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    Lest We Forget


    Compiled by Zainul Akmal Zaini

    Ticket to higher studies now just a door away

    Malai Hassan Othman

    SEPTEMBER 30, 1989 – When Brunei’s first university opened its doors four years ago, it was a dream come true for some students.

    Their hopes of studying abroad had been dashed for a variety of reasons. Financial constraints forced some to stay at home, while others were faced with family problems.

    But with the establishment of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) in October 1985, their problems melted away and the opportunity was there for them to grab.

    Datin Hajah Gayah (pic below), wife of Dato Haji Abdul Razak bin Haji Mohd, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, was among those who were grateful for the new centre of learning.

    The industrious 43-year-old mother of two graduated with a First Class Bachelor Degree in Management and Business Studies at the first convocation ceremony last week.

    A dream come true: Universiti Brunei Darussalam graduate Datin Hajah Gayah.

    After four years of sacrifice, Datin Hajah Gayah has fulfilled her dreams, although she now plans to take a masters degree.

    Speaking from her home in Beribi, Datin Hajah Gayah said age had little to do with education. She realised this while she was in the United Kingdom (UK) with her husband who was studying for his own master’s degree.

    With plenty of spare time on her hands, she decided to go back to school.

    She once failed an ‘A’ level examination and dropped out of a nursing course when she realised it didn’t suit her. But after six determined months back in the classroom in the UK, Datin Hajah Gayah passed an ‘A’ level in economics and accounting.

    Her achievement boosted her spirits for furthering her education and it remains the cornerstone of her present educational aspirations.

    She said that being a housewife meant she could not go abroad to study after returning to Brunei. Like many other devoted wives, she decided to shelve her idea of continuing studies in Britain, even though several institutions offered her a place.

    “I did not like the idea of being separated from the family for so long,” she explained.

    “Especially when the children are so young… and anyway, what is the family for?”

    But her dreams of continuing her studies were never far from her mind, and after a spell as a National Bank of Brunei branch manager, and international officer in the Bank of America, she was accepted into UBD.But there were problems that needed to be overcome. She was already a busy committee member of several associations, treasurer of the women’s council and international officer of the Girl Guide Association.

    She also led a busy life as a wife of a senior Brunei Government Officer.

    But Datin Hajah Gayah revealed she “did not work hard but worked effectively” during her time at university. “I also had to reduce my social activities, especially accompanying my husband on official trips abroad,” she said.

    She admitted she was worried about her workload at first, but she was grateful to one lecturer who advised her that learning was not confined to the classroom or library.

    “From then on, when I had to attend functions, I would use the opportunity to learn while mingling with the crowd, exchanging views,” she explained. This particularly helped her studies in management, human relations and in research.

    Datin Hajah Gayah said she also gained valuable experiences among much younger students at UBD. “Not only did I feel much younger,” she joked, “but it gave me a broader understanding of the young.” Her only misgiving was that studying took away time with her family. “But I must thank them for their moral support and understanding,” she said.

    “I hope my achievement will be a challenge to my children and others.”

    Top gun Major Samid returns in blaze of glory

    SEPTEMBER 9, 1989 – Top gun Major Mohamad Samid bin Abdul Aziz forbade his wife from seeing him in action on the last day of the skeet competition in Kuala Lumpur.

    Hajah Rafiah Asfar, who had earlier flown into the Malaysian capital to witness the Sea Games shoot-out, obliged – for she knew her husband was under pressure. Call it a wife’s intuition, but she told the Bulletin she knew all along that Major Samid was going to win.

    And as it turned out, the Brunei sharpshooter did – collecting the Sultanate’s only gold medal through the individual skeet event.

    “His performance has been improving since the last Sea Games in Bangkok,” she beamed.

    Hajah Rafiah was on hand to receive the victorious marksman on his return with the rest of the Brunei contingent at the Brunei International Airport last week. A 30-member hadrah band from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces’ Boys Cadet lined the arrival hall to give the home contingent a rousing welcome.

    Among those at the welcoming ceremony were Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Dato Haji Hussein and Director of Welfare, Youth and Sports Pengiran Asmalee.

    Scene of Jubilation: Major Mohamad Samid bin Abdul Aziz meets his family on his return to Brunei at the Brunei International Airport, after grabbing the Sultanate’s only gold medal at the Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


    Village leaders told to stay in contact

    SEPTEMBER 9, 1989 – Village leaders in Brunei have been reminded to maintain close contact with their people and to listen to their problems. The call came from Home Affairs Minister Pehin Dato Haji Isa.

    He urged the leaders to hold more discussions with villagers, especially during gotong-royong (community) projects.

    Pehin Dato Haji Isa, who is also Special Advisor to 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, said this when he met with penghulus, village heads and leaders of longhouses in the Temburong District.

    He also told the village heads to continue co-operating and communicating with the District Officer, government officials and security forces. This contact should not be confined to just monthly meetings with the authorities, he said.

    The official also called on the leaders to keep a close watch on social problems such as drug abuse and vandalism, and to keep their people informed of government rules.

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