Combatting COVID-19 outbreak with ‘Kampong Spirit’

“Let’s join hands, carry forward the tradition of mutual support and solidarity for thousands of years, and jointly play the Kampong Spirit in the new era until we win the final victory of this war against epidemic,” said Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong in a message yesterday.

The message, “Most places in Brunei are named with the word Kampong at the beginning. The Kampong Spirit is a traditional social governance model which is highly valued and long extended by the Bruneian society. It embodies the spirit of sharing weal and woe among neighbours.

“As the current epidemic COVID-19 is sweeping the world, Brunei and China are in the same boat suffering from the attack of the epidemic. In the face of the war with no border and smoke, let’s join hands, carry forward the tradition of mutual support and solidarity for thousands of years, and jointly play the Kampong Spirit in the new era until we win the final victory of this war against epidemic.

“Kampong Spirit should be carried forward among countries. China and Brunei are good neighbours across the sea, and their friendship is tested by history and time. Confronting the COVID-19 epidemic that is spreading across the world, the two countries carry forward the Kampong Spirit, which is characterised by bermucang-mucang (help each other).

“We will never forget, at the time when China was in a critical period combatting the epidemic, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam sent letters to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, spoke highly of the strong measures taken by the Chinese government on behalf of the Brunei government and people, supported the great efforts made by the Chinese government and people.

File photo of Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI

“At a time when Brunei is affected by the virus, at a time when China is trying to stabilise the situation and control the risk of imported cases, Brunei government donated USD500,000 to the Hubei Charity Federation.

“Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote encouraging words to the Chinese people, especially Wuhan people at the Chinese New Year open house, together with several Cabinet Ministers.

“We will never forget the touching words and action from Bruneian friends which give us strength during the hard time.

“The Chinese Embassy in Brunei Darussalam has been keeping close communication with the Ministry of Health of Brunei on the current situation, providing Brunei the Clinical Protocols for the Diagnosis and Treatment and COVID-19 Prevention and Control Protocol, and shared the anti-epidemic experience.

“Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with Brunei’s Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof on the phone on March 24.

“He thanked Brunei for supporting China and emphasised that China and ASEAN member countries have the tradition to help and support each other at a time of difficulty. China would like to hold another medical video conference with ASEAN member countries. Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan thanked China for its willingness to help and support Brunei in the fight against COVID-19.

“The corporate and community have been practising the Kampong Spirit. Facing the epidemic, the corporate and community are incumbent to unite and cooperate in an organised and efficient manner.

“The Chinese community in Brunei, such as the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei-China One Belt One Road Association, Fu Zhou Shiyyi Association in Brunei and “TO” Kong China, have called on members for donations to China. The Brunei Association of Travel Agents recorded video clips at its annual conference to encourage China.

“As part of the Kampong, the Chinese companies in Brunei have spared no efforts to contribute to the safety, health and development of Kampong.

“Zhejiang Hengyi Group Co Ltd announced a donation of medical supplies and medical equipment worth USD1 million to the Bruneian government. The Chinese company BGI supplied testing kits to the Brunei Government at the beginning of the outbreak in January. It is also engaging in setting up a virology laboratory after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Brunei.

“The lab is known as a Bruneian version of FireEye Laboratory, which will highly increase the testing capability. Mammoth Foundation from Shenzhen, China donated a batch of testing kits to Brunei.

“The Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd announced that all port charges will be waived for the importation of medical supplies and equipment and made a donation of BND50,000.

“Chinese company Yidu Cloud is helping Brunei to set up a major data platform for epidemic prevention and control.

“Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, three Chinese Internet companies have taken technical advantages to establish online medical consulting platforms to serve the overseas Chinese and those who need help from other countries.

“People call for the Kampong Spirit. It is a virtue the Chinese people uphold that “the grace of dripping water should be reciprocated by a gushing spring”. Support and encouragement in crisis can inspire great strength.

“When China was at its difficult moment, some Bruneian friends who we had never met before came to the embassy to make donations, some sent gloves, and some even did not want to let their names known.

“Universiti Brunei Darussalam teachers and students and local Chinese schools wrote songs specially for China. A video by students from Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB has 690,000 views on China’s popular online short video platform Kuaishou.

“These actions are touching, which sent a strong signal that the two peoples care about and love each other. We have also seen that the Bruneian people voluntarily donate to frontline medical workers and leaders from local Chinese communities delivered supplies to the Brunei National Isolation Centre.

“The people in China are also concerned about the situation in Brunei and have contacted the Chinese Embassy from different parts of China to express their willingness to help. It is the small effort from each individual that build the friendship between the people of our two countries, which has stood the test of time and become a source of strength for us to jointly overcome the epidemic.

“The world needs the Kampong Spirit. The outbreak of the epidemic has made us realise more clearly that the world we live is a global village, countries around the world is a community of shared future. In the face of the epidemic, we need to carry forward this Kampong Spirit, unite and work together to fight against it.

“China is reaching out to the affected countries. The Chinese government has announced assistance to more than 80 countries, the World Health Organization and the African Union.

“The assistance include testing reagents, masks and protective gowns. We have taken the initiative to share China’s treatment experience with the rest of the world, held video conferences with health experts from many countries and international organisations, and sent medical teams to Iran, Iraq, Italy and Cambodia.

“Local governments in China have donated materials to cities in South Korea, Japan, Italy and other countries. Many Chinese enterprises and private institutions have started to donate to relevant countries.

“China will continue to follow the principles of openness, transparency and responsibility, demonstrate the responsibility of a major country. We will strengthen communication and cooperation with Brunei and other countries and provide assistance within our capacity to jointly combat the epidemic.”