By Azaraimy HH
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, accompanied by HRH Prince 'Abdul 'Azim, made a surprise visit to a sixth form centre yesterday, where the caring monarch met the students and teachers in and out of the classrooms - at the canteen, reading room café, school corridors etc - and spoke with them.
Pusat Tingkatan Enam Meragang (PTEM) Principal, Ms Chong Li Chen said, "We are so deeply honoured to receive the caring monarch as we absolutely had no idea His Majesty would come visit us, visit our art exhibition and speak with the students. This visit will certainly provide students encouragement and motivation.
"It was really a surprise to us all, especially the students, when His Majesty said he was impressed with our school and our ongoing art and design exhibition. This means a lot to us, and so much more for the students," she added.
His Majesty toured the art exhibition "Art Gone Green" and visited the facilities at the institution. Throughout the visit Ms Chong accompanied and briefed the ruler.
His Majesty, for whom education and students have always been of top priority, mingled with the students and spoke to many of them.
This is not the first time PTEM has been in the spotlight. The sixth form centre was also in the news recently. First, a number of its students came among the top 10 in the world in Cambridge examination in psychology subject.
Second, its ongoing Art & Design Exhibition has received a thumbs-up for an ensemble of some of the most impressive artistic creations ever organised by any school in the country.
PTE Meragang is also fast becoming one of the top choices for sixth form students in Brunei, who are interested in arts, due to its reputation in the art subject. Students as far as from the Belait District had applied recently to study at PTEM because of its reputation in the art subject.
"To those brilliant students taking part in the exhibition, simply well done," said Ms Chong.
The Bulletin interviewed some of the students who had the golden opportunity to be able to speak with the beloved monarch yesterday. One of them is 16-year-old Sabrina Hj Mahmud, who gave the Sultan her artwork as a gift (pesembah) - a photography work titled "BSB at Dawn".
"I felt over the moon when I had the opportunity to talk with His Majesty, I was so excited and deeply honoured to come face-to-face with the Sultan. His Majesty said he was impressed with my photography work, and asked whether he could have it, so I was glad to be able to present it to him as a gift," she said.
Noranisa bte Mohd Nasir, 16, was also among the many students who spoke with the Sultan. Noranisa, who had her camera with her during the visit, caught His Majesty's attention. "His Majesty asked me about the model of my camera, His Majesty asked whether it is good to just have a phone camera rather than a big SLR camera, because His Majesty said, the quality coming out from phone cameras is catching up with the SLR."
Another student, Amir Farhan, 16, said His Majesty asked him to study hard and be somebody one day. He said, he had never thought he would be able to meet His Majesty and also have the opportunity to be asked by His Majesty to study hard. He said it was an unforgettable moment and an encouragement for him and his friends.
- Borneo Bulletin
(5th May 2010)