Voices behind the vibrant parade
By Sonia K

If it weren't for the hard work and dedication of the participants, the field performances at Taman Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in the capital yesterday to commemorate His Majesty's 60th birthday celebrations would not have been such a success.

More than a thousand students from various schools in the Brunei-Muara District had been practising for the past month to ensure total synchronisation and grace.

Thirteen-year-old Nadia Ahmad and 14-year-old Nur Janatul Majidah from SMJA Secondary School, who had been working hard on the field performances for the past month, told the Bulletin that the best reward was meeting His Majesty following the performance.

Seventeen-year-old Md Adib from Sultan Sharif Ali Secondary School, who was in the choir, felt honoured to be given an opportunity to perform in front of the beloved monarch.

"It was the second time this year for me to perform in front of His Majesty, the first being on National Day," he added.

Md Adib's friends and schoolmates, Abdul Wafiy and Aziz bin Johari, said they were excited to greet the Sultan and wish him a happy 60th birthday.

Four girls from Pualie Primary School - Azimatul Aniqah bte Mohd Sopian, Siti Fazirah bte Ali Hassan and Nur Syuhada bte Abd Rahman and Nurul Hafillah bte Abd Wahab - who performed a dance using props such as "gangsa" and "bunga rampai" said they enjoyed themselves during rehearsals as well as the actual performance, especially in the presence of His Majesty.

Sixteen-year-old Dayangku Siti Rabiah from Mukim Berakas 'B' told the Bulletin that yesterday was the third year in a row that she went to the Taman to meet and greet His Majesty.

"It is a great honour to be able to meet His Majesty every year, shaking his hand," she said, adding that she would not miss the occasion even it meant having to wake up earlier than usual

Fifteen-year-old Nayanatara Mendis from Sri Lanka, who is currently schooling in PGGMB, yesterday took part in a harmonica performance with her 55 other schoolmates.

It was her first time performing before a royal audience and found it an honour to have been given a chance to do so.

"I was also looking forward to shaking His Majesty's hand," she added.

Anisah Sakinah bte Hj Mohd Don, who was also in the harmonica performance, said she was proud of how much she had improved considering this was the first time she played the instrument. - Borneo Bulletin (24th July 2006)