His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam hailed Brunei's centuries-old "Padian" tradition, largely inspired, managed and directed by women in a Commonwealth Day message.
" ... the lessons it has inspired in us has transcended the generations after it and reiterated the fact that the talents, skills and experience of every women are crucial in building a successful nation," said His Majesty.
Following is the full text of the Commonwealth Day message from His Majesty:
The theme of Commonwealth Day 2011 describes women as "Agents of Change". In doing so, it celebrates the Commonwealth's long-standing commitment to the individuals, families and communities that comprise our societies and nations.
Above all, it directs our attention to the role of women in ensuring that our societies and nations are happy, healthy and prosperous. In Brunei Darussalam, our history testifies to the importance of that role.
For nearly five hundred years, our local economy was centred on what we call the "Padian", a trading concept that became our basic business model. Day-in, day-out, it drove household budgets and strengthened whole communities. It created a spirit of enterprise and purpose that went far beyond basic trading and material profit. It enriched the human spirit and enhanced the cohesion of our communities.
It was truly a dramatic "agent of change" and the reason for this was fundamental to every family. It was very largely inspired, managed and directed by women.
The days of the Padian are now long gone, but the lessons it has inspired in us has transcended the generation after it and reiterates the fact that the talents, skills and experience of every woman are crucial in building a successful nation.
This is why we wish to do all we can to support the efforts currently being made at home by our Department of Community Development and Non-Government Organisations and those being called for by Asean and the United Nations to assist all women to fulfil their own professional and personal aspirations.
As in all counties, much work remains and we greatly appreciate the lead taken by the Commonwealth in impressing upon us the need for urgency.
We join all our fellow members in recognizing a basic fact of modern international life that is becoming increasingly clear.
No nation can meet the rapid and extremely demanding changes of the twenty-first century successfully unless its women citizens are fully able to share in the task of shaping its future.
- Borneo Bulletin
(14th March 2011)