BIT 2006 ends on a high note
By James Kon & Rosli Abidin Yahya

BIT 2006 came to a close in style on Tuesday evening with a myriad of memorable performances before a packed audience at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

For four consecutive nights from July 29 until August 1, a full house of some 20,000 people was on hand to witness the Military Tattoo performances.

In front of the large roaring crowd, military bands from 13 countries - the Combined Band of Home Contingents (Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Royal Brunei Police Force, Fire and Rescue Department and Prisons Department), Combined Indonesian Armed Forces Academy Drum Band, Singapore Armed Forces Band, Jordanian Armed Forces Band, Philippines Military Academy Silent Drill Company, Vietnam People's Army Military Band, Royal Thai Armed Forces Band, Pakistan Army Tri Services Band, Royal Australian Navy Band, Royal Army of Oman Pipes

and Drums, Malaysian Armed Forces Tri Service Central Band, Light Cavalry Band of the United Kingdom, Military Band of the People's Liberation Army of China with Cao Zhou Wushu Kung Fu Team of China - performed thrilling music and stunts carefully choreographed to the finest detail.

Among those witnessing the final performance were the Deputy Minister of Defence, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Col (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar, and the Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Maj Gen Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi bin Hj Md Yussof.

Adding to the excitement of the Military Tattoo performances were special effects provided by Japanese fireworks during the intervals. Every Military Tattoo band displayed its own formation with an individual style of music. The Pakistan Army Tri Services Band, the Royal Australian Navy Band as well as the combined home contingent also belted out a number of songs.

The Brunei International Tattoo 2006 was as one of the most anticipated events in celebrating His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 60th birthday.

The highlight of the last show, the grand finale, was arguably the most eagerly anticipated affair, as all the military band contingents gathered on the field for the last performance with an electrifying background of fireworks in the night sky.

The organisers of BIT 2006, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and MINDEF have been receiving accolades and words of appreciation from the public.

Several members of the public meanwhile expressed disappointment at not being able to witness the highly anticipated event, as each of the four showings of BIT 2006 proved an instant sell-out.

They suggested for the international event to be staged more frequently.

RBAF previously hosted an International Military Tattoo in October 1992 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne.

Children who witnessed the performance for the first time thoroughly enjoyed the evening show.

Meanwhile some 30 shutterbugs from the Brunei Photography Society were given the opportunity to record the performances on camera, which they appreciated.

"We had a fantastic time taking pictures of high quality performances," they said. - Borneo Bulletin (3rd August 2006)