Brunei encourages youths to appreciate all cultures

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has reiterated the need to appreciate all cultures, which the country encourages its youths to practise, as the Commonwealth Day's theme "Connecting Cultures" is not only upheld by the Brunei government and its people, but also by the three pillars of Asean Action Plan.

"They enrich us, enlighten us and in the spirit of our theme, connect us to one another," said His Majesty.

His Majesty said this in a message to mark Commonwealth Day today.

Following is the full text of His Majesty's message:

"Today we are happy to celebrate Commonwealth Day with the theme "Connecting Cultures". It comprises two simple words, but for my government and the people of Brunei Darussalam, they represent the essence of our association.

"It is what we value most in international affairs and it reflects the ideals and aspirations that we hold most dear in our political, social and spiritual lives.

"It is expressed in the statutory rights that are held by each of our traditional communities, no matter what their background, faith or social culture.

"It is upheld by the three pillars of Asean Action Plan upon which we and our neighbours are building our regional community.

"Above all, it is the story of our own past in which trade and the sharing of resources, ambitions and skills with our partners turned our country into the nation we are today.

"It is why we encourage our young people to appreciate all cultures, through our National Youth Programme and our educational curricula.

"In the words of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in a previous Commonwealth Day message, 'We are reminded daily that we live in an independent world'. So, we greatly appreciate the outstanding contributions of the Commonwealth's programmes to our world.

"We see the Commonwealth's greatest strength as lying in its capacity to show that cultural differences are not divisive. They enrich us, enlighten us and in the spirit of our theme, connect us to one another.

"On this special day, we are connected to all our fellow members in common friendship, hope and respect. We send them our warmest greetings and wish Her Majesty, the Head of the Commonwealth, a very happy celebration of her coming Diamond Jubilee." - Borneo Bulletin (12 March 2012)