Photographer's Note

‘Bandar Seri Begawan - The new part of Kampong Ayer’

Looking at my previous photos of Kampong Ayer, most of us can't imagine that some Bruneians prefer to live in the water village rather than on land.

These three photos taken in the new part of Kampong Ayer probably give a very different impression.
Of course it remains living in a water village where you can only reach your home by boat or via long walkways. But living in these houses is otherwise just as comfortable as on land.

These houses belong to a recent housing project for which there were a lot of candidates to live there.
The inhabitants were mostly not fishermen but people who worked in the capital. I mentioned before that not everyone in Kampong Ayer is poor and lives there out of necessity.

I had read that housing in Brunei was subsidized (just like rice and oil). But I also heard that it had not been obvious for the inhabitants of this neighbourhood to obtain a house here.

I was able to enter one house in this neighbourhood. What I saw of the interior was modern and very comfortable. The living room even seemed quite European (with the TV in a central place as often in Belgium). The house seemed to me better for a family than an apartment in the city.

Together with five other travellers I had made a boat trip on the Brunei River (not really spectacular; we saw one small crocodile and a few long-nosed monkeys in the trees on the shore).
At the end of the trip the guide who recruited us on the street asked if anyone was interested in seeing a home in Kampon Ayer inside.

Of course we all wanted that. Besides, it was at his friend's house and not something commercial.
The friend was absent, but his wife and two children received us warmly.

It was nice and interesting to see one of those houses at the inside. The home of the family did not seem to me to be fundamentally different from our homes.
It is impossible for me to say where this family stood on the social ladder. Certainly not the poorest Bruneians lived in this district. But the neighbourhood was much bigger than you can imagine from these photos and I really admired this large housing project.

Since Brunei earns well from its large petroleum and natural gas fields, this seemed to me a good use of the country's income.

When I revisit my main photo after so much time and abstract from the poles the houses stand on and the water below, the houses seem a bit Scandinavian. I didn't think this on the spot and probably Scandinavians don't think so either. It will probably just be modern Brunei.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 24 N: 16009] (62746)
  • Genre: Luoghi
  • Medium: Colore
  • Date Taken: 2020-02-25
  • Esposizione: 30 secondi
  • Versione Foto: Versione Originale, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2021-08-01 12:37
Viewed: 0
Points: 42
Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 24 N: 16009] (62746)
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