THE latest book by His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ‘Association: A Part Of The World No Longer Apart’, was launched yesterday in a ceremony held in Singapore.
Former Singapore president S R Nathan officiated the ceremony which was attended by former political officeholders with close personal ties to His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, including former Singapore ministers of foreign affairs Professor S Jayakumar and Wong Kan Seng, according to the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Also present at the event was YAM Pengiran Muda Abdul Fattaah. The book launch was organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).
Members of the diplomatic corps and senior officials from the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs also attended the launch.
In his speech, S R Nathan praised His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah for presiding as the Foreign Minister of Brunei Darussalam with much distinction and great success.
‘Association’ charts the development of Asean, and His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed’s personal experiences as the longest-serving Asean Foreign Minister.
His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah is in Singapore for the 15th Singapore-Brunei Exchange Visit (SBEV).
In a speech, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah said, “Mr Nathan, members of ISEAS, ministers and distinguished guests and colleagues. Thank you for your kind words, and my great appreciation to the institute for their warm welcome and this very kind ceremony.
“My main idea in ‘Association’ was to look at Asean in a very human and personal way because that’s where I think Asean gets its strength. So I wanted to make it a tribute to our people. And my colleagues who represent them.
“Many of them come from Singapore and they have been a great influence on me. Ministers like S Rajaratnam and S Dhanabalan who helped me so much in the beginning. Leaders like Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong who always gave me inspiration and my colleagues Wong Kan Seng, Jayakumar and Shanmugam who have been the greatest of friends as well as close colleagues.
“We have worked together, learned from each other and shared wonderful experiences. And this is what I have tried to share in this book.
“That’s why I put our traditional Southeast Asian games at the heart of the book.
“Tarik kalat, pulling together as a team.
“Lumpat galah, meeting challenges.
“Permainan gasing, developing special skills.
“Congkak, planning and gaining knowledge.
“Sepak takraw bulat, keeping everything in balance and Seni Silat, the beauty of our culture and the energy we all possess.
“That’s what I think Asean is all about. And that’s how my colleagues and I have tried to work every time we meet. So my main hope is that future generations don’t forget Asean’s past and the values that have made it so successful.
“This also means that it is a very special pleasure to be with ISEAS today. The institute has always represented our region’s human and personal side, not just the meetings, master plans, strategies and roadmaps.
“So it’s an honour to be here today and I thank you, Mr Nathan, and the members of ISEAS very much indeed for your invitation today.”
In his speech S R Nathan said, “I feel deeply honoured to be given the privilege to preside over and launch this book, entitled ‘Association: A Part Of The World No Longer Apart’ by His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, with whom I have been associated with for a little over 30 years.
“From the time when his country was preparing for the Restoration of Full Independence, His Royal Highness has been active in engaging and developing the active friendship of his country with all others in Southeast Asia.
“Since that beginning he has presided as the Foreign Minister of his country with much distinction and great success. In the course of those years he has had a widely travelled life and much exposed to meeting with the peoples and leaders of the countries he has visited – both officially and privately.
“It is from that vast canvas that his book ‘Association’ has been drawn. It covers many themes and reflects on the many encounters he has had with leaders and peoples in what has been a lived experience of interesting times. His narrative produces a good mix of interesting experiences, reflections and discovery about Asean and its growth.
“This book that I am about to launch is an unusual and different kind of book from other autobiographies and memoirs. It is the 4th book by His Royal Highness and one where he records his insights into and rich experiences of Asean, its annual Asean Ministerial Meetings (AMM) and other gatherings with warmth and candour.
“Since 1981 when he attended his first AMM, His Royal Highness has been a part of every Asean gathering of importance. It is from that experience he brings out vividly in this book the events he feels that influenced and inspired the progress of Asean. ‘Association’ in a way chronicles the path that Asean took to arrive at the stage we find Asean today. Aptly, his words ‘the feeling together, taking part and understanding each other’ is what has got us into our habit of association with each other and the ‘give and take’ as second nature which we try to practise as leaders, officials and member countries of Asean – practices that I call ‘the Asean way’.
“On that note, I ask you to applaud His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah for making another valuable contribution to the literature of Asean, fully reinforced with pictures and quotations to give its readers knowledge, and understanding of Asean and its growth.
According to the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, later in the afternoon, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah was hosted to tea by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who also met with the Brunei delegation. The delegation then proceeded to Gardens by the Bay for a Learning Journey visit, hosted by Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, and Minister of State for Defence and National Development Dr Maliki Osman.
The exchange visit concluded last night with an official dinner hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Teo and His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah highlighted the importance of building on the foundation of the excellent ties between both countries to broaden and deepen cooperation and strengthen the links between the next generation of leaders. Both leaders also reaffirmed the need to ensure that the close and unique partnership between Singapore and Brunei continued into the future, according to the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
- Borneo Bulletin
(29 October 2013)