Brunei needs more drama scriptwriters

National 2 minutes, 35 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

ONLY a fraction of the 300 active writers in Brunei had been involved in scriptwriting for radio and television dramas, said Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB) Director Hj Muhammad Suffian Hj Bungsu.

“We cannot allow this amount of drama scriptwriters to become smaller or see its quantity and quality deteriorate,” he said.

Speaking at the Radio Drama Scriptwriting Competition prize presentation yesterday, the director said Brunei has about 300 active writers of novels and literature since 1990.

Hj Muhd Suffian reminisced me-morable dramas of the past in the 1960s and 70s such as Bujang Si Gandam drama and Cucu Datok Kedondong.

However, he reminded the audience that they are not in competition with the past but to meet the demands of the community.

Out of all the participants, the director applauded the competition’s proudest achievement in getting the participation of a special needs person. “The visually-impaired, even with physical challenges, has produced a radio drama script of quality and worthy to be broadcasted,” he said.

Hj Muhd Suffian went on to say that a study had shown that radio listenership has increased from 52 per cent in 2009 to 67 per cent in 2013.

However, the director warned against complacency and to avoid mediocrity. “We should not be satisfied, we must solidify further our aspirations by increasing more radio programmes of better qua-lity, aligned with the roles and responsibilities of RTB,” he said, adding that the production of a quality drama requires deep and thorough research.

“Radio dramas are not just a casual conversation, it requires a theme, plot, message, character with suitable sound effects and clear coordination,” he said. “A good drama radio is not only good to the ear but it should be interesting to the extent as if we are actually ‘watching’ it,” he explained.

The director said there had been an influx of new writers at this year’s competition, including participants who have postgraduate and degree academic qualifications. “I too am delighted to announce that one of the partici-pants is a local writer of calibre who received a Southeast Asia Writers Award (SEA Award).”

Hj Shahwardy Hj Hamdan bet-tered the 10 other participants and emerged as the Radio Drama Scriptwriting 2013-2014 champion and received $1,000 prize money.

With a Syariah Islamiah degree from Al-Azhar University, the 39-year-old won the competition with his drama titled Roda-Roda Kehidupan or the Wheels of Life.

In second place was MSc Clinical Chemistry postgraduate and SEA Award recipient, Norsiah Abd Ga-par, who bagged $700 with her drama Erti Kasih (Meaning of Love).

A member of Radio Televisyen Brunei Hj Ali Yusof Hj Damit came in third place with his story titled Syahadah (To Witness) that won him $500.

Head Judge Chong Ah Fok cum Deputy Principal of St Andrews Secondary School said the quality of the scripts were judged on story, theme and message, and dialogue and language, which constituted 20 per cent of the score.

Meanwhile, 15 per cent was judged on script format, character, plot and technique, conflict and climax. Organised by Nasional FM with cooperation from Broadcast Development Centre, the competition aimed to nurture local writers to produce more drama radio scriptwriters.

The Brunei Times