Tattoo preview a hit in the capital
By Azrol Azmi and James Kon

As tickets to the four-day Brunei International Tattoo 2006 (BIT) are sold out, thousands of people congregated at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in the capital last Sunday night to catch a glimpse of what promises to be an exhilarating display of military choreography.

The BIT roadshows, which have been held in all the four districts, starting in Temburong and ending in the capital last Sunday night, no doubt have left a lasting impression on spectators.

In the Brunei-Muara District leg, the BIT preview commenced with the Silent Drill by the 76-member Philippine Military Academy Silent Drill Company led by Lt Col Rene Glen Paje, who were accompanied by the 68-strong General Headquarters Band of the Armed Forces of the Philippines headed by Col. Danny P Pabunan.

Among the guests who saw the BIT 2006 roadshow were Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Awang Halbi Bin Hj Md Yussof, Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces, and Pehin Datu Kerma Setia Dato Paduka Zainuddin Bin Jalani, Commissioner of Royal Brunei Police Force.

Thousands of spectators cheered as the Philippine contingent arrived at the Taman and performed a dozen Silent Drill exercises.

The General Headquarters Band of the Armed Forces of the Philippines performed in Brunei in 1992 for the Military Tattoo held in commemoration of the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan Brunei Darussalam's accession to the throne.

The highlight of last Sunday night's preview was the Grand Parade to the Taman by the contingents.

The Grand Parade was led by the home contingent consisting of 146 personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces led by Captain Awang Jaya Bin Hj Metussin, the Royal Brunei Police Force with 62 personnel headed by Inspector Hj Mohammad Bin Hj Awang Damit, a combined Brunei Bands from the Fire and Rescue Services Pipes Drums with 24 personnel led by Fire Officer, Mohd Julaihi Bin Duraman, and the Pipes and Drums of the Prison Department with 30 personnel headed by CO Shahminan Bin Hj Munap.

They were followed by the flag-bearers of the participating countries and the BIT banners.

Next to arrive were the 68-strong Royal Australian Navy Band led by Lt CDR Anderson, and the Chinese Contingent comprising the Military Band of the People's Liberation Army of China and the Caozhou Wushu Institute. The 64-strong Chinese military band was led by Brig. Gen Yu Hai, while the Caozhou Wushu Institute group of 26 performers was led by Xu Xue Li.

The 162-member Indonesian National Defence Forces Academy's Drum Band, also known as Genderang Suling, led by First Admiral Sosialisman was the next contingent to arrive, followed by the 69-strong Jordanian Armed Forces Band led by Colonel Ismail Rashed Akasheh Shudayfat.

Next to arrive was the 70-member Royal Malaysian Armed Forces Tri-Services Central Band headed by LT CDR Khairel Anwar bin Haron, followed by the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Army of Oman consisting of 40 personnel led by Lt Col Anthony John Hodgetts.

The Pakistani Army Tri-Services Military Band came next with 49 personnel led by Lt Col Amir Sultan, followed by the 60-member Singapore Armed Forces Band headed by Major Tng Liat Peng Philip.

The final contingents were the 70-strong Royal Thai Armed Forces Band led by Col. Wittaya Peethong, followed by the 37-member Vietnam People's Army Military Band headed by Senior Colonel Nguyen Van Luan.

A Grand Concert was held with all the contingents on the field presenting several songs to the audience's delight. - Borneo Bulletin (25th July 2006)