| Khal Baharulalam |
THE Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) has again successfully hosted its 5th English Course for Foreign Armed Forces, this year involving 30 participants from six armed forces across Asean nations.
The course, as part of continuous efforts by the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) to foster ties with foreign armed forces, officially came to a close yesterday during a ceremony held at the Evolution Centre, Training Institute (TI) of RBAF in Penanjong Garrison.
RBAF Commander Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih bin Abdullah was the guest of honour at the event.
This consecutive year, the English course saw a range of military participation from warrant officers to senior officers from The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, The Indonesian National Armed Forces, The Lao’ People’s Army, The Myanmar Armed Forces, The Royal Thai Armed Forces and The Vietnam People’s Army.
Since the inception of the English Course by the RBAF in 2010, the number of participating countries has increased, essentially moving towards realising the Asean Community 2015 goal.
To date, the course has successfully engaged six out of 10 Asean countries to come to the Sultanate to learn the English language – an increase from the two-country participation during the course’s inaugural commencement in 2010 – thus marking a significant achievement for the RBAF.
With the main purpose of the English course being set to instil confidence and improve the ability, skills and proficiency of the course participants in utilising the English language as a communication tool, evidence showed at the closing ceremony that participants had gained what they had come for to learn.
At the ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Asep Nurdin of The Indonesian National Armed Forces, on behalf of all participants, expressed his appreciation to the RBAF, particularly the TI for having given them the opportunity to study English in Brunei.
He underscored that the course did not stop at just academic achievements but also serves as a platform to share cultures amongst people of Asean, ultimately bridging the gap between Asean nations.
Following the Lieutenant Colonel Asep Nurdin’s speech, the ceremony resumed with the presentation of certificates by the guest of honour. This was followed by a presentation of awards to the top students in their respective categories. A presentation of mementos for each participating country was later carried out.
In concluding the ceremony, the RBAF Commander delivered his closing remarks where he shared the same sentiments as that of the objective of the English course, hoping to see continuous bilateral relations between Asean countries and partners – not just in matters pertaining to defence policy, but also in fostering closer friendships.
After officially declaring the conclusion of the ceremony, the RBAF Commander proceeded to a hi-tea reception to interact with course participants as well as other distinguished guests present.
Also in attendance were Commandant TI RBAF, ambassadors and defence attaché from participating countries, senior officers, teachers as well as instructors.