Advancement in mobile telecommunications technology and the introduction of affordable digital SLR cameras have brought about a new way for people to see and experience huge events such as His Majesty’s birthday celebration.
Bloggers, tweeters and photographers alike came to Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien for various reasons, but the spirit of patriotism and love for their monarch and the nation became the main force for their presence at the event.
Two of Brunei’s most well-known Social Media members, Mohd Reeda Malik and Delwin Keasberry or better known as AnakBrunei and BruneiTweet respectively, have both been busy with keeping the Internet world updated on the celebrations at the Taman.
Utilising the effectiveness of twitter, they had come up with a twitter hashtag (#hm65) for every post related to His Majesty’s birthday celebrations.
"The whole idea of His Majesty’s celebrations is an opportunity for us to showcase our tradition as this is something that we do every year. I get up early in the morning to do this every year is because every year, it is a different vibe, different feel and different opportunities or ‘Kodak moments’ and there is always a little bit of difference in the crowds every year and that’s what I look forward to the most every year," said Reeda.
Reeda continued, "This year, for the first time the Twitter community has set-up an official hashtag in conjunction with the celebrations (#hm65). We took photos and posted them online for the people abroad to view them live as the event progresses, it is fantastic. I think this year, a lot more people were able to experience His Majesty’s birthday while not being here (in Brunei). These people actually said that they felt as if they were here as they were able to see everything related to the celebration just by searching for the hashtag."
Avid young photographer Sabrina Mahmud said, "Being able to be in the crowd to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday is just amazing. The excitement and the feeling of being over the moon that I get to see His Majesty up-close is one of the reasons why I was there since six in the morning. His Majesty has done a lot for the nation, and I feel honoured and proud to be at the Taman for His Majesty’s 65th birthday."
Haji Bakar Haji Sharbini, a freelance photographer was amongst many others who woke up very early yesterday morning to witness His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam arrive at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday with patriotism and the spirit of wanting to be part of the auspicious day as his driving force.
"I’ve been involved in photography for only five years, and every chance I get to come down and take photos during events such as these, I would. I’m happy and proud to see lots of people coming down early in the morning to join the celebration," he said.
Being an amateur photographer, Md Syazwan Ramlee expressed his joy for being able to come down to the celebration, as it is his opportunity to take photos of His Majesty.
"I come down in a group of more than 10 people, and it was great to just walk around the Taman area and capture the atmosphere," he added.
Marsalinawati Hj Omarali on the other hand, has chosen to go back to film photography for personal satisfaction of the outcome by using Lomography cameras.
"I’ve been involved in photography since the 1990s, and throughout the years, my preferred means of taking photographs has changed from automatic film cameras to digital SLRs, and right now I prefer light and portable devices such as multi-lens compact cameras and Lomography cameras," explained Marsalinawati.
She also added that the celebration was a great way for them to go out to Bandar Seri Begawan because people nowadays rarely visit the capital for leisure.
"So I love the idea that Bandar is alive because of events such as this – I wish there would be more events held in Bandar," she added.