Remembering the late Prince

Hakim Hayat

A week since the passing of Al-Marhum His Royal Highness Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim, heartfelt tributes have still been pouring in from all over the world to remember Al-Marhum His Royal Highness, who touched the lives of many and was a source of inspiration as well.

One who worked closely with Al-Marhum His Royal Highness during her time as the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports was Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman fondly remembered Al-Marhum His Royal Highness as a keen advocate for the arts and creative industries, and for his work in championing several causes for the youth and people with different abilities.

The former deputy minister, who served from 2010-2015, said the passing away of Al-Marhum His Royal Highness is a loss to the country. “Brunei lost a caring and gentle soul,” she said.

She remembers Al-Marhum His Royal Highness for his relentless work in pushing the youth and creative industry issues to the forefront in the national agenda.

Datin Paduka Hajah Adina also recalled Al-Marhum His Royal Highness’ tireless efforts in supporting people with different abilities by championing the cause of giving them more opportunities and respect, as well as causes to support children diagnosed with cancer, welfare home children, empowering women and in strengthening family institutions.

Datin Paduka Hajah Adina said she remembers Al-Marhum His Royal Highness for his kindness and compassion to other people. “Al-Marhum His Royal Highness was very intelligent and had the ability to see the big picture in things, by seeing them as a whole and not in their specific and parochial settings,” she said.

File photo shows Al-Marhum His Royal Highness Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen

She also said Al-Marhum His Royal Highness believed in making small but significant gestures to those in need, which she said inspired many, also adding that as a person who was keen of the arts and creative industry, he supported and attended many local productions, and even gave his advice on ways to improve through official meetings. “The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) was fortunate to have Al-Marhum His Royal Highness spend a lot of time with it,” she said.

During her stint as the deputy minister, she also recalled Al-Marhum His Royal Highness’ enthusiasm in participating in youth dialogue sessions organised by the MCYS.

“Al-Marhum His Royal Highness would emphasise the need to listen to what the youth had to say and not to talk down at them. He always believed that everybody had their own strengths and that they need to find them and build on them.”

Datin Paduka Hajah Adina also said during the dialogue sessions, Al-Marhum His Royal Highness gave this advice – “Not everyone can excel in academics but that did not mean that they were failures. Hence we need to help nurture their creativity.”

At one youth dialogue session to commemorate National Family Day, Al-Marhum His Royal Highness suggested that people spend more quality time with their families and refrain from using mobile phones on National Family Day, which he said was one of the ways for making family bonds strong. He said in this digital age, spending time with family members like having dinner together will go a long way in strengthening the family institution.

Al-Marhum His Royal Highness also encouraged attendees of the dialogue session to write cards to family members to express their love and appreciation towards each other.

“That is the first step. If you are close (to your family), join in the fun and enjoy each other’s company. Take the step and first initiative,” Al-Marhum His Royal Highness said during the session on February 9, 2012 at the Youth Centre in the capital.

She also recalled Al-Marhum His Royal Highness’ visits to centres for the less fortunate children such as welfare centres, where she said he visited them to offer hope and encouragement. “Al-Marhum His Royal Highness never failed to encourage them to pursue their dreams and to work on their strengths and abilities.”