Grand finale to Royal get-together in Brunei-Muara District
Hakim Hayat

It was a grand affair as the nation wrapped up four consecutive days of get-together ceremonies in all four districts in which the people feted their beloved monarch on the occasion of the 66th birthday of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

Taman Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddin in the capital was the venue for the much-awaited get-together ceremony for the Brunei-Muara District.

It was awash with colours, enlivened with extravagant performances and smiles of thousands upon thousands of well-wishers thronging the Taman to greet the monarch in the event that lasted for almost four hours.

Some 2,000 students lined up along Jalan Sultan, waving mini-Brunei national flags and cheering as the royal entourage passed slowly towards the Taman.

The monarch could be seen waving to the cheering crowd amid the sounds of the 'hadrah' beating from 500 people, and while being welcomed by 132 students bearing the 'Bunga Manggar', to signify a majestic welcome.

His Majesty was greeted on arrival at the Taman by the Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Othman and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, as well as other senior officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee 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.

Upon the royal entourage's arrival at the Royal Dais, the Taman resonated with the national anthem sung by the choir group, with musical accompaniment from the Royal Brunei Police Force Band. This was followed by the three cheers of "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" by Mukim Penghulus, village heads, executive committee members and representatives of NGOs, as well as by many of those present at the get-together.

This was followed by a speech of allegiance and undivided loyalty to the monarch by the Brunei-Muara District Officer, Awg Hj Jamain bin Momin. On behalf of the district, Awg Hj Jamain expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the monarch's consent to celebrate the auspicious occasion with the people.

Later, His Majesty also witnessed the grand final of the National Level Tug-of-War Championship in the 'heavyweight' category between the Brunei-Muara and Belait Districts as they vied for the HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah Trophy.

The Brunei-Muara team emerged the champions in the heavyweight category after defeating the Belait District team following two rounds of matches.

His Majesty then consented to present the trophies, prizes and medals to the champions. His Majesty also consented to present prizes to champions of Category 'A', Temburong District.

His Majesty later witnessed a colourful drama performance with the theme 'Brunei's Glory Throughout Times' put up by local actors with 566 students from secondary schools and higher institutions.

The drama showcased the stride of time Brunei Darussalam has gone through its economy and development from early beginnings until today.

Following the performances, His Majesty, along with the royal entourage, consented to receive greetings from members of the National Executive Committee for His Majesty's 66th Birthday Celebrations in the Brunei-Muara District, Mukim Penghulus, village heads, representatives of NGOs, participants of the field performances and members of the public.

The joy of the people was etched in their faces throughout the get-together event with their beloved monarch and the royal family.

Thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life did not want to miss the opportunity to shake hands and greet the monarch personally. Many came with portraits and pens to get autographs from His Majesty. His Majesty also consented to have photos taken with many of the well-wishers, while others took the opportunity to present His Majesty with 'pesambah'.

The line-up of people waiting in line to greet the monarch at the Taman extended to the streets of Jalan Sultan.

After spending almost two hours interacting with the people in the get-together session, His Majesty later proceeded to the Banquet Hall of the Lapau Diraja for a luncheon. - Borneo Bulletin (20 July 2012)