N-Day feted with pomp and glory
By Aziz Idris

Brunei Darussalam was awash with national pride yesterday as His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam witnessed colourful and picture perfect 27th National Day performances together with tens of thousands of his subjects filling up every corner of Taman Hj Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien in the capital.

Accompanying His Majesty at the royal dais were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Hj 'Abdul 'Azim and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik, as well as other members of the royal family.

His Majesty and members of the royal family were greeted upon arrival by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah along with other Cabinet Ministers.

His Majesty clad in green military uniform saluted as the National Anthem, Allah Peliharakan Sultan was orchestrated by the army's marching band and sung by a specially assembled 75 choir members as well as the participants and the public. Shortly after, His Majesty took to the field to inspect a guard of honour.

Flag bearers wearing the national attire in pastel colours led the synchronised march past of 21,350 participants from 117 different organisations comprising uniformed personnel, government ministries, special needs individuals, district offices, higher learning institutions, public schools, missionary schools, non-profit organisations as well as expatriate communities in Brunei.

Patriotic songs echoed throughout the nearly two-hour-long parade. A group of marchers from neighbouring countries also joined the parade donned in their traditional attire.

At the end of the parade, participants lined up into a formation to recite the National Day oath pledging allegiance to the sovereignty, to uphold the national philosophy and work diligently and honestly in their every endeavour for the Sultanate, which was led by Hj Azman bin Hj Musa from the Syariah Affairs Department.

This was followed by the long-awaited umbrella-twirling performance by over 7,700 participants. The participants unfurled their umbrellas revealing the words 'Allahu Akbar' or 'God Almighty' written in Jawi followed by three loud roars of 'Allahu Akbar' representing the pride of Bruneians who embrace the country's aspiration to become a nation of Zikir.

A special badge carrying His Majesty's portrait and national flag were given to all guests and participants at the venue.

The theme "Negaraku Brunei Darussalam" - similar to last year's theme - emphasises on the citizens' sense of belonging to their country comprising all that is related to the nation including its leadership, government, constitution, law, cultural heritage and philosophy.

This theme encourages all the citizens of this nation regardless of age, origin, rank, race and religion to fulfil the responsibility so that this country will always be peaceful, safe, prosperous and remain as a 'Malay Islamic Monarchy' nation. - Borneo Bulletin (24th February 2011)