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Unplug, spend time with family: HRH


RACHEL THIEN
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Thursday, April 19, 2012

HIS Royal Highness Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim yesterday suggested that people refrain from using their mobile phones on May 6 and spend quality time with their families to make the inaugural National Family Day more meaningful.

Highlighting the importance of better communication among family members, HRH said this was one of the ways for making family bonds stronger.

As many people spend more time on their phones in this digital age, HRHsaid having fun with family members like having dinner together will go a long way in strengthening the family institution.

HRH was present at a dialogue between the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and about 200 youth aged between 15 and 30, individuals representing special needs, youth and parent associations, students and former National Service Scheme (PKBN) participants, among others, aimed at bridging the gap between parents and children.

The MCYS said parents are spending less time with their children due to factors such as full-time working parents, peer pressure among youth to socialise outside of home, developments in technology and parents pressuring their children to attend tuition classes.

These have resulted in a breakdown of communication, and are stripping off spending quality family time together.

The interactive session at the ministry was also held to gather more ideas for activities for families to enjoy on the first National Family Day, themed “Keluargaku, Harapanku”, which will be celebrated at 12 zones across four districts.

HRH said families should celebrate with each other by being together and doing fun things. “That is when you realise you have more things in common,” he said, adding that was a way of reminding each other what family is all about.

The ministry has already planned various activities to be held nationwide, and HRH said all these willemphasise the importance of families and spending quality time together.

The Prince even encouraged writing cards to family member(s), to express their love and appreciation towards each other, if some may feel short of being close to their family or family member.

“That is the first step. If you are close (to your family), join in the fun and enjoy each other’s company,”HRH said.

“Take the first step and first initiative,” he added.

Among some of the ideas shared by participants were having motivational talks among parents and children, circus carnivals, English song competitions on national family day among schools and even declaring every national day as a “public holiday”.

The ministry acknowledged them and said they will look into it, and that some of them are already in the pipelines.

Meanwhile, a student questioned how technology can play a role in establishing relationships with family members, given that it is also an obstacle in bridging them together in society nowadays.

In response, HRH said there are certain cases where people tend to overuse technology.

“There needs to be a balance. You have to have human contact and speak with each other,” he said.

Also in attendance were Acting Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman, Permanent Secretary Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Deputy Permanent Secretary Hj IsmailPehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Setia Dato Paduka Hj Hashim, Acting Director of Youth and Sports MariamUlat and other senior officials.

Datin Hjh Adina also propelled the notion for families to allocate a certain time or day in spending quality time together, such as Sunday as a family day, as suggested by Smarter Brunei President Hj MalaiAbdullah Hj Malai Othman.

The Brunei Times

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