Royalty hails Era's feat
By Aziz Idris

"She is an inspiration to our nation," said Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna of Dk Najibah Eradah binti PAM Al-Sufri or Era, during a reception dinner last night to mark the triumphant return of the Polar Girl after conquering the South Pole. It was held at the Royal Polo and Riding Club, Jerudong.

"A group of brave and determined young ladies from the Commonwealth countries skied to the South Pole, one of the most demanding of all environments. They showed it to us in all its power, its beauty and its current fragility. Among these outstanding young women was one of our own, Era," said HRH Princess Masna.

HRH Princess Masna, who was the royal guest of honour, also said that the reception dinner was a very special occasion to acknowledge Era's success, as well as to convey a message to the young people that nothing is beyond reach.

"Her triumphant move to plant the Brunei flag was a moment of great joy and pride to all of us," said Princess Masna.

HRH also congratulated Kaspersky Lab for the success of the Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition. "Without its generous contribution and earnest support, the journey to the South Pole would remain a dream," said HRH Princess Hajah Masna.

"I believe that the journey you made should not end at the South Pole. You are now our role model and goodwill ambassador to inspire and motivate our new generation," said Princess Masna lauding Era's accomplishment.

HRH Princess Hajah Masna told Era that she should instil in the young minds one inspiring thought "...There is a South Pole for everyone."

The next important task for Era is to use her exemplary success to educate the young generation. She is scheduled to make a trip to Singapore in March to reach out to more young people.

"More importantly, I hope our young people will learn from your symbolic and prestigious expedition, that realising a goal of such magnitude does not come easily and requires a high level of fitness, commitment and sheer determination," said the Princess.

The Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports hosted the reception dinner. Also present was the Minister from the Ministry as well as permanent secretaries, senior government officials, NGOs representatives, and the Brunei Adventure and Recreation Association (BARA) together with family members of Era.

HRH Princess Hajah Masna also toured a mini-exhibition on the expedition. The night also saw Era sharing her experience through a slide show presentations and a short video clip of the team making headlines in the world news. - Borneo Bulletin (4th February 2010)