‘Silat has many valuable benefits’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
PENCAK Silat, a traditional Malay martial art, helps teach youth self-discipline, said the lead actress from Brunei’s first feature film, Yasmine.
But Liyana Yus, who took centrestage in a martial arts performance yesterday, stressed that silat has a variety of other valuable benefits, not just for youth, but also for adults.
“There are students taking part in the pencak silat performance. The objective is to draw as many youth as possible and bring them closer so to preserve our Malay traditional martial art,” she said on the sidelines of the Brunei-Muara District annual meet-and-greet in conjunction with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 69th birthday celebration.
“We are trying to bring back the glory days of pencak silat through a stage performance in front of royal family members,” she added.
On hand for the performance were His Majesty; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; HRH Prince Jefri Bolkiah; and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik.
Liyana said youths would be able to express themselves in social settings through pencak silat and practice a healthy lifestyle when they become adults.
Hj Hairul Faizal Hj Jais, who took part in the event and is also a member of local martial arts organisation Persatuan Perguruan Silat Gerak 41, said 60 students and 10 qualified martial artists participated in yesterday’s performance at the Taman Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) in the capital.
It was nerve wracking even for the 38-year-old pencak silat veteran, who works for the Ministry of Defence (MinDef), in showcasing the Bunga Ramai and Bunga Solo artistic forms of pencak silat with the performers.
“It was the first time I performed onstage at a royal event. Everyone was nervous. But we did well because of all the meaningful hours of training before the actual event,” said Hj Hairul Faizal, who was one of the 10 qualified martial artists dressed in black.
Through a collaboration between the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the parents of the students, the stage performance introduced the young participants to the real meaning of pencak silat so that the cultural heritage would be preserved.
“It’s a way to expose young people to Brunei’s traditional martial art so that it won’t be forgotten by the new generation,” said Hj Hairul Faizal.
He said the 60 youths who performed the Bunga Ramai form of pencak silat had been practicing it since the beginning of the Ramadhan fasting month while the 10 adult members practiced the Bunga Solo form for two weeks.
Meanwhile, the team leader of the Youths Pencak Silat Scheme under the Department of Youth and Sports, Hj Md Khairul Bahrin, said the stage performance of pencak silat was a move to inculcate discipline, respect and proper conduct among the youth.
Hj Md Khairul joined the scheme in 2000 and became the head of the scheme in 2011.
He said he was proud of the opportunity to perform pencak silat onstage for the royal family members.
“I’ve taught more than 200 youths in the span of four years since becoming head of the pencak silat scheme. After today’s performance, I’m really delighted to perform with the youths,” said the 31-year-old.
The Brunei Times