By M K Anwar
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to attend the mass gathering with the rakyat to commemorate the 22nd Anniversary of Brunei's Independence at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in the capital.
Arriving to a rousing welcome at the Taman, His Majesty was greeted by beatings of the hadrah and cheers from flag waving school children that had lined up the route to the Taman.
Also witnessing the event were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.
His Majesty and the royal entourage was welcomed at the Taman by Pehin Major General (R) Dato Awang Haji Mohammad bin Haji Daud, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, who is the Executive Committee Chairman of Brunei National Day Celebration and other members of the committee.
Shortly after arrival, His Majesty was given the royal salute followed by the playing of the national anthem. His Majesty inspected the guard of honour mounted by personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Police Force.
Amid the accompaniment of a medley of patriotic songs from a choir group and also the marching bands, 99 teams of students, uniformed personnel, government officials and private sector representatives began the march past in the National Day parade led by a giant-sized national flag carried by 35 participants.
This was followed by the reading of the National Day oath led by Awang Fahmi bin Hj Metussin, who coincidently was born on January 1, 1984. The oath supported by other representatives from the public and private sector again renewed the commitment, loyalty and solidarity of the people to His Majesty and his leadership and at the same time to further maintain the sovereignty, peace and security of the country.
This year's theme is "Mempertingkatkan Daya Saing Bangsa" or "Enhancing the Nation's Competitive Capabilities". The theme is seen as a continuation of last year's theme of "Bersepadu Memperkasa Mandiri Bangsa" or "Together in Strengthening National Self Reliance".
Enhancing the nation's competitive capabilities is important especially in the globalised era we face today so as not to be left behind both regionally and internationally.
His Majesty during last year's National Day titah reminded that the determination for progress and caring should be cultivated because without it the country will only move backward.
In order to consolidate what is aspired by the nation, His Majesty said it is paramount that the thinking, will and soul of every rakyat are nurtured, upheld and moulded through education and religious faiths that are strong and wise.
The main highlight of the National Day gathering was the three large-scale field performances by 4,000 participants that highlighted the theme of the 22nd National Day celebration.
First was the "Bunga Putar and Taman Permata" pattern, signifying the nation's unity in the context of independence and a sovereign nation, rich with various cultures and possesses huge potential towards development and competitiveness.
Another was the Brunei map and network pattern performance, showing the nation is IT literate and smart in utilising IT and networking.
All the performances incorporated colourful props such as umbrellas and fans. The several rehearsals prior to the main event helped in the immaculate performance of the participants, who showed their patriotic spirit and earned the applause of those witnessing the event.
The gigantic Brunei Darussalam National flag pattern performance that followed signified the existence of strong unity, high patriotic spirit and competitiveness among the people of Brunei Darussalam in facing the many challenges of globalisation.
His Majesty lauded the efforts of His Majesty's late father, Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien, in developing the nation in a titah on the eve of the celebration.
His Majesty said that it has been 20 years since Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien passed away and it is therefore fitting that we remember him as a Sultan who was concerned about the future of the nation.
The efforts of Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien to develop the country has no comparisons and they were made without thinking about himself or under any pressure from any parties.
"The path towards generating prosperity must be continued," His Majesty advised.
It is not an easy path but one that requires the resources as well as a strong mind to make us ready to face other obstacles, said the monarch.
- Borneo Bulletin
(24th Feb 2006)