Healthy lifestyle at meet-&-greet show
By Huraizah Ahmad & P Marilyn

Over 2,000 participants from schools and colleges took part in the field performances at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien field for the Brunei-Muara Get-Together yesterday.

From choir singers to field performers, they were choreographed to present the event's theme, "Cergas Ceria Dirgahayu 61", which highlighted a healthier lifestyle for a happy and harmonious nation under His Majesty's leadership.

Fitness routines were presented in traditional martial arts techniques and exercises by students in a rainbow of colours..

Students in multi-hued costumes and gear formed the word 'DIRGAHAYU 61' during the grand finale.

"This is my first time participating in such a grand event. We have been practising almost every day now for the past three weeks and I am excited to be a part of the performing group," said Jeffery Yeo a Secondary 1 student from St George's School.

The choir presentations on the grand stage were done by students from Semaun Secondary School, PDS School and Berakas Secondary School.

To greet His Majesty, the group sang two songs, the national anthem and Dirgahayu 61. They rehearsed with their coaches in school for over two weeks, said Sarinah Yamin, a Secondary 1 student from Semaun Secondary School,

Students in Primary 3, 4 and 5 used colourful pom-poms during their fitness exercises on the field.

Since the reopening of the school term holidays, they have been rehearsing the fitness exercise routine that is similar to their PE activities, said Cikgu Surayana Hj Mohd Dinie from Sg Hanching primary school.

The students have worked hard to present their best performance today and rehearsals were done almost every day after school hours, said Cikgu Jamilah Hj Ismail from Amar Pahlawan Secondary School.

The group of Silat performers learnt various martial arts moves during their rehearsals and this has also encouraged them to be more active and to improve their stamina after every session, said Dk Nurul Saiyidah, a Secondary 1 student from Menglait Secondary school.

"This is the first time I have participated in the Acara Padang, and I am excited to be involved. I was exhausted after two weeks of rehearsing, but I still looked forward to the celebration," said Liaw Voon Haw, a Form 1 student from Chung Hwa School in the capital.

Also playing a part in the meet-and-greet event were the uniformed bodies and associations, including the Scouts Association of Brunei, Police Cadets, Army Cadets, as well as the Red Crescent Association of Brunei.

"The event was part of the activities participated by the land, sea and air scouts of the association and this also gave the opportunity for Brunei scout members to greet His Majesty on his birthday," said Skip Md Shukri Hj Masri from Berakas Secondary School.

On standby to assist were medical officers from RIPAS Hospital and Fire and Rescue Department officials.

Over 30 paramedic officers were assigned around the area, said Hjh Aminah from RIPAS Hospital. Seven ambulances for the VVIP, VIP, as well as members of the public were on standby for emergencies. A post to assist those in need of medical attention was available.

Other participants were at several booths representing various mukims, villages and associations.

Ten young musicians presented their Chinese Orchestra performance before His Majesty at the Tiong Hua Association booth.

They came from Chung Hwa Middle School. The 'Chinese Orchestra Club' has been performing for over two weeks prior to the presentation, said Chris Wong a Secondary 5 student, who has been with the club for three years.

A 'Gulingtangan' traditional music presentation at the Mukim Burong Pingai Ayer booth were performed by the Riverview' group, who have been invited to perform during His Majesty's birthday celebrations, Royal Wedding celebrations and village weddings, said Hj Omar Hj Manap, team leader of the Kg Batong Kulapis musical group.

"Our musicians are individuals as young as 16 years, UBD students who have their own university groups, and those who have learned to play the traditional music instruments in their schools," said Hj Omar, an ex-Co-Curriculum officer who trains the group.

"We have been taking photos of the people especially performers during the meet-and-greet events with His Majesty in all four districts. We try to capture candid shots of the colours and traditions of the country in time for the 'Faces of Asia' competition that will be held in Thailand in August," said the vice president of the Brunei Photography Association, Hj Jumat bin Hj Taha. - Borneo Bulletin (23rd July 2007)