Thanksgiving for Deputy Minister of Education after SEAWrite Award win

The recipient of the SEAWrite Award 2008 called for quality literature works of previous winners to be translated into Arabic and English for wider readership, as well as devising workable strategies to market the Sultanate's literary products to other Malay-speaking nations in the region.

Deputy Minister of Education Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abd Rahman also called for the region's literature works to be made available here, as the country has not many quality writings that can help nourish interests in literature.

"Without easy access to regional literature, we are not able to gauge our standards. It is also hoped that locally published books will be given promotion, so that the population, especially the new generation, is aware of any new publications," he said at a thanksgiving ceremony dedicated to him last Saturday night.

The event held at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong was attended by Legislative Council member Pg Setia Negara Pg (Dr) Hj Mohd Yusuf Pg Hj Abd Rahim, Syariah Chief Justice Pehin Dato Paduka Seri Setia Hj Yahya Hj Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary and Deputy Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Education, Director, Deputy Director and staff members of the Language Literature Bureau (DBP), as well as previous recipients of the SEAWrite Award and other writers.

The deputy minister also urged higher learning institutes to offer literature to find new talents, especially in Islamic literature, as well as educating undergraduates towards high proficiency in literature criticism.

"In our efforts to educate our young people to be highly proficient in economy, engineering and science, we also do not want to be left behind in lifting the Malay language and literature, as well as nourishing our national culture," he said.

Meanwhile, in his speech, DBP Director Dr Mataim Bakar said that his department would not stop in their efforts to uplift the local literature and promote its role in moral developments.

"I urge all writers to continue in cooperating with DBP to uplift the standards of our literature. DBP will continue to publish literary works of local writers and compete with other publishers in publishing quality publications.

"This can only be done if writers work hard towards ensuring quality productions," he added. The deputy minister also recited poems, some of which were composed while he was in Bangkok, where he joined other recipients from nine Asean countries for SEAWrite 2008 Week from Sept 25 to Oct 1.

Also joining him in reciting poems were Pg Setia Negara Pg (Dr) Hj Mohd Yusuf (or better known in the literary world as Yura Halim), Hj Moksin Kadir (K Manis), Hj Jawawi Hj Ahmad (HJR), Mohamad Rajap, Zefri Ariff and Dk Saadatul Hanan.

Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd received the coveted award presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn of Thailand during the Gala and Awarding Night at the Oriental Hotel's Royal Ballroom in Bangkok last Sept 30.

Other winners selected from their respective countries and who had composed literary works in their mother tongue were Prof Hatta Azad Khan (Malaysia), Dr Sin Touch (Cambodia), Othong Khaminsou (Laos), Nguyen Ngoc Tu (Vietnam), Stella Kon (Singapore), Dr Elmer Alindogan Ordonez (The Philippines), Hamsad Rangkuti (Indonesia) and Watchara Sujjasarasin (Thailand).

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