Greetings from the heart of the capital
By M K Anwar

Well-wishers came in the thousands as people in the Brunei-Muara District got their chance to meet His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at a Get-Together for the monarch's 60th birthday.

The call of 'Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik' echoed three times at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in the capital to welcome His Majesty as the beloved ruler arrived together with His Royal Highness Prince Hj 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.

Welcoming His Majesty at the event was Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Adanan, Minister of Home Affairs and the Brunei Muara District Officer, Dato Paduka Awang Hj Mohd Yussop bin Bakar, as well as other members of the organising committee.

The Brunei Muara District Officer expressed the undivided support and loyalty of the people in the district to His Majesty for his leadership and generosity.

Among the highlights yesterday was the tug-of-war competition for the 'heavyweight category' which was won by the Royal Brunei Police Force representing the Brunei-Muara District.

The Get-Together is one of the mostly anticipated events for every district especially during His Majesty's birthday celebration.

The capital itself has already undergone a befitting facelift and this clearly is even more evident with the added vibrancy and enthusiasm of the people who flocked to the capital yesterday.

The tug-of-war was followed by the colourful field performance by more than 1,000 students. The performance, among other things, is the manifestation of the nation's prosperity shown in a kaleidoscope of colours and dances.

Amid a mixture of traditional music infused with a dose of a more contemporary beat, the students performed well during the 45-minute performance.

According to organisers, the participating students are from Sekolah Menengah Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien College, SM Menglait, SM Pehin Dato Seri Maharaja Mentiri, SM PAP Hajah Masna Lambak Kanan, Pusat Tingkatan Enam Berakas, Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah Gadong, Sekolah Beribi Telanai, Sekolah Rendah Anggerek Desa, SR Pulaie, SR Sungai Siamas, SR PAP Besar and PDS School.

"This year's Get-Together promised to be a different affair," said an official supervising the field performance and indeed, they duly delivered this promise.

Shortly after the performance, His Majesty consented to present prizes for the tug-of-war before continuing to meet with the rakyat.

Thousands representing the people from 17 Mukims in the Brunei-Muara District lined up patiently as His Majesty approached their waiting area. For more than two hours, His Majesty braved the morning heat patiently yet enthusiastically to meet and greet the rakyat who have eagerly waited to express their birthday greetings.

The line of well-wishers continued unbroken from the Taman to the Bumiputra Commercial Centre where an exhibition had been prepared.

More than 20 booths have been set up at the commercial centre showcasing local entrepreneurs producing food products as well as an exhibition of paintings and photographs. The whole ceremony yesterday ended with a santap at the Lapau. - Borneo Bulletin (24th July 2006)