| Danial Norjidi |
BRUNEI Darussalam bid farewell to the Nippon Maru – the 41st Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP) – in a special ceremony at Muara Port yesterday.
The proceedings began with an introduction to the Captain of Nippon Maru, participating contingents and their respective leaders. Each contingent performed synchronised shout-outs before proudly calling out the names of their respective countries and also ‘Terima Kasih Brunei’.
This was followed by a speech from a SSEAYP representative from Japan, who expressed his appreciation to Brunei, describing the Bruneian people as being very “friendly and hospitable”.
The guest of honour was Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Hamid bin Haji Mohd Jaafar, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, who in his speech said, “This year, we are once again honoured to host SSEAYP as one of the ports of call. This also marks Brunei Darussalam’s 30th participation in SSEAYP.
“Over the past 30 years, we have had nearly a thousand young people participating in this programme, some of whom have become senior members in the government and private sector,” he continued. “Equally important, I’m glad to know that many of them continue to remain active as leaders in youth and other volunteer associations.
“To the young participants from Asean member countries and Japan, I bid you farewell. Although it has only been a short stay for you in Brunei Darussalam, I hope the programme arranged for you, including the homestay, has successfully introduced you to our way of life,” he said. “I hope you have made friends in Brunei, and please do come back in the near future when you can.”
Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Hamid added, “As for Brunei’s participants, I am hoping to see a more cheerful, energetic and high-spirited version of you when you get back from your Nippon Maru trip to further contribute to our nation.”
The SSEAYP is an international youth exchange programme especially for youths from Asean and Japan, which is organised by the Japanese Government in cooperation with Asean member countries since 1974.
The programme is aimed at strengthening international cooperation and understanding amongst youths from Asean and Japan as well as to introduce and learn more about each participating country’s way of life, its socio-cultural situation, politics and economic development.
The Nippon Maru, which is carrying 320 youths from 11 countries, departed from Tokyo on November 7 and stopped in Brunei on November 13. Its next port of call will be Sihanoukville/Phnom Penh in Cambodia, followed by Yangon in Myanmar and Surabaya in Indonesia, before returning to Tokyo.
Also present was Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Mohammad, the Director of Youth and Sports who is also the chairman of the organising committee for the 41st SSEAYP, along with high commissioners and ambassadors from Asean member states as well as Japan and senior officers from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.