Giving back to the community: 25 years and more

Daniel Lim

While having already contributed to the nation during their prime, Brunei Darussalam’s elderly are not simply status symbols, as associations such as the Belait District Senior Citizens Association (PWE) have proven that there is still much the elderly can contribute to the community.

This was one of the many achievements celebrated by the association in a ceremony held to mark its silver jubilee or 25th anniversary earlier last week. Established in July 12, 1995, the association started with 25 members and has since grown in number to 126 senior citizens today.

One of the association’s members who was also the chairman of the celebration Haji David bin Haji Kassim explained that the association was established by senior citizens to help create avenues for them to continue to contribute back to the community.

This has led to the association’s history being packed rich with a variety of activities and events.

“Some of the activities conducted include Maulidur Rasul, charitable activities conducted during the fasting month as well as campaigns that bring about benefits to the communities.

Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin talking with a Belait District Senior Citizens Association member during the association’s 25th anniversary. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM

“It is important to have associations such as this as a platform to conduct activities and events as a means to not only continue to encourage senior citizens to contribute back, but also to bring about unity as the activities are meant to help drive the nation towards Brunei Vision 2035 in bringing together citizens both young and old.”

He also stressed the importance of the association’s vision and mission of ensuring that the experience, wisdom, and legacy gained by senior citizens over the years are passed down to the next generation.

“Despite our looks, we as senior citizens used to be youth, and time will always take its course, which is why it is important to continue to pass down the knowledge gained while continuing to adapt to the ever changing present and future.”

Similarly, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, the guest of honour to celebrate the occasion, also highlighted the 25 years of legacy for the association.

He also praised that, despite their age, the senior citizens are still going out of their way to find opportunities to give back to not only to other senior citizens but also the wider community; and as such this is also another aspect that should be appreciated and treasured.

“One of the visions of the association mentioned [by President of the Association Dr Haji Mohd Shah bin Haji Ahmad] is to encourage senior citizens to stand together to contribute, and we hope that this mindset will help to ensure that the association will continue to give back for the years to come.”

The minister also noted that the contribution will help spark a more creative outlook, and that along with the spirit of patriotism, the contributions made will help support the journey of Brunei Vision 2035.

“To that end, I am very excited to not only celebrate the momentous occasion for the association but also to find new opportunities to cooperate with not only the Belait District PWE, but also other associations and groups located across the nation, as senior citizens poses a great asset in terms of their wisdom and knowledge.”

With the Belait District Senior Citizens Association marking its 25th anniversary, the occasion serves as a reminder that senior citizens can still make contributions, and there are many more avenues for them to contribute back to the wider community, through activities that are less taxing for their age but are also equally as beneficial.