Monday, December 8, 2008
Borneo Bulletin - December 8th - Teary farewell for Brunei-Singapore adventure campers by Rosli Abidin Yahya
After a week of packed camping activities that included visits, study tours and participating in physically and mentally challenging activities, the 20 students from three secondary schools in Singapore returned home on Saturday evening teary eyed as they bade farewell to their local counterparts who had been their camping partners throughout the Brunei-Singapore Adventure Camp 2008.
The participants found it hard to say goodbye to each other, so much so that the Singaporean students had to be coaxed to enter the departure hall.
One female Singaporean student said they were looking forward to going home and reuniting with their families but she said it was difficult for them to leave their Bruneian friends behind, as they did not know when they would see each other again.
Bidding goodbye at the airport was Awang Koh Phong Hua, Deputy Director of Secondary Schools at the Ministry of Education, who was happy to see the success of the camping activity in promoting international understanding, collaboration and bonding between the students.
"Next year, the activity will take place in Singapore and hopefully it will be carried out for many more years to come so as to forge closer friendship ties between students from the two nations," Koh said.
"These students will undoubtedly become leaders of tomorrow so we see the importance of building these bonds and friendships as early as possible," he went on to say.
The students carried out their activities at the airport hall singing camping and patriotic songs and getting involved in various intellectual games and quiz.
Once in a while, they hugged each other and took pictures for their album whilst wiping tears from the corner of their eyes.
The student camp was aimed to forge new friendships across national borders through various team-building games and outdoor activities. The camps also served to educate students on the need to conserve the natural environment, to preserve its biodiversity and preserve the cultural heritage of one's country through nature activities.
These were carried out through expeditions to Kampong Ayer, historical centres in Bandar Seri Begawan, Tasek Merimbun Forest Reserve and Bukit Shahbandar, planting paddy at the Wasan Paddy Fields, witnessing sago processing in Tutong, eating 'ambuyat', participating in challenging activities at the Temburong National Park, visiting Kg Amo Longhouse in Temburong, watching the making of traditional foods such as 'wajid' and 'cendol'.
Student exchanges through adventure camps is a key area of cooperation in the Memorandums of Understanding on Educational Cooperation that were concluded between Brunei and Singapore's Education Ministries in February 2006.