Sultan at CNY get-together
Hakim Hayat

IN A showcase of cultural vibrancy and unity, the Chinese community in the Sultanate celebrated the New Lunar Year of the Snake with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha at a Chinese New Year get-together event at The Empire Hotel & Country Club yesterday.

Held for the eighth year running, the annual get-together hosted by the local Tiong Hwa community was also graced by HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik.

Also present were HRH Princess Hajah Masna, HRH Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam, other members of the royal family as well as Cabinet Ministers, Legislative Council members and foreign diplomats.

Upon arrival, Their Majesties and members of the royal family were greeted by the event’s Organising Committee Chairman, Dato Paduka Lim Beng Thai, Honorary Advisors, Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Awang Goh King Chin and Pehin Bendahari Cina Dato Paduka Awang Onn Siew Siong and other executive members.

Red Chinese lanterns lined the walkways and purpose built decorations further enlivened the Lunar New Year festivity.

Following a group picture with the organising committee, Their Majesties and members of the royal family were warmly welcomed with a traditional Chinese lion dance and were led to the tastefully decorated hall, filled with members of the Chinese community all excited to meet the royal entourage.

The event began with the recital of the Loyalty Pledge from members of the local Tiong Hwa Community led by Dato Paduka Lim Beng Thai before His Majesty.

Prior to the reception, Their Majesties consented to receive a number of ‘pesambahs’ presented by executive members of the organising committee.

Enlivening the event were an array of colourful dance performances comprising cultural Chinese and Malay dances by students from Chung Hwa Middle School in BSB and the local Chinese community. A selection of Chinese and Malay songs was also part of the energetic performances by two young singers, Edmond Zhou and Wu Pei Pei.

Following the reception and performances, Their Majesties were invited to view a mini exhibition showcasing the significant contribution of the Tiong Hwa community to the country in sectors such as economy and educational development. Among the organisations participating in the exhibition were Lim Teck Hoo Holdings and Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB.

The exhibition also featured an interesting insight into Chinese culture and traditions such as demonstrations of Chinese Calligraphy, Chinese chess, Tai-chi, Sichuan Long Oraesea Kung Fu Tea, Chinese Orchestra and Chinese Tea.

Their Majesties were seen happily mingling with many members of the Tiong Hwa community while touring the exhibition, taking interest in many of the demonstrations and exhibits on display.

Before leaving the ceremony, Their Majesties and the royal entourage consented to meet and greet committee members and performers. - Borneo Bulletin (1 March 2013)