Lest We Forget


Compiled by Chan Chee Khiong

Two school children killed in tragic accident

Aziz Idris & Syafiq Affendy

SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 – Two close friends, both six, died yesterday in tragic circumstances plunging their families in utter grief in the midst of Hari Raya celebrations in the country.

The two primary school students from Mabohai Primary School were crushed to death as one of the teachers of the school reversed her vehicle and pinned the two victims to the wall during recess at around 10am.

Even in death, the two Nurulfatin Nabillah binti Zamain and Nabilah Farhana binti Haji Abdul Rahim – were inseparable as eyewitnesses described them collapsed while holding their hands together. One of them reportedly died on the spot while the other succumbed to her injuries at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital.

The 40-year-old local woman teacher will be charged under a road traffic act but has not been detained, the police said.

The Minister of Education Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, along with the Permanent Secretary (Core Education) at the Ministry of Education and officers from the ministry participated in mass prayers to pay their final respects to the deceased at the residences of both families in Kampong Katok and Kampong Rimba.

Mother of Nurulfatin Nabillah grieving over the body of her daughter. PHOTO: SYAFIQ AFFENDY

The minister said that everyone is saddened by the incident, and extended his deepest condolences to both families.

He also spoke on behalf of the teacher who reversed her vehicle into the students, saying the incident was not intentional.

“Only Allah the Almighty knows the truth and all we can do is pray that both of them will rest in peace,” he said after the prayers at the residence of the late Nurulfatin Nabillah.

According to an eyewitness who spoke to the police, the two girls were on their way back to class from the canteen through a pathway on the side of the school building, which all the students take to go to the canteen when suddenly the teacher who reversed the vehicle called for help.

“That was when we realised what had happened,” the eyewitness added.

“Looking at both the victims, they seemed to have suffered serious injuries most probably to their head and body area,” said the eyewitness.

The scene of the incident showed pool of blood close to the wall where the two victims were crushed by the reversing SUV. A broken vase and fragments of broken taillight were also seen.

The police received a call at 10.35am, and both victims were rushed to RIPAS Hospital by ambulance.

Nurulfatin Nabillah’s sixth birthday would have been today (September 7). Her class teacher, Hajah Hamidah binti Haji Awang Basar, was already planning a birthday celebration with her classmates in the classroom.

According to her mother, Masnoyah binti Haji Samsudin, she noticed an odd request from Nurulfatin who asked for one dollar from her mother which was part of the collection for her birthday celebration in school.

“I gave her the money, along with some packets of rice yesterday. She usually would only bring water with her to school,” she said.

Her class teacher Hajah Hamidah said Nurulfatin was a bright student who was always active and took part in class activities.

Meanwhile, according to the sister of Nabilah Farhana, they shared a special bond at home.

“We are siblings, but we are friends with each other as well, especially with our mother,” she said.

Nabilah Farhana was the youngest of 11 siblings, and had always been the most playful amongst all. Enrolled into the school earlier this year, her father used to send her to school every day.

Just the previous night before the incident, the family had organised a Hari Raya open house for family and friends. Nabilah Farhana’s sister-in-law noted that she was her usual playful self and had even taken a lot of photos during the event.

The family of the late Nabilah Farhana was described as cheerful that always welcomes friends and neighbours to their house, said one of the neighbours.

Bruneians head to cyberspace for comfort after US attacks

Rosli Abidin Yahya

SEPTEMBER 14, 2001 – Bruneians, especially those working at the Brunei Embassy in Washington, are turning to the Internet for comfort as they communicate with their loved ones following Tuesday’s terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Many Bruneians in the United States (US) are living in of terrorist attacks.

Presently, there is no way out for them as airports are still closed. Hence, they log on to the Internet to express their longings to be with their loved ones and close relatives.

Even Royal Brunei Airlines cabin crews flying from Europe and the Middle East have expressed fears of retaliation as well as
terrorists attacks.

“We have to be suspicious of passengers because you never know one of them could be a hijacker,” said a flight stewardess who has just returned from Frankfurt.

“After the attack on the Pentagon, there seems to be no secure place on earth now,” said another cabin crew.

Meanwhile, thousands of users anxious for news or reassurance quickly switched to e-mail, mailing lists, web forums, online chat services and newsgroups (Usenet) for communication, after discovering land lines and cellphone networks in US were either saturated or not working.

Some users related their first-hand experiences there, while others recounted their anguish and uncertainty after the attacks.

“We’ve been phoning, e-mailing and ICQing to inform family and friends we are ‘OK’ and to account for everybody, especially those who work or live near the World Trade Center. I have a girlfriend who works on the 57th floor, we are still waiting for news on her,” posted a user on a chat website.

Some Bruneians have been glued for several days to their television, watching the news for new developments.

One deputy director of a government department reportedly came late to work for the last two days because he wanted to be updated on the tragedy.

“I wouldn’t want to miss a thing if the US decides to retaliate and get back at all the suspected terrorist sites,” he said.

A businessmen said that he was glued to the television and has not been able to have a good sleep for the last few days. “I don’t want to miss a thing. It’s either CNN or BBC for me for the last two days,”
he said.

And there are others who depend on the Internet for news as major news websites were swamped, and often inaccessible in the first few hours after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC.