A real grand finale
By Aemy Azlena, Azrol Azmi & Suria Rina PHA

It was an exciting night as thousands from all walks of life arrived at the Taman Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien field to watch the grand finale held in celebration of His Majesty's 61st birthday.

Many came as early as 5pm long before the roads closed, with hundreds seated in the stands and thousands more just outside the gates of the Taman. Consenting to attend were 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 and HRH Princess Hjh Masna.

Welcoming them was the Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Adanan and senior officials of the ministry.

The grand night started off with a display of pyrotechnics and fireworks painting the night sky to the accompaniment of the song 'Puja Usia'.

This was followed by a colorful parade procession and a march-past involving various groups and associations in Brunei.

In the march-past, the first was the Royal Brunei Armed Forces followed by 61 flag bearers carrying the Brunei flag.

The procession included the organising committee and the Tug-Of-War technical officers as well as participants from Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan - and the Brunei team.

It was followed by a procession of 20 beautifully crafted and imaginative floats depicting various ministries, associations and groups of the sultanate.

Many of the floats paid tribute to His Majesty and the number 61 in Jawi and Roman letters was displayed signifying the Ropyal birthday celebrations.

Some of the floats had fireworks and multi-coloured confetti shooting into the air as they passed by the Royal dais.

The Tug-Of-War Competition was won by 'G-16' of Jerudong.

"I came for the float procession every year and will not miss watching the parade," said Noorlyna Bte Jali from Kg Sungai Besar.

"Unfortunately there was no stage performance this year, but the float procession was very colourful, and more than made up for it," she said.

One family from Jangsak Hjh Rubiah Hj Misbak, a teacher from Maktab SOAS, noted that the city had changed tremendously during the past 10 years.

"The spectacular fireworks display was breathtaking. The float procession was great."We will come again next year for sure ."

Said Ms Mandy from Australia: "The night was very lively and the procession was a new experience for me in Brunei," she added happily

The grand finale was a breath-taking mixture of confetti shot into the air with a 3-minute pyrotechnics and a grand display of fireworks

The enthusiastic crowd cheered on..

The night ended with a presentation of prizes for the Tug-Of-War Competition and for the best decorated float. - Borneo Bulletin (5th August 2007)