International Tattoo excitement builds up
By James Kon

Excitement fills the air as the Brunei International Tattoo performances to be held in conjunction with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 60th birthday start on July 29 at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

Military bands from 12 countries will perform stunts and play music for the crowd. They are from Brunei Darussalam, Australia, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. One of the biggest military powers in the world, China will be sending to Brunei its best military band, People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China for the four-day performance.

The Military Band of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China is the only state level, large-scale wind music performance organisation under the leadership and administration of the General Political Department of the PLA. It consists of three symphonic wind bands, a composing group, a teaching and studying team, and a singing group. The band has a large number of national first class conductors, composers, instrumentalists, teachers and art management personnel. It is one of the best and well-known philharmonic organisations in China.

In the 49 years since its foundation, the band has performed more than 5,000 ceremonial tasks. The military band performances gained praises from state guests Tito (Yugoslavia), Castro (Cuba), Kim II Sung (Democratic Korea), Nixon (US), Thatcher (UK), Yeltsin (Russia), and Clinton (US).

The Chinese delegation to Brunei Darussalam also consists of martial art experts from Coazhou Martial Arts Vocational School. Acknowledged as one of the best martial art schools in China, the Caozhou Martial Arts Vocational School, covering an area of 260 acres, is in the southern Peony Road of Heze City.

The school has been appraised as a National Advanced Martial Art school. Famous as a martials arts school in Shandong Province (Grade A), it is now a teaching and research experiment base of the central education and research institute.

The people of Brunei Darussalam as well as tourists from all over the world are expected to throng to the Hassanal Bolkiah National stadium from July 29 to August 1.

Members of the public can catch a glimpse of the Military Tattoo performances on July 23 when the various contingents will have a short performance in all four districts at the Roadshow BIT 2006. - Borneo Bulletin (20th July 2006)