Bandar Seri Begawan - PEMBELA Youth Association spokeswoman, Maya Maryam binti Ismail, said that it is the youths' responsibility to the country to be independent.
"We are part of the nation that we are proud of and it is important to show our gratitude and love for our homeland. This is also the tribute to all our leaders before us," added Maya Maryam.
The association is based in Belait District but it also has members in Brunei-Muara District. The association has conducted seminars and workshops throughout Brunei and one of the important issues that it highlighted is encouraging youths to be independent.
PEMBELA was established in 1966 and yesterday, 60 of its member took part in the 29th National Day parade.
Private organisations, including expatriates, participating in the National Day parade were also in high spirits at the celebration at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien in the capital.
A delegation from the Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) sang "Happy Birthday Brunei" with a touch of international influence as three expatriates dressed in traditional colours signifying their national heritage and culture.
Stuart McGregor who hails from Aberdeen, Scotland, wore a traditional Scottish outfit.
"I got a traditional Scottish outfit so you've a kilt, a sporran (to keep all your money in), jacket, the kilt pin and a bit of decorative jewellery that goes along with it," he said.
He described the atmosphere as being really good, with everyone in a happy and chatty mood.
Stuart said that the group, with the majority of the participants dressed in white and red, left as early as 4am from Seria by bus.
Ekanem Etuk from Nigeria, who wore a colourful traditional outfit said that it is one of the many traditional costumes from various tribes that can be found in his home country.
"To start with, the shoes, the hat, and the waistcoat are made by a craftsman using specially designed beads. The shoes and the hat are more traditional while the waistcoat has a Western influence", Ekanem said.
When asked by the Bulletin about his unique scarf, Ekanem explained that it is a rope-liked accessory worn around the neck. "People used to have all sorts of flowery things and in recent times people only just take a piece of the embroidery and used it around the neck", Ekanem explained.
Ekanem added that the traditional outfit is usually worn during formal occasions especially during weddings and other important events.
Jayadi Sitorus, from Indonesia, chose the 29th National Day celebration as an opportunity to wear an Indonesian outfit commonly seen in festive occasions and it included an "ulos", a popular traditional cloth from the Batak people of North Sumatra.
Though Jayadi has gained considerable work experience in the country, like Stuart and Ekanem, it was his first time joining the National Day parade.
Meanwhile, Zurinah binti Hj Ibrahim, a teacher from the Youth Development Centre said that the centre provides student training in a variety of skills including character building and enhancing their personal development.
As an organisation, we are active in participating in the National Day celebrations. In fact, we joined every year since its establishment," Zurinah added.
Touching on the significance of the Women's Council - one of the associations which took part in the parade - Pg Hjh Zabaidah bte Pg Hj Kamaluddin, Vice-President I of the Women Graduates Association, said that "as aligned with the theme this year, we should contribute to the development of our country and support the aspirations of our nation".
The Women Council reached a milestone this year as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. Women Graduates Association is one of 13 member associations of the Women Council of Brunei Darussalam.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin