50 things about Asean countries you probably didn't know - Asean's golden jubilee

Asean's golden jubilee: 5 interesting things about Brunei

46. Why the name Brunei?

Local legend has it that the first settlers landed near the Brunei River and found an abundance of water and fish.

One proclaimed "baru nah!", which loosely means "now we found it", which over time became Brunei.

47. A palace fit for any king

The 1,788-room Istana Nurul Iman, spanning a mind-boggling 120ha, is the world's largest residential palace, housing the Prime Minister's Office and the seat of the government of Brunei.

It also has a mosque that can hold 1,500 people, five swimming pools and even a helipad.

48. Venice of the East

Hospitals, petrol stations and even mosques on stilts might surprise those passing by Kampong Ayer, or the Water Village, along the banks of Brunei River.


A ceremony being held at the Throne Hall of the Istana Nurul Iman in 2012. The 1,788-room complex, spanning 120ha, is the world's largest residential palace and also Brunei's seat of government. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

About 300,000 people live there, and their village has been on stilts for 1,300 years.

49. Water or petrol?  The latter is cheaper

While many associate crude oil as a product of other regions, crude oil and natural gas production account for 65 per cent of the gross domestic product and 95 per cent of the exports.

It costs more to buy a 1 1/2-litre bottle of drinking water (S$1) than a litre of petrol (52 Singapore cents), according to some reports.

50. A first for many

Maziah Mahusin (left) had the honour of being the country's first woman athlete to represent her country at the Olympics.

In 2012's London Olympics, Maziah represented Brunei in the women's 400m race.

Despite not being the fastest runner, it did not take away from the pride of being a pioneer for women in sports.


COMPILED BY: KENJI CHONG, PAUL YEE & JASEN LO/THE SUNDAY TIMES

SOURCE: ASIA NEWS NETWORK, THE JAKARTA POST, VIENTIANE TIMES, THE STAR, MYANMAR ELEVEN, THE STRAITS TIMES, THE NATION, VIET NAM NEWS AND ONLINE RESOURCES.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 06, 2017, with the headline 'Brunei'. Print Edition | Subscribe