More exposure needed to spur youth interest in gulingtangan

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds


MANY youths are less interested in gulingtangan due to lack of exposure to the traditional pastime, according to educators in Brunei.

A teacher from the Rimba Secondary School yesterday said that although gulingtangan clubs have been introduced in schools, she was concerned as many students still do not know what this national heritage is.

Hirnani Ayuwati Abdul Hamid, who is also the gulingtangan club coordinator at the school, said youths particularly pre-teens nowadays are not exposed to traditional music and instruments as much as the modern day music such as pop and R&B, which they find more appealing.

“There is not much traditional music that we can hear outside the school,” she said, noting that gulingtangan is only showcased during competitions and school events.

Hirnani added that some students easily get bored, only joining the gulingtangan club for a short period before moving on to another club.

Another educator from the Meragang Sixth Form School (PTEM), Linda Hj Abdullah, said that despite the Department of Co-Curriculum Education’s (CDD) initiative to encourage more students to partake in gulingtangan, it still needs more exposure to foster a sense of love for the traditional music. “Perhaps relevant authorities can take the gulingtangan competition to a higher level, maybe include all schools from lower primary to high level institutions so it can be widely known,” she added.

Muhammad Hazwan Hj Awg Madial, a former president of the gulingtangan association in Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah School (Maktab Duli), also attributes the lack of interest to learn traditional instruments to the lack of exposure.

He said that learning to play a guitar or the drum is much interesting to the youths and much ‘cheaper’ than learning to play traditional musical instruments, as the traditional musical instrument alone costs thousands and require at least a minimum of eight members to play.

“A mini gong alone already costs about a hundred dollars, (and) the whole set could cost up to thousands,” he said.

He went on to say that youths in particular find it is easy to play western instruments.

“Unlike traditional music, where they need to learn from special teachers and experts from the older generation, they can just learn the modern instruments by themselves without proper coaching,” he added.

Meanwhile, another former member of a gulingtangan club also agreed that gulingtangan needs to be promoted further in order to preserve Brunei’s culture and tradition.

“It’s a shame if we let our culture and tradition fade just like that,” said Ak Mohd Alif Iqbal Pg Hj Yusof, adding that gulingtangan is much more than just a musical instrument played at wedding functions.

The undergraduate from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) said that while some youths don’t really feel the need to learn gulingtangan, only a few including himself still values the musical instrument.

“It’s like telling history through the beats and melody of the gulingtangan, but not many youths know that,” he said.

He went on to say that relevant authorities outside of school should take various efforts to ensure Brunei’s national heritage is preserved.

The Brunei Times