Education Deputy Minister Receives Writers Award.

THE Deputy Minister of Education was awarded the 2008 Southeast Asian (SEA) Write Award for his fourth anthology of poems entitled, "Rinduku" (My Yearning). Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abdul Rahman is this year's Brunei recipient of the prestigious award given to regional writers by the Kingdom of Thailand. The deputy minister received the award at a ceremony witnessed by senior officers of the Language and Literature Bureau, close friends and his family at his residence in Kg Jangsak.

Pg Dato Dr Hj Mohammad, who has been writing since 1961, said that he did not anticipate the honour of being awarded with such a prestigious award. "My family and I are very proud for this award," he said. "I will try to my best to continue writing," he added. According to the deputy minister the inspiration to write often came at unforeseeable times but he would usually pray before sitting down and start writing. Director of Language and Literature Bureau, Dr Mataim Bakar in his speech at the event described the recipient as a "prolific writer and sensitive to the surroundings".

"It is a rare thing to see someone who is responsible for the country's development is at the same time able to produce quality literary work," added the director, who presented the award to Pg Dato Dr Hj Mohammad. The award-winning book contains 51 poems in which the titles, among others include "Bisikan Roh" (Spirit's Whisper), "Lagu Pagi" (Morning Song) and "Rinduku" (My Yearning). Pg Dato Dr Hj Mohammad or his pen name, Zairis M S has previously written three anthologies of poems entitled "Harga Waktu" (Value of Time), "Madah Remaja" (Teenage Eulogy) and "Salam Taqwa" (Taqwa Greetings).

The deputy minister has also co-written with other writers and poets a number of academic works and anthology of poems. He also represented Brunei in the 10th World Declamation of Poems in Malaysia in 2004. SEA Write Award is given annually to deserving writers coming from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The award that has been presented annually since 1979 to poets and writers in the region for their specific works by or for lifetime achievement. The types of works that are honoured vary, and have included poetry, short stories, novels, plays, folklore and scholarly and religious works.

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Local writers urged to promote HM's vision

LOCAL writers and poets can play an important role in realising His Majesty's aspiration of making Brunei Darussalam a zikir nation in constant appraisal of Allah (SWT) as mentioned in His Majesty's titah on the eve of Hari Raya Aidil Adha 2007.This was said by Pg Bahrom Pg Hj Bahar, deputy permanent secretaryat the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports during the prize presentation for creative Bahana Magazine competition yesterday at Balai Sarmayuda of the Language and Literature Bureau.

The guest of honour commented that with writers acute and critical mind, they are capable of expressing their observation on current issues in writing. He said the nation's current issues largely stemmed from globalisation. Writers role in combating negative influence of globalisation lie in their ability to increase public awareness by mentioning the importance of religion in life. "In their novels, poems and poetry, these local writers could include the importance of religion for the success in both lives," he said.

By sending their work to the magazine, local writers will inadvertently improve their work quality said the Language and Literature Bureau's Director, Dr Mataim Bakar.Evaluated by a panel of judges, writers will inadvertently put their utmost effort to be at par with the other experienced local writers. This will not only help boost Bahana magazine's image, it will also improve the standard of Malay language in the nation.

Five winners in the short category stories were Hj Zainal Abidin Hj Muhammad with his story entitled Selagi Masih Bernafas; Muhabat Tum Karr He Hee Ahmad Ezrat Ghulam Shah dengan Khaleda Phulam Shahul by Hj Bujang Hj Matnor; Arlogi by Hj Ahmad Arshad; Mamma by Pg Hj Metassan Pg Bakar and Mahalnya Khat by Hjh Norsiah Hj Abd Gapar.

In the poem category, the winners were Chong Ah Fok with Anak-Anak G3; Pg Hj Metassan Pg Bakar with Hari Kekasih; Lukisan Rama-Rama by Suip Hj Abd Wahab; Detik waktu membelah usia by Pg Hj Mahmud Pg Damit and Erti sebuah bendera by Hj Bidin Hj Md Noor. Whereas Hj Osman BPSKDSS Hj Mohd was the sole winner for poetry.

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BSP sponsors $8,000 for DBP's Kreatif Bahana

Brunei Shell Petroleum Sdn Bhd (BSP) yesterday handed over $8,000 in sponsorship to the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) at Balai Sarmayuda. On hand to present the sponsorship was BSP Foreign Affairs Advisor Hajah Masni binti Haji Munir to DBP Director Dr Mataim bin Haji Bakar. The contribution will be used for the prizes of Kreatif Bahana, an annual project organised by the bureau since its inception in 1995.

The committee for Kreatif Bahana has compiled some 47 short stories, 312 poetries and 16 traditional poetries (syair and pantun). All these creative items will be assessed by a panel and the winner will receive a cash prize and a plaque, sponsored by BSP. Among the objectives of the competition is to upgrade the quality of local literary work by local writers. Other contributions from BSP include a mobile library in Kuala Belait and a reference room at the Kampong Pandan library, in line with the company's goal to promote a reading culture and ICT among the youth.

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Tema-tema patriotisme lewat antologi puisi 'Kembara Merdeka, Dua Dekat meniti Usia.'

Kita sebagai penulis berasa bertuah dengan penerbitan antologi puisi Kembara Merdeka, Dua Dekad Meniti Usia dengan tema Patriotisme Teras Keteguhan Negara iaitu tema Hari Kebangsaan Negara Brunei Darussalam Ke-20 yang telah diterbitkan lebih kurang lima tahun yang lepas (2004). Antologi ini memuatkan 91 buah puisi daripada 62 orang penulis tanah air seperti A.Hashim Hamid, A. Mahad, Abdullah Tahir, Adi Rumi, Adi Zaky, Aminah Haji Momin, Badaruddin H.O, Brahim A.H.T, Haji Mariat bin Haji Abdullah, Mahmudamit,, Shukri Zain, PH Muhammad Abdul Aziz dan lain-lain penulis yang tidak dapat disebutkan di sini.

Berbagai cara untuk kita meluahkan rasa dan semangat cintakan tanah air. Melalui puisi kita juga dapat melahirkan perasaan tersebut dalam bentuk kata-kata yang indah dan membawa seribu makna yang tesirat di dalamnya. Semangat patriotik harus tertanam dalam jiwa setiap ahli masyarakat yang menandakan kecintaan terhadap bangsa dan negara. Kita lihat misalannya puisi ‘Genggam’ karya Adi Misere ini;

Hari ini nostalgia berulang
Genggam selepasnya sudah terisi makmur keringat suci
Kebebasan membuka nurani milik bangsa
Tiada ke mana lagi pintaan terakhir
Penyudah segala pertiwi teras tenaga
Menjunjung daulat kebebasan nusa.

Bulat hati menilai pada nusa watan tercinta
Awal mula genggam simpan makna sejuta erti
Menyimpai permai kembang bangsa
Menyahut seruan angkat naik jalur cermerlang
Berjanji tiga warna semboyan bangsa
Berbimbing bahu tuju wawasan!
[Kembara Merdeka, Dua Dekat Meniti Usia: hal. 7]

Sesungguhnya penerbitan antolog ini tidak akan terhasil sekiranya tidak ada kerjasama daripada semua penulis dan mereka yang terlibat secara langsung sehingga antologi ini dapat kita tatap dan hayati. Tahniah kepada penulis-penulis yang telah menyumbangkan puisi masing-masing walaupun kita difahami bahawa waktu yang diperuntukan untuk menghasilkan puisi ini agak terhad. Di samping itu puisi-puisi yang diterbitkan dalam antologi ini juga ada yang dipetik dan buku Rancangan Hari Kebangsaan Negara Brunei Darussalam Ke-18, 2002, Buku Rancangan Han Kebangsaan Negara Brunei Darussalam Ke-19, 2003 dan majalah Bahana.

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Winning writers receive accolades.

The prize presentation ceremony for the various competition programmes of the 2008 Knowledge Convention, in conjunction with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 62nd birthday celebration, was held yesterday at the International Convention Centre in Berakas. Present as the guest of honour at the event was Awang Haji Abdul Aziz bin OKML Haji Mohd Yusof, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, who also presented prizes to the winners.

In his welcoming address, Dr Mataim bin Bakar, Director of the Language and Literature Bureau, said that the number of people participating in additional competitions have been encouraging over the years. He also said that the competition saw more seasoned writers putting up a tougher fight against stiff opposition from the fresh writers. Before the results of the competitions were announced, Dr Mataim also summarised some of the findings made by the judges from various competitions.

Dayang Nur Judy binti Abdullah caught the appeal of the judges in the children's storybook writing competition with her story entitled, 'The Storm'. Also in the children's storybook writing competition, Dayang Kartini binti Haji Sapar with her story 'Nabil the Pious Child' came runner-up, followed by Awang Mohd Ardysham bin Haji Abu Bakar in third place with his story entitled 'Bismillah and Alhamdulillah'.

In short story-writing competition, Awang Haji Abdul Aziz bin Tuah snatched top place with his story 'Pejal'. Meanwhile, Awang Haji Mohd Hussin bin Abdul Rahman came second with his story entitled, 'Hati Yang Belum Terusik', followed by Dayang Hajah Sadiah binti Haji Mohd Ali with her story entitled 'Semarak Kasih'.

Meanwhile, Dayang Hajah Sariani binti Haji Ishak became the champion of the article writing competition with her writing entitled 'Melestarikan Negara Zikir Mengharungi Gelombang Globalisasi'. In second place was Dayang Hajah Zainon binti Haji Mohd Tahir with her writing entitled 'Negara Brunei Darussalam: Iltizam Merealisasikan Negara Zikir' and Shaikh Mahmud bin Shaikh Haji Ibrahim came third with his writing entitled 'Ke Arah Negara Zikir: Tinjauan dan Pendekatan'.

The ceremony also saw the prize presentation for the Jawi calligraphy-writing competition. First place went to Haji Sabtu bin Surat, followed by Haji Junaidi bin Haji Chuchu in second and Wan Habib bin Wan Ibrahim in third place.

The champions from each of the competitions received $2,000 cash prize, runner-ups received $1,200 and $1,000 for third place. Three consolation $1,000 cash prizes were also presented to the three winners in each of the competitions.

Ruangan Sastera Dalam Akhbar Tempatan Perlu Diisi Oleh Penulis Kita.

Tidak dinafikan akhbar adalah merupakan media yang sangat berguna sekali di dalam membantu pertumbuhan dan perkembangan kesusasteraan kita di Brunei. Melalui ruangan sastera yang disediakan oleh media tersebut penulis-penulis muda kita akan dapat memperkembangkan daya kreatif mereka dengan baik, dan secara tidak langsung memperlihatkan kesungguhan kita dalam membentuk satu tapak yang kukuh di dalam usaha membimbing mereka ke arah matlamat bersastera yang lebih meyakinkan.

Setakat ini hanya akhbar harian Media Permata dan akhbar rasmi Pelita Brunei sahaja yang ada menyediakan ruangan bagi penulis sastera kita menyalurkan bahan karya mereka dalam penerbitan. Walaupun ruangan tersebut tidak begitu menyerlah dan mampu menarik ramai di kalangan penulis kita untuk memberi sumbangan, akan tetapi sekurang-kurangnya ia adalah sangat bermakna dalam memberi nafas baru kepada kerancakan aktiviti bersastera di negara ini.

Timbul beberapa kebimbangan jika kedua akhbar ini tidak lagi menyediakan ruangan sastera seperti yang kita harapkan, antaranya ialah penulis – penulis muda kita akan kehilangan upaya untuk menulis, serta tidak akan memperoleh petunjuk untuk mengetengahkan bakat mereka dalam bidang penulisan. Padahal kita juga menyedari bahawa ruangan tersebut berperanan penting dalam menyuburkan daya kreativiti dan intelek yang dapat merangsang kesinambungan budaya bersastera dalam masyarakat.

Di negara ini sejak berpuluh-puluh tahun yang lalu terdapat banyak usaha penerbitan majalah dan akhbar telah diadakan, akan tetapi hanya beberapa penerbitan sahaja yang masih kekal dan mengadakan ruangan sastera seperti puisi, cerpen dan rencana – setakat mana yang termampu mereka lakukan. Maka dengan ini secara optimis kita tidaklah begitu yakin bahawa ruangan ini akan kekal selama-lamanya, melainkan dengan usaha penulis-penulis dan penggiat sastera itu sendiri yang menentukan perkembangannya, janganlah seperti kata pepatah ‘hidup segan mati tak mahu’.

Apabila kita berasa segan untuk mengadakan sesuatu apa pun tidak akan kita perolehi dengan mudah, dan sastera kita di negara ini tidak akan hidup seperti mana yang dirancangkan. Tambahan pula sejak akhir-akhir ini kita tidak pula melihat banyak perubahan yang telah berlaku terhadap ruangan sastera di kedua akhbar yang menerbitkan karya penulis tempatan kita ini, terutama sekali dalam membabitkan keramaian penulis, jumlah karya yang bermutu tinggi, kritikan-kritikan yang bermakna dan laporan kegiatan sastera yang berlaku di negara ini secara khusus.

Jika hanya sekadar menerbitkan puisi dan cerpen kita sebenarnya masih lagi tidak mempunyai kelegaan untuk bernafas dan menyatakan bahawa setakat ini kita sudah berpuas hati dengannya. Mungkin juga ada sebahagian dari kita boleh berbangga dengan suasana bersastera yang kita ada sekarang, akan tetapi jika hanya dengan menerbitkan puisi dan cerpen yang mengaitkan tema cinta atau kasih-sayang sahaja kita sebenarnya tidak akan mampu pergi ke mana-mana.

Sebaliknya dengan membawakan tema-tema ‘luar biasa’ seperti persoalan kemiskinan, pengangguran, persoalan penyalahgunaan dadah, persoalan kebebasan sosial, persoalan keagamaan dan lain-lain ke dalam masyarakat kita pada hari ini adalah lebih bermakna, sementara kita masih belum mampu menyuarakan satu permasalahan yang jauh lebih besar dalam kesusasteraan sejagat.

Ruangan sastera di akhbar bukanlah satu peluang yang sengaja diadakan semata-mata bagi penulis kita melemparkan bahan tulisan yang tidak mempunyai nilai sama sekali. ‘Sastera’ membawa maksud yang amat besar dan apa pun juga bahan karya yang terbit sebagai ‘sastera’ ia sudah tentulah mempunyai maksud dan matlamat tertentu, misalannya ‘Seni Untuk Seni’, ‘Seni Untuk Masyarakat’ dan sebagainya. ‘Sastera’ mempunyai pandangan, falsafah dan ideologi yang tertentu sehingga membolehkan kita mempunyai penilaian yang baik dan yang buruk di dalam memberikan makna dalam kehidupan ini.

Adalah difahami bahawa dengan adanya ruangan sastera (dan juga bahasa) di kedua akhbar ini penulis-penulis kita diharap akan lahir sebagai individu yang mempunyai rasa tanggungjawab di dalam menanamkan nilai-nilai moral dan status masyarakat melalui bahan karya mereka. Walau bagaimana pun ini bukanlah satu kenyataan yang kekal dan dapat kita terima sebagai sesuatu yang ideal, memandangkan kita masih memerlukan ramai bakat penulis baru untuk sama-sama berganding bahu dengan penulis lama dalam memberikan sumbangan serta menghidupkan lagi ruangan sastera di akhbar tempatan ini.

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