The Brunei December Festival 2018 created a new chapter in the event's history and the country's when it successfully produced the nation's longest string of "kelupis". The "Kelupis" is a type of local 'glutinous rice cake' wrapped in leaves. His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam witnessed the record making strung 'kelupis' and subsequently toured exhibitions and other activities of the festival at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien. Also present was His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.

The longest string of Kelupis was made of six thousand of the local rice cakes produced by a local company, Ayu Atiqah Event Management with the cooperation of Royal Brunei Catering. The making of the Kelupis began last Thursday. The achievement received Royal Approval when His Majesty signed the Brunei Book of Records' Certificate of Validation.

The Monarch also launched the Brunei Books of Records which collects and validates records achieved by individuals in the country including the Yoyo player who recorded the highest ranking in the 1A Division in Asia, the youngest health teaching staff in Southeast Asia in 2013 and the first woman to complete the Malaysian 100 Kilometre Trail Run.

The fun, interesting or exciting activities of the festival are the exhibitions and sales. The Tourism Development Department's Exhibition showcases a number of local tour packages in the country's four districts. The packages give the public and tourists the opportunity to personally experience the uniqueness of Brunei Darussalam's rainforests and share the importance of cooperating in preserving the country's natural heritage and protecting the ecosystem.

The Association of Brunei Hotels and Brunei Association of Travel Agencies also take part in the festival, offering tour packages that include accommodations at affordable prices.

The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and the Embassy of Thailand promote their traditional food.

More than 400 volunteers are involved in the festival to ensure the smooth running of its operations and logistics.

The Road Safety Council showcases the "Tell Everyone" campaign which focuses on 7 aspects of road safety. They include wearing seat belts while driving, not using mobile telephones while driving, obeying the speed limit as well as ensuring tyres are in good condition and safe to use.

The Festival is organised by the Brunei Tourism Development Board, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism with the cooperation of several stakeholders and strategic partners. Last year, the inaugural festival attracted more than forty thousand local and foreign visitors with about 40 events organised in the country's four districts.

A number of sports activities are being held again this year. Among them is the 3rd Green Jewel Night Run organised by the C.A.R.E Association on the 15th of the month in Bangar Town, Temburong District. Ar-Rafi Achery is also holding the Brunei Traditional Archery Festival from the 4th to the 7th of January 2019.

The Arm Wrestling Exhibition by the Brunei Arm Wrestling Association also attracted His Majesty's interest. The Arm Wrestling Competition will be held on the 15th and 16th of this month at Kiulap Mall in the capital. Several species of Eagles were exhibited and proved popular among the visitors.

At the Paintball arena, His Majesty and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince tried their hands on shooting targets with the paintball marker. The game which is a current trend tests the players mind, speed, strategy and discipline.

This year's festival includes religious programmes. Among them is the Ibadah Camp from the 7th to the 9th of the month which aims to instil the true Muslim character among the participants so they always migrate towards good and also make the youth understand the meaning of a Muslim's life. The Islamic Da'wah Centre focuses on a religious programme for youth.

His Majesty showed keen interest in a Jawi Calligraphy writing demonstration by Awang Hamdi bin Emran.

In line with the aspiration of the government, the festival not only encourages locals to go on holiday in the country by visiting local places of interest, but also generates domestic tourism growth, besides encouraging foreign tourists to choose Brunei as a holiday destination.

Continuing the tour, His Majesty witnessed a drone demonstration by the FPV BN Association. The drone were operated by 4 pilots. An upcoming interest is the Southeast Asian Drone Championship next month at the Jerudong Park Playground.

The Prisons Department as one of the festival's strategic partners highlighted the Integration Run which will take place in April next year.

The December Festival coincides with the Brunei Salesbration which aims to encourage local residents to shop in the country and help to generate the county's economic growth and increase business opportunities among small and medium enterprises, SMEs.

Another programme is the 'Brunei Unexpected Kingdom Ultra Marathon' (BUKUM) 2018, organised Begawan Athlete Enterprise.

His Majesty also toured an exhibition by Petronas Carigali Brunei Limited -PCBL. The company is committed to preserve and improve environmental sustainability for the future with focus on the the 3-Rs namely Reduce, and Recycle. Among the activities already implemented are beach cleaning campaigns. Several educational institutions in the country also showcased their programmes and activities.

By organising several programmes that cover Food, Culture, Sports and Religion, the December Festival is hoped to achieve its goal of turning Brunei Darussalam into an attractive tourist destination. However, the success of the festival requires the strong support of all levels of the community, who should play a united role in the development and progress of the country's tourism industry.

Source: Radio Television Brunei