Day of pomp and pride
By Azaraimy HH

Around 21,000 parade participants including 7,700 field performers from all walks of life and from every corner of Brunei and close to 10,000 spectators and guests turned the historical Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar 'Ali Saifuddien in the capital into a congregation of humanity beneath a clear sky during the 28th National Day Celebration yesterday.

The theme this year was "My Country Brunei Darussalam".

Long before the arrival of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and other members of the royal family as well as VIP guests, participants and people started to arrive as early as 4.30am and by the time it was close to 6am, roads leading to the city centre were choc-a-bloc with cars and other vehicles.

It was one of the Sultanate's biggest national events, where over 122 government departments and agencies, associations and organisations from public and private sectors totalling more than 21,000 representatives appeared in front of the Royal Dais at the Taman for an ultimate show of loyalty and unity under one proud flag.

Patriotic songs echoed through the city centre as early as 7am, as the National Day participants positioned themselves for a grand show.

Around 60 minutes before the arrival of His Majesty and other members of the royal family, media personnel and shutterbugs jostled to take the best view.

The decibel level of the patriotic songs was reduced at around 8am and there was a brief silence as people anticipated the arrival of His Majesty.

Around 8.15am, the monarch in army attire arrived accompanied by HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik, HRH Prince 'Abdul Wakeel and HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah.

Also in attendance were the Cheterias and other state dignitaries, Cabinet Ministers and senior-level government officers as well as VIP guests including foreign diplomatic corps.

The event began with "a Hormat Diraja" or Royal Salute, followed with the singing of the country's national anthem - "Allah Peliharakan Sultan".

His Majesty came down from the Royal Dais to inspect the Royal Guard of Honour.

As the Royal Guard of Honour made its way out of the Taman, the grand parade ensued with 122 government departments and agencies, associations and organisations from public and private sectors marching past the Royal Dais.

A huge national flag carried by 31 patriots led the march past.

The phrase "My Country Brunei Darussalam" wasn't just a mere theme but the aspiration of Brunei's citizens thousands of whom toil hard towards the nation's advancement in all fields so that the Vision 2035 can be achieved.

After the parade, 28 hadrah performers accompanied by 28 oath readers made their way in front of the Royal Dais for the reading of the National Day pledge, before the field performance began.

This year's National Day celebration field performance was choreographed with a difference, as 7,700 field performers from various agencies and associations including public and private sectors joined hands for a showcase utilising different colours of car shades.

Each field participant carried four car shades with different colours.

The concept for this year's field performance was "Masa" or "Time", whereby the arrangement and movement of the people and images depicted the core activities in the economic and social development of the nation. The performance combined the spirit and energy to depict the dynamism of Brunei Darussalam as a nation of sovereignty and independence.

Towards the end of the field performance this year's National Day celebration saw a unique performance - an "Alap Alap" aerobatic show from the Royal Brunei Air Force. - Borneo Bulletin (24th February 2012)