AROUND 8,000 residents of all ages and nationalities thronged the open area (Padang) in Tutong Civic Centre for a get-together ceremony with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in Tutong District yesterday.
Amidst clear skies and fine weather, the Tutong District residents showcased their love and loyalty for the beloved monarch. It was colourful not just in terms of the confetti that kick-started the ceremony but also the pomp and pageantry that followed, as 467 people were involved in a special field performance.
Thousands of subjects and foreign nationals working and residing in the Tutong District and well-wishers from as far as Mumbai and Taiwan joined the ceremony to meet and greet the ruler.
It was indeed a sight to behold, a testament to the solidarity and feeling of oneness with the Sultan. It has been the traditional sights and sounds during such ceremonies every year.
The ceremony began with a motorcade signalling the arrival of His Majesty and other members of the royal family to the get-together venue.
Accompanying His Majesty were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik and other members of the royal family.
Soon after the arrival, the national anthem ‘Allah Peliharakan Sultan’ was sung followed by loud cheers of ‘Daulat Duli Tuan Patik’ and release of confetti.
Before the performance of 467 participants, a special thanksgiving speech and pledge of loyalty was read by Tutong District Officer, Awang Wardi bin Hj Mohammad Ali.
Awang Wardi in a speech wished on behalf of the people in Tutong District His Majesty on his 67th birthday and thanked the monarch for spending time and energy to be with his subjects and residents in the district, which would be memorable as it meant a lot for the people.
He also said under His Majesty’s leadership, the people in the district continue to enjoy various facilities provided by the government that enable the district to have continued progress and development, both in the urban as well as rural areas. All these have been made possible through the wise and benevolent rule of His Majesty. On behalf of the Tutong communities, Awang Wardi pledged the people’s loyalty to His Majesty.
The special performance later began, a drama sketch based on a traditional poem called ‘Rajang Hari’ written by the late father of His Majesty, Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, that encompasses various aspects of education, defence, health and prosperity in supporting the leadership of the Sultan to make Brunei a Zikir Nation.
The performers comprised government officers and staff, members of the Mukim and Village Consultative Councils, Tutong youths, students from government and private schools, members of associations, non-governmental organisations and volunteer groups, as well as village communities.
After the special performance, His Majesty, accompanied by members of the royal family, consented to go around the field to meet and receive greetings from the people.
The residents and others were divided into camps, which His Majesty and members of the royal family visited.
In some of the camps, His Majesty consented to receive ‘pesambah’, which has been a tradition, where some organisations or associations present royal gifts to the beloved monarch.
Seventeen groups of people were divided into their respective camps this year including 420 students, 200 civil servants, 1,300 people from Mukim Pekan Tutong, 400 from Mukim Kiudang, 600 from Mukim Lamunin, 300 from Mukim Rambai, 300 from Mukim Ukong, 500 from Mukim Telisai, 400 from Mukim Tanjong Maya, 1,000 from Mukim Keriam, 480 youths who participated in the 67-times Khatam Al-Quran event, 500 people from Tutong District Youth Council, 200 representatives from Tiong Hua community, 200 representatives from business and banking sector in Tutong District, 200 retired army personnel, 200 special needs children and 800 Royal Brunei Armed Forces personnel.
First, His Majesty and the royal entourage, consented to receive greetings from members of the National Executive Committee for His Majesty’s 67th Birthday Celebrations in the Tutong District, Mukim Penghulus, village heads, NGOs and participants of the field performance.
At the camps, 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. His Majesty also consented to have photos taken with many of the well-wishers.
After the get-together, His Majesty and members of the royal family were ushered into a special room at the Tutong Civic Centre, where a Doa Selamat was recited before a Majlis Santap (lunch).
Tutong District was the first to hold the get-together ceremony this year. It will be held in Temburong on Sept 26, Belait on Sept 28 and Brunei-Muara on Sept 29.
- Borneo Bulletin
(18 September 2013)