His Majesty attends dinner hosted by heads of missions
By Azaraimy HH

On this joyous occasion, as the nation celebrates the 62nd Birthday of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, heads of diplomatic missions in the country last night hosted a dinner at the Royal Polo and Riding Club's Royal Berkshire Hall and extended their birthday greetings to the beloved monarch.

At the function, His Majesty was accompanied by Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah and other members of the royal family.

Among the celebration's highlights were the presentation of a beautiful 'Pesambah' or royal gift of an artwork depicting a silver Arwana fish and the cutting of a birthday cake by His Majesty while "Happy Birthday, Your Majesty" was sung.

Some members of the heads of missions also took to the stage and performed "Circle of Life", an Elton John number and the theme song of Walt Disney's animated film "The Lion King", with lyrics that reflect on the need to preserve the ecology and environment.

They were inspired by the importance and commitment shown by His Majesty and the Government of Brunei to environment protection and conservation, especially through the Heart of Borneo initiatives.

Philippine Ambassador Mrs Virginia H Benavidez, as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps on the occasion, said in her speech that the heads of missions in Brunei applaud the impetus that His Majesty has given in the renewed efforts against global warming and in favour of environmental conservation.

"This is clearly illustrated by the personal attention and support Your Majesty has granted to the Heart of Borneo initiatives, arising from Your Majesty's longstanding and enlightened policy towards preserving Brunei's beautiful and bountiful natural heritage," said Mrs Virginia H Benavidez at the event.

The heads of missions in Brunei also lauded several milestones the Sultanate has achieved in its economic diversification efforts, including Sungai Liang Industrial Park, the I-Centre, Pulau Muara Besar Project, the Brunei Halal brand, as well as various agriculture and agro-industry developments.

The evening also saw several performances from talented locally based performers, such as Dr Patrick Ang, a Consultant Cardiologist working at JPMC's Gleneagles, who rendered English songs, local favourites and the Oriental Express. Also joining him to perform for His Majesty was Malaysian High Commissioner Dato Ku Jaafar, among others. - Borneo Bulletin (24th July 2008)