THE hoisting of a giant-sized national flag yesterday marked the start of nationwide celebrations for His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalamís 68th birthday. The tradition of raising the giant national flag took place at an open area near the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital.
The guest of honour at the ceremony was Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, the Chief of Adat Istiadat, who is the advisor of the national organising committee for the royal birthday celebration.
Also present were Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, in his capacity as the Chairman of the organising committee for the hoisting of the giant national flag.
The ceremony began with a recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and a thanksgiving prayer by Pehin Khatib Awang Haji Emran bin Haji Kunchang, followed by a small parade involving 68 flag bearers who marched to the entrance and lined up around the area while carrying individual flags.
This was followed by Royal Brunei Navy personnel who received the giant flag from the Chief of Adat Istiadat, to commence the flag hoisting.
As the giant flag was being raised, the national anthem was sung and played by a choir comprising staff from the Language and Literature Bureau, Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department, Fire and Rescue Department and Royal Brunei Police Force band. The choir then sang two patriotic songs.
The guest of honour then distributed the 1.8 metre by 3.7 metre flags as well as posters to representatives of all four district offices, who in turn will distribute them to the local communities in their respective districts.
Meanwhile, the Brunei-Muara District also held a similar ceremony at their office in Berakas and it was attended by the Acting Brunei-Muara District Officer, Awang Mohammad Sunaidi bin Haji Buntar.
In the Belait District, the event was attended by Permanent Secretary at the Prime Ministerís Office. The Tutong District event was attended by Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, while the Temburong District ceremony was attended by Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Citizens and residents in the Sultanate are advised to fly the national flag at their respective residences, offices and commercial premises until August 31.
- Borneo Bulletin
(2 August 2014)