Royalty at Gala Dinner in S'pore
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on Tuesday evening attended a Gala Dinner hosted by Singaporean President Lee Hsien Loong and Madame Ho Ching in honour of the leaders attending the 13th Asean Summit and other related summits.

Accompanying His Majesty were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar binti Hakim Mazhar. The dinner was held at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore.

The theme for the dinner was "Rice: The Spirit of Asean". This was chosen as a reflection of the common thread across all Asean cultures. This was reflected in the three main elements of the evening: the Asean shirt/blouse; the Gala Dinner show, and, the menu.

Heads of State/Government were dressed in a specially designed and commissioned Asean Summit shirt/blouse for the 13th Asean Summit Gala Dinner. In line with the theme of the Gala Dinner, the garment designs were inspired by the padi stalks in the Asean logo, reflecting tradition and a touch of modernity.

The designs were conceived by Singaporean fashion designer Mr Wykidd Song in collaboration with Mr Percy Vatsaloo, who designed the fabric. The fabric of the Asean shirt/blouse was woven by master-weavers in a village in the Korat Plateau of North-Eastern Thailand, which specialises in the craft.

The entertainment for the Gala Dinner was put together by Dick Lee, the artistic director for the Gala Dinner. Dick's intention for the show was to integrate Western music with Asian music.

The music was performed by the Singapore Pop Orchestra, which is a pool of multi-ethnic musicians who perform music that combines traditional, western and jazz influences reflecting the rich cultural diversity of Asean.

The show also featured performances by Taufik Batisah, Vocaluptuous and the People's Association Talents. A specially commissioned segment on the theme of "Rice", written by Dick Lee, was also showcased during the dinner. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd Nov 2007)