Brunei’s beauty through envoys lenses

James Kon

The exhibition ‘Brunei Darussalam from the Eyes of Foreign Diplomats and their Families’, the first of its kind, was launched by 19 foreign diplomatic missions at the Royal Regalia Museum in the capital yesterday.

Organised by the Diplomatic Corps in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), it features 109 photographs of beautiful sceneries and special moments captured by the foreign diplomats through their phones and cameras.

The exhibition is also an appreciation of the notable developments in bilateral relations between Brunei and the diplomatic missions as well as gratitude to the government and the locals for the hospitality.

Open to the public until December 26, it will be on tour for 10 days in each district starting with Brunei-Muara, Kuala Belait Museum on December 29, BIBD Heritage Temburong Branch on January 9, 2021 and the Tutong Tourist Information Centre on January 23, 2021.

The Diplomatic Corps Dean and Sultanate of Oman Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashel Al-Maskari stated, “The idea came about in 2018, and its calibre made us realise it required combined efforts from many partners.

“Thus, MCYS and BIBD became our partners, playing a vital role to ensure the event will take place.”

The exhibition showcases a total of 109 photographs of various themes that were contributed by 19 foreign diplomatic missions in Brunei Darussalam. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR
ABOVE & BELOW: Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko and his spouse; and Diplomatic Corps Dean and Sultanate of Oman Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashel Al-Maskari speaks at the opening ceremony. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

ABOVE & BELOW: Ambassador of the French Republic to Brunei Darussalam Christian Ramage; and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Brunei Darussalam Wanthanee Viputwongsakul; and Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Tiffany McDonald

Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Tiffany McDonald explained her photo selections.

“I wanted to capture the beauty of Brunei and its connection to Australia,” she shared.

“We also tried to capture some of its culture, food and beautiful sceneries. The pictures are not just of our time staying here but also the connection between our two countries.”

She said,”I am proud to be part of this. It’s the culmination of many years of work by several high commissioners and ambassadors.

“It’s a great demonstration of how much the diplomatic community enjoys their time in Brunei. It also gave us an opportunity to give back to the community.”

Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko said, “This is a good opportunity for us to exhibit how we see Brunei. I have been here for more than two years, and I admire the natural beauty of the country.”

“I took pictures of the flowers in Rimba Garden and the sunset at The Empire Brunei. We are not professional photographers so we made use of our mobile devices.”

He felt the exhibition is a good initiative, and thanked BIBD for sponsoring the printing of the pictures as well as MCYS for allowing Royal Regalia Museum to be its venue.

Thai Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Wanthanee Viputwongsakul highlighted, “Brunei is a peaceful country and has many pristine forests.

“Its people and animals coexist in harmony, hence most of my pictures were on the animals and beautiful nature. I am very impressed with Brunei’s nature preservation.”

She said, “It’s quite impressive seeing how foreign diplomats look at the country in their own views. It’s a good chance for us to look at our colleagues’ pictures too.”

French Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Christian Ramage displayed a collage of the construction of Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge and the scenery from the country’s hiking trails. “I want to show its work in progress. Everyone knows the bridge has been completed but there were significant milestones from the first platform installed. It is important for Bruneians to see before and after. I also took pictures of the bridge in different colours as well as during sunrise.” The ambassador also wanted to show that Brunei is a wonderful place for hikers.

“For some of the pictures taken, you need to hike 40 minutes to one hour to reach the areas. I hike two to three times a week. Each diplomat has their own approach. I am very lucky as I stay in a strategic location and was able to capture pictures of the bridge,” he added.