By James Kon
Some 1,000 combined personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, the Royal Brunei Police Force as well as other uniformed agencies from government and non- government institutions executed a flawless grand ceremonial Royal Guard of Honour Parade at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien to honour His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 62nd birthday celebration yesterday.
Along the main procession route from Istana Nurul Iman to the capital, schoolchildren were lined up, vigorously waving mini national flags, accompanied by enthusiastic thunderous beatings of the Hadrah to greet His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's arrival at the Taman.
Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted upon arrival by YAM Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Md Yussof, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Pehin Datu Kerma Setia CP Dato Paduka Seri Zainuddin bin Jalani, the Commissioner of the Royal Brunei Police Force.
With His Majesty at the Royal Dais were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah.
A 21-cannon gun salute boomed across the densely packed city centre in unison with the playing of the national anthem, marking the commencement of the royal birthday parade.
Following the Royal Salute from a march past by the Royal Guard of Honour and the colours of the police and armed forces, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam inspected the contingents making up the Royal Guard of Honour Parade. They included personnel from the Royal Brunei Land Forces, the Royal Brunei Navy, the Royal Brunei Air Force and the Royal Brunei Police Force. There were also officers and personnel from various uniformed agencies of the government and non-government sectors.
Thousands of people from all walks of life including tourists gathered at the gates of the Taman just to catch a glimpse of His Majesty and to enjoy the crisp military parade and the pipes and drums that accompanied the martial marches. Many, especially the young and the old, were excited and delighted when His Majesty waved back to the crowds on the way back to the Royal Dais.
One of the many highlights of the parade was the final march past of the Royal Guard of Honour. As soon as the entire train of the parade assembled back in previous formation, the parade commander proudly shouted a command of 'Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik' (Long Live Your Majesty) that was followed by three thunderous roars of 'Daulat' or 'Long Life', for their beloved sovereign by the contingent of the Royal Guard of Honour.
As the echos of 'Daulat' subsided, the Royal Guard of Honour marched forward once again to produce a picture perfect scene of the military parade as two light aircraft and 10 helicopters from the Royal Brunei Air Force flew over the Taman, each trailing colourful smoke, which marked the end of birthday parade.
- Borneo Bulletin
(16th July 2008)