His Majesty at CHMS 90th Anniversary celebration
Hakim Hayat

The commemoration of Chung Hwa Middle School's (CHMS) long history of success, now stretching to its 90th year, was graced with the presence of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at a celebration held on a grand scale yesterday.

The public-funded private Chinese school, established in 1922 at the capital by the Chinese community here is a true illustration of willpower by individuals who formed the school almost a century ago. Today, the success story of one of the oldest schools in the country is that to be proud of. It was only a decade ago when the school celebrated its 80th anniversary, which His Majesty also consented to grace. Ten years on since His Majesty's last visit, the school has proven to be better than ever after achieving numerous milestones.

Upon arrival at the school, His Majesty was greeted by the Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong; Mr Tan San Leong, Chairman of CHMS Board of Directors; and Mr Ong Tiong Oh, Chairman of the 90th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

Also present were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik; and YAM Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Ruzaini bin Pg Dr Hj Mohd Yakub.

Before proceeding to the Darussalam Hall for the main event, His Majesty consented to sign a plaque to commemorate the school's 90th Anniversary and participated in a group photo with members of the school's Board of Directors. His Majesty was later given a grand welcome to the Darussalam Hall, with a performance of drum beats by students of CHMS, that echoed throughout the school.

Mr Ong Tiong Ho in his welcoming speech said that since its establishment, the school has been able to move forward and has made significant contributions to the nation's development by generating excellent students in various fields, as well as producing students who are loyal to their king and country.

He added that CHMS has also been supportive of the country's education policies and has fostered close relations with the Ministry of Education in developing the Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21) and in realising Brunei's Vision 2035. "These are endeavours from the wise leadership of His Majesty who is constantly supportive of Tiong Hua School development in this country. The success of this school also derives from the undivided efforts from corporate members and the public."

He said the school also prioritises in teaching three languages namely; Malay, English and Mandarin languages. "In addition to that, we don't abandon Islamic Religious Education as well as Jawi writing. We also give emphasis on five educational aspects that encompasses the shaping of mental and physical, strengthening of social values, moral and ethics," he added.

CHMS, he said, has also implemented various education programmes to achieve internationally acclaimed status, as well as giving opportunities to its students to venture into the ICT sector, in line with the 90th Anniversary celebration's theme, "Towards Innovation, Transformation and Continuous Progress".

His Majesty also consented to deliver a titah where he underscored that the country's continuous efforts in investing in its people by giving access to quality education. In the titah, His Majesty warned that 'brain-drain' should not happen in this nation, adding that the people should remain loyal and thankful to the government for the access to free education.

During the event, His Majesty also consented to present long-service awards to 57 individuals, comprising the school's Board of Directors and teachers who have served the school for more than 20 years.

His Majesty also received a 'pesambah' from the Chairman of the CHMS Board of Directors. This was followed by a video clip presentation, which showcased in detail the school's direction and development.

Five selected students from CHMS later read an oath in the presence of His Majesty. With high morale, the students vowed to be continuously determined in achieving excellence in the name of the king, the people and the country.

The school's vibrancy was further demonstrated with the array of performances put up by the students; including a traditional Malay dance, traditional Tiong Hua dance and a Wushu demonstration.

Following the main event, His Majesty consented to tour CHMS's Pehin Temenggong Dato Lim Teck Hoo block and the Kindergarten Section where His Majesty had a first-hand look at the school's development in various fields.

Teachers, staff and students also had the opportunity to speak to their beloved monarch during his tour to the school's classrooms, laboratories and the library.

During the tour, His Majesty was accompanied by the school's Principal Dayang Kho Guik Lan who received the Meritorious Teacher Award (School Leadership) from His Majesty last year.

After the tour, His Majesty also consented to receive greetings from staff and students of the school before proceeding to a santap hosted by the school in honour of His Majesty's visit. - Borneo Bulletin (12 October 2012)