James Kon & Hakim Hayat
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday witnessed a flawless ceremonial parade at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien in the heart of the capital to mark His Majesty's 66th birthday celebration.
Welcoming the arrival of His Majesty and the royal family were hundreds of students who lined up to wave the mini national flags to liven up the atmosphere in great spirit of patriotism.
In attendance at the Taman 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 Haji Sufri Bolkiah and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.
Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted with the royal salute, accompanied by the national anthem and cannon salute.
Members of the public who did not get access in to the Taman were seen crowding at the gate and fences just to catch a glimpse of the ceremony.
His Majesty then consented to inspect the royal guard of honour that was mounted by personnel of the Royal Brunei Land Forces, Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Brunei Air Force, Royal Brunei Police Force as well as uniformed government departments and associations.
For the first time, participants of the National Service Programme pilot project also took part in the parade.
His Majesty then witnessed a march past by members of the royal guard of honour.
The Taman Sir Muda Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien then echoed with patriotic shouts three times of "Daulat" for His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
Before concluding the ceremonial event, a cluster of helicopters from the Royal Brunei Air Forces flew past the Taman to sound the event.
After the ceremonies, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair, said in an interview, "It was a flawless and breathtaking parade."
He added, "This is the first time that members of the National Service Programme pilot project participated in His Majesty's birthday celebrations. It's a significant day."
Meanwhile, Mr Noriki Hirose, the Japanese Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam said, "I have been here for three years and every time I witness the ceremony, I appreciate the parade."
Mr Rob Fenn, the British High Commissioner to Brunei highlighted. "It's a flawless performance. I see a connection with the Queen's celebration. I think both Royalties drew spirit from the same deep well but Brunei did it with its own style. It's more vivid in colour and great to watch."
- Borneo Bulletin
(16 July 2012)