By Siti Hajar and Hakim Hayat
"Work hard, be happy," is His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's message to the people and residents of Brunei Darussalam.
The beloved monarch consented to share his words of wisdom when a team from the Borneo Bulletin kindly asked for a few precious moments of the tirelessly working monarch's time following the completion of the royal birthday tour of displays at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien in the capital yesterday during the get-together and meet and greet session in the Brunei-Muara District.
Over the past weeks during Brunei's auspicious month of July, His Majesty has generously accommodated the humble requests from the Bulletin's journalists when seeking the monarch's royal comments, right from saying 'Nice, Very Nice', in response to what the monarch thought of this year's biennial Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition to commenting 'Very good', on the ruler's regal opinion of the 2,000 newly-built houses that were distributed under the National Housing Scheme in Kampong Panaga in the Belait District.
Yesterday, as the buzz and excitement of the final get-together ceremony neared its end as the Brunei-Muara District, once again, was awash with colours, excitement and the same solid outpouring of love and loyalty as thousands came down to Bandar Seri Begawan to celebrate the royal birthday.
Young and old, gentry and commoners alike from all walks of life in the Sultanate, along with scores of international expatriates and tourists braved the morning heat to catch a glimpse of, and personally greet, the benevolent monarch and the royal family as they made their rounds to the 78 booths that were occupied by various segments of the population, many of whom were eager to wish His Majesty a very happy birthday.
His Majesty was greeted on arrival by some 2,000 enthusiastic flag wavers, accompanied by the familiar thunderous beats of the 'hadrah' by a group of 500 musically talented youths who were lined up, eager and ready to herald their beloved monarch's arrival, along the road leading to Taman.
The morning's birthday celebration, the finale for 2011 after similar events in the Belait, Temburong and Tutong Districts, began with the singing of the National Anthem "Allah Peliharakan Sultan" - supported by the Royal Brunei Police Force Band - followed by three powerful cheers of "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" that could be heard echoing and reverberating throughout the capital.
His Majesty was accompanied by HRH Prince Haji Al-Muthadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen.
As with His Majesty's royal birthday customs, the Brunei-Muara District Officer delivered a speech, read in the presence of His Majesty, the royal family, local and international VIPs, as well as members of the public, which underscored His Majesty's wise leadership that has created the modern and prosperous Brunei Darussalam that the world is more familiar with today.
Standing in support of Awang Haji Jamain bin Momin's speech were the Penghulus of Mukim and village heads from the Brunei-Muara District, who stood in attention.
Lauding the rapid modernisation and vast development enjoyed by the people in the Brunei-Muara District in the fields of religion, economy, health, security, education, infrastructure and more, Awang Haji Jamain said, "Under Your Majesty's leadership, the country is progressing rapidly with development projects that are currently being planned and implemented accordingly."
The district officer also thanked the beloved monarch on the recent announcement of changes to several government policies that His Majesty 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.
"This is truly a blessing for the country's people," remarked Awang Haji Jamain in recognition of the constantly improving quality of living for the people and residents of the country.
Following the heartfelt words by the Brunei-Muara District Officer on behalf of the people of the district came performances that entertained thousands who converged into the heart of the country.
Though the ambience of the day's celebration was already electrifying, the highlight of the event was the special 'pesambah' for His Majesty in the form of a diamond that was ushered in by five special bearers and placed in front of the royal dais, which was accompanied by a musical composition and formation.
Ranging from the "Silat" performances to the "Syair" and "Sajak" which highlighted the Malay Archipelago's culture and focused on the monarch's leadership to the songs by the participants who had worked tirelessly to perfect their routines to ensure that it would be nothing less than perfect and fit for a king, the thorough and well-timed routines encircled Brunei's traditions that captured the imagination of those who bore witness yesterday.
The finals for the Borneo Tug-of-War competition between Brunei Darussalam and Sarawak was also held yesterday as His Majesty and the royal family eagerly looked on. The Sultanate's team proudly emerged champions.
The strongmen of Brunei received their gifts from His Majesty prior to His Majesty's 'Junjung Ziarah' with the district's Executive Committee members, His Majesty's Birthday Celebration Committee, participants of the special performances, Penghulus of Mukim and village heads, uniformed personnel, non-government organisations, as well as residents of the Brunei-Muara District.
The "Junjung Ziarah" was accompanied by a choir performance comprising 65 staff from the Language and Literature Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Fire and Rescue Department and the BSB Municipal Department.
The get-together ceremony between the monarch and his people signifies the concern and care of the monarch on his subjects and the loyalty of his people, in return, to their beloved and benevolent ruler.
After meeting with his subjects, swarmed by people of all ages, receiving a plethora of 'pesambahs' or gifts from the various associations and companies, His Majesty and other members of the royal family then proceeded to rest before consenting to a royal luncheon at the Lapau Banquet Hall.
- Borneo Bulletin
(25th July 2011)