Six form one students from Brunei, three boys and three girls, have been selected to attend the Asian Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka.
They leave for Japan on July 16 and return on July 27. The six will be accompanied by two officers or two teachers to monitor the APCC objectives for students to cooperate, learn and respect local customs and cultural life of nations as well as establishing friendship and goodwill among participants from 57 countries.
Yesterday, a recital of the “al-fatihah” and a reading of the “doa selamat” was held at at Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) College, to bless the auspicious occasion, aside from performances from the delegation and a video presentation.
Assistant Director of Secondary Schools (Ministry of Education) Mr Cheong Huat Joo said the APCC is a program organized by the regional committee of Fukuoka since the 1990s.
He said the program began with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, submitting a total of 64 students under age 12 to the Department of Schools. Some 11 MoE officers were involved in the selection process.
Mr Cheong also urged the six students to learn positive attitudes and values that make Japanese society a progressive nation. One of the six chosen, Hajah Dina from SM Lambak Kiri, was spokesman in a warm speech, “My fellow Junior Ambassadors Malek-san, Wazif-san, Vernon-san, Amal-san and Fathen-san, we hope you all feel proud to be part of this great programme the 22nd Asian Pacific Children’s Convention.
We feel honoured to be nominated by our schools and finally selected by the Ministry of Education through an interview and essay-writing.
To prepare ourselves, our chaperones or `sense had planned training schedules for every Friday from 8.30am to 11am and at times on Sundays.”
Dina added that “In the past weeks, we’ve learned about each other through ice-breaking activities, aerobics and games. All of us never danced before… so through this programme, we learned traditional dance which was tough but we survived.
Some of us actually lost weight through the physical training. To their parents, she said, “Don’t worry about us when we are in Japan, “Insya Allah”, we will be fine under the guidance of our chaperones, Radzuan sensei and Norlina sensei.
In Fukuoka, we home-stay with foster parents. We have received information and even got replies and e-mail from our foster parents. We will try our best to learn the Japanese way of life.”
Hajah Dina added that the six will be attending Mirai Village Camp to interact with 218 participants from 57 countries. “We will also promote Brunei as a peaceful and unique country.
We will be on our best behaviour, be friendly, not to criticize others for their beliefs and try new things and as Muslims, we also learned “Jama” & “Qasar” prayers and ‘doa’ for our stay in Japan,” Hajah Dina concluded.
This year’s APCC slogan is: “We are the Bridge: we connect dreams around the world. To learn about each other’s country, religion and culture, through exchange. To promote mutual understanding amongst youths in Asia and the Pacific and to nurture an international perspective in youth and foster a supportive environment.”
— Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin