BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Eight outstanding young leaders received awards during the 16th National Youth Day celebration, in recognition of their contributions to the community.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions last year, the annual event was cancelled and the 2020 National Youth Day Awards were presented together with this year’s award winners at the International Convention Centre on Saturday.

This year’s Youth Leader Award recipient Kwan Pei Yun, or better known as Joanna, acknowledged the work of other youth who contributed to her win.

“We are just a very small piece of a bigger puzzle,” said Joanna, who is a teacher, literary coach, producer, director and performer.

“The recognition is not for me, but rather I think it’s a symbol of what we as Bruneians, especially the youth can do if they find something that they’re interested in.”

Speaking after receiving her award from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, she said other youths were her inspiration to continue her work and nurture more leaders.

“My hope is for more of these leaders to be developed so that they can take turns to lead the future generation.”

She added that the award is an encouragement for her to move forward and embrace more collaboration opportunities with other youths.

Hj Abdul Mateen Bolkini Hj Ahmad, founder of Tambang.BN and recipient of Youth Service Award 2020, said the contributions of many other youths are yet to be recognised.

When he began participating in volunteer programmes, Hj Abd Mateen said he met many passionate young people with similar aspirations.

This led him to work with other young people who are open to discussions on improving the community and always ready to be of service.

He hopes that the award will be an incentive to encourage more youth to help the community.

Hj Abd Mateen also credited his late brother for motivating him to continue his volunteer work.

“My brother, who passed away last year, was also active in volunteering. So I’m continuing his legacy to spread his good deeds.”

His Majesty presents the Excellent Youth Award 2020 to SEA Games 2019 gold-medalist Mohammad Adi Salihin Roslan. Photo: Rudolf Portillo/ The Scoop

The winner of last year’s Excellent Youth Award, Mohd Adi Salihin Roslan, encouraged youth to be resilient when working towards their goals. 

The wushu athlete, who began training when he was six years old, said competing in the global arena has always been his aspiration.

“It was my intention to compete in overseas competitions. I didn’t want my training to go to waste,” he said.

Mohd Adi delivered two gold medals for Brunei at the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in 2019, ending the country’s six-year wait for a gold medal. 

Noorhafizah Hj Rashid, founder of Big BWN Project and recipient of the Excellent Youth Project 2020, encouraged youth to be self-assured and ignore naysayers.

“You have to believe in yourself that you can make it happen, that’s the most important bit.

“Don’t wait for somebody to tell you that you can’t do it. If you feel that you can do it, go for it,” she added.

Earlier this year, Noorhafizah received the 173rd Commonwealth Points of Light award for her voluntary service and community development efforts through Big BWN Project.

His Majesty presents the Youth Leader Award 2029 to Al-Huffaz Management founder Hj Mohd Loqman Al Hakim Hj Hamdan. Photo: Rudolf Portillo/The Scoop

Founder of Al-Huffaz Management Hj Mohd Loqman Al Hakim Hj Hamdan, is now a two-time recipient of the youth awards after receiving the Youth Leader Award 2020, in addition to his Excellent Youth Project Award in 2017.

He credited the success to his team’s collective effort and innovative initiatives.

Al-Huffaz, which provides Quran reading classes, will soon expand and move into a new centre in Kg Sungai Akar. 

Another recipient of this year’s awards was Chong Chin Yee, co-founder of startup Memori BN Enterprise, which offers will-writing and legacy planning services.

Chong, who also provides mentorship programmes at Startup Brunei, was named the winner of the Excellent Youth Award 2021.

Her work has also been recognised overseas as she was named one of Asia Law Portal’s 30 people to watch last year.

Public Relations and Publication Commissioner for Brunei Darussalam Scouts Association, Muhammad Syahmi Halimshah, received the Youth Service Award 2021.

Under his leadership and youth-building initiatives, he has trained almost 1,000 individuals to be active volunteers.

The Excellent Youth Project Award 2021 went to HIV/AIDS Awareness Programme for Peers and Youth (HAPPY)for its efforts in raising awareness on teenage pregnancy and other social issues.

Project leader of HAPPY Siti Kailene Mohd Jazlan Kashfi said the project aimed to discuss topics that were often considered taboo.