By Aziz Idris
It was an endless sea of yellow, as thousands of students from various schools waved miniature national flags to wish the beloved monarch "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" as His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam turned 64 yesterday.
Bandar Seri Begawan was again abuzz with activities after a year of hiatus (due to the H1N1 outbreak last year), as people from all walks of life thronged the capital for the festive occasion.
Thousands of students anxiously awaited the arrival of His Majesty as well as other members of the royal family, as they lined the streets leading towards the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien.
According to a teacher from the Sultan Jamalul Alam Secondary School (SMJA), a total of 200 Year Nine students participated in this year's celebration and students were "always excited".
"Some 50 teachers also joined to ensure the safety and well-being of these students. We always remind them to take care of their mini flags, too, and to replace faulty ones," he added.
The Bulletin learnt that students arrived along the roadside as early as 6am to witness the spectacle. Some schools provided transportation while other participants from nearby schools simply walked.
Apart from waving flags, the sounds of Hadrah echoed upon the arrival of His Majesty. Students were observed passionately beating the Hadrah and melodiously to show their affection for the beloved monarch.
"Students always show their joy in participating and the waving of flags, be it for His Majesty's Birthday or National Day celebrations," said a teacher from the Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Masnah School, all the way from Lambak.
"We sent 20 students straight from the Hadrah Co-Curriculum Club to perform. Other schools also sent their own delegates. I personally felt goosebumps after hearing the combination of sirens and Hadrah sounds for the royal escort and seeing the sea of yellow mini-flags... It was truly a magnificent feeling," he added.
In an interview with two 14-year-old students, Neya and Aiysah of Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College, both were really eager to participate in the waving of mini-flags, even though they had done it twice with their previous schools.
"I don't mind standing under the bright sun to catch a glimpse of His Majesty. It's always a nice feeling... It's so hard not to cheer, even though we are warned not to," she said with a smile.
Children as young as nine years old, like Hafiz from Jigsaw Primary School, told the Bulletin that it was their first time participating in the waving of mini-flags. He wished His Majesty a happy birthday and shouted together with his friends - "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" - whilst waving their mini-flags.
- Borneo Bulletin
(16th July 2010)