Senior citizens: Birthday parade displays Brunei’s changes

National 2 minutes, 47 seconds


MOST celebrations in Brunei may look the same every year, but senior citizens said they can always spot the small details that make the difference.

The senior citizens said His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s birthday parade was a good opportunity to observe the changes the country has experienced over the years.

Hj Mohd Salleh Bakar, who just turned 80 this week, said he noticed the changes that were made each year at parades and other celebratory events.

“This includes the progression of the parade, the equipment used to mark the event and the arrangement of performances, which were prepared especially for certain occasions,” said the Kg Sungai Kebun resident.

“There are always improvements every year and I also noticed how well and adequate we are with technology nowadays. This could be seen in how people in charge of security have their own ways in ensuring our safety (here),” he added.

Hj Mohd Salleh, who was also former head of Kg Ujung Kelinik in Kg Ayer, also shared how he used to celebrate His Majesty’s predecessors’ birthdays.

“In those days, the celebratory spirit was not as big as now but it was sure very lively.

“We used to hoist a yellow- and white-coloured flag to mark any national occasion, but now we have our national flag with a special crest on it,” he added.

He also reminisced how there were only a few march past contingents at the birthday parade compared to the number of participants now.

Hj Mohd Salleh, who went to the parade at Taman Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) alone, said pictures of national celebratory events should be exhibited at museums as it tells the story of how far the country has advanced.

Sharing similar sentiments was 58-year-old freelance photographer, Ramli Hj Chi, who is also a resident of Kg Sungai Teraban in Kuala Belait.

Having attended national events for about 10 years, Ramli said the format of celebrations was similar every year, but a veteran photographer like him will always have a different perspective of the celebrations.

Besides the difference in performances, he said the banners and other decorations were also significant features that give a different perspective when on the lens.

“There may not be much difference in terms of architecture and performances each year, but the decorations can make buildings look different,” he said.

“When I take pictures, it does not necessarily have to be the landscape and background, the crowd is also a unique factor of the celebrations especially during the National Day, he added.

Hj Lamat Abu Bakar, sn 84-year-old resident of Kg Lambak Kanan, said he noticed differences in the buildings surrounding Taman SOAS, which has always been the focal point of national celebratory events.

“In the past, there were a lot of people coming down to the capital to celebrate even though the field was so small; and although the celebrations were similar, the surroundings were different as they were only a few buildings around the field at the time.

“But now there are tall buildings including the currently renovated Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) building. When people take pictures of the occasion, these buildings will also be included and it could somehow be an important part of history,” he added.

The Brunei Times