BIT 2006 the biggest ever
By Lyna Mohammad

BIT 2006 is by far one of the biggest ever organised in this part of the world and the event has produced a grand and colourful display of military performances and musical traditions performed by a combination of students, civilians, cadets, trained soldiers and RBAF.

Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Mohd Yussof, said this in his speech during a high tea reception hosted for members of the 13 contingents of BIT 2006 yesterday at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

The guest of honour at yesterday's reception was the Deputy Minister of Defence, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Col (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar.

Among the guests were Permanent Secretary at MINDEF, Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat; Commissioner of Police, Pehin Datu Kerma Setia Dato Paduka Seri Zainuddin Jailani, as well as foreign high commissioners and ambassadors to the country.

The function began with appreciation remarks from the Commander of RBAF followed by the presentation of mementos by the guest of honour to BIT 2006's heads of delegation.

The RBAF Commander said that it was earlier this year that RBAF and MINDEF decided to present a special and meaningful gift - BIT 2006 - to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam, who is the Supreme Commander of RBAF and the Defence Minister, on the occasion of His Majesty's 60th birthday.

Having decided on a mission, that is 'Together We Celebrate His Majesty's 60th birthday', they appointed Col Pg Hj Azmansham, Commandant Service Forces, RBAF, as the Allied Force Commander with the D-Day decided on July 29.

"For the past three months, as 'allied forces or 13 coalition forces of the willing', we planned our moves or courses of action," he said, "We were also lucky to have veterans and experts among the 13 participating countries.

"While planning our strategy at BIT 2006 village or training camp, we realised the need to build a bridge to maintain our Main Supply Route (MSR) open, linking the 13 participating forces," he added.

This bridge was named "Friendship, Goodwill and Solidarity".

With the mission accomplished, the commander once again tasked the Allied Force Commander to conduct post mortem of this successful operation and to study all the 'lessons learned', which will be documented as a workable doctrine for future operations or new generation references.

"On a very serious note, please allow me personally and on behalf of the honorable Deputy Minister of Defence to express my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all the participating contingents for their diligence and unyielding efforts in producing an excellent and memorable performance in this historical event," he said.

Guests at the reception were presented with the BIT 2006 clips as well as entertained by singing and dance performances by local artistes including Hjh Siti Noor Maya Murnie Adi, Pg Zainal Abidin Pg Hj Puteh and Nurkhairunnisa Hj Roslan. The dances were performed by the Daya Kereasi Seni dancers.

The four-day military tattoo showcasing contingents from 13 countries has been a great success.

In an interview with several foreign participants, a majority of them expressed their appreciation for the warm hospitality the BIT 2006 committee has extended to them and said they had gained a valuable experience in performing a joint military tattoo with participants from several parts of the globe.

Phillip Anderson from the Australian contingent said the BIT 2006 committee has done a great job in responding to everything they need and has worked hard to ensure the smooth sailing of the event, and the participants were very well looked after by the hardworking team of the committee.

He said BIT 2006 has been a great experience compared to the last military tattoo that he participated 10 years ago, saying that this was the most interesting as there was a mix of culture and music and it was just superb. - Borneo Bulletin (2nd August 2006)