|Brunei Sultan and Other Members of the Royal Family Join the Chinese New Year Celebrations|
SOME 1,200 guests displayed a united front of racial and social harmony as they welcomed His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and his Royal Entourage for a Lunar New Year celebration with the local Chinese community at the International Convention Centre.
His Majesty was accompanied by Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar.
Also present 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 Mohamed Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik, and other Royal Family members.
Tan Koh Huat, deputy secretary of the event, described the gathering as one of the largest events for the Brunei-Chinese community.
The fourth of its kind to be held, the get-together was aimed to allow the Chinese community to gather and show their respect and appreciation to His Majesty, he said.
Tan said that the $150,000 celebration, which took almost a year to plan, also provided an opportunity for the Chinese community to further strengthen relationships with one another.
The venue of the event was decorated with specially built walkways ornamented with seas of traditional red Chinese lanterns and pink plum flowers, giving the convention centre a traditional festive and cultural presence.
Two lion dance troupes, one donned in the colours of Brunei's national flag, accompanied with sounds of the thunderous beats of Chinese drums, were on hand to welcome His Majesty and his entourage.
Present to receive the Royal Family were Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin, Pehin Kapitan Cina Kornia Diraja Dato Paduka Lau Ah Kok, Pehin Bendahari Cina Dato Paduka Onn Siew Siong, Dato Paduka Lim Beng Thai, Dr Chan Sui Kiat, Tan Liang Toon, Jackson Ting Jack Hing and Ang Swee Chuan.
The national anthem was then sung, followed by a pledge of allegiance read by the leaders of the Chinese community, led by Pehin Dato Goh.
The guests were then seated and treated to a fine assortment of mouth-watering dishes, while being entertained by elegantly choreographed dances and heart-stopping wushu (Chinese martial arts) performances from a number of Chinese schools in the Sultanate, as well as from the Wudao (Dance) Association of Brunei.
His Majesty also took the opportunity to mingle with guests before browsing a mini exhibition, set up by eight Chinese schools in Brunei.
There are approximately 43,700 ethnic Chinese currently living in Brunei, contributing to about 11 per cent of the total population.
In Courtesy of The Brunei Times