Warm birthday greetings on wet morning in KB
Hakim Hayat & Abdul Hakiim Yakof

THE morning downpour in Brunei’s oil town did not dampen the spirits of thousands of loyal citizens from greeting their beloved ruler at the annual get-together ceremony in the Belait District for His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 67th birthday celebration yesterday.

Demonstrating the monarch’s genuine concern for his subjects and the people’s affection for the caring monarch, His Majesty and other members of the royal family joined people from all walks of life who filled the Kuala Belait Municipal Field, all eager to reach out their hands to greet their beloved monarch and extend their warm birthday greetings.

His Majesty was greeted on arrival at the Jalan Maulana Helipad by Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Haji Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, the Minister of Home Affairs; Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Md Yussof, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs as well as the Belait District Officer, Awg Haji Haris bin Haji Othman.

Accompanying His Majesty were HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik.

Upon arrival at the royal grand stand, His Majesty was greeted with the national anthem, followed by three cheers of ‘Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik’ led by Mukim Penghulus, village heads and longhouse chiefs from the Belait District.

In a welcoming speech, Awg Hj Haris, on behalf of Belait District residents, renewed the oath of allegiance and undivided loyalty to the monarch.

Awg Hj Haris also said His Majesty’s presence at the event was an honour and a priceless gift that would be engraved in the hearts of the people, something they will long cherish.

The ceremony proceeded with a colourful field performance themed ‘Raja Berdaulat, Negara Berkat’ (loosely translated to Sovereign King, Blessed Nation) which began with a poetry recital depicted through a combination of pantomime and ‘tausyeh,’ followed by a choir performance by students of the Perdana Wazir Secondary School and Jefri Bolkiah Engineering College.

Following the performances, the monarch and the members of the royal family consented to receive greetings from members of the National Executive Committee for His Majesty’s 67th birthday celebration in the Belait District, grassroot leaders, government officials, representatives of NGOs, field performers and other members of the public, which included many expatriates residing in the oil town, as well as visitors.

Thousands of people descended unto the area to personally extend their birthday greetings to the benevolent ruler, with some also taking the opportunity to have their pictures taken with His Majesty, and others presenting ‘pesambahs’ to the Sultan.

His Majesty and the members of the royal family then headed to the Dewan Santap for a luncheon that signalled the end of the get-together ceremony in the Belait District.

There, His Majesty consented to receive a ‘pesambah’ presented by citizens and residents of the district in the form of a paddle handcrafted by a native.

According to organisers, the paddle is a cultural heritage from the Belait natives and is usually used by the tribal chiefs.

Today, the nation will wrap up the 67th royal birthday get-together in the Brunei-Muara District, which is held at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien in the capital. - Borneo Bulletin (29 September 2013)