UBD to produce WW2 book, documentary

National 2 minutes, 8 seconds


A COFFEE table book and short documentary on first-hand World War II accounts from Australian and Bruneian veterans are in the works following the success of a multimedia exhibition that was held in June.

Dr Maslin Hj Jukim @ Jukin, head of Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) oral history research project, said the varsity is looking to expand the project after the ‘Stories Through Memories: 70 Years of Friendship’ exhibition received good public response.

“We are currently looking for a publisher to print the books, and we will continue to refine (the editing of) the documentary based on the interviews that we have,” he said.

The Malay literature lecturer was speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural lecture at Borneo Research Centre or penBORNEO yesterday.

He said the oral history research project aimed to ensure Brunei’s current and future generations understand the lives of Bruneians during the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945.

“Let the pictures and videos tell the stories,” he said, adding that the coffee table book and short documentary are expected to be completed by next year.

His lecture, ‘Stories Through Memories: Brunei Oral History Research Project’ was a follow-up on the ‘Stories Through Memories: 70 Years of Friendship’ exhibition, which was organised by the Australian High Commission.

The exhibition commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Borneo campaign, featuring historical photographs of the campaign in 1945 that were drawn from the Australian War Memorial’s archives.

The exhibition was part of two projects under the UBD research grant (conducted from September 2014 and to end in September 2015).

Dr Maslin and Australian academic Dr Janet Marles from James Cook University were in charge of the projects. The first project was Brunei Darussalam ‘Oral History Project’ and the second project was ‘A Few Days in June’. Both focused on the oral history of the Japan occupation in Brunei.

Dr Maslin said, “Oral histories or narration is delicate and fragile. However, it can complement the documented sources of history”.

He said the oral history research project was “not easy”. “The limited resources and the need for local perspectives are challenging, however this project needs to be done because of the pressing and limited time that we have, especially with our interviewees.” Most of the interviewees are aged 80 and above.

Dr Maslin said the video interviews could be used as primary research and be worked on for further academic or creative work.

“We have more than 30 storytellers and we have yet to interview all of them,” he said, adding that more locals are being sought to tell stories.

The Brunei Times