Fadley Faisal, Adib Noor & Izah Azahari
A palpable sense of patriotism permeated throughout the capital yesterday as the Sultanate celebrated its 38th National Day with a parade at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien.
The Indonesian Community Association in Brunei Darussalam (PERMAI) participated in the parade, with members clad in 12 customary attires – each representing different Indonesian provinces, and 24 batik uniforms.
PERMAI Head Mukhidin Umar led his 36-member delegation through the capital, roughly 400-metres to the Taman to pay tribute to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and members of the royal family.
Relishing the experience, a parade participant said, “We felt like celebrities, marching through the Taman in our traditional Indonesian attire.”
Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko, accompanied by Nani Sujatmiko, expressed pride at having the Indonesian community in the Sultanate participate in the grand occasion annually, enlivening the occasion, while at the same time, exhibiting the richness of the Indonesian culture, particularly its traditional attires.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MoE) march past team member Dayangku Siti Amal Jariah binti Pengiran Matjinen said, “It has always been a pleasure to be part of the National Day celebrations.
“This is the second year running that I am participating in the parade, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It definitely challenges our mental strength and readiness, which have to be forged to ensure safety during this difficult time.
“We are also maintaining standard operating procedures (SOPs) throughout the event, and in the past week, I have been taking extra precautions. Alhamdulillah, with prayers to Allah the Almighty, I am proud to be standing with the others in marking the National Day celebrations to rekindle our spirits and revisit our pledge as a nation to achieve Brunei Vision 2035.
“Even during difficult times, we should work together and support each other in realising Brunei Vision 2035,” she said.
Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) members were also involved in yesterday’s event, continuing to support the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the fight against COVID-19 as the nation celebrated its big day.
“Ninety members were assigned to antigen rapid test (ART) swabbing of guests and the public, while 20 others were on medical cover duty – ready to assist in any emergency situation at the Taman,” said BDRCS member Mohd Syafi’ Iman bin Sofian.
“The high rate of infection due to Omicron plays a major factor, but we have been briefed and are cautious of the situation, particularly our ART swabbers who are at the frontline. We are here in full support to ensure the National Day celebrations is an absolute success,” he said.
The BDRCS member highlighted that “everyone has a role to play in fighting the third COVID-19 wave. Be responsible by following MoH guidelines and SOPs such as maintaining social distancing and wearing face mask in public.”
Meanwhile, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Brunei Mayapuri Bandar outlet opened its doors at 6am, looking to ensure spectators and participants remained hydrated. From 6am to 11am, the company ran its annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, ‘The Caring Cup’, sharing 500 cups of iced tea and iced coffee with parade participants.
The National Day parade this year was a scaled down version of past celebrations, seeing the involvement of only 3,800 participants.