From Tutong with love

National 2 minutes, 32 seconds


A PORTRAIT of His Majesty, a traditional artefact more than 100-years and a birthday cake were among the pesambah (royal gifts) given to the monarch for his 69th birthday celebration in Tutong yesterday.

Hi Sigai Hj Ghani was more than happy to show The Brunei Times the pesambah he had prepared for the Sultan.

The Kg Sinaut resident’s gift was a ‘Sulang gantung’ made of ‘tembaga’ (copper).

“The specialty of this item is that it is adorned with Brunei’s traditional motif ‘bunga pucuk rabung’ (bamboo shoot motif) and ‘Ayer Mulih’ (consists of semblances of plant sprouts, ferns and leaves) motif and on top (at the lid) is ‘Bumbung Masjid’ (shaped to resemble the roof of a mosque) because of the strong Islamic values that we have,” he said.

The 74-year-old had been presenting pesambah to His Majesty from his personal collection for more than 10 years.

“I started collecting these artefacts when I was 16 years old, when I reached the age of 55, I started selling them,” he said. Hj Sigai sells his collection of antiquities every Thursday at the Serambangun Market in Tutong and he also has a shop in Belait.

Another pesambah presented to the monarch yesterday was a portrait of His Majesty from Tanjung Maya Secondary School.

Art teacher Tan Kuan Moi spend three days to create the charcoal-pencil based portrait of the Sultan.

“Our school was invited to participate in the ‘junjung ziarah’ and we have a tent designated especially for an exhibition. Upon meeting with the event’s committee, the members and teachers came up with an idea to present His Majesty with a pesambah. I was entrusted to create a portrait as the pesambah,” he said.

It was Tan’s first artwork to be presented as a pesambah.

“Most of the pesambah (in terms of portraits) are done colourful, but I prefer monochrome, hence the use of charcoal and pencil, because it is unique and genuine for me,” he said.

Tan has been an art teacher for 26 years but his love and passion for arts started when he was still in school.

Asked to comment on the status of arts in the country, Tan said, “I hope that one day arts would take the centre stage not only as an activity, but also as something that is continuously uphold. This sentiment is not only felt by me and other art teachers but also other artists in this country. Arts do not only highlight culture but it can also be a source of income for an individual.”

The Tiong Hwa community presented His Majesty with beautifully decorated cakes iced in white and bright yellow frosting.

Head of the Tiong Hwa community, Soon Seng Lee said the celebration was one of the ways for them to show their appreciation and love towards the monarch.

Soon said the Tiong Hwa enjoyed being part of the celebration and lauded His Majesty for his leadership towards national development in terms of economy, education, and maintaining peace, harmony and unity among the people.

The Brunei Times