19 September, 2013
“YOUTHS are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also the partners of today.”
This particular quote stands out quite a lot to me. It serves as an inspiration, a possibility that some day, we may live in a country where all citizens, young and old, are informed and involved in all major issues that affect their lives. Just imagine; adults and young people, working together hand-in-hand to build a thriving society.
Sadly, the very idea of youth citizenship, of young people participating as equals, is deemed ludicrous by many adults. This is due to the fact that society generally tends to perceive most young people as being self-absorbed, socially inert, selfish and aimless. Frequently cited reasons why young people are excluded are because they are assumed to lack skills, qualities, experience and motivation. They are also portrayed as being immature and not having the ‘correct’ mindset.
However, recent research reveals that youths are slowly but surely showing greater interest in the development of their nation and are constantly searching for different ways to make a positive change. We, the youths here in Brunei Darussalam, have a greater duty to fulfill as His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has put in place a good education system and created endless opportunities in the form of scholarships and training programmes for youths to realise their potential. The time has come for the youths to contribute and play their part in nation building.
How exactly can we contribute?
Well, according to Mother Teresa: “We can’t all do great things but we can do little things with great love.” We can be model students – hardworking, obedient, loyal, kind, helpful and respectful as well as being active in school activities. In short, we have to strive to be the best that we possibly can be. Each and every one of us has unique talents and gifts that we can nurture to achieve our goals and fulfill the aspirations of the nation. We have to be educated and learned in areas across a wide spectrum.
A strong society is built on educated people.
His Majesty’s governance has always emphasised security and peace for his people. In this day and age where the instruments of war and destruction are more than the instruments of peace, it is vital that the youths of Brunei should be peace-loving people to maintain the harmony and stability of the nation. A simple but effective rule we should all follow is “to do to others what we would have them do to us”. This is a good way of giving our society a dose of humanity and goodness.
Our generous and loving ruler, His Majesty, has uplifted the lives of his ‘rakyat’ in numerous ways from providing free medical service of the highest standard, housing benefits and initiating projects such as the Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme to being a welcoming host at His Majesty’s palace for the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. The youths of Brunei should emulate His Majesty’s care and concern for others by getting involved in volunteer and charity work. Helping out the poor and needy, cleaning up a public place and visiting the sick and the aged can help to make a difference in people’s lives, and ultimately the well-being of society as a whole.
During His Majesty’s birthday celebration, the monarch visits all the four districts to meet the people to understand their welfare and needs. We can also contribute to our nation by raising awareness of important social issues of today. By reading the newspapers, surfing the Internet, watching the news and talking to a trusted adult, we can become well-informed about what is going on in today’s world and more importantly the problems and issues our nation is facing. We can help raise awareness and offer suggestions to address some of these concerns by way of youth participation in community-based groups.
His Majesty’s government has emphasised the national philosophy of Malay Islam Monarchy (MIB) so Bruneians will observe the Islamic traditions that are part of our rich culture. The youths of today should be more involved in the culture, customs and traditions of the community they live in.
Analysts have discovered that young people who adopt the cultural and traditional practices of their elders, tend to have a sense of belonging and connection to their family and society, are more mature, enlightened and understanding of their surrounding situations. One who is cultured will have good discretion and will be able to adopt good moral values while leaving out the bad influences. These qualities are what that is needed for us to thrive as a nation free of corruption and crimes.
His Majesty wholeheartedly takes care of his subjects and the youths of Brunei feel honoured and proud to be part of this country and have genuine love for our monarch. Being patriotic shows that we truly appreciate what our country is doing for us and that we support its best interests. Present day youths, being ‘digital natives’ are very well connected with technology and gadgets right at their finger tips. This gives us a broad perspective and we may be able to contribute ideas for change which will be relevant for the future development of the nation.
We are all never too old to learn and never too young to teach. Just give us the chance. Youths, the future … starting now. (Rishikah Reggina Andrew is in class Year 10G, St Andrew’s School)