Residents throng Tutong complex to meet HM
FERVOUR awashed the crowd of Tutong residents yesterday in anticipation of the Ramah Mesra ceremony with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at the Tutong Community Complex field yesterday, which gave them a chance to shake hands and greet their monarch who recently turned 66.
From early in the morning, people, young and old, steadily filled in the venue despite the grey sky, wearing a colourful array of costumes from the traditional baju melayu (malay attire) and ethnic costumes to uniforms such as those worn by the Royal Brunei Police Force personnels and members of the Red Crescent Society to casual wear, sported by some of the performers and spectators alike.
It was only when the time ticked close to 10am that a mix of uniformed officers and students came marching towards the stage, to stand in front of the Royal Dais to wait in line for His Majesty's arrival.
In the mean time, a doa (prayer) was read to bless the event, while ripples of nervous excitement could be heard from performers who have gathered behind the stage.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, one such performer and student from Sufri Bolkiah Secondary School, Hazimah Nasar, spoke of her excitement in being able to perform in front of His Majesty.
"This is my first time," she said.
"We just had our full dress rehearsal last Saturday," she added, "so I'm pretty confident that we're prepared for this!"
Abdul Hakim Hj Rizal Fauzan, a student from Muda Hashim Secondary School, meanwhile said that he was enjoying his turn as pengiring atlet (athlete escort) during the grand finale performance.
"Taking part in this event gave me an opportunity to meet different kinds of people," Abdul Hakim said.
Choir participants, Nurul Farah Fatasha Mohd Ramli, Fatin Hj Rosli, Amirah Farzana Jaafar and Siti Nurkaiyisha Hj Mohd Shabirin from Sufri Bolkiah Secondary School, said that they would like to express their heartfelt congratulations to His Majesty on his 66th birthday.
"We hope His Majesty would enjoy a long life of good health," Amirah said with a smile on her face.
The crowd then began to hush down soon after the emcee announced the arrival of His Majesty and the royal family members HRH Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen in a series of vehicles.
Their arrival was highlighted with the recital of the national anthem and later, of the crowd heartily bellowing 'Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik' three times in a row.
Acting Tutong District Officer, Hj Suffian Hj Bungsu, who represented the people of Tutong then delivered a speech of formal thanks to His Majesty for his care and concern and of their support for His Majesty's recent titah on a series of initiatives towards realising Wawasan 2035 (vision 2035).
The special performance was divided into two segments, under the theme of "Wawasan Raja + Wawasan Rakyat = Wawasan Negara" (The ruler's and rakyat's vision to reach national vision).
The first segment of this performance focused on cultural dance performance by a mix of ethnic groups.
While the grand finale displayed a humourous sketch of tarik kalat (tug of war), then demonstrations of martial arts silat and wushu, and finally, the unfolding of the umbrella, which carried the words wawasan(vision), raja (ruler), rakyat (subjects) and negara (country).
With the performance coming to a close, His Majesty and royal family members descended the Royal Dais to greet the performers, who were the first amongst the long line of expectant people waiting for the Ramah Mesra session.
His Majesty consented to a santap before concluding the visit
The Brunei Times