BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Some used placards, some used pompoms while others made do with handheld paper fans, but together young performers at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien created a series of images to commemorate Brunei’s past, present and future in celebration of the 35th National Day.

From a nostalgic image of the late Begawan Sultan Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien to a smiling portrait of His Majesty the Sultan with Her Majesty the Raja Isteri, to a hint call of Brunei’s present technological advancement with the depiction of a laptop bearing the number 35.

HM the Sultan inspects the guard of honour at the 35th National Day celebration in the heart of the capital on February 23. Photo: Infofoto

The deep, dramatic bass of trombones resonated with the steady beating of drums as the military band opened the national event on a high note while the crowd awaited the arrival of the monarch and members of the royal family to witness the patriotic zeal.

As per tradition, His Majesty stood at attention for more than two hours, standing to acknowledge the 138 groups — representing all sections of Brunei society — who marched past the royal dias.

‘Live the oath you make’

Leading this year’s oath — in his gold Malay head gear and dressed in blue cara Melayu — was Dr Muhammad Nuriskandar Muhammad Hasnan, a PhD graduate in Art.

“It is our responsibility as citizens to show our patriotism, passion, commitment and loyalty to our ruler [and] country,” he told The Scoop, adding that the oath shouldn’t just simply be read but also instilled in our everyday lives.

Dr Muhammad Nuriskandar led a group of 43 oath readers including those from the special needs community.

“To have oath readers who are differently-abled show that we are [becoming an inclusive] community, no one gets left behind. This is the spirit that we as Bruneians should aspire to.”

The oath reader also stressed the importance of working together to achieve the country’s Vision 2035. “As youths we need to support the country and make sure to achieve the goals. We need to make a collective effort by taking appropriate action and having a great sense of purpose.”

“We should continue to lead by example and not just follow the status quo. We need to curate ideas that will bring progress and development that will additionally create opportunities for everyone,” he added.

‘Revised National Youth Policy to be launched’

Speaking to The Scoop at the sidelines of the celebration, the minister of Culture, Youth and Sports disclosed that his ministry is targeting to launch the under-review National Youth Policy (Dasar Belia Negara) in August to coincide with National Youth Day.

“The Dasar Belia has been in review and we have been gathering data and statistics from more than 3,000 youths to get their input… We have already done our workshops,” said YB Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin.

Touching on His Majesty’s titah on the occasion of the 35th National Day, the minister said that the Sultan has always stressed on the importance of youth and that his give continuous support to the youth.

He said that Brunei’s youth has “contributed tremendously to the development of the country” and that the ministry will strive to strengthen platforms to empower youths.

However, he added that senior citizens must also be taken care of as they have brought Brunei to where it is today. “They too need society’s attention. We now have senior citizen’s centres in all four districts and we hope that these centres will add value to their lives.”

“InsyaAllah, [the ministry will try to realise His Majesty’s wish] to see all levels of the community not being left behind, including individuals with special needs.”