Saturday, June 27, 2015

Information Ramadan Program

Participants during the ‘Program Ramadan Penerangan’ ceremony held at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam mosque, organised by the Information Department in collaboration with the Village Consultative Council (MPK) of the Rimba II Housing Scheme. BT/Izzati Jalil

Friday, June 26, 2015

THIRTY-FOUR orphans yesterday received donations in a ceremony held at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) mosque, organised by the Information Department in collaboration with the Village Consultative Council (MPK) of the Rimba II Housing Scheme.

The recipients, aged below 18 of Mukim Gadong ‘A’ received clothes, money and other Hari Raya necessities sponsored by YMRM Galleria and Kingston Beverage.

Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office, Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Yunos was present to hand the gifts to the recipients.

Prior to the donation, a mass recital of Surah Yassin, Tahlil and Doa Arwah also took place after the handover of the gifts in remembrance of the loved ones who have passed away.

In a brief interview with two orphans, Dk Nurul Faizatul Rashidah Pg Johari and her sister, Dk Nurul Syahirahtul Rashidah Pg Johari expressed their gratitude for the contributions.

“We are very thankful for the necessities being given to us today,” said Dk Nurul Faizatul Rashidah.

She said, this year will be her fourth year celebrating Hari Raya without her father, who passed away years ago.

“It will be different and it never gets easier, and has never been the same since his passing but I have seven other siblings and it’s a time where we as a family get together to enliven the spirit of hari raya,” said the 14-year-old. Meanwhile her sister, Dk Nurul Syahirahtul Rashidah said ever since the passing of their father, they would always spend the first day of Aidil Fitri with their grandparents.

The event continued with a religious lecture on the benefits of the blessed month of ramadhan delivered by Ustaz Hj Jufri Hj Hidup.

The guests were later on invited to breaking fast and perform mass Maghrib prayers at the mosque.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Brunei Joins Asia-Pacific Nations Advocating Children's Rights

Members of the Brunei Council on Social Welfare in the foundational course on Children’s Rights in Bangkok. Courtesy of MKM

Saturday, June 20, 2015

BRUNEI non-governmental organisations earlier this week joined their Asian counterparts in a course to help mitigate child trafficking and online sexual exploitation.

Organised by Ateneo de Manila University’s Human Rights Center, the foundational course in Bangkok aimed to bring together national coalitions and networks in Asia Pacific to learn the positive and negative impact of ASEAN economic integration on children’s rights.

In a statement, the Brunei Council on Social Welfare (MKM) said this was the first foundational course for national and regional civil society organisations that advocate children’s rights.

Datin Paduka Hjh Intan Hj Mohd Kassim, Brunei’s ASEAN commissioner for children and current chair of ASEAN Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children in Asean participated in the course with Nur Judy Abdullah, MKM’s first vice-president.

Datin Paduka Hjh Intan, who is also president of MKM, was also the resource person during the course on the “Right to Development Focusing on Education as Parent and States Shared Responsibility: Challenges and Good Practice”, in which she shared Brunei’s best practices on upholding children’s rights.

Nur Judy said the course, held from June 15-18, was relevant to MKM’s work on the protection and realisation of children’s rights.

“We now better understand the application of the four general principles of child rights under the UN Convention on Child Rights namely: survival, protection and development, best interest of the child, non-uphold the rights of all children regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age or circumstances in life to achieve their full potential,” she was quoted as saying.

Other Brunei NGOs that participated in the course were SMARTER and Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council.

The course, a part of the project of Save The Children to make ASEAN more child-friendly, is an introduction to the international framework on children’s rights and how it is implemented and applied in the region.

Brunei acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in December 1995.

There are at least 200 million children living in the region today, the statement quoted Hope Tura, manager of Regional Child Rights Governance Programme of Save The Children.

She said while ASEAN countries have made progress in improving the situation of children, the performance is uneven where rising inequalities within and across countries are observed. Tura added millions of children from vulnerable and socially excluded groups such as ethnic minorities, children with disabilities, children in rural areas and in urban poor communities remain without adequate healthcare, nutrition, education and protection.

The course brought together 30 representatives from ASEAN member countries. - Izzati Jalil

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

HM Sultan Brunei New Grandson: Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman

By the command of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Office of His Majesty yesterday announced that the monarch’s newborn grandson has been named Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman. Courtesy of Infofoto

Sunday, June 21, 2015

BY THE command of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Office of His Majesty yesterday announced that the monarch’s newborn grandson has been named Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman.

His Majesty’s grandson was born on June 7, 2015 at 2.02am, to His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.

His Majesty and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha expressed their gratitude to all those involved during the delivery of the monarch’s grandson, and for the messages of congratulations received following the royal birth.

Monday, June 15, 2015

HM Sultan Brunei: Shun Things That Degrade Nation

Monday, June 15, 2015

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, said Brunei is a country that is always able to counteract its critics.

This is a blessing from Allah SWT, a reward to those who are always in His path, the monarch said in a titah during last Saturday’s launch of the refurbished Brunei House in London.

“Bruneians should continue to preserve this way of life and not turn away from Allah,” His Majesty was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday.

The Sultan said Bruneians, wherever they are, should not even get close to being involved in “matters that will degrade themselves and the country”.

“Those who are in the working sector should do their utmost in carrying out their duties and responsibilities, while students should fully focus on their studies. They should avoid any elements whose nature are doubtful and uncertain.

“There are a lot of things that happen around people, which may or may not be beneficial. Therefore, people should always be careful or mindful on what they might be faced with,” he continued.

The monarch said Bruneians should be wise in managing and solving situations.

“People with wisdom are not complacent in their judgements, before deciding on what or what not to be accepted. In this way, they can avoid themselves from making mistakes,” His Majesty added.

Speaking on the refurbished Brunei House at London’s Leinster Square, the Sultan said its design now signifies the “Bruneian identity” and will continue to accommodate Brunei government officials when they are in the United Kingdom for work or on vacation.

His Majesty said he wants Brunei House to reflect everything about the sultanate: the beautiful Brunei, the caring Brunei, and the religious Brunei. Recounting the establishment of Brunei House before Brunei’s independence 31 years ago, the Sultan said the initial objective of the guesthouse was to accommodate Bruneian students.

After Brunei acquired the Brunei Hall, which was specifically to accommodate Bruneian students’, the function of the Brunei House was then changed to a guesthouse for Brunei government officials.

The guesthouse includes 15 ensuite bedrooms, kitchen, dining area, laundry room, office, garden, surau (prayer hall) and ablution area for men and women.

His Majesty said the surau can also be used for other beneficial activities, such as religious talks, and for students and children of Brunei High Commission officials in London and elsewhere to learn the Quran and Islam.

Speaking on the role of the surau, His Majesty said, “This is a wonderful development, in view of the world’s situation and its environment today that can easily deceive people, especially students, into activities that have negative influences and damaging consequences.”

The monarch added that Brunei House should not be vandalised as this does not reflect the Bruneian way of life.

Accompanying the monarch was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik.

Co-chairmen of launching ceremony of the Brunei House committee, Minister of Development Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman and Second Minister of Finance at the Prime Minister’s Office, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Rahman Hj Ibrahim, greeted His Majesty upon arrival at the Brunei House. His Majesty proceeded to the Brunei House surau where verses of the Quran were recited by Muhammad Faiq Hj Rani, a postgraduate student of University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

The monarch also signed the plaque of the Brunei House before a call of the takbir led by State Mufti YB Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz Juned.

His Majesty then received pesambahs from YB Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi and Manager of Brunei House Pg Hamidah Pg Hj Othman.

The monarch toured the facilities at Brunei House before attending a dinner with the event’s committee members, including Brunei government officers on in-service training and students pursuing higher education in the United Kingdom. - Rasidah HAB

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Thursday, June 11, 2015

HM Sultan Brunei Attends Gurkha 200 Pageant in London

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, attended the Gurkha 200 Pageant in London last night to mark the bicentenary of Gurkha service to the British Crown.

During the pageant, His Majesty met with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as well as other members of the British Royal Family before a session with the special guests comprising dignitaries, foreign diplomats and senior Gurkha military officials.

Following the meet sessions, His Majesty proceeded to the Figure Courtyard to view the ‘Gurkha Pageant 200’ commemorating 200 years of Gurkha Military Service to the British Crown.

The event commenced with a fanfare, which was followed by the national anthem of the United Kingdom.

A minute of silence was also observed for the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

Field performances was also enacted, and depicted 200 years of Gurkha military services that began in the early years of the British regime in India up to the recent conflict in Afghanistan.

Nepalese traditional dances were also performed by the family members of the Gurkha military, accompanied by musical performances of the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Prior to the pageant, His Majesty was also led to view a table display which, amongst others, displayed a gift from Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien to General Sir Walter Walker in appreciation for his services in Borneo during the 1960s.

More than 1,000 special guests, including contributors to the Gurkha Welfare Trust, attended the event.

Following the pageant, His Majesty attended a dinner hosted by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales who also serves as the Patron of the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Sir Peter Wall, Chairman of the Gurkha Welfare Trust commenced the dinner with opening remarks.

Several dignitaries, corporate members, foreign diplomats as well as senior Gurkha military officers attended the dinner.

Accompanying His Majesty to the event was Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Message Behind Mural of Dewan Bahasa Pustaka

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

THE mural above the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) building set in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan stands majestically as the sunrays slowly illuminate the drawings that depict the country’s life and culture.

The 20-by-100-foot landmark mosaic which was commissioned by Almarhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien features more than 100 figures going through social, cultural and economic activities which include songket weaving, fishing, rubber tapping, rice planting and bamboo production.

“The slogan ‘Berbahasa Satu, Berbangsa Satu and Bernegara Satu’ (‘One Language, One Nationality, One Nation’) is the core of the whole portrayal and interpretation of what nationalism and patriotism means. This is a natural born concept in any developing country from all corners of the earth,” said Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee Pg Ahmad during an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times.

The former director of Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB) and brains behind the mural said that that it was originally designed in 1963 and the idea of Malay Muslim Monarchy (MIB) was unconsciously incorporated into the design.

The main theme of the mural is depicted at the centre where a huge book can be seen supported by two concrete hands at the end of a protruding bridge. Above the book is a torch radiating light and an image of a cogwheel.

“The book itself symbolises education and knowledge while the cogwheel represents science and technology,” added Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee who has been spending his time creating works of art in his studio.

Five decades have since passed and there have been many historical changes in the Sultanate, from the painful memories of the Second World War to the declaration of Brunei’s Independence as a sovereign country and to becoming a key player on the global and economic front.

However, the memory of how the mural came about still remains fresh in Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee’s mind.

It all started in 1962, where he was officially transferred to the Education department after serving as a teacher at Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) College for almost two years.

At just 21 years old, Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee was tasked to establish an Art section at the Language and Literature Bureau which was under the Education Department at that time.

In addition to that, he was also appointed as an Adult Education teacher where he gave classes to other educators.

Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee was then sent to attend vocational training at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London which is now known as Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design to study printing for two years.

Upon completion of the course, he took up Graphic Art and that was when he received a letter from the Director of the Language and Literature Bureau requesting that he undertake the project of drawing a mural for the building which now stands at Jalan Elizabeth Dua.

“It was such a huge project to handle at that time and I faced challenges due to time constraints, limited facilities and research materials as reference as well as being a full time student,” said Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee while shaking his head in disbelief.

Staying with a family at Surrey and being only able to work on his sketch at night added more strain.

“I remember being cooped up in a tiny bedroom and hunched over a small table while my landlord would occasionally knock on my door asking me to switch off the lights - I got the message,” he added.

Unable to find reference materials to base his drawings on, he had to look to his childhood and experiences about Brunei, her people and their life in general to produce a work of art.

“I remember a lot of cultural activities and performances during Almarhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien’s birthday celebrations and these were then inserted into my drawing,” he said.

Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee also tried to incorporate a vision of how the country would advance politically, socially, economically and spiritually in the future while using Brunei’s history and its present in the drawing.

The technique or style of approach in formulating the mural was “Making a picture instead of painting a picture and there are distinctions between the two”.

“Painting a picture is copying what is seen and observed while making a picture is inspired by producing a painting by the use of creative ideas and focusing on the forms, shapes, textures and lines as well as values of colour,” explained Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee.

Though he is personally not an abstract painter, his love for semi-abstract through the design of shapes, geometrical and organic shapes coupled along with positive and negative spaces as well as bright illuminating tonal colours brought the painting to life.

The finished painting was then sent to Europe to be made into mosaic tiles by Tom Butcher, one of the founders of the now defunct architectural firm - Arkitek Bersatu where the image of each square inch of the drawing was blown up to one square feet and amounted to 596,000 mosaic tiles.

“I did not have any formal training in Fine Arts and completing this mural has been from the grace of Allah SWT, the sole creator and sustainer of the universe, who has bestowed me with the gift and guidance,” he added.

Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee has also designed six mural panels which were placed in front of the old Persatuan Guru Guru Melayu Brunei’s (PGGMB) building and several other murals for the new SOAS College but they no longer exist.

Looking at the mosaic tiles that adorned the Language and Literature building which are slowly peeling off and unattended, one wonders when this piece of history will disappear.

However, Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee believes that life is just a perception or shadow, once the body ceases so will the shadow.

“The mural is no different, once the building ceases to exist, the shadow and everything else that came with it will too disappear but the recorded images will be forever imprinted in my soul - a testament to the challenges of life on this earth with my paintings as the only thing I can leave behind,” he said with a smile.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times.

Monday, June 01, 2015

HM Sultan Brunei: Improve Military Capability

Monday, June 1, 2015

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, yesterday pushed for improved defence management and military capabilities in tackling security threats.

In his titah, the Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) said preparedness in the face of threats require the armed forces to be efficient and capable.

“This need is more pronounced with frequent external disturbances that often shake security. All these incidents undeniably have the potential to expose us to threats that are both conventional and non-conventional,” explained His Majesty at the 54th anniversary celebration of the RBAF.

Under such scenario, the monarch pointed out that the armed forces must be forward-looking and in a state of preparedness at all times for the future of national defence and security.

His Majesty added preparedness includes addressing and confronting any unexpected incidents that may occur inside or outside the country. However, the king noted the sultanate is peaceful and prosperous owing to the people, government agencies as well as the effective role of the RBAF.

The monarch also acknowledged the building of defence cooperation through humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping missions abroad.

Commenting on the need to be wise in planning for a robust and competent force-structure, the Sultan said the initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) in conducting a defence review is timely and able to produce a positive effect.

“It is undeniable that the continued survival of the RBAF is supported by its military personnel in sufficient number and quality,” said His Majesty.

To appeal to the interest of the nation’s qualified and tech-savvy youth, the monarch believed the armed forces must have a proactive recruitment strategy. His Majesty also urged for discipline and integrity to be emphasised as a crucial element in manpower management.

“All members of the military should heighten their respect and love for the military institution and portray the image and good name of the RBAF,” said His Majesty.

The monarch reiterated that disciplinary action against any military personnel should be strictly adhered to regardless of its severity “otherwise the wrongdoer will become a thorn in the flesh to the military institution”.

“All levels of leadership are responsible for empowering the heart and soul of every personnel based on RBAF’s core values of piety, loyalty, bravery and professionalism,” said the monarch.

His Majesty congratulated the armed forces on their anniversary as well as prayed for their protection and guidance from Allah SWT. The celebration took place at Penanjong Garrison in Tutong.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Inspirational Quotes