Thousands join get-together with His Majesty in Tutong
Hakim Hayat, Lyna Mohammad & Aziz Idris

The slight downpour yesterday morning did not dampen the spirit of thousands of loyal subjects who thronged the Tutong District Community Hall Complex Field to celebrate His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 66th Birthday and to meet their beloved monarch at the get-together ceremony for the district.

The atmosphere was further enlivened with a showcase of colourful performan-ces by the residents, including multi-ethnic groups from the Tutong District.

His Majesty and the royal entourage's helicopter landed on the helipad next to the official residence of the Tutong District Officer.

The monarch was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muthadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen.

The royal entourage was greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman, as well as other senior government officials and the National Executive Committee members of His Majesty's 66th Birthday celebrations.

His Majesty's arrival to the afore-mentioned field in Tutong Town was also greeted by hundreds of students lining up the streets, cheering and waving their mini-flags.

Upon His Majesty's arrival at the Royal Dais, the National Anthem was played. The field later resonated with the loud slogan of "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik", chanted three times by a line-up of mukim penghulus as well as village and longhouse heads from Tutong.

In his welcoming speech, Acting Tutong District Officer Hj Muhd Suffian bin Hj Bungsu on behalf of the district's residents expressed their appreciation and gratitude for His Majesty's consent to celebrate the auspicious occasion with the people.

On behalf of the residents, he also renewed the oath of allegiance and un-divided loyalty to the monarch.

The acting district officer also upheld a recent titah made by His Majesty during the Audience and Investiture Ceremony at the Istana Nurul Iman.

"We very much appreciate Your Majesty's wise leadership, in introducing new development initiatives and reforms in government policies," he said. "Your Majesty's presence is an honour and a precious gift for us, which will always be in our sweetest memories," he added.

Following the speech, the monarch was feted to a special performance in line with this year's main theme, "Wawasan Raja, Wawasan Rakyat Adalah Wawasan Negara" or loosely 'The Vision of the King and People is the Vision of the Nation".

The 20-minute performance, divided in two segments with song medleys featuring traditional dances, is the culmination of weeks of rehearsals by over 600 participants, comprising government officers and staff, members of the Mukim and Village Consultative Councils, youths, students, volunteers and residents in Tutong.

All the performers' tireless efforts in the past few weeks proved worthwhile, as the monarch and royal entourage were visibly impressed by the vibrant and energetic performances, which showed the district's diverse cultural heritage.

His Majesty and the royal entourage then consented to receive greetings from over 7,000 people from different groups. It was a golden opportunity for the people to meet-and-greet the caring monarch on the happy occasion. Hundreds were armed with portraits and pens to get autographs from the monarch.

His Majesty also interacted with the people and was swarmed by many who wished to take photographs with their beloved monarch, while others did not miss the opportunity to present His Majesty with 'Pesambahs'.

After almost an hour of meeting the people, the monarch and the royal entourage later proceeded to the Main Hall of the Tutong District Community Hall Complex for a special luncheon.

Before leaving the venue, His Majesty also witnessed a traditional performance of the 'Anchayau' dance from a Dusun tribe, which is normally performed by the tribe to welcome distinguished guests such as Heads of State.

Today, His Majesty will be in the Temburong District to meet with loyal subjects in another get-together event. - Borneo Bulletin (18 July 2012)