Interest in tradition, culture fading

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds


INTEREST in traditional cultural activities is dying among Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) students, said the assistant Extracurricular Officer of UBD’s Cultural Club Department.

Hj Mohamed Ramli Hj Jumat said some traditional forms of art such as gulingtangan (traditional music instrument) melody and handicrafts are now in the hands of an ageing population.

Speaking with The Brunei Times, he said traditional skills such as weaving, basketry, brass-casting, bamboo-working and crafting of the kris (traditional dagger) is no longer appreciated or of any interest among local youths.

During an exhibition of booths to promote extracurricular activities at UBD, he said cultural clubs such as the Gulingtangan Club, Syair Club, Dance Culture Club and Hadrah Club saw a low number of registrants compared to other clubs.

The assistant officer further attributed the lack of interest to the digital age.

According to Hj Mohamed Ramli, mastering and preserving the musical instrument of gulingtangan require one to have the passion, which he said many Bruneian youngsters are lacking in.

“To be able to master an instrument, a person would need responsiveness in learning an instrument, the interest to learn the instrument and most importantly, to enjoy learning the instrument. The passion will show through the art, be it music or handicrafts,” he said.

Speaking to a member of UBD’s Students’ Representative Council, Muhammad Zulfadhli Syafiq Mohd Kandipurnam said many students opt for other clubs despite the availability of cultural clubs that focus on Brunei’s traditions.

“Maybe the youths don’t find clubs like ours as appealing and as cool.

“It’s sad to see how the Brunei traditional culture is slowly being forgotten like many other cultures, as a result of modernisation and lack of efforts to promote it to the younger generation,” added the head of UBD Dance Culture Club.

Another member of the Cultural Dance Club, Naqibah Saidin, said the there is a misconception that traditional Malay dance is only limited to females.

“Most of our club members are females, not many boys are interested in (traditional dance),” she said.

The UBD student said it would be a shame if traditional values are not preserved and practised by the people of Brunei.

“Cultural heritage can provide a sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better understand previous generations and the history of where we come from. It’s a shame if we just let it go just like that.

“We need to learn our own culture first before embracing other cultures,” Naqibah added.

Today is the ECA exhibition’s last day, held at the Student Centre of UBD from 8am to 4pm.

The Brunei Times