‘Puppetry can boost tourism, culture’

National 3 minutes, 12 seconds


PUPPETRY can be a tool to promote tourism and culture of a country, said an expert yesterday, urging Bruneians to improve their puppetry skills by learning from puppeteers from other countries.

“You can learn how other countries do puppetry and sooner or later, Brunei can come up with its own original puppets or materials,” said Danny Liwanag, Presidium Chairman of the ASEAN Puppetry Association.

Liwanag noted that puppetry is still a new form of art in Brunei, as the craft was introduced to the country just two years ago.

He said that puppetry is also part of the performing arts, as it also uses dancing and singing or music.

“It (puppetry) involves a wide scope of art. It is a good educational tool for children,” he said.

In puppetry, lots of things can also be learnt, like making scripts, combining colours and making props, Liwanag said.

“During the workshop, I taught participants how to manipulate puppets and how to make stories, recordings, how to choose music background and how to come up with a complete staging of a puppet show,” he said.

Liwanag said that puppetry isn’t only for children but can also be taken up by adults.

He lamented that the art of puppetry is underrated, as people prefer the art of music or singing as it can directly promote the culture, tradition and way of life of a country.

“Puppetry is the same. Few realised that the art of puppetry is used as a tool in promoting tourism as well as the costumes of a country,” he said.

Hj Abdul Hakim Hj Mohd Yassin, Chairperson of Brunei’s ASEAN Puppetry Association (APA), said that interest in puppetry has existed “for quite a while in Brunei”.

“It’s just very small-scale. Here, there are two organisations that are active in puppetry: the Brunei Art Enthusiasts Association (PeSTAB) and Kumpulan Putra Seni,” he said.

Hj Abdul Hakim believes that puppetry is not only a field that provides entertainment but it also promotes creativity. He hopes that more people will be involved and interested in puppetry.

This was the second time a workshop on puppetry was held in Brunei and the number of participants is growing, close to 40 this time, he said.

He urged the Culture and Arts Department to provide support to puppetry as an art form in the Sultanate.

For the participants of the two-day puppetry workshop, which was organised by the Brunei Art Enthusiasts Association (PESTAB,) they want more puppetry workshops in the country for more people to learn the craft.

Zulkifli Talip, a member of Kumpulan Putra Seni, said the media can promote the art of puppetry to make more people interested in the craft.

“If there will be more frequent workshops, insyaAllah we can be on the same level as other countries,” he said.

“If we can make puppets and tell a story about Awang Semaun, we can catch their (children) attention more,” he said.

Nur Humaizah Hj Md Bohari, another workshop participant, said that puppetry is not famous in the country.

“More promotion needs to be done on this form of art,” she said.

Nur Humaizah recommended for puppetry to be introduced in school curriculums.

The guest of honour, the Acting Director of Culture and Arts at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Pg Hj Md Azlan Pg Tengah Omar, presented the certificates to the more than 30 participants.

“The MCYS, as the custodian of culture, is very happy to see PeSTAB organise such activity especially during school and public holidays like this,” he added.

He said they are now in the process of establishing the Cultural Academy (Akademi Budaya), as announced by the Minister.

“We’ll start small but it will be a full-fledged academy in the near future where puppetry will be included,” he said.

The Brunei Times