Get-together still a thrill for senior subjects
By Aziz Idris

"Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik", shouted Awang Osman Awang Damit, an 86-year-old father of 12 and the husband of 73-year-old Dayang Aisah binti Awang Haji Omar from Kampong Katok A.

The couple, married for more that 40 years, brought along their youngest daughter and their grandchild to Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien, for a rare opportunity to meet and greet our loving ruler at the get-together.

"I reached here at 6.30am, parked my car at Jalan Sumbiling and walked together with my family to get good seats. I do not plan to miss this one," he told the Bulletin, referring to last year's ceremony which was cancelled and that he didn't manage to bring along his grandson.

"I still remember back in the days when this was the only opportunity to meet His Majesty. Not like nowadays, we can see him on television and even see his pictures on the Internet," he said, adding quickly that his grandson showed him pictures of the monarch from a computer at home.

Equipped with a camera phone, Awang Osman will try to take a photo of the monarch "if opportunity permits", he smiled.

Best friends Hjh Hidup and Hjh Gayuh, in their 70s, came all the way from Sungai Matan. They were invited by their village head to make the event "livelier".

Hjh Hidup said, "I talked to His Majesty a couple of times in the past. He asked me years ago about the development of our village. I can't remember when was that though, I tend to forget these days," she joked.

Both Hjh Hidup and Hjh Gayuh are members of the Village Consultative Council of Kampong Sungai Matan.

Meanwhile, 64-year-old Haji Mokthar bin Haji Latif went to the event with his loving wife of 40 years, Hjh Tismah Haji Tusin, 62, from Kampong Sungai Besar.

"We feel a sense of accomplishment that we manage to meet and greet our loving ruler," said Hj Mokthar who was at the venue since 8am.

He told the Bulletin that a ceremony such as this would strengthen family ties as they are bound to meet relatives and friends from other villages.

When asked about the performances, he praised the involvement of youth, saying: "I'm very proud of the students and youths for the dazzling display of loyalty towards His Majesty."

Young or old, people from all walks of life came with an abundance of joy, simply to greet our ruler. Although some voices could not be heard, the shouts of "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" will echo forever. - Borneo Bulletin (26th July 2010)