either straight to your face or through your friends is normal. And all you have to do is just listen, accept then decide if its beneficial for you to grow as an individual or not,” Siddiqah said.

#6. Strong will and determination are needed to constantly be active in the profession

Don’t give up. Don’t disappear from social media. Keep on updating your Instagram and Facebook.

“They will be times when you will experience a lull in getting booked for modelling gigs,” said Siddiqah. “But the important thing is to stay relevant in the modelling field. For example, doing a photoshoot on your own time so as to build up your portfolio and making your social media accounts stand out to attract potential clients! You will never know who you can reach via Instagram these days!”

#7. Focus more on your personality because a model is nothing without a personality

“You can’t just be a pretty face if you have a bad personality,” Balqis said.

“At the end of the day, you are pretty but your attitude is bad, no one is going to want to work with you,” Siddiqah added. “It’s important to have a shining personality and to remain professional. Know your place as a model during a photoshoot because, people will always remember how you made them feel. How you performed will reflect in the final product – which is your photos.”

#8. Be open to constructive criticism

“Constructive criticism is good, as it makes you improve on yourself more,” said Siddiqah.

“We have this professional development for teachers in schools. One of the topics covered is about growth mindset, where we learn that whenever people start to shoot you down, you just need to take the positive side of things,” said Balqis.

After reading this story ...

Get in touch

Are you a social media influencer or entrepreneur interested in taking your profile to the next level? E-mail Lance.Thoo@Hoco.Agency to explore opportunities to collaborate with ‘Neue’

10 things you shouldn’t do during Ghost Month

The Hungry Ghost Festival is upon us. So be sure not to stay out too late.

This would be the advice given by Chinese parents to their children during this time of year.

For 2018, the Chinese believe that the Ghost Month will last from August 11 to September 9.

The Hungry Ghost Festival begins on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Lunar calendar. For 2018, the Hungry Ghost Festival will fall on August 25 (next Saturday).

‘Neue’ recently spoke to the Chinese community from across Brunei Darussalam to learn about the Dos & Dont’s during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

The families interviewed by ‘Neue’ requested that their identities remain anonymous.

Top 10 Dos & Don’ts

#1. It’s a trap

(Photos: Shutterstock)

“We always tell our children if they see a red money packet (ang pow) on the street, they should not pick it up. It could be a dowry of a ‘bride’ from the underworld, waiting for anyone (alive or deceased) to marry her. It’s usually a trap!”

#2. Come home early

“My mother always tells me to come back home before dark and to never go out late or even in the middle of the night because you’re just asking for trouble. Furthermore, the main door cannot be opened after sun down.”

#3. Keep walking

“Never walk out alone. If you hear voices, just ignore and never turn your head around. It is believed that we have 3 lights around us, one on top of our head and one on each shoulder. Turning back would displace these lights.”

#4. Trim your nails

“Having long finger nails is a big no-no! Painting them black is even worse! This will attract evil spirits.”

#5. Those seats are reserved

“At night, we will have food and incense placed on tables outside our house. There will also be chairs on our garden. For anyone who doesn’t know by now, please do not sit on these chairs. They are reserved for the ‘invisible’ guests.”

#6. Avoid water

“It’s been said that people should go swimming, especially at the beach, during this time of the year. The belief is that spirits favour water due to its ‘yin’ environment. People say that some swimmers who have encountered ‘water spirits’ felt their legs being pulled.”

#7. It’s not for you, it’s for ‘them’

“Do not eat or step on the food offerings that are placed by the road side. They are meant for spirits, and eating or stepping on these offerings would ‘offend’ them.”

#8. Don’t whistle

“Do not whistle at night. This isn’t just during the Hungry Ghost Festival. This applies all year round!”

#9. Wear bright colors

“Do not wear dark clothing. It is believed that ‘spirits’ would be attracted to you. Also, no white shoes at night!”

#10. No peeking

“During the Hungry Ghost Festival, do not look out the window or peek behind the curtains to observe people making offerings to the spirits. It is believed that those who are down on their luck would be able to ‘see’ spirits. This is especially so for children.”

Do you know of any others?

Are there any other Do’s and Don’ts for the Hungry Ghost Festival that you’d like share? Do tell us in the comments section below or via Facebook or Instagram.

Do you enjoy ghost stories?

Giant Shark Loose In Brunei

Let’s face it, there are a lot of bad shark movies out there.

Do you believe that low-budget B-movies like ‘Sharknado’ (sharks + tornadoes) and ‘Sharktopus’ (half-shark, half octopus creature) are an insult to classics like Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster, ‘Jaws’?

Then perhaps you need to watch a BIG-BUDGET giant killer shark thriller, ‘The Meg’ (@megmovie), starring British action hero Jason Statham (@jasonstatham).

‘Neue’ spoke to a group of moviegoers who caught (no pun intended) ‘The Meg’ in Brunei earlier this week.

(All promotional photos for ‘The Meg’ courtesy of Warner Bros)

Love it!

Jason Statham and his partner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, at the premiere of ‘The Meg’ in Los Angeles, California (Photo: Shutterstock)

This is what those who ENJOYED the movie had to say:

  • “I walked into the cinema with very low expectations. After all, it’s another shark movie. I was so wrong. Jason Statham really added value to this movie.”
  • “This movie is basically ‘Jaws’ on steroids.”
  • “I’m just thankful that this wasn’t a ‘Sharknado’ movie. If you’re a fan of Jason Statham, you need to watch this.”

Hate it!

‘Neue’ also spoke to a group of Bruneians who said they would AVOID this movie. This is what they had to say:

  • “Big shark … big deal. So what?”
  • “I’ve been disappointed by movies like ‘Sharknado’ . So I’m gonna give ‘The Meg’ a miss.”
  • “Jason Statham must be in real need of cash if he was willing to be in this movie.”

Will you be watching ‘The Meg’?

How badly do you want to see Jason Statham punch a giant killer shark?

What other shark movies are out there?

#1. Jaws (1975)

A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.

To this day, this iconic movie is still considered as Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece.

#2. The Shallows (2016)

A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.

#3. Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease, a group of scientists on an isolated research facility become the prey, as a trio of intelligent sharks fight back.

#4. Sand Sharks (2012)

A shark who swims in sand terrorizes a tropical paradise.

#5. Ghost Shark (2013)

When rednecks on a fishing trip kill a great white shark, its spirit comes back for revenge, and soon turns its sights on the town of Smallport.

#6. Sharknado (2013)

The first of many Sharknado movies. When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, nature’s deadliest killer rules sea, land, and air as thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace.

#7. Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017)

With much of America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for a global sharknado; Fin and his family must travel around the world to stop them.

#8. Dark Tide (2012)

Halle Berry starred in this movie? A professional diver tutor returns to deep waters after 1 year, following an almost fatal encounter with a great white shark. The nightmare from the deep is still lurking – more carnivorous and hungry than ever.

#9. Jurassic Shark (2000)

The story of the shark, which has hunted for millions of years. Various scientists try to reconstruct prehistoric sharks and their world from fossil clues. Contemporary footage mixed with cg to create prehistoric sharks.

#10. 47 Meters Down (2017)

Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive. (Source: Internet Movie Database, IMDb)

Are you a shark movie fan?

How many of these shark movies have you watched? Which is your favourite? Which don’t you like? Drop us a comment below or reach out to ‘Neue’ via Facebook or Instagram.

Where can you catch ‘The Meg’ in Brunei?

Cinemas in Brunei where you can catch ‘The Meg’ (as of August 10, 2018):

1. Times Cineplex (@timescineplex)

2. Aman Hills Cineplex (@amanhillscineplex)

3. The Arena Cineplex (@thearenacineplex.brunei)

4. The Mall Cineplex (@themallcineplex)


Feeling Suicidal in Brunei?

“Oh no! Not another one!”

I overheard a group of people saying that at a cafe as they read about another suicide case in Brunei Darussalam.

‘Neue’ spoke to a cross section of the local community over the week to hear their thoughts about this social issue.

Among the responses that caught our attention were:

  • I spoke to my supervisor about it, but I was told to “just get over it.”
  • I need help. But I’m afraid of what people would think of me if I seek professional help.
  • I spoke to my parents about it, but they would lecture me and tell me to “just be happy”.

All the respondents requested ‘Neue’ to keep their identities secret for fear of being shunned by society.

Do you think human resource departments in Brunei are ill-equipped to deal with mental illness in the workplace?


What to do?

In an interview with ‘Neue’, a counsellor who deals with students across Brunei shared the 5 basic “first aid” when it comes to dealing with anyone who is contemplating suicide:

#1. Listen to them, not lecture them.

#2. Acknowledge their emotions and empathise with them and their struggles .

#3. Do not disregard their feelings.

#4. Allow/invite them to express their feelings. Refute the stigma that emotions are wrong. It is not wrong if channeled properly.

#5. Do not be judgmental, show warmth.

How are you?

Feeling suicidal is itself a painful experience, but it is not something you have to bear alone. Reaching out for help is an important step towards getting the help you need to keep yourself safe.

Brunei’s MoH (@mohbrunei) over the weekend released the infographic (above) titled ‘How are you?’ on social media to promote public awareness.

Suicide is a major public health issue with wide-ranging consequences encompassing social, emotional and economic outcomes, the MoH said in its social media post.

“The factors that lead an individual to suicide are usually multiple and complex. Mental disorders such as depression may contribute to suicide risk. Substance abuse is also another significant risk factor. Social difficulties such as debt, financial and relationship problems may also contribute. Effective suicide prevention requires participation from multiple government and non-government sectors, and from the community as a whole.

“There is evidence that public awareness and understanding about suicide plays a significant role, and may encourage those at risk of suicide to seek help. It is very important that you get help from someone. Speak to a friend or family member that you trust. Go to see a doctor or a psychologist. Professional help is easily available in Brunei.”

What are the warning signs?

The Samaritans of Singapore, a non-profit dedicated to providing confidential emotional support to individuals facing a crisis, thinking about suicide or affected by suicide, in its website listed out some of the warning signs of someone contemplating suicide:

When they start saying the following:
  • “My family will be better off without me”
  • “My life is meaningless anyway”
  • “If you don’t love me, I’ll kill myself”
When they start doing the following:
  • Giving away treasured possessions and saying goodbye
  • Researching suicide methods
  • Writing suicide notes (including emails/diaries/blogs)
Whey they start feeling the following:
  • Emotional outbursts
    (anger, sadness, irritability, recklessness)
  • Loss of interest
  • Humiliation or anxiety

Who to call?

Last Friday morning ‘Neue’ readers contacted us to ask if there was a 24-hour helpline for people who are contemplating suicide.

Sadly, there is currently no such public helpline available.

However, help would be available at the nearest Accident & Emergency Department, where medical staff would ascertain if a mental health specialist would be required.

The community received some welcome news over the weekend when Brunei’s Ministry of Health (MoH) announced that it was developing a national hotline for suicide prevention.

In the mean time, as the relevant authorities are working on this development, vulnerable individuals can still reach out to helpline 141 or call the Talian Darussalam hotline 123.