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A grain of rice

April 9, 2008

What would our life be without rice? Rice is the staple food of Brunei as with other Asian countries. The soaring price of rice supply from countries like Thailand (being the major world rice producer) has made a great impact as most consumer countries began to feel the pinch.

And Brunei?  ‘No reason to worry’, according to a report from The Borneo Bulletin, quoting an officer from the IT and State Store. ‘The current stock for the nation’s needs is more than sufficient and that the price has not change.’ The price would remain constant whatever the market situation is as the Government subsidised the price.

While in Singapore last week, my local friend asked if Brunei was having problem with imported rice supply as Singaporeans were a bit nervous when they heard on the increase of price. I told her exactly what I knew, something like the above paragraph; the Brunei Government is subsiding the price so I don’t have to worry (for now). She commented that we Bruneians are so ever lucky. I said to myself, for how long, I don’t have an answer for that myself.

Reading today’s news on rice, I didn’t realise that there are three types of local rice being produced commercially. The Agriculture Department said that they could not ask consumers to buy local rice as most would prefer the imported Thai fragrant rice.

The Borneo Bulletin today reported that Brunei achieved only 983 metric tonnes (mt) or 3.2 per cent of self-sufficiency of rice production in 2007 compared to 895 mt the year before (up by 5.5 percent).  The Agriculture Department is targeting to increase rice production by 8 to 10 percent in the next five to ten years time.

I know my mom still eat local rice, known as Baras Brunei or Brunei rice. Personally, Baras Brunei is best taken with lauk rabus or fish soup (with turmeric which gives the soup its yellow colour) and local veggies such as kang kong or bayam. The Bruneians believed that rice is not just a food that fulfil your hunger. On rice beliefs, the elders believed that we must finish our meal to the last grain of rice if not, the rice would cry. I believe this in a way not because rice can cry but its more to our rezeki or wealth given by God and that, we shouldn’t waste our rezeki. (Now why wouldn’t our elders just make it straight to the point!) I wrote a post on this premises previously on wastage.

 

The petua or tip for continous rezeki, as taught by the elders is that, every time we want to cook rice, we must say our selawat or praises to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with a hope that we would continue to receive our rezeki, in health and wealth. Amin.

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