Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home





The Sultan of

M-U-L-T-I- B-I-L-L-I-O-N-P-O-U-N-D car collection

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzadin Waddulah, The Sultan and Yang Di- Pertuan Darussalam has been listen as the richest man in the world for more than anyone can remember. \he Sultan of Br}nei pockets half the states oil profit for himself and hi{ family and some analysts say amounts to three quarter of a billion pounds every year. Its no surprise that someone with this sort of an income would be a profligate spenders. But, still no one could be prepared for the sights that await the of his M-U-L-T-I- B-I-L-L-I-O-N-P-O-U-N-D collection stashed away in the four huge garages.Rumor has it the Sultan of Brunei (known as the richest man in the world) ordered 125 Gold sets of Leica Cameras with Lenses. Each set is meant as a gift to peoplm fortunate enough to be distinguished guests at the Sultan's palace. On your last day before you leave the palace, the Sultan has the special Leica gift set placed at your nightstand with a special note indicicating it is a gift from the Sultan of Brunei

Believe it or not, this SULTAN of insanity has more than 5000 vehicles to his collection and all logged on to the central computer system based in the workshop administration based on the centre of the site. It can take an hour and a half just to take one car out that that gigantic garage if the car is parked around the middle of the garage. The Sultan bought more than 40 Rolls-Royce a year for 18 years, mainly for the use of government runabouts.The usual order would be six different examples of each car supplied in different colors. Aston Martin is believed to have supplied the Sultan with more than 350 cars, out of which many had been customised to his taste, in 15 years time.

The Bruneian royals have also spent heavily with Italian coach builders Pininfarina which, as well as rebodying Aston Martins, has also produced many unique Ferraris. Convertible coupe and saloon versions of the {tandard 456 Ferzari , have been produced in limited numbers. Pininfarina has also made atleast six Ferarri FX models for the Sultan. The family also owns two fully operational Ferrari Mythos road cars- the Mythos was supposed to be one off show concept.

The family of autos owns approximately 400 Mercedeses, more than 250 Bentleys. some 120 Porches and I believe I should not go any further.

The Bruneian Auto Empire is by far the largest collection of cars by a single family. Most car shows held every year around the globe does not have as many cars as the Sultan posses personally.

The crown prince has also donated 31 Rolls Royces on the occasion of Dubai Shopping Festival.

Finally, before I conclude, I must state that all the garages of Sultan of Brunei amounts to 10 years of Bangladeshi Budget, which is approximately 34 Billion dollars.

By Tashkin Rahman

Zombies-dead men walking

Zombies yet another of those icons of fear and brutality. Depicted as the living dead, people brought back from the grave and determined to send others to the grave, zombies are probably the most famous of evil spirits; second only to vampires. More often than not, zombies are presented as clumsy creatures with poor co-ordination and yet terriblm temper and super-human strength. In essence, zombies are dead people who have been given back life force by some means or the other. However, all they have is the ability to move around, without any memories of a life or any form of conscious experience. More often than not, these creatures of the dark are controlled by the individual who is responsible for their resurrection. There are several legends about zombies, most of them originated in Haiti, and while not as popular in Hollywood as vampires and witches, zombies have had their share of movies. According to these legends and movies, there are different types of zombies, some of which are described here.

Toxic zombies people brought back from the dead due to the effect of radiation or that of some sort of chemicals. More often than not, the government or some lunatic scientist has something to do with the birth of these zombies.

Demon zombies resurrected by black magic, turning into evil spirits that can only obey orders given by the individual who has brought them back. In about the same category comes the voodoo zombies, the type most talked about in the ancient legends of Haiti. These are dead people called back into our world by the voodoo master, also known as the “bokor”. There are several stories about evil bokors and their experiments with zombies in Haiti, one of which I will relate in this article.

Unsettled zombies these are people who have returned to the world of their own accord, because of some unfinished business, most often due to love or to extract revenge.

Alien zombies brought back by aliens, usually to help them take over the earth.

Techno zombies resurrected by modern technology, such as implanting a computer chip in the brain. I wonder if the soldiers in the Universal Soldier movies fall into this category. While at the topic of techno zombies, it is also worth mentioning zombies brought back to life by electric shock of some sort.

That was all about the types of zombies. Now let us go into some details about the myth about zombies. The legend of the living dead has its origin, as I already mentioned, in Haiti. There are several stories about groups of people appearing as if out of the blue. One such story goes something like this: an elderly fellow, the medicine man of the village, brought a large group of people to this wealthy white farmer who was looking for some extra help during the reaping season. Desperate for some more workers and in reasonable terms with the medicine man, the white man hired the entire group then and there. There were a few conditions se| by the medicine man: the payment for the entire group would ha~e to be given to him, and their food will be prepared by the medicine man's family, since they had some problem with the local food.

After the first week of work, the farmer was surprised. The mysterious group worked the hardest, in the most excruciating of weathers, and made do each day with a bowl of rice sans any salt. All their wage money went to the medicine man, and it did not look like they cared about it in the least. All of this was weird to the farmer. Little did he know how weird things actually were.

At the end of the season, the most successful one ever for the farmer, he decided to give all his hired hands a bonu{, especially the ones who had worked the hardest the quite group brought by the medicine man. As bonus, the farmer got them some salted biscuits imported from his homeland. Then, at their first bite of the biscuits, the whole group seemed to be affected by mass hysteria. Their was crying and moaning, and eventually the group sprinted towards the other end of the village |o the village graveyard. It was soon revealed that these men were in fact zombies resurrected by the medicine man. The story reveals another legend about zombies although they have no memories of a life and can do nothing but obey orders, the first taste of salt reminds them of who they are and where they belong, thus prompting them to go back to their graves.

How do we treat this story? Are there really people like the medicine man, with powers to bring back the dead? Do people really come back from the dead to serve the one who has resurrected them? At least as far as this story is concerned, ,modezn scientists do have an explana|ion. It is said that the ancien| “doctors”of Haiti were experts in the matter of some toxins that modern science is yet to learn of. There are stories of a particular type of poison, obtained from the intestine of a rather common Haitian fish, that when given to an individual stops his heart for a certain amount of time depending on the dosage.

Later, when the victim has finally come around, another effect of the toxin becomes evident. The toxin causes amnesia. So, these unfortunate people are not dead, but neither are they alive in a true sense. First, they are buried after their hearts stop. After a few days, the medicine man has a “dream”and the grave is dug up, only to find that the individual is moving around like any other living being but has no memories of who he is or what happened to him over the last few days. You cannot blame the mostly uneducated people of those days for thinking they were dealing with some sort of evil spirit back from the other side |o snatch their souls.

But in reality, maybe these zombies were nothing more than helpless ~ictims of pernicious experiments, with no memories of the life that they have left behind and no promise whatsoever of a future. No matter how |hey are depicted in movies of recent times, maybe they were not the villains but the unsuspecting subjects of the experiments of an evil scientist. It is just one of those mys|eries that will never be solved: evil spirits or poor victims?

By Mohammad Hammad Ali

Book review

Someone like you

Not all love stories end with happy endings, and fairy tales don't exist in real life. 'Someone Like You' by Cathy Kelly portrays just this. It's an insightful novel that allows us a glimpse into the lives of three very down- to- earth and realistic women: Emma, Leonie and Hannah. Each of them have a dinferent story to tell. They meet at a holiday cruise through Egypt. Despite being very different from each other, both in looks and in their personalities, they develop an immediate rapport with one another. An interesting beginning to an enduring friendship.

We get introduced to Hannah: smart, worldly, attractive and sexy, with a prestigious job and a boyfriend (Harry) she loves. She has the world in her palms, every woman's envy. Until her world turns upside down. Overnight Harry leaves her, and Hannah is heartbroken.

Throwing herself into the job, mind, body and soul, Hannah is determined that she'll never fall for another man again. Until she meets Felix. A handsome actor, he seems like the man of her dreams. Hannah is acutely aware of the increasing extent of her feelings, as her broken heart starts to mend. But suave Felix isn't what he seems…

Emma is another one with a wonderful life. She is just-married, with an adoring husband and a job she loves, doing charity work. However there's one hitch. Her family life is far from being perfect. Being stuck under the control of her domineering father, Emma does everything to appease him. Yet, he constantly ends up finding faults in everything she does.

Emma is miserable and the final bomb drops when she discovers that the much awaitel child that she is wishing for might never make an appearance in her life after all.

Until an expected twist of fate brings everything }nder control…

For Leonie, divorced mother of three children, life is a constant challenge. Living alone, she struggles to make ends meet, especially since her job, as a vet, doesn't pay much. Determined to stick with her job, because of her love for animals, Leonie watches insecurely as her ex- husband marries again, and lives blissfully. Determined to remin happy as well and make something of her life, Leonie strikes out to find the true love that was missing from her ex ten-year-old marriage. She meets Doug, and he seems like the ideal partner she was looking for.

Life seems like a bed of roses, till suddenly Leonie discovers that her 14-year-old daughter has hidden laxatives that she consumes by the dozen, and is suffering from chronic bulimia… Pick this up, and you won't want to put this down. Now until you have finished it anyways! Cathy Kelly's style has you captivated, and you'll return to read this book, over and over again!

By Jennifer Ashraf


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2005 The Daily Star