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.