500 uniformed officers awe, impress spectators
By Siti Hajar

As the sun shone across the early morning sky yesterday, the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan that surround Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien were animated with the preparation of over 500 uniformed personnel whose colours brought to life the quiet roads of the nation's capital.

The uniformed officers, who hailed from different divisions, collectively gathered to celebrate His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 64th birthday and, without fail, impressed spectators with their discipline and confident demeanour, as they marched forward to pay their respects to the ruler at one of the country's most auspicious events.

From the Royal Brunei Police Force, Inspector Hj Mohammad was with his contingent members minutes before the start of the day's ceremony. In his crisp, neat uniform, he shared with the Bulletin his 27 years of experience with the force.

From the start of his service over two decades ago, the ways of observing His Majesty's birthday celebrations for RBPF have changed little, he explained, as he stood proudly in line with his contingent seen carrying M-16 machine guns, which were - at one time in history - SLR rifles.

Marching side by side with veteran officers were the faces of the future generation and, as these cadets donned their uniforms and respective insignias, they carried with them an ambience of pride.

As she spoke to the Bulletin, Nur Syafiqah Sheha Mustapa from Universiti Brunei Darussalam Women's Army Cadet (marking their first ever participation this year) expressed her enthusiasm on the privilege of being able to take part in the march and pay homage to the country's beloved ruler.

"It's an exciting experience," she said. "You get together with other uniformed officers and have the chance to see His Majesty."

The UBD Women's Army Cadet, along with many others, practised tirelessly over the past week to ensure the smooth running of programmes for the occasion. Other young uniformed cadet officers who lined the streets also comprised, among others, those from the Fire and Rescue Department, the Girl Guides Association, as well as the Red Crescent.

Transcending over the years, many have underscored the importance of ensuring that the nation's youths are raised in a surrounding that will support a brighter future for the Sultanate.

Getting youths involved in such national events, according to Senior Army Officer Hj Idris POKMB Othman Uking, is one of many ways in encouraging patriotism, loyalty to His Majesty and, most importantly, "Generating love for the country", he added.

From officers of the Customs Department to those from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, these individuals play a significant role in the country's welfare, and their presence yesterday, as they held their heads high, inspired those around them and instilled in all a real sense of awe. - Borneo Bulletin (16th July 2010)