By Azaraimy, Za'im Zaini & Amin Hosni
Thousands of loyal subjects, undeterred by the scorching sun, showed their devotion towards His Majesty the Sultan during the monarch's first of four series of "Bersama Rakyat" (get-together) in Temburong District yesterday.
Behind the successful event was a string of stories.
Home to the country's many ethnic groups and natural environment, Temburong houses people from all walks of life. Despite their different background, they share one thing in common: their love for the Sultan.
Dressed in Murut traditional costume, Elizabeth Sunat, Ana Jumat, Selen Tako and Joshua took to the field for the first time. While they have their respective aspirations in life, they said performing for their beloved monarch was something they cherished as it was an opportunity few got to experience.
"What can be better than showing our love for His Majesty during the get-together?" they asked.
Others such as Mohd Zulhilmi and Norsaarini of Malay descent and Mas Juliet Gromical, who is an Iban, said taking part in the field performance exposed them to the diversity in the district.
Cikgu Saiful Bahri and Cikgu Abdul Hakim from Puni Primary School have been working in Temburong for only two weeks. So, taking part in "Bersama Rakyat" in Temburong was a new experience for them.
"We wish His Majesty a long life and wish him the best," they said.
Meanwhile, Jeffery Lim of Sultan Hassan Bangar Secondary School said the event was probably the most unique one held in Temburong so far this year.
"You got to see different faces of Temburong. It was also one of the few events when Temburong residents come together amid such joyous occasion," he added.
Cikgu Yahuda bin Gelawat of Puni Primary School has been attending His Majesty's birthday celebrations for eight consecutive years.
He also applauded the Sultan's announcement that government servants will receive their bonuses early this year.
"Sometimes students don't really get to have all the necessary stationeries, especially books, because their parents can't afford them due to late bonuses," he said.
The Bulletin also met award-winning photographer Don Gurewitz, who said, "The events I have been to so far in Brunei Darussalam are very colourful. I've never seen such wonderful events anywhere else in the world. The people here are very enthusiastic and happy."
Gurewitz is currently working for the Information Department, and has recently agreed to work with the Brunei Tourism.
- Borneo Bulletin
(18th July 2007)