24 awarded for best Malay essays

National 2 minutes, 28 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

TWENTY-FOUR students received prizes for their essays in the 30th Mekar-Juara Pelajar Student Essay Contest held at the multipurpose hall of the Fire and Rescue Department, Old Airport yesterday.

The students each received a cash prize, a trophy, a certificate of participation, Mekar and Juara Pelajar magazines, as well as books published by the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP), organiser of the event.

A total of 219 essays were submitted this year.

Category A, which was open to Year 4 to Year 6 students, received 93 entries, while Category B (for Year 7 to Year 9 students) received 76 entries.

This year also saw the introduction of a new category – Category C – for Year 10 and Year 11 students, as well as adolescents up to 18 years old, which received 50 entries.

Prior to the award presentation, speeches were made by the Ministry of Education’s Deputy Permanent Secretary (Core Education) Hj Suhaila Hj Abd Karim, and chairperson of the event, Hjh Sariani Hj Ishak.

“The objective of this annual contest is to familiarise the students with writing in Malay properly, neatly and perfectly,” said Hjh Sariani, who is also the Head of the Magazine and Journal Planning Department under the DBP.

She said a handful of the submissions were disqualified during judging as the authors had failed to adhere to conditions set by organisers, such as not using the proper font and type size, and not meeting set word limits.

“Teachers should guide those who wish to participate in the contest by clarifying the conditions of the contest, and by looking over the students’ essays before sending them in,” she urged.

Hjh Sariani also highlighted that some of the students’ essays had used more complex language, which may have resulted from parental intervention, or plagiarism from the Internet.

She further added the DBP had even received identical essays from two different authors.

“These acts are not recommended in essay-writing as it violates the ethics of writing.”

Meanwhile, winners of the competition expressed delight in having their writing commended by the DBP.

Category B second prize winner, Mohd Amir Putera Razzaqzharfan Hakeemuddin Hj Yacob from Maktab Sains Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan said: “I feel happy and proud. This is my third year joining the competition, but this is the first year I’ve won a prize.”

Category C consolation prize winner Bong Li Ping, 16, said it was not her first time winning a Mekar competition, but still felt elated this time around. She said reading Malay magazines can help improve fluency in the language.

“I think people who feel that they are weak in the Malay language should subscribe more to Malay magazines, and read more sample Malay essays and understand them. They can also watch the news,” she suggested.

During the event, students from the Datu Ratna Haji Muhammad Jaafar Primary School sang and performed a dance routine, while students from the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) College performed a moral skit about the potential negative consequences of corruption.

The Brunei Times