Tutong's tribute to His Majesty
By Sonia K and James Kon

Thousands thronged the field of the Tutong Community Complex to greet His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as the district came alive in resplendent colours for the Get-Together Ceremony in conjunction with His Majesty's 60th birthday.

Hundreds of school children from the district were out in force lining up along the roads to greet His Majesty and members of the royal family.

Yesterday's get-together was the first for His Majesty in a series of events with people from all four districts.

His Majesty arrived at the helipad near the official residence of the Tutong District Officer and was greeted upon arrival by Pehin Dato Awang Hj Adanan, Minister of Home Affairs; Pehin Dato Awang Haji Dani, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs; Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Home Affairs; and Tutong District Officer, Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Haji Mohd Idris.

Accompanying His Majesty to the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Abdul Azim, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.

Upon arrival at the royal dais, His Majesty was greeted with three cheers of 'Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik'.

Later, the Tutong District Officer, in a speech, conveyed his highest gratitude and appreciation to His Majesty for attending the ceremony with the community of Tutong District.

The district officer said among the National Development plan currently being implemented and expected to be completed this year at the district are a block of five level government building for the district office as well as the construction of a new Tutong wet market complex and the construction of a Multipurpose hall for Tutong Town.

The projects show His Majesty's Government's efforts in stimulating economic activities by providing services and facilities for business to raise the standard of living for the people of Tutong District.

"To commemorate His Majesty's 60th birthday celebration, the people of Tutong District have united as one in building an arc representing the love, respect and appreciation for His Majesty," Awang Hj Mutalib said.

His Majesty and other members of the royal family witnessed four segments of performances by more than 1,200 students and residents of the district, which were flawless thanks to months of preparations.

The performance carried the theme "Samarak Kasih - Menjunjung Duli".

The first segment consisted classical dances "Semarak Kasih-Menjunjung Duli" performed by 120 students. The songs were sung by a choir that flowed with the rhythm of the music. The dance symbolised the uniqueness of various ethnic groups with their traditional culture and customs.

The second segment was a declamation of patriotism which portrayed the birth of a patriotic nation. It was performed in traditional Zapin culture by 120 school children.

The third segment of the performance represented the strong spirit of the community and the nation portraying the peaceful life in a traditional unifying dance called "Semerah Padi".

The grand finale included the two songs entitled "Syahdu Meniti Kesyukuran" and "Rasa Sayang". More than 800 participants came out on stage to sing the songs. Wearing traditional costumes, the participants performed each of the dances perfectly entertaining His Majesty and the audience.

The performance came to an end with the release of hundreds of balloons to the sky while a flip card read "Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik - Semarak Kasih Menjunjung Duli".

After the show, the royal entourage met with the performers and well-wishers and residents of the district in a 'junjung ziarah'. His Majesty also received numerous "pesambah" from his subjects.

His Majesty's caring attitude towards his subjects was clearly visible as the ruler shook hands with those waiting patiently and eagerly in the tents, and even spoke to some of them along the way.

The monarch then launched the Arc Monument to commemorate His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 60th birthday. The ruler then officiated an exhibition themed "Excellent Leadership, the Base of Developing Nation".

His Majesty visited all the 35 exhibition booths comprising government agencies, NGOs, SMEs and the Mukim Consultative Council. His Majesty also mingled with the people at the booths.

The get-together ended with a luncheon at the main hall of the Tutong Community Complex.

His Majesty is scheduled to attend a get-together ceremony tomorrow with his subjects in Temburong District. - Borneo Bulletin (18th July 2006)