Proud participants

Danial Norjidi

Members of various youth organisations in the country were among those participating in the 37th National Day celebrations at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien yesterday.

Young Entrepreneurs Association Brunei (YEAB) President and Young Professionals Network Brunei (YPN BN) Co-Founder Nurliyana Fatin binti Arifin was one of the participants.

YEAB is a leading association for young entrepreneurs representing young Bruneians in various stages of business, while YPN BN is a network set up as a platform to nurture growth of young professionals in the country.

“I think the pandemic has shown us how we as a country can overcome one of the biggest challenges to us and the global community,” said Fatin.

“We are managing and overcoming this pandemic really well thanks to a strong government, cooperative society and businesses with the whole-of-nation approach in the centre. Therefore achieving Vision 2035 is not insurmountable when we all work together in all seriousness with ambition and equipped with the right skills. The Economic Blueprint has revealed to us that we have a lot to do and that our country needs us to drive our national development.”

Youth performing during the national day celebration yesterday. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Mohammad Ajrul bin Haji Mail, Sarah binti Haji Abdul Mutalif, Nurliyana Fatin binti Arifin, Awangku Muhammad Rafie Adi Hariz bin Pengiran Nasir and Abdul Azim bin Haji Zulkifli. PHOTO: DANIAL NORJIDI

Nurliyana Fatin highlighted that celebrating National Day amidst a global pandemic is truly a moment of reflection as many countries are still grappling to bring COVID-19 under control.

“So it is an amazing accomplishment for Brunei to be able to host the National Day celebration like we are doing today,” she affirmed.

“National day for me personally it is a reminder of what it means to be a citizen and how privileged I am to live in a peaceful, prosperous and unique nation of Brunei. So celebrating together with other youth, friends and colleagues is truly a joyful and beautiful day.”

Another to speak with the Borneo Bulletin was Secretary General Sarah binti Haji Abdul Mutalif of Persatuan Kemajuan Insan (KESAN), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed towards nurturing youth to become leaders who are berakhlak mulia.

Sharing her thoughts on the significance of this year’s National Day celebration, Sarah said, “It dawned on me that last year’s National Day celebration was just right before the pandemic hit. Therefore this year’s celebration is significant because for the first time ever, the number of citizens participating is scaled down to comply with COVID-19 requirements, but the fact remains that we are still celebrating.

“For me it’s a representation of our country’s successful measure in curbing the pandemic by the direction of the Ministry of Health. It hits differently during practice sessions to see the smaller number of participants, however listening to the National Day oath reverberating, I am reminded of our pride as Bruneians – that we are all connected through our prayers for a safe and thriving country under the guidance of a caring leader. This will be a celebration that will remain in our memories.”

Speaking on Vision 2035, she said she believes the country is moving in the right direction.

“Changing the mindset took time and I believe it still is. However slowly we are seeing the product of the Vision 2035 mindset. Strategies are changing, the voices of the people are being heard only for the current way of working to be transformed for the betterment of the people.

“As an individual, I would like to see the current progress with our 37 National KPIs, as numbers do drive actions. Since the citizens of Brunei are highly involved in social media, I see room for communication about Vision 2035 to be widespread via social media.

“For myself, being involved in a leadership NGO, we are committed to play our part in youth development because we see the youth as the drivers for the success of Vision 2035.”

Asked what it means to her personally to be able to participate in the National Day celebrations, she shared, “I remember joining the National Day celebration twice, the first one for field performance in 2008 and the second one for the parade in 2010.”

She added that when she joined the National Day celebration in 2019, “Watching people of all ages participating in the parade, listening to the heartfelt National Day oath and resounding call of Allahu Akbar, and watching the performers who trained and performed relentlessly for National Day under the heat, it renewed my spirit for the nation.”

“I want to be able to give something back to my beloved country. I am aware that I can do so via other means too. However, a day like National Day comes only once a year, and for me being able to be physically present and a part of it becomes an expression of love for the country, the King and the people.”

She expressed her hope to be part of the National Day celebration every year.

Secretary General Mohammad Ajrul bin Haji Mail for Brunei Youth Council (BYC), a national body for youth organisations in Brunei, highlighted that National Day is celebrated every year to show solidarity and unity.

“Although we are currently in a pandemic, and because we are able to contain it, we should still celebrate the National Day to show our gratitude to the frontliners and active volunteers while remembering the independence day of this nation,” he said.

He described the country moving towards achieving Vision 2035 as “a move that we need to take in order to stay competitive with other ASEAN member countries”.

“Through the National Youth Strategy and Policy (DBNS) laid out by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, youth as a whole-of-nation approach could together realise that vision, because youth are the agents of change.”

On what it means to him personally to be able to participate in the National Day celebration this year, he shared, “Being part of this year’s National Day is special. Alhamdulillah, through our dedicated efforts in combating the pandemic, we are able to still celebrate this special day. Although it may not be as big as the previous years, the essence and patriotic energy can still be seen.”

Meanwhile, Awangku Muhammad Rafie Adi Hariz bin Pengiran Nasir from Lumut Mosque Youth Group and the BYC underlined the importance of following the guidelines and instructions of the Ministry of Health.

In terms of achieving Vision 2035, he highlighted increasing activities in the country to encourage youth to be active in together contributing towards the nation’s success.

On the personal significance of participating in the National Day celebration, he said, “For me it is important because we can be role models youth in the future to take part in the National Day and encourage their interest.”

He added that being able to participate in the celebrations is a great opportunity.

Another to comment was Abdul Azim bin Haji Zulkifli from Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT), an NGO with the mission of being a catalyst for sustainable poverty alleviation in Brunei Darussalam.

“The response of our government and all the relevant agencies involved in handling the pandemic as well as the efforts of the entire country in working together to combat COVID-19 have truly made history,” said Azim.

“I believe that there is nothing more patriotic than uniting together to fight against a common cause, which in this case was managing the outbreak in our country. This event also showcases our ability to adapt to changes that are far from our expectations.”

With regards to Vision 2035, he highlighted the importance of a whole-of-nation approach.

“Everyone has a role and if we all commit to these responsibilities and work together in unity. Just like how we managed the outbreak, I’m sure we can also achieve our vision.”

On participating in yesterday’s celebration, he said, “It is a nostalgic experience that reminds me of my youth and feeling what I felt in the past is one of the things I want to achieve.”