His Majesty at Chinese New Year get-together
By James Kon & Sonia K.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, and other members of the royal family yesterday morning joined the local Chinese community for a get-together ceremony.

The 'Majlis Ramah Mesra Perayaan Tahun Baru Cina 2007', which was held on the third day of Chinese New Year, took place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.

Besides the thrilling lion dance show, students from Chung Hwa Middle School (BSB) and PDS International School as well as the Tiong Hua community also showcased traditional Chinese and Malay dances. Traditional Chinese music was also performed by Brunei Shell Recreation Club members.

"It's a great privilege for my family and I to be here to celebrate Chinese New Year with His Majesty and the royal family," said Simon Lim, adding that yesterday's performances were exhilarating.

Christina Lim, 18, also said that she was very impressed with the show. "The performances were beautiful. I especially loved the Chinese fan dance," she added.

"I really liked the way the ICC has been decorated. It really added to the festive mood," Tan Ah Meng said, adding that the organisers have put in a lot of time and effort to enliven the Chinese New Year atmosphere.

Members of the public also took the opportunity to have photos taken with His Majesty. Mr Goh Kim Kooi and his spouse Lucy Wong were among the lucky few who managed to have their photos taken with the benevolent ruler.

"I was overjoyed when His Majesty allowed us to have photos taken with him," Mr Goh said, adding it was his second time attending the get-together event. Mr Goh's spouse said that His Majesty is a very friendly, kind and thoughtful ruler. (21st February 2007)