Deputy Education Minister wins regional writers award

BRUNEI'S Deputy Minister of Education, Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abdul Rahman has put the Sultanate on the literature map by being the winner of the 2008 Southeast Asian Writers (SEA Write) Award.

The deputy minister, as the Bruneian representative, was granted this year's prestigious award, which is given to regional writers by Thailand, for his fourth anthology of poems entitled, "Rinduku" (My Yearning).

Pg Dato Dr Hj Mohammad is the 23rd recipient to receive the award since Brunei first joined in 1985, a year after its independence.The event took place in Bangkok where the deputy minister was handed the award by Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

Pg Dato Dr Hj Mohammad hoped that it will create a benchmark for other local writers to be more motivated in submitting their work. Inspired from experience and the love of writing, the deputy minister said that young writers who want to pursue this art should take it seriously, be it in different genres such as poetry or short stories.

"I sincerely hope in the near future that local writers from all generations will get the chance to be in my shoes as it is such an honour to represent the country," he said.

He further hoped that other writers will be more creative and innovative in their works and deliver high standards of quality in writing. The deputy minister also hopes that, in time, the works of local writers will be translated into different languages for Asean and other international countries.

The translation of local works will expose local writers on a regional as well as international level so that they can take their place with other renowned writers of the world, he said. This year marks the 30th SEA Writers Awards since its inception in 1979.