Speech contest winner can be bridge between people of Brunei, Japan

|     James Kon     |

JAPANESE Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Motohiko Kato yesterday received a courtesy call from winner of the 31st Japanese Speech Contest Nurliza binti Abdul Zabar. He said Nurliza can play an important role as a bridge between the people of Japan and Brunei.

As champion of the contest, which she won in her third try with a speech entitled Kindness, Nurliza earned a free round trip to Japan courtesy of All Nippon Airways (ANA) from October 14-21.

While in Japan, Nurliza will join an invitation programme under the Japan Overseas Enterprise Association (JOEA), a general incorporated association with a membership of 300 leading Japanese companies with business operations overseas.

“I would like to congratulate Nurliza for winning the Japanese Speech Contest with an excellent performance,” Kato said of her achievement. “She can hopefully be a bridge in relations between Bruneians and the Japanese people. Hopefully this will encourage more Bruneians to learn the Japanese Language and pursue their careers in Japan or find work there.”

“Japanese companies are looking to invest in other countries in their efforts to globalise their business operations. Japanese firms are also employing an increasing number of foreigners. Because of this, I hope young talented Bruneians who can speak Japanese will try to work in Japan,” the ambassador said.

Japanese Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Motohiko Kato with winner of the 31st Japanese Speech Contest Nurliza binti Abdul Zabar during the courtesy call. – JAMES KON

Following Royal Brunei Airlines’ (RB) announcement that it will be resuming flights to Japan by March next year, Ambassador Kato added that he hopes more Japanese will visit Brunei to promote inter-country tourism and business.

“The direct flights between Brunei and Japan will have a huge impact on the bilateral relationship of both countries,” he said, adding that he hopes to see more Bruneians learn to speak the Japanese Language, which will “help increase the understanding of Japanese social norms and business culture among Bruneians”.

For Nurliza, her fascination with Japanese culture and language began when she was 15 years old after being hooked by the popular anime series Sailor Moon, eventually culminating in her participating in the 31st Japanese Speech Contest. “Third time is a charm. I chose Kindness for my speech because of the character and attributes of people in general. I wanted to convey the important message of the need to be kind to others,” the 27-year-old said.

“Since I was 15, I have been learning Japanese on my own until I went to study the language at UBD’s Language Centre. I also went to Japan for my Discovery Year at the university.”

The 31st Japanese Speech Contest was jointly organised by the Continuing Education and Training (CET) Division of the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) under the Ministry of Education, UBD Language Centre and the Embassy of Japan in Brunei Darussalam.

The next edition of the Japanese Speech Contest will be held in 2019.