Show of affection from locals & foreigners alike
By Yusrin Junaidi & Za'im Zaini

An overwhelming display of affection from Bruneians and foreign nationals greeted His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the Guard of Honour Parade at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in Bandar Seri Begawan yesterday morning to commemorate His Majesty's 60th Birthday.

The national anthem was played upon arrival of His Majesty followed by the 21-gun salute symbolising respect and loyalty by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. Accompanying the monarch were HRH Prince General Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah.

Students and teachers smiled, cheered and waved the flags enthusiastically to greet His Majesty and the royal entourage on their journey to the Taman.

Students played the 'Hadrah' to announce the monarch's arrival at the Taman along the streets. One student from Sekolah Menengah Sayyidina Umar Al-Khattab, who participated in the beating of 'Hadrah', said he got up early in the morning and was exited and happy to participate in yesterday's event. He said he joined the event just to see His Majesty and was not disappointed.

Families, students and tourists gathered at the capital as early as 6am in anticipation for the arrival of the monarch and the royal entourage as well as the scheduled guard of honour parade.

Many tourists were also spotted around the area. Among them was Mr Kerry Benson from Australia, who was accompanied by his wife. "The event looks well organised, spectacular with amazing decorations and the people are uniquely dressed in their traditional outfit," he said.

A number of interesting activities lined up to mark the month-long celebrations include get-together ceremonies between His Majesty and the public, firework display, procession, festive night stalls, stage shows and a tug-of-war competition this July 23. - Borneo Bulletin (16th July 2006)