Lowering the National Flag
I was the Chairman for this year's Raing and Lowering the Brunei Giant Flag Ceremony for this year. This is the second year that I have been tasked to do that. Normally everyone is upbeat about the Raising of the Brunei Giant Flag as that marked the beginning of the National Day events. You get pretty good attendance for that. But the Lowering of the Brunei Giant Flag is a more sombre event.
We had been so busy with National Day this year that we did not have a rehearsal for the ceremony. In most cases we do but this time round, the ceremony was only 5 days after the National Day and we had a number of other things in between. Everyone in the committee was saying this is so routine and blah blah blah. I made the mistake of agreeing with them.
Lo and behold. Parkinson's Rule. Something happened. Not serious but I have a feeling someone did get an earful on that day. When the flag came down, the soldier who was supposed to grab it, grab the wrong end. He should have grab the lower corner of the flag but instead he grabbed the upper corner. So the flag was grabbed and the soldiers below were holding the flag but now the flag is upside down in their hands. It was alright but when the rope holding the flag came down, the rope was twisted and the other side of the flag was twisted. The soldiers were struggling and I am sure they were pretty nervous. The commanding officer standing on the side was giving quiet instructions, as quietly as he could but I could sense he wanted to shout.
The Deputy Minister and I were watching the whole spectacle. It was a comedy of errors. They managed to get one of the hook loose and that rope went swinging round the pole. One soldier 'chased' after it. They finally managed to get the other hook free and held on to it. Finally the flag was able to be folded.
We were all unnerved by then. When the army officer and the sergeant bearing the flag came to us, I quietly asked the Deputy Minister to receive the flag. I forgot that the sergeant will give the flag to the army officer to be presented to the Deputy Minister. Luckily as the Deputy Minister turned to get the flag from the sergeant, the Adat Istiadat officer who was holding the tray whispered to her that the flag will be from the army officer.
I tell you for a fifteen minute ceremony, things did get a little bit tense there. I am not sure whether the 300 crowd behind us saw anything amiss but it was almost dicey there.