Tutong's day of joy
By Azaraimy HH

"Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" echoed across Tutong Town yesterday as more than 8,600 subjects and residents pledged their loyalty to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the annual get-together and "Junjung Ziarah" ceremony at the Tutong Community Hall Complex Field.

Also gracing the event were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen.

A tradition since independence in the days after His Majesty's birthday, the event has been unique to Brunei Darussalam, where thousands of subjects and residents get a chance to be up-close and personal with the monarch.

To everyone, it is a rare occasion, especially for school students taking part in the event and for some it is an oppor-tunity to have a quick conversation with the monarch.

And there are those, as it happens almost every year, who take the opportunity to hand over letters to His Majesty, some writing words of love and some seeking assistance from the caring ruler.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, described the annual event as a symbol of oneness between the beloved monarch and his people, where His Majesty is willing to "Becemar Duli" (or bring himself to be with) annually as part of His Majesty's birthday celebration to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people.

"The event is a great annual significance that shows solidarity among the people and the close connection between the caring monarch and his subjects," the minister explained to the Bulletin.

Acting Tutong District Officer, Hj Muhammad Suffian bin Haji Bungsu, in his "pledge of loyalty" at the start of the event yesterday said the people, especially residents in Tutong District, thank His Majesty on the announcement of several changes that the beloved monarch stated in a titah during the Audience and Investiture Ceremony in conjunction with His Majesty's 65th birthday celebration on July 15 at the Istana Nurul Iman.

The changes announced by His Majesty, among others, focused on education progress and human resources development. The changes also touched on a prudent use of state resources that can help low income citizens. Changes have also been made in order to strengthen the private sector, as well as streamlining special benefits to all government employees.

Hj Muhammad Suffian said the recent amendments clearly showed that His Majesty holds the welfare and well-being of his subjects close to his heart.

His Majesty was greeted on arrival by around 2,000 flag wavers, mostly students, lined up along the road leading to the Tutong Community Hall Complex Field, where the event was held.

Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by the Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Laila Major General (R) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof

The event proceeded with the singing of the National Anthem, "Allah Peliharakan Sultan", followed with the chanting of "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik".

His Majesty and other members of the royal family then watched a special performance involving 650 people.

The performance was divided into two segments. The first segment showcased a song and dance with a "diang" rhythm called "Kasih Raja" or "the King's love".

This segment showed mostly students dressed in traditional Malay attire performing dances and sketches. It portrayed the people's gratitude towards their ruler.

The second segment showcased performances comprising a medley and song entitled "Salam Kasih Sayang Dari Anak Bangsaku" or "Greeting of Love from Compatriots" and "Sedia Bakti". This segment was accompanied by a dance performance representing several ethnic groups residing in the Tutong District.

It portrayed a symbol of joyfulness and gratitude of the people in jointly supporting the leadership and sovereignty of the Sultan that is highly cherished.

After the performances, His Majesty met thousands of citizens and residents, numbering around 6,000 of various ethnic groups including foreign nationalities who are working in the country.

His Majesty and members of the royal family later proceeded for a santap at the Tutong Community Hall Complex. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd July 2011)