by Malek Hashim and Amie PDH Ishak
Senior citizens who met His Majesty the sultan and yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during a get-together with Brunei-Muara residents saw him as a kind, caring and mindful monarch.
"Changes can be seen in this year's get-together ceremony in terms of more facilities being provided, in the growing number of audience and tourists," said Haji Moksin bin Chuchu, 100, a former Silat instructor for PERSIB.
Showing his zeal and enthusiasm despite his age, he conveyed to His Majesty his deepest gratitude for the wisdom and diligence in his leadership, and for the peace and prosperity the citizens are enjoying.
Hjh Hayah bte Hj Osman, 80, from Kampong Tamoi, said the celebrations for His Majesty's birthday are always very lively and colourful.
Every year's performances excel that of the previous year, she said.
She said she is happy to be able to greet His Majesty on his 62nd birthday and is grateful for the Sultan's efforts in improving the lives of his people.
Hj Ismail bin Hj Damit, 64, from Mukim Kilanas, said he is happy to be able to celebrate His Majesty's birthday at the get-together ceremony.
He expressed his deep gratitude to His Majesty and prayed for his reign to extend eternally.
The royal celebration gets bigger every year with more people, especially the youths, participating, he said. On every occasion, every amenity is abundantly provided for each participant, he said.
He praised the field performances by all four districts over the years. Each year the competition gets stiffer, more elaborate and exceeds the measure of excellence, he said.
Haji Tamin bin Haji Omar, 75, a former civil servant, said he would never miss the occasion to greet His Majesty.
He and his family members left their Tasik Meradun house at 6am and joined the Mukim Kilanas delegation.
As years went by, Haji Tamin felt the get-together ceremony was getting more cheerful.
Hj Abas bin Nayan, 74, a former Public Works Department operator from Kampong Lambak, said he would not want to miss the opportunity to meet the monarch.
The country's development enjoyed by Bruneians is due to His Majesty's just, benevolent and diligent rule, he said.
He wished prosperity and longevity for His Majesty. The senior citizens showed their devotion and unwavering loyalty to His Majesty during the get-together.
- Borneo Bulletin
(21st July 2008)