Heading the patriotic spirit

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam’s National Day celebration this year has been more extraordinary for Pengiran Dr Md Nadzir bin Pengiran Mohd Juanda, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Gleneagles Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) after he was selected as leader of the oath readers for the 37th National Day Grand Assembly and Parade ceremony at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien yesterday.

Pengiran Dr Md Nadzir led a group of 37 oath readers to recite the National Day oath before 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 and members of the royal family as well as the nation.

Pengiran Dr Md Nadzir expressed his excitement upon learning that he had been selected to lead the oath taking.

“I was shocked to find out I had been selected to represent the Ministry of Health (MoH) as one of the oath takers this year. I was performing a surgery when I was informed,” he said. “I never expected to become an oath taker at the National Day. I always thought only certain people working at the government sector would be selected. I am truly grateful and honoured to be selected as the lead in the oath taking at this year’s National Day.”

Sharing his preparation for the occasion, he said, “This year is very unique. Our coaches told us in previous years, training usually started two months prior to National Day. This year, we were called for the audition in December, while myself and others in January.

Pengiran Dr Md Nadzir bin Pengiran Mohd Juanda leads the National Day oath. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“We found out we were selected at the end of January. Our training was brief and intense. We had rehearsals almost every day, from morning to the afternoon. Our rehearsals included vocal training and marching.

“We got along well, despite coming from different backgrounds and professions. Being in a busy and demanding profession, I had to juggle between work and training. I found that challenging but it was something I enjoyed and looked forward to as a National Day participant.”

The surgeon also feels that this year’s celebration was unique and special in light of the health crisis.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, in Brunei Darussalam we are very blessed that we can celebrate this auspicious day. Regardless of the scale of the celebration, for citizens and residents of Brunei, it is a day we commemorate our independence and success as a peaceful and prosperous nation.”

As a frontliner, he said, “We have a very important role to play in terms of curbing this pandemic in our country. Not only do we need to attend to patients with the coronavirus, we also play a critical role to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in line with MoH’s standard operating procedures.”

Sharing a message for this year’s National Day celebration, he said, “I pray that Allah the Almighty continues to bless and protect us from COVID-19 and other communal diseases. We must be thankful and grateful that we can still celebrate our National Day this year.

“We must stay vigilant when it comes to our obligations to keeping the pandemic at bay in Brunei. It is not one person’s responsibility, but rather a community’s in complying with rules and regulations set by the government as we continue to combat COVID-19,” he said.