Participation in publishing of local literature lacking

National 2 minutes, 56 seconds


BRUNEI has been recorded as the second ASEAN country that has high literacy rate; however the number of local participation in the publishing and production of literature is considered below average.

The director of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Hjh Aminah Hj Momin told The Brunei Times that the country has a shortage when it comes to literary writing and output due possibly to the lack of awareness in the discipline as well as lack of determination and knowledge in the publishing of their writings.

“Brunei has a lot of educated people but the amount of those who have contributed to Brunei literature with their writing is so few that it does not reflect properly the standard of education received by the people in the sultanate,” said the director.

She said that the amount of books published annually should be equivalent to one per cent of the population, “With our population reaching almost half a million people, we should have at least about 500 locally produced and published books by our own people annually. Unfortunately, the figure is far from it with roughly about 300 publishing annually.”

Being involved in managing the DBP since 2007, Hjh Aminah had and has planned for so many activities promoting and emphasising the importance of reading culture in the sultanate.

This, she revealed, is so Brunei is not only well-known for being one of the countries with a high literacy level, but also an active contributor in book publishing.

She said that one method to overcome this is to emphasise the reading culture amongst locals particularly youth as she believed that the more they read, the more they will get ideas and build interest in writing as well as book publishing.

One of the initiatives taken by DBP to instill reading culture is by conducting several programmes and competitions that welcome and encourage locals to be part of the activities. This is aimed at promoting awareness on the importance of literary writing as well as its collection.

One of the recent programmes conducted by DBP in promoting a reading culture is the Early Literacy programme which encourages parents to instill and nurture the value of reading among their newborns.

“The programme was initiated last year where every baby born in February will be given a bag pack full with books and the parents too.

“This year, more than 500 babies were listed in this programme. We will continuously contribute the books until the babies reach five year-old and see how far they appreciate books as well how they cope with reading culture.”

She went on to say about the improvement made at all DBP’s branches in terms of its system, book collection and environment.

She said that since its opening in 1968, DBP’s collection totals approximately around 744, 338 books in nine branches of DBP nationwide. “The DBP also has an abundance of earlier produced local books collected from various government and private agencies.”

"We also upgraded the lending system to ease the lending procedure of the books to visitors. We create area that suit for reading culture," she continued.

The early purpose of DBP was to create a research centre for government officials. The demand was expanded to public as the need to collaborate with the Ministry of Education to enhance literacy level of the community is mandatory.

Hjh Aminah hoped that more youth will have interest to be involved in book writing as it could enhance and maintain the literacy level as well as the amount of intellectuals in the sultanate.

The Brunei Times