TIMELY REFLECTIONS

Written by root. Posted in IN PERSON

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Published on January 12, 2017 with No Comments

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah spoke exclusively to MUHIBAH on his latest book, Sana’a to San José 1984-2015.

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Credits: Hassanal Bolkiah The Sultan of Brunei/HistoryTM Original Production

 

The past cannot be changed. The future is not preordained. Brunei will need careful, steady and clear-sighted ministers like HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah to help the Sultan in charting his way forward as the geopolitical landscape changes.
Foreword by the late Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore in Time and the River.

 

What has inspired you to write this book?
I saw it as a way of completing what was really the most important task I had had for over thirty years – representing His Majesty as his Foreign Affairs Minister. We had a very difficult task establishing our identity as a small and independent country and I wanted to show how we had set about defining it.

 

In managing this book, what was your writing schedule?
It was all based on my speeches over the years. I chose those which defined Brunei and our positions and linked them through comments. It took about six months to put together.

 

What did you hope readers gained from it?
I hope they can understand Brunei better and what we have tried to offer as a small country and what we are offering our region and the world at large.

 

In many ways this is very much a personal look into your own thoughts on Brunei Daussalam. What are the hopes you have for your country?
My style, like any writer, is personal. I like to express things personally in a way that everyone can understand. But the thoughts themselves are, I hope, not personal. I hope they are consistent with a national approach which all our government ministers adopt. That is our way in Brunei. The essential point is unity. That is the only way a small country can survive.

 

What about your fellow countrymen – what and how do you see them moving ahead or impacted from this sharing?
That’s one of the advantages of being small. We all share and have our own ways of listening and hearing each other. So it’s not a question of me seeing them moving ahead. The people move ahead themselves and I hope our time in Foreign Affairs and Trade helped them do this.

 

What do you see as your greatest success, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, that you had the most work to do and were proud of?
I don’t see our work in Foreign Affairs as a question of personal pride. We all had a job to do and I don’t think we made mistakes particularly in building our ASEAN region. I think pride came from the performances of ambassadors, permanent secretaries, and my officers.

 

What were your best personal takeways from representing Brunei?
I think it came from the personal contacts we made at every level, in my own case with my fellow ministers. We all showed respect to each other and each others’ views and beliefs.

 

What are you busy with these days?
The most important thing, of course, is doing what I can to assist His Majesty in my traditional role of what we in Brunei call Perdana Wazir. For the rest, I am a busy businessman and my wife and I have an ever-growing family of children and grandchildren who also keep us very busy.

 

Has life come full circle for you?
Life doesn’t go round and round in circles. It moves in different directions maybe, and I am finding them exciting and challenging as always.

 

 

HRH’s books are available in selected bookstores in Brunei, Kinokuniya and Select Books in Singapore. Alternatively, purchase can be made online at: Amazon.com. For further enquiries, please email Brunei Press Sdn Bhd (Marketing) at: marketing@bruneipress.com.bn

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