| Faza Suraj |
THE Belait District Office organised the Belait Cultural Night in conjunction with the Belait River Carnival 2014 last Saturday night at the Cendera Kenangan Recreation Park where roadblocks were set up at the entrance to Jalan Sungai to give way for some thousand visitors who attended the lively occasion.
Members of the public were entertained with performances ranging from Silat, singing to Wushu demonstration. Many hawker stalls were lined up along the road of Jalan Sungai to create a night carnival like atmosphere.
The Bulletin spoke to some of the visitors and hawkers who said that it was a rarity for the town to be so lively and event like this would provide opportunities to promote tourism and business for the locals.
United Kingdom citizens, Harrie Kerley from Salisbury and Edward Bowness from Nottingham, both 28, told the Bulletin that they have been travelling around the Borneo Island for three weeks and according to their schedule they had either missed an event after arriving or left before a major event.
“We are very lucky that as our first stop, the Belait Cultural Night and the Belait River Carnival are happening and this is our first time attending a carnival such as this on the island.”
Harrie added, “We spoke to some of the locals and found out that the Silat is a very important traditional martial art performed at cultural events such as wedding. It is also a very useful self-defence art that instils discipline and self-control in oneself. When we first saw it, we actually thought it was similar to the Eagle Dance by the Dayak in Sarawak but when we looked closer, it has more sharp and aggressive movements which also inhibit some graceful pace and make it unique to other martial arts.”
Edward explained that they have wanted to visit Brunei Darussalam for so long because word around the backpackers’ community is that the Sultanate is a great place to experience nature.
“We literally celebrated when we crossed the border in Sg Tujoh. We started our journey in Kuching and brought our motorbikes. We were very much looking forward to coming here. Three weeks have passed and we would like to spend these four days in Brunei making full use of it.”
When asked what kind of nature experiences that the community outside Brunei always talked about, Edward mentioned two places situated in the Brunei-Muara and Temburong Districts.
“We look forward to scuba diving with the Poni divers and go for a canopy walk as that is one of the things that we have never experienced in our life.”
Harrie and Edward are friends who have not met for two years and only met each other when they landed in Kuching three weeks ago. Harrie has been travelling since 2011 and Edward since March this year.
A local family which has been running a burger joint for 10 years said the Belait River Carnival is a good opportunity for them to get more income to support their family.
Hj Md Abu Wafi bin Hj Abu Samah, 19, a student from Jefri Bolkiah Engineering College (MKJB) who helps his family business, A Burger, told the Bulletin, “We are happy to be a part of this carnival and it’s not just to bring income to my family but it also feels nice to be a part of an effort to make Kuala Belait a more happening place.
“Tonight, two of my sisters (Hjh Siti Nur Hajizah, 17, an O-level graduate and Hjh Siti Nur Khadijah, 16, studying in Year 11 at Tahfiz) and my father (Hj Abu Samah bin Hj Abdul Manan, 47, works as a record attendant at the Suri Seri Begawan Hospital) have been receiving orders non-stop and besides homemade burgers we also sell the local favourite Roti John and provide drinks.”
The family wished that events like this can be organised more frequently as it gives business opportunities for other local entrepreneurs no matter how big or small they are.