| James Kon |
UNDER perfect blue skies and with a good breeze, 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 officiated the 1st Brunei Darussalam International Kite Festival opening ceremony at Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas in Bandar Seri Begawan yesterday morning.
Joining His Majesty at the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.
Also present were Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, and senior officials from government agencies.
The ceremony kick-started with the playing of the national anthem.
“This is the first time that Brunei Darussalam is hosting a kite festival in the area of Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas to unite and gather kite enthusiasts from around the world and fly their kites, which is a heritage of Brunei Darussalam,” said President of the Brunei Darussalam Kite Association and chairperson of the event organising committee Haji Maidin bin Haji Ahmad in his opening remarks prior to the official launch of the festival.
Kite enthusiasts from some 25 countries participated in the inaugural event.
Haji Maidin added, “Besides showcasing the modern and creative kites, the subjects of His Majesty and visitors of the festival will definitely be very excited because of the opportunity to meet and greet His Majesty.
“The festival is one of the activities held in conjunction with Brunei Darussalam’s 35th National Day celebration and is held for the first time. This demonstrates that Brunei wants to ensure that its traditions and culture continue to live on. This is in keeping with the festival’s theme, ‘Strengthening Unity’.
“Kite flying,” he continued, “is unique compared to other recreational sports because it fosters harmony and unity via the (communal enjoyment of a shared) interest (by participants) from around the world of different races and cultures. In addition to being a family recreational activity, the festival can also (help boost) the country’s tourism sector.”
Following the launch ceremony, Haji Maidin presented a pesambah to His Majesty.
The monarch then proceeded to try his hand at flying the kites together with members of the royal family.
Before the end of the ceremony, His Majesty and members of the royal family visited the exhibition booths and mingled with the festival participants and visitors.