| Wani Roslan & Zee Yusri |
HUNDREDS flocked to Pekan Tutong yesterday to witness Tutong Districts’s ‘Regatta Perayaan 68’, which was held in the Tutong River in conjunction with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 68th birthday celebrations.
Twenty-eight rowing teams, 21 speedboats and 13 jet skis participated in the regatta, with the most popular events being the 500m rowing race for Mukim and Village Consultative Councils from all four districts as well as the 500m rowing race open category.
The event was divided into two sessions, with each session filled with various activities, ranging from youth bands to cultural troupes and traditional performances. The festival was also used as a platform by government agencies and the private sector to bring about public awareness.
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, attended the morning session as the guest of honour, while the afternoon session was attended by Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, Minister of Home Affairs.
Also present during the morning session were members of the Legislative Council, acting permanent secretary and deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, while during the afternoon, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, permanent secretary and deputy permanent secretaries at the Ministry of Home Affairs also attended.
The morning session began with the regatta’s launching, and was followed by the paddle boat races, jet ski races and speedboat races. After the races, the guest of honour was invited to visit various booths set up for the event, including a photography and arts exhibition.
The afternoon session was enlivened with the Regatta parade, which featured 300 participants.
The parade comprised the Regatta Committee, Tutong District’s various ethnic groups and societies, youths from Tutong District’s Village Consultative Councils, as well as a procession of parade floats led by the Prisons Department’s Serunai and Tambur team.
Pehin Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin also presented prizes for the winners of the races held during the morning session, while the Tutong District Officer, Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, presented prizes for the rowing, jet ski and speedboat competitions.
A free medical check-up was also held for the public, with the aim of supporting the government’s efforts in promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Speaking at the soft launching of the ‘Regatta Perayaan 68’ Bazaar a day earlier, Haji Haizul Rizal bin Haji Yahya, Acting Assistant District Officer and the chairman of the event, said that the idea behind holding the regatta was to bring the Tutong community together.
He also believes that a festivity such as this will not only help attract visitors to Tutong, but will also strengthen the family institution and community spirit, in line with the aspiration of His Majesty to strengthen the family institution and social solidarity.
Winners of a photographic competition were also announced during the soft launch, where a total of 23 participants competed and a total of 40 photos were received for three categories – Category A, B and C. The winners were presented with cash prizes and certificates by Wardi Haji bin Mohammad Ali, Tutong District Officer.
The ‘Regatta Perayaan 68’ is one of the initiatives to promote the Tutong River as an attraction in Tutong District, in line with the aspiration of transforming ‘Tutong District as a Destination’.