Special recognition for outstanding contribution

Danial Norjidi

Two participants of the 9th Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) Command and Staff Course (CSC) at the Defence Academy, RBAF received special recognition awards during a graduation ceremony yesterday.

One recipient was Major Dai Jing from the Singapore Army, who received two awards: The RBAF CSC Overall Excellence Award and the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Academic Excellence Award.

On receiving the two awards, she said, “Obviously, I feel really, really honoured. These awards were unexpected and I am glad to have done my country proud, but I think this course, everyone did really, really well and I think I was only able to do well because I was able to learn from everybody and it’s really the perspectives that everyone brings that allowed us all to succeed.”

Asked if what she gained from the course was worthwhile, she said, “Yes, absolutely, because the smaller course size compared to other countries meant that the instructors were able to focus on each of us individually a lot more, and once again, having a half international half local balance also meant that there were a lot more perspectives and we could get to know each perspective a lot better. I think the most important thing I gained is the ability to see things from a variety of perspectives.

“We were really lucky in that it was the most diverse course that CSC has had in years and just being able to see things from different points of view is going to be, I think, the most important thing in my journey in the military going forward.”

Asked what her most memorable experiences were, she said, “I think the best experiences we had were really all the social gatherings, because this course was really like a family. In many ways we were really very cohesive and we would always gather in each other’s houses.”

Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) Major General Pengiran Dato Paduka Seri Aminan bin Pengiran Haji Mahmud, Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina binti Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz and senior officials in a group photo with graduates. PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI
ABOVE & BELOW: Major Dai Jing from the Singapore Army; and 721 Lieutenant Commander Pengiran Mohammed Faren bin Pengiran Mohamad Noor from the Royal Brunei Navy

“It was just a really, really cohesive experience that I think we benefitted from the size of the course as well as the diversity in being able to come together, and I think the friendships are something we will treasure for the rest of our lives,” she added.

Another recipient was 721 Lieutenant Commander Pengiran Mohammed Faren bin Pengiran Mohamad Noor from the Royal Brunei Navy, who received the RBAF Commendation Award.

During an interview about receiving the award, 721 Lieutenant Commander Pengiran Mohammed Faren said, “To be honest I was not expecting this award. It is a privilege and an honour to have received the award and to be selected.”

“I’ve tried my best to represent Brunei Darussalam in the class. I would say half the class is of international high standards of students from all over the world, and to be able to represent and to prove to myself that I could be in that calibre I think is a great honour.” Sharing his thoughts on the CSC, he said, “This course is challenging, especially with friends not just from the region but also from other countries.

“With the presence of these friends from overseas, it gives a challenge to all students to do their best in the course.”

Alhamdulillah, with UBD also in this course, with a feeling of pride, UBD has created a course that is of high calibre and comparable to other similar courses in the region, especially with invited speakers from the US and Singapore to increase the quality of the course.”

“I think the most memorable thing is that we were able to make good friends who have become family. I think 10 months, while it may be a short amount of time to some people, here Alhamdulillah we could become a family, learn together and work hard together,” he said. Adding on, he highlighted the support of his wife and children.

Asked if he had any words of wisdom to share, he said, “A bit of advice for anyone, be it a student or worker from any sector, is about believing in yourself and believing in your own people as well. We can achieve whatever we aim for. As people say, nothing is impossible. Of course, we have to be hardworking too and diligent in asking as well, and not give up easily. We have to make it to the end.”