Saturday, 11 July 2009

Brunei - Current

The flag of Brunei consists of four components, two parallelograms and two trapeziums. The two parallelograms dissect the flag from a point just below the top left corner to a point the same distance from the bottom left. This produces two similar trapeziums the bottom being the inverted form of the top. The parallelograms are of unequal depths the upper being wider than the lower. The centre of the flag is superimposed by the national crest. The colours of the flag are yellow for the two trapeziums white for the upper parallelogram and black for the lower. The national crest is coloured red.[1] There is debate regarding the proportions of the two parallelograms, the upper white is stated to be larger than the black in many sources,[2] Album des Pavillions 2000 gives the ratio as 17:15, white to black.[3]

The national crest consists of the flag, the royal umbrella, the wing, the hands, and the crescent. On the crescent is writing in Arabic script that contain the national motto of: "Always in service with God's guidance". Below this is a banner with the name of the nation in Arabic script as "Brunei Darussalam" or Brunei, land of peace.

The symbolism of the national crest is as follows, the Bendera (flag) and the Payung Ubor-Ubor (royal umbrella) are historical royal emblems. The Sayap (wing of four feathers) symbolizes the protection of justice, tranquillity, prosperity and peace. The Tangan or Kimhap (hand ) signifies the Government's pledge to promote welfare, peace and prosperity and the Bulan (crescent ) is the symbol of Islam, the national religion of Brunei.[4] The mast and pedestal of the crest represent the three levels of government.[5]

The colours of the flag have a symbolic meaning as well, in Southeast Asia, yellow is traditionally the colour of royalty, and the royal standards of Malaysia and Thailand, along with the presidential flag of Indonesia, also use a yellow field. Therefore the yellow represents the Sultan of Brunei. The black and white stripes represent Brunei's chief ministers.[6] The white is the colour of the Chief Minister of State, the Duli Pengiran Bendahara, and black represents the Second Minister, the Duli Pengiran Pemancha. These three were the signatories of the Treaty with Britain in 1906.[7]

Before 1906, Brunei had no single state emblem. Instead, Brunei royal family members and state officials held personal flags and standards. The most important belonged to the Sultan and Wazir. In 1906 the basic bold yellow, white and black flag was adopted as state emblem. The national crest was added when the national flag of Brunei was adopted on September 29, 1959 when the country was a British protectorate, and was retained when the country gained full independence on January 1, 1984, as Brunei Darussalam.[8]

Today there are five Wazirs in Brunei and their personal flags can be also seen flying on special occasions. These include that of the principal Wazir, the Duli Pengiran Perdana Wazir (white with the state crest in yellow) and the four further Wazirs; Pengiran Bendahara (white), Pengiran Digadong (green), Pengiran Pemancha (black) and Pengiran Temenggong (red),[9](given as purple by some sources).[10][11]

[1] The National Flag of Brunei Darussalam, The Government of Brunei Official Website,
[2] (a) Gilbert Grosvenor; William J. Showalter, Flags of the World, National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Society: Washington, USA. 1934
(b) E. H. Baxter, National Flags, Frederick Warne and Co.: London and New York, UK. 1934
(c) Vice-Admiral Gordon Campbell; I. O. Evans, FRGS, The Book of Flags, Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. 1950
(d) I. O. Evans, FRGS, The Book of Flags, Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. 1965
(e) E. M. C. Barraclough, Flags of the World, Frederick Warne and Co.: London and New York, UK. 1965
(f) Christian Fogd Pedersen, The International Flag Book in Colour, R.N.William Morrow & Company: Inc.: New York, USA. 1971
(g) E. M. C. Barraclough; William Crampton, Flags of the World, Frederick Warne and Co.: London and New York, UK. 1978
(h) Eric Inglefield, Flags, Ward Lock / Kingfisher Books: London, UK. 1979
All sources taken from Flags of the World,
[3] Armand du Payrat, CV(R), Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctive, S.H.O.M. (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine): Brest, France. 2000
[4] The National Crest of Brunei Darussalam, The Government of Brunei Official Website,
[5] 100 years of the Brunei national flag, The Daily Brunei Resources,
[6] The Flag of Brunei, Wikipedia,
[7] Christopher Southworth, Flags of the World,
[8] The Flag of Brunei, Wikipedia,
[9] Wikipedia,
[10] Wiki-answers,[11] The Daily Brunei Resources,
[fig1] Flag of Brunei, Gvido Petersons, Flags of the World,
[fig2] Construction Sheet, Gvido Petersons and Željko Heimer, Flags of the World,
[fig3] The National Crest of Brunei, Brunei Government Official Website,

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