All roads lead to Nurul Iman
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pg Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar binti Hakim Mazhar yesterday received thousands of well-wishers who came to convey Hari Raya greetings to the Royal family in the traditional open house at Istana Nurul Iman.

It's that reknowned time of the year again where the palace, Istana Nurul Iman, is open to the public. Irrespective of belief and position, visitors participate in rejoicing at the open house.

Istana Nurul Iman opens its door to the public for three days starting Wednesday (yesterday) for well-wishers to meet and greet His Majesty and the royal household. They can visit the Istana from 10am until noon, and again from 2pm to 4pm.

Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and HRH Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and HRH Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Zariah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah and YAM Pg Bini Hjh Faizah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.

Also in attendance were HRH Princess Hjh Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah, HRH Princess Hafizah Sururul Bulqiah, HRH Princess Hjh Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam, HRH Princess Hjh Norehsani and granddaughters of His Majesty.

All roads led to the Istana yesterday at the start of three-day royal open house. Prior to exchanging greetings with the royal family, the visitors including tourists registered their names and passed through security check before being entertained to gastronomic delights and drinks.

The buffet spread include almond buttered rice, beef stew with local herbs, fish fingers with oriental sauce, spiral fusilli siciliana, mutton mysore, stir fried pickled prawns and fried chicken drummet, just to name a few.

Shuttle buses ferried the visitors from down the palace gates. Proper dress codes were pasted on the shuttle buses and at the entrance to the palace. For elderly citizens, a special seat was reserved for them while paramedics also erected a booth.

Among the first to exchange greetings were Pengiran-Pengirans and uniformed personnel and personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.

A heavy downpour at 10am yesterday did not dampen the enthusiastic visitors who did not go back empty-handed, but with a yellow container filled with drinks and assorted sweets, personalised card of His Majesty dressed in Malay costume and green packet for children. - Borneo Bulletin (26th October 2006)