Tag Archives: oil state

10 Fun Facts About the Sultan of Brunei

THE SULTAN OF BRUNEI is a mythical sort of guy, inescapable and aloof, both everywhere and nowhere in his country. His portrait hangs in every restaurant, his photo often in the newspaper, his face on at least one TV station at any given time. But public appearances are rare, and his notoriously expensive palace (pictured […]

Folks on the Water

“I KNOW, I TALK,” our boat driver tells us as we step aboard. “I don’t know, I don’t talk.” What he means, I think, is that he’ll tell us what he knows, but he doesn’t know everything. He knows, for instance, that his name is Lokman, that he is 46-years-old, that he became a boat […]

Brunei, of Slums and Sultans

AN IRISH BACKPACKER ASKED ME, in the Kuala Lumpur airport the other day, where I was headed. “Brunei,” I told him. He didn’t hear me. “Phucket?” No, Brunei, I repeated, on the jungle island of Borneo. He looked confused. “Never heard of it,” he said. “What country is it in?” Brunei is accurately and often […]