awang muhammad shamsul bazli bashreen bin awang haji mohammad shamsul bahreen

2021 IOTM - Bashreen's Podcast
00:00 / 28:41


IOTM would like to present April’s inspiring leader; Awang Muhammad Shamsul Bazli Bashreen bin Awang Haji Mohammad Shamsul Bahreen. ThE twenty-three-year-old is a second-year Business Administration major, studying in the School of Business and Economics (SBE). He is an active student; he enjoys being involved in a lot of activities. 

Bashreen was the Vice President of the UBD Student Council 2019/2020, a member of the School of Business and Economics Student Council (SBESC), a member of various Executives namely: Executive of International Affairs and Student Ambassador, Executive of Leadership & Innovation as well as Executive of Community Services and Students Welfare, and a member of Global Discovery Programme (GDP). Other than student bodies and executives, Bashreen also joined a few clubs such as Dance Culture Club, Choir Club and University Volunteering Club. Active indeed! This is because Bashreen believes he needs to make use of the four years in UBD to be active in order to improve himself. He is also a member of societies off-campus such as the Brunei-US Association (BUSA) and ASEAN University Network.

Since his Maktab Duli(MD)  days, he had involved himself with activities such as being the Head of Choir Club, also a class monitor. From there, his eagerness to be more involved in UBD kept on increasing in himself. After graduating from MD, Bashreen went to Politeknik Brunei(PB) and participated in the Student Council. During his second year, he was elected as the Treasurer of MPP and alhamdulillah the year after that, he got elected as the President. These involvements led him to be nominated to go to Singapore for the STEP Sociovation Forum in 2019 that focused on the eldery, the disabled and the environment, and JENESYS Programme in Japan. In his final year of studies in PB, he was appointed as the team leader for his group’s Final Year Project where they bagged the “Innovation Excellence Award” during the PB 5th Convocation Ceremony in 2019. 

Now that he is in UBD, he pursued further in such involvements that help him in his self-improvement. When he was a part of the Student Council 2019/2020, he and his colleagues managed to organize a few events and activities with other student bodies and clubs. He was also sent as the country’s representative to Thailand in 2020  for the ASEAN Student Leaders Forum to discuss more on the environmental factors in ASEAN countries. In Thailand, he managed to win the best pitching project on  “Environmental Sustainability as a Culture: Preparing Student Leaders for the Green Era” with his teammates from other ASEAN universities. He joined a few volunteering events too from other NGOs such as WeCare as he is also a member. Last year, Bashreen and his team went to the Ramadhan Drive for the Covid Relief for those who are really in need. He didn’t miss the opportunity to volunteer with Scot BN and of course, University Volunteering Club.

Different people have different inspirations. For Bashreen, he looks up to a lot of figures as inspiration for different aspects. His main inspiration is none other than his parents. Watching them work to earn for him while raising him inspires him to do the same for his future and current family. What pushed him to start this journey is the sense of purpose and accomplishment instilled inside of him when he leads an organization. His aspiration is to have a team where he is able to help by leading them and get joy out of watching each other grow individually and as a whole. As the roles become more on demand and the scope of responsibilities increases, it makes him eager to do more and there is where he sees possibilities and where solutions may be found.

Leadership is definitely Bashreen’s passion and he wants to gain more experience in this journey. He believes that different stages of life will require us to have different experiences and that is why we need to learn more such as meeting different kinds of people and getting involved in different kinds of activities. Ever since he started his leadership journey in primary school, he always wanted to lead and make people grow with each other. When it comes to achieving, he would rather achieve something as a team rather than alone. This is why being a leader is considered to be his passion.

When asked how a leader is defined, Bashreen answered how well one can manage their team. This includes the organisation they are in and the family they have. By growing ourselves with different abilities and skills can actually help us to lead our team. Being a leader, for Bashreen, is someone who can inspire other people to do good and benefit themselves and the people around them.

The number one strength that really helped Bashreen throughout his leadership journey is his confidence. Of course, he is aware of the limitations when it comes to confidence as one should not be too confident or overconfident as well as not lacking confidence or insecure. Another strength is his attention to detail. Bashreen has always been detail oriented when it comes to work and it is something that he enjoys. Being diligent allows him to deliver a hundred percent of his commitment. The other strength he possesses would be his excellent communication and negotiation skills. Working within any organisation can be more successfully managed and directed when you are brilliant in these skills. In this way, possible complications may be avoided if such leadership skills are to be possessed in oneself.

For someone who has strengths, Bashreen also has fears and that is the fear of not being able to gain trust. This is because different people may have been influenced with different leadership styles. Sometimes the feeling of not doing the right thing may rise and he is afraid that that will make his team not believe in him and in whatever he does. However, he agrees that no one can argue with a solid work ethic. Even if at first no one believes in you, people will eventually learn to believe in the result. Nevertheless, you must do the right thing for the betterment of yourself and the people around you. You need to always consider other people whenever you are leading a team.

Managing a group when a problem arises may differ depending on what type of group and problems Bashreen is handling. For example, when encountering a problem as the Student Council, firstly, we need to look into the problem. Ask ourselves, “what exactly is the problem?” And from here, we need to analyse further the problem. Can the problem be solved or improved? This is because different people may have different opinions or views on the problem. One may say it is a problem but another may say it is not. So Bashreen, as the Vice President, needed to be intelligent when it came to solving such problems. We need to be cautious and careful when proposing any solution. What he did was, he would gather his team in a circle to examine the problem such as whether or not the problem can be solved right away or come up with any suggestions to improve it. 

Other than being involved in leadership, Bashreen is also active in arts such as the Choir Club and Dance Club. He started to learn dancing and singing ever since he was in primary school. He loves performing arts because he noticed that being involved in such activities allows him to showcase his talents to other people. The things he is able to do may inspire other people to do the same thing as well. Bashreen has been involved in poetry competition, drama competition, and so on, focusing more towards acting, dancing, and singing. 

As an all-rounded human being, Bashreen has his way to juggle between academic, social, and personal life. He advised that firstly, we need to have our own goals and objectives. Ask: “Why do we want to do this?” For him, it is due to the fact that he is an active person. He needs to have more involvement to benefit not only himself but his future and other people too. So a proper time management is key to balance all his commitments. This includes scheduling school work, outside-school activities, and inside-school. A support system is also needed such as our friend group. It is important to have the right people in our circle in order to balance work and personal life. 

Despite this, Bashreen still experiences burnout because that is life; everything is a learning process. He believes that the main cause of his burnout is the constant denial by saying everything will be okay when it won't. In fact, not everything is perfect. So whenever he feels that something isn’t right, burnout may set in. Usually this happens when he is reflecting upon himself before going to sleep. He felt that he needs to think critically about his mistakes and failures and remind himself that these failures are not something to regret. They are the things that allow us to improve ourselves. 

Burnouts are normal in the leadership journey and fortunately Bashreen still manages to create memorable experiences and something to laugh about when looking back to. This goes back to his primary days when he got sent to Japan for an educational student programme. A lot of knowledge was obtained and this made him realise that he needs to be more involved so that people will see you as beneficial to the community and country. In Politeknik Brunei, he became part of the MPP. Due to his participation, he is trusted to be useful. He was sent to japan for the JENESYS programme and the year after that he was sent to Singapore for the STEP Sociovation Forum. Entering UBD, he was sent as the country’s representative to Thailand. Even though flights were restricted, he was able to represent UBD for a few forums discussing how to tackle COVID19 while studying. Representing UBD and Brunei is something that made him happy. A funny story Bashreen shared was during his visit to Thailand with two other friends, Izzuddin and Zulaikha, to represent UBD. He has always been afraid of dogs and the night before their flight back to Brunei, they went to a drugstore to buy snacks. It was dark and they heard dog noises. Izzuddin told them that it’s ok and not to run. Bashreen thought of course he won't run because the dogs may chase after him. But as the dog’s barking became louder, Izzuddin got panicked and started to run. They all ran away and the dogs started chasing them. Luckily, the hotel security was there to help.

Along the journey of life, there are a lot of challenges and the things that we want may not be the things that we get. So Bashreen encourages us to know the purpose of this life. To him, the purpose of life is to seek for Allah’s redha. So to please Him, we need to do a lot of things especially those which are beneficial for our Akhirah or Hereafter. For Bashreen, involving himself with leadership allows him to help himself and people around him. Helping people through volunteering and such can help build a sense of belonging and community within each other. He agrees that different people have different opinions and perspectives on life. From his opinion, this may grow differently along the way. We cannot expect to get what we want straight away. There will be obstacles as we strive to achieve our objectives. Things will always keep on changing so we have to be resilient in order to carry through and never give up. Everything goes back to our niat.

Speaking of niat, Bashreen spoke about his intentions when he first initiated his journey in leadership. As mentioned before, he first started in primary school where he led his class to do performance. The feeling of sharing his talents to people motivated him to keep leading. As time goes by, his intentions keep on changing. For now, he has different intentions such as to volunteer and to improve himself. Because of this, he felt that he was given the rizq or opportunity to get chosen as a representative in important events and so on. These were his intentions when he first started out this journey.

Intentions and goals are closely related. For Bashreen, his goals are to get involved and to be active wherever he goes. He hopes through all this, it may benefit his present and future. These involvements can also improve his portfolio. He would like to work in his dream job as a secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to work outside Brunei as the country’s representative. Furthermore, he hopes to support his family financially and emotionally and help the community through volunteering and watch other people grow along with him.

Before ending, Bashreen’s advice to everyone is to try and keep being active especially in the leadership field if we have the chance to. This is where we can find the opportunity to build our self-confidence, improve our portfolio and in other aspects such as being a country’s representative. No doubt that this is something that everyone should do and take part in. At the same time, we should never neglect our relationship with Allah, especially our solat and du’a. Bashreen shared the words he holds on to, “nothing is impossible with efforts and du’a.” With efforts and du’a, inn syaa Allah, we can achieve our goals. Make use of this time of our life as a student to get out there and start participating and growing before we move on to the next stage of life which is the working life. Always respect each other especially when we are doing our job because Bashreen believes that when we respect others, others will give back the same respect and that is when we build connections with people. Lastly, he highlighted that we need to have determination in our work, take good care of our deen and get our parents’ blessings. 

We, the IOTM Committee, would like to congratulate Bashreen once more for being a well deserved nominee for this month's IOTM Leadership category. We hope that his hopes and wishes come true and his journey in leadership and life be eased and blessed. May Bashreen's story inspire us and benefit us. Until the next IOTM, stay inspired and keep inspiring, everyone!