Picture source from https://twitter.com/#!/HelianthusMayl
Embracing Brunei’s 28th National Day may have come in different ways for citizens of the Sultanate, but regardless of whether celebrants were young or old, man or woman, the occasion was observed with grandeur, reflecting on the hardship faced by the nation’s forefathers in their struggle for independence.
“Twenty-eight years of independence, that is something we must rejoice for,” said a senior citizen who was seen leading his organisation during the march past in the heart of the capital yesterday.
“I lay my high hopes here and today, as I am confident that these long years will not go to waste and that our youths will remember it forever,” said Hj Mohd Zali bin Hj Arsad, who was seen busy with the Brunei Darussalam Scouts Association.
“The new generation must learn everything today for them to lead the country forward. They have to be disciplined, dedicated, competent, and obedient to Allah the Almighty, the Sultan and the nation.
“Much has changed every now and then,” added Hj Jambol bin Hj Kahar, a retired Warrant Officer from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. “Infrastructures were not as good during our days and we could barely travel anywhere we wished.
“But of course, with the wise leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, these aspects have been vastly improved.”
For him and his comrade, Major (Rtd) Hj Sapar who are now members of the Brunei Darussalam Ex-Soldiers’ Association, the 28 years of independence have become somewhat a justification for them to move forward, rather than reminiscing on the past.
“I was one of the first to serve in the army, which was then known as the Malaya Intake in 1961,” said Major (Rtd) Hj Sapar. “If you were to ask me what I think of the differences and development 50 years later, there are only a few words that I can say – I am proud of them.”
Sharing his 25 years of experience in the army, he remembered the days when Brunei was still highly supervised and administered by the United Kingdom in regards to the military. But since the declaration of independence in 1984, he said, much achievement has been made where all the highest positions in the Royal Brunei Armed Forces are now held by locals.
Being the Vice President of the Brunei Darussalam Ex-Soldiers’ Association, he could rest assured that the current generation and those to come will continue the legacy of protecting, safeguarding and defending the country.
Regarding the future generation, Abdul Hakim Hj Mohd Salleh from the Brunei Youth Council said, “On behalf of the many youths who are present here, I am proud to have lived to see the day where the nation rejoices its day of independence. Alhamdulillah, from what I can see, youths have become more active and proactive in everything they do nowadays. And we’re talking about all aspects and initiatives that have been further spruced by His Majesty’s Government.”
When asked about his commitment as part of the current generation who will be leaders of tomorrow, he responded by saying, “I am ready to take the responsibility.”
And for Hjh Noor Maslina Hj Sulaiman, Assistant Head Officer of Youth and Sports who was also representing the “Youth Love the Nation” Programme, this year marks another significant achievement for her and the programme as the parade was joined by more than 600 youth members from all four districts.
“The involvement and contribution of youths in today’s grand parade will further stimulate the generations to come in instilling a sense of belonging and patriotism to the country,” she said.
“It is important to make them involved in every national event, because these youths are the ones who represent the largest group in the society and it is better if we do it from the grassroots level.”
Message from Hillary Clinton
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes and congratulations to the people of Brunei Darussalam as you celebrate your 28th National Day this February 23rd.
The United States shares a long relationship with Brunei dating back to the 1850 Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation. Today, our two countries are working closely together on a robust bilateral and regional agenda to tackle some of our most pressing issues. We have partnered to increase English language instruction in ASEAN, promote commercial interests, and expand educational opportunities and people to people connections. We share Brunei’s commitment to the environment and proudly support the Heart of Borneo initiative.
As you celebrate this special day, know that the United States is a partner and friend, and we look forward to finding more ways to work together to benefit the citizens of both our countries and those throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Best wishes for continued peace and prosperity in the year to come. http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/02/184307.htm