Opening doors of opportunities

Lyna Mohammad

Aside from a healthy and strong physique, it is crucial to have an open mind to enrol in the National Service Programme (PKBN).

This was shared by Ummi Salmah binti Haji Mohammad Firdaus, an 18-year-old student from Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College (MSPSBS), a PKBN trainee who recently completed the 10th intake programme.

Ummi said that they learnt a lot in a short period and that it can be overwhelming. “Soon-to-be trainees need to prepare mentally and emotionally by strengthening their support system and understand the reason why they want to enrol in PKBN.

“We were trained to be disciplined to manage our time better and to be a team player at all times. I believe I have become efficient and critical in prioritising my tasks and more considerate towards others. PKBN has made me be a better version of myself, if not the best.”

Fellow trainee, Amir Fa’ez bin Abdul Khalid, a 20-year-old student from Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Business Campus said that he has learned how to be a good leader, which he believed will be useful in his future career.

Trainees of the 10th National Service Programme (PKBN) Intake participate in the passing out parade ceremony. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Ummi Salmah binti Haji Mohammad Firdaus. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

Asked on this year’s National Day theme ‘Realising the National Vision’, Amir Fa’ez said, “As a citizen, it is our responsibility to achieve the country’s vision”.

Speaking on PKBN, he believes that the programme will be advantageous in numerous areas, especially in national security, particularly during the pandemic, as they will be able to serve the nation as frontliners and volunteers.

Meanwhile, another trainee, an Accounting student at Laksamana College of Business Abdurra’uf bin Abdul Aziz, said, “My experience was short but valuable. Going through with the exercises and activities by PKBN, I learnt to be more disciplined, while becoming stronger mentally, and physically and emotionally.”

He added that the most challenging part was being apart from his family.

Abdurra’uf said that PKBN helps build the nation’s youth and shapes them to be ready for Brunei Vision 2035.

“Youth represent what the country will be in the future,” he said, noting that being an alumni helps the nation by motivating them to be leaders as well as teaching them how to be independent, while having the communication skills to work well with one another.

For Muhammad Raiyan Khalish bin Haji Hanafi Jufri, the programme is a process that helps to understand what is right and what is wrong, while at the same time helping to improve the quality of life and enabling the trainees to take on a leadership role in the community.

The 17-year-old student from Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School shared that he thought about enrolling three years ago when his brother joined PKBN. He used to visit his brother every weekend and noticed positive changes in him. Having witnessed their activities and listening to his brother’s feedback about the military training, he decided to follow suit.

He noted that this programme also teaches participants on basic everyday life skills from making the bed to polishing shoes, while developing patience and discipline. Most importantly, he said the programme prepares the youth mentally and physically for adulthood.

“To all youth, join PKBN where there are a lot of sweet memories and keepsakes to always be treasured!” he added.

NurIzzati Syahirah binti Haji Abdul Razak, a 17-year-old MSPSBS student said she learnt a lot during her training, as she has chosen armed forces as her future career. PKBN has taught her the basics of being an officer in terms of developing leadership skills, mental toughness and reaching their fitness standards. The training also covered army-based programmes such as drills and shooting, and at the same time taught her to become more efficient while maintaining quality work under pressure.

Working with other trainees has also been a priority in the programme where their communication skills came into focus.

Sharing her thoughts on the National Day theme, she said, “It is a good initiative to empower the youth to recognise the Brunei National Vision 2035 as well as a start for youth to work on bettering the community as well as upholding leadership positions to develop the nation.”

Asked about the advantage of PKBN to the nation, NurIzzati said, “PKBN opens doors of opportunities to the trainees in terms of future career. The programme also opens trainees’ mind to grab new opportunities to help the community.”

She added that the programme has motivated the trainees to be more proactive by participating in community services, as evident during the COVID-19 outbreak that drew 200 PKBN alumni to volunteer in the fight against the coronavirus.