Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chronicles of Kg Ayer, Brunei Water Village

By Norizan Murshid

Kampong Ayer or Brunei Water Village - here the life began hundred years ago. Antonio Pigafetta referred to Kampong Ayer as "Venice of the East".

A fact from researchers listed that Kg Ayer existed since the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shah in the year 1363.

In 1523, Pigafetta immortalised the Kg Ayer population at 25,000.

Everytime when we talk about Kg Ayer, the traditional vessel called Padian springs forth where women sell groceries in a small boat.

Padian must be remembered because it is the blood and soul of the Kg Ayer community.

The younger generation may not be able to see Padian activity nowadays. And the Chinese businessmen are the suppliers to grocery shops at Kg Ayer, with most shops owned by Malays.

As a Brunei community, we should view Kg Ayer from diverse angles, one of which is the bond that ties the Malay community which is very strong in "bergotong royong" (helping each other during happy and sad moments). In Brunei, the nuance is called "memucang mucang".

Let us all imagine 'The Kampong Ayer' in 50 years to come. We don't want one of Brunei's landmark to be forgotten by our future generations.

Little do we realise how many Bruneian professionals such as lecturers, lawyers, doctors, engineers and even ministers hail from Kg Ayer in their childhood.

Kg Ayer has not fallen by the wayside of modern living with the use of electrical appliances, electricity and even Astro TV service as seen by the dishes.

His Majesty's Government has taken good care of the citizens living in Kg Ayer.

All the basic needs such as water supply and electricity are met alongside schools, government clinic, police station and fire stations at Kg Ayer.

Water supply and electrical supply had been connected to Kg Ayer since 1960.

Rubbish collection ensures a clean environment.

In 1994, when much housing in Kg Ayer was damaged by fire, the government (Ministry of Development) set up housing projects at Kg Bolkiah A and Kg Bolkiah B.

Kg Ayer is also a big facet of the tourism industry.

Source: Borneo Bulletin Sunday

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