Strengthening bilateral ties the photography way

James Kon

The ‘Brunei Darussalam from the Eyes of Foreign Diplomats and their Families’ features photos of beautiful sceneries and special moments foreign diplomats enjoy in Brunei Darussalam and will always remember, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei Darussalam Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashel Al-Maskari said.

“Although, some of the photos on display may not meet high standards in terms of resolution and other photography related technicalities, the meanings these photos carry certainly speak volumes. The exhibition will serve as an opportunity for our Bruneian friends to view familiar aspects of their beautiful country through foreign diplomats’ lenses,” he said.

The Ambassador said this during the opening ceremony of the exhibition at the Royal Regalia Museum yesterday.

Sheikh Ahmed recalled how the idea of hosting the photograph exhibition came to be. He said, “The idea was initiated in 2018. Ever since, many attempts were made to bring it to fruition, until we realised that having an exhibition of such calibre requires combined efforts from many partners. The Diplomatic Corps thought to take on board two partners – the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), who played vital roles in ensuring this long-awaited event takes place.

The approval received to stage the exhibition at the Royal Regalia Museum gave a boost to continue efforts towards ensuring that success will be achieved in all fronts. Such a feat would not have been achievable without the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as guest of honour, the Ambassador said.

He said, “We are privileged to have been accorded the honour of staging this exhibition at the Royal Regalia Museum and I am honoured to extend, on behalf of my colleagues in the Diplomatic Corps, our deepest gratitude and sincerest appreciation to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, for bestowing such an honour on us.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei Darussalam Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashel Al-Maskari at the exhibition. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps noted, “Throughout history, photography developed to become an art that not only captures the memories of cultures and people around the world, but also helps shape these memories. This exhibition is inspired by the famous saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. This famous saying has proven to be true in many cases, as photos have stood out transcending borders and achieved much more than a thousand words could have, especially in the framework of relationships where people do not share the same language or culture.”

The Diplomatic Corps, he said, “Appreciates the notable levels of bilateral relations between Brunei Darussalam and our countries reached since the establishment of these diplomatic relations. Thus, we thought to organise this exhibition to show our gratitude to the government and people of Brunei Darussalam, for displaying hospitality to foreign diplomats.”

Her Royal Highness and Sheikh Ahmed cut the ribbon to launch the exhibition. Her Royal Highness received a bouquet of flowers presented by Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Brunei Darussalam Yoon Hyun-bong on behalf of the organising committee.

Her Royal Highness toured the exhibition and was briefed by the diplomats of their photographs on display.

Her Royal Highness received a pesambah from the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and proceeded for a group picture with the members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin said, “We are very pleased to have been closely involved with the Diplomatic Corps in Brunei Darussalam in organising this extraordinary exhibition that displays, for the first time, how foreign diplomats and their families see Brunei Darussalam through a camera lens.

“I was very impressed with the photos on display, demonstrating wonderful expressions inspired by the way foreign diplomats and members of their families view Brunei Darussalam – our people, our scenery and our culture.”

The minister thanked those involved in the project, especially Sheikh Ahmed and organising committee members.

BIBD Managing Director and CEO Mubashar H Khokhar said, “As a bank that is Bruneian at Heart, we take great pride in supporting this exhibition. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. The photos on display give us a unique view into how foreign diplomats and their families have been welcomed and made to feel like a part of the community, and I hope that everyone will take the opportunity to view and enjoy this exhibition.”

The exhibition is open for the public at the Royal Regalia Museum until December 26.

The exhibition will tour the four districts, spending 10 days at each district beginning with the Brunei-Muara District.

The exhibition will be launched at the Belait District Museum on December 29, the BIBD Heritage Branch in the Temburong District on January 9, 2021 and the Tourist Information Centre in the Tutong District on January 23, 2021.