| Khal Baharulalam |
THE capital was not short of flocking crowds yesterday during the spectacular celebration at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien marking Brunei’s 31st National Day.
A significant commemoration of the nation’s 31 years of independence, it was definitely the most highly anticipated event amongst locals as well as tourists currently in the nation.
The celebration has always been considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for tourists who had the chance to catch it. This year, the Bulletin spoke to one Irishman, Taggart Neumanas, an avid traveller who opted for a four-day layover in Brunei on the way to New Zealand where he used to reside.
“I arrived in Brunei in the middle of the dress rehearsal and I did not know what was happening,” he shared. “I got really lucky particularly as I leave tomorrow morning.”
Having travelled the world so frequently, Neumanas gave his impression of what he managed to see during his stay in the Sultanate.
“I love this country, it’s very relaxed. I’ve undoubtedly come at the right time – I got to see His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.”
“I’ve witnessed parades in other countries, but Brunei is distinct in the sense that youth and kids make up the majority of the participation of today’s celebration. I am very impressed to see the national pride today,” he added.
Another first-time visitor to the nation, Chen Long Yue from China, grabbed the chance to bring her mother to yesterday’s celebration – both of whom were seen eagerly waving the Brunei national flag along with the field performers.
“This is a very special experience for me,” she said. “I love seeing the people of Brunei gathered together for this celebration.”
Two-time visitor Anthony Darmanin is elated for having been able to catch the celebration on his second trip to Brunei.
“Coming from Melbourne, I’m used to parades,” he said. “But this is huge in comparison, and I like how schools are also involved with various other organisations – I like that people are being brought together through this occasion”
Fiona Lea from the United Kingdom was also lucky to have come to visit the country at this time.
Accompanied by her friend Louie Clements who used to reside in Brunei and therefore no stranger to the national day celebrations, Fiona Lea expressed her amazement at the pride portrayed by locals at yesterday’s celebration.
“Everyone involved is so proud of what they are doing, it is really amazing,” she said. “Brunei’s got a big culture, it is a very nice place to be.”