Royal gifts presented in Belait
By Liza Mohd

Thousands of people gathered at Third Batallion RBLF Lumut camp yesterday morning for the presentation of Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha's personal 'kurnia' to single mothers registered with the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and Majlis Ugama Islam Brunei (MUIB) and also babies born between October 7, 2009 and October 7, 2010 and registered at the Immigration and National Registration Department Brunei Darussalam.

In the Belait district, 957 babies and 172 single mothers were selected to receive the personal 'kurnia' from Her Majesty.

Present to hand over Her Majesty's personal contributions were Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah.

A 50-year old single mother, Dayang Hadiana binti Ari, who raised her four children including an adopted son for 20 years expressed her utmost appreciation to Her Majesty for the 'kurnia'. Earning a meager income of $550 a month, working as a cleaner, she has been the sole provider to her children and financially managed all the school expenses, rental and utilities. She also noted she receives a welfare allowance of $265 monthly, but it barely covers her monthly expenses. Therefore she is grateful for Her Majesty's personal kurnia yesterday morning, which could ease her burden and hardship.

Another single mother aged 50 years and wished to remain anonymous said she has been a divorcee for five years and she has raised her five-year-old daughter since then. Unemployed, she has to rely on her family members for support and only recently she started receiving welfare allowance of $265 monthly to provide for her daughter. She is thankful to Her Majesty for the personal 'kurnia' and prayed to Allah the Almighty to bless Her Majesty.

Apart from single mothers, babies of various races and nationalities born in the Sultanate between October 7 last year and October 7 this year were also selected to receive the personal contribution.

A Nepali national, Sangita Rai, 31 who gave birth to her two-month-old baby in Brunei felt extremely fortunate to be selected as one of the recipients at yesterday's event. She has only been in Brunei for nearly a year as her husband serves in the army in the British Garrison and she speaks fondly about Brunei's peacefulness and the lifestyle.

She said the personal 'kurnia' to everyone regardless of their race, religion and nationality reflects the royalty's generosity towards the population and its residents. "We, on behalf of the Gurkha wives wish Her Majesty health, happiness and long life," said Sangita.

Another recipient from Nepal was Devi Kala Chamling Rai, 30, who was seen pushing her six-month-old twin babies in the stroller. Her husband is also serving for the British army and they have been staying in Brunei for nearly a year. She is extremely grateful for Her Majesty's personal 'kurnia' which illustrates the Queen's care and concern for the population. She was also excited as it was her first encounter with any member of the Brunei royal family.

Also seen queuing in line to receive the personal kurnia was 31-year-old Peruvian Juliana Sia. She said she is happy to meet up with members of the royal family and she thanked Her Majesty for her kindness and attention to all residents in the Sultanate.

Recipients came as early as 6am yesterday and tents were erected outside the RBLF multi-purpose hall to facilitate the registration of recipients and distribution of numbers.

Most of the recipients were also transported by bus from Masjid Zainab in Lumut to the venue. The presentation started at 10am and ended by noon. - Borneo Bulletin (8th November 2010)