Lest We Forget


Compiled by Faruq Bostaman

Safety of Brunei

FEBRUARY 13, 1960 – The Earl of Selkirk, Britain’s new Commissioner-General in Southeast Asia, said that the people of Brunei could be sure that the United Kingdom and its government had a sense of obligation to see that the future of the state was prosperous and, above all, safe.

The UK Commissioner-General was speaking over Radio Brunei to the people of Brunei through a tape-recording made shortly before he and the Countess of Selkirk left by air for Singapore after a four-day visit.

He said that, as far as it lay in the power of Britain, it was the desire of the British people and government to see Brunei achieve prosperity and it was Britain’s duty to see that Brunei’s safety was never threatened.

The Earl of Selkirk referred the similarity between the people of Brunei and the people of Britain in the possession of a tradition of the sea. Both were seafaring people and, like all seafaring people, they had a great sense of having common interests. He believed that this link existed between the people of Brunei and of Britain.

The UK Commissioner-General said that he had been delighted to have had the honour of being present to His Highness the Sultan shortly after he and the Countess had arrived in Brunei.

“It was clear to me,” said the Earl of Selkirk, “that he took the deepest interest in the welfare and future development of the people in this state.”

Dealing with “unforgettable memories” of his visit to Brunei, the Commissioner-General said that the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Brunei Town was one of the most imaginative achievements of modern art in the whole world.

The people of Brunei, he added, had a sense of happiness and dignity. It was a great quality of which the people of Brunei had reason to be proud.

The Brunei Shell Petroleum Co, Ltd Trades School in Seria he described as an institution that was providing opportunities for the young people of Borneo as good as those they could get in the advanced industrial nations. The Trades School said the Earl, was well-equipped and of a remarkable high standard. He had seen technical schools in a good many places (including the Royal Navy and elsewhere) and he quite sincerely felt that the opportunities provided by the oil company’s school for the Borneo people were as good as any.

The Earl of Selkirk, Britain’s new Commissioner-General in Southeast Asia, pays his respects to His Highness the Sultan shortly after his arrival in the state with the Countest of Selkirk. Also seen was the United Kingdom’s High Commissioner in Brunei D C White

Honour for Brunei Boy

FEBRUARY 13, 1960 – A young Brunei Malay, Awangku Shariffudin bin Pengiran Metali, has earned the rare distinction of being the first Southeast Asian to take the diploma course of the Museums Association without preliminary examination or university entry.

Awangku Shariffudin, who was attached to the Sarawak Museum as a trainee for three years, has just left here for Brunei for a period of leave prior to undertaking a three-year course in the United Kingdom and the United States.

A graduate of the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien College in Brunei Town, Awangku Shariffudin was especially selected by the Brunei Government to be the country’s first museum-trainee.

Since joining the staff of the Sarawak Museum, he has had considerable practical experience, both indoors and also as an active participant in many outdoor activities such as collecting trips and excavating at Niah, Santubong and Gunong Sirih.

The Curator of the Sarawak Museum, Tom Harrisson, just before Awangku Shariffuddin’s departure to Brunei, paid a warm tribute to his intelligence, industry and careful work, particularly mentioning his positive contribution to the Niah Caves excavations in the three seasons, 1957-1959.

Harrisson said, “We have grown very fond of Shariff here and shall miss his friendly manners and solid work.”

Through the Curator’s affiliations, Awangku Shariffudin was given special permission to take the diploma course without preliminary examination or university entry, and he will probably be attached to the British Museum in London and to the museums at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as to big provincial museums (probably Leicester or Bolton). He may also take specialist courses at the Institute of Archaeology, attached to London University.

The Brunei Government intends to start its own museum and related services shortly.

The Sarawak Museum has been making important collections on their behalf in recent years, including a very fine collection of ceramic art which is expected to be placed on display in Brunei before long.

Awangku Shariffudin of Brunei being seen off at Kuching airport by George Jamuh, Assistant Curator of the Sarawak Museum