By Huraizah Ahmad, Rosli Abidin Yahya, Kartika Rahman, Yusrin Junaidi & Za'im Zaini
Thousands of local citizens and tourists - including uniformed personnel, foreign workers and students - flocked to Jalan Tutong and the Taman Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in Bandar Seri Begawan yesterday for His Majesty's 60th Birthday celebrations.
Karen, a visitor from the Netherlands, expressed her excitement and hoped to stay longer in the Sultanate for other upcoming colourful events.
Tony Lavender, a management and training consultant from the UK, meanwhile was grateful for finally getting to witness such amazing displays of affection from the community towards their ruler.
RTB crews were around the capital, capturing the action and giving attendees an opportunity to convey their congratulatory members.
Many people were also spotted taking pictures with their cameras and phones.
"This is my first year working in Brunei. I wanted to watch the parade, as I might not have another chance to see this special festivity up close again," commented Djoko, an Indonesian worker.
"His Majesty the Sultan and loyal subjects have a very unique relationship that is built on genuine trust and mutual understanding," added his friends.
One of the young flag-wavers yesterday said, "It's really fun. My whole class is here, and we look forward to greeting His Majesty."
For some senior citizens, like Hj Mohammad from Kg Mata-Mata, it was a case of nostalgia.
As a former member of RBPF back in the 50's, he used to take part in the traditional Guard of Honour Parade.
There will be more activities to mark the occasion, such as more fireworks displays, street processions and tug-of-war tournaments, as well as cultural performances and the International Tattoo.
Participants will come from around Southeast Asia, as well as China, Australia, Britain, Pakistan, Jordan and Oman.
- Borneo Bulletin
(17th July 2006)