BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei will celebrate its 37th National Day on a smaller scale this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
A total of 121 teams involving 2,600 people from enforcement agencies, NGOs to grassroots leaders will take part in the procession on February 23, including 1,237 performers.
This is a far cry from the 26,000 people who joined last year’s parade.
The giant flag was hoisted on Tuesday in the capital to mark the beginning of the 37th National Day celebrations.
With the hoisting of the giant flag, Brunei citizens and residents are required to raise the national flag at their respective residences, as well as offices and business premises for 10 days from February 16 to 25.
This year’s procession will feature COVID-19 frontliners to highlight their efforts in combating the pandemic.
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and members of the royal family are expected to attend the National Day parade.
Head of Environmental Health Services, Dr Pg Hj Sirajuli Adli Pg Hj Jamaludin, said wearing of masks are encouraged and anyone showing signs of illness are urged to avoid attending the National Day celebrations.
Participants and guests are required to scan the BruHealth app and maintain social distancing as part of the health ministry’s COVID-19 guidelines.
National Day theme retained
Permanent Secretary of Culture, Youth and Sports Hjh Nor Ashikin Hj Johari said this year’s celebrations will retain the theme, “Menjayakan Wawasan Negara” or “Realising the National Vision”.
“The theme emphasises that with the COVID-19 pandemic and importance of safety for all, this situation teaches us to familiarise ourselves with the new normal towards achieving Brunei Vision 2035,” she said.
The 37th National Day logo takes the shape of a flower that blooms to mark Brunei as a country with educated, skilled and successful people, a high standard of living, dynamic economy and resilience towards achieving the national vision.
Environmental NGO Green Brunei will also be holding its “Bandarku Bersih” and “Bandarku Bebas Botol Plastik” or ‘Plastic Bottle-Free City’ for the second time as part of the celebrations.
The campaigns aim to raise public awareness on the importance of maintaining cleanliness and encourage public involvement in working together to keep Bandar Seri Begawan free from pollution, said the project manager Nazurah Noor.
“The campaign will involve volunteers in supporting the Municipal Department’s efforts to clean up Taman SOAS and its surrounding areas during the event,” she said.
For the ‘Plastic Bottle Free City’ Campaign, Green Brunei will work with water supply companies to provide water dispensers along the road leading to Taman SOAS.
80 artists involved in #nbd37 art installation
The National Day art installation, which spells out the #nbd37 hashtag, has been set up at the open plaza of the Yayasan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital.
The giant hashtags have become a prominent fixture in the country’s National Day celebrations over the years.
Eighty artists were involved in the art installation with six themes: Brunei’s Comics And Illustrations; We Are Brunei Darussalam!; Brunei Recycled Art; COVID-19 Awareness; Graffiti Modern Art; and Brunei as ASEAN Chair.
There were two ASEAN-themed hashtags — one designed by students from Yayasan Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Secondary School and Pusat Bahagia which showcased ASEAN national flowers, while the second was designed by street artists Guerrilla Artchitects.
NGOs such as Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam, ABLE Brunei (Down Syndrome Association of Brunei Darussalam) as well as Pusat Bahagia also participated in the art installation.
Artists from the 20:21 Art Exhibition were tasked to design the ‘We are Brunei Darussalam’ theme, while the “Brunei Recycled Art” theme showcased the work of artists from various fields.
Graphic designers from the creative movement, Justbruneians created the hashtag that focused on COVID-19 awareness.