‘A platform is needed to sustain Malay literature’

National 2 minutes, 39 seconds


A PLATFORM is needed to sustain Malay literature, said a Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) lecturer of the Malay Language and Literary Programme.

Speaking on the sidelines of UBD’s Literary Festival (Festival Sastera) yesterday, Mohammed Zefri Ariff Mohammed Zain Ariff said a platform or ‘art space’ would allow the hosting of discussions, forums, performances and documentaries, among others.

“We also need a literary museum to showcase local literature and literary works. This can attract tourists and (contribute to the tourism industry),” he said.

“We should follow examples in Europe where museums showcase works by Shakespeare and other great literature and literary works or like the Kabuki exhibitions in Japan.”

The museums and exhibitions attract people from all over the world, said Mohammed Zefri Ariff.

He said people wait for months to visit these museums, showing that language is not be a barrier to attract those who do not share the same culture.

“We must look at our cultural capacity and abilities... where the local community can represent the nation’s identity which includes the Malay Muslim Monarchy (MIB) components,” he said.

“People will know not only our culture and language, but our stories, our religion and our nation,” he said.

According to Mohammed Zefri Ariff, the existence of a literary museum can also contribute to the nation’s economy.

“We can hold international events such as an international folklore festival where we can invite participants from overseas to showcase their folklores,” he explained.

“We shouldn’t limit ourselves just to our community but we should expand and ensure others are informed about our culture and literary works,” he said.

The UBD lecturer said activities revolving around Malay literature should be held constantly to ensure its sustainability.

“For example we can use Kg Ayer as a platform to tell tourists or even locals about its history, the community and even about its food and music.”

He said this would also overcome challenges faced by the Malay literary society such as the decreasing use of the Malay language and the lack of commitment in Malay literature.

These challenges were shared during a forum titled ‘Industri Sastera’ (Literary Industry) that took place during yesterday’s festival.

Chairperson of the forum and UBD student Hj Muhammad Sawaz Hj Awang Ali said the decreasing use of the Malay language is partly due to youth mixing both Malay and English languages.

Hj Muhammad Sawaz said to overcome this challenge, youth are encouraged to prioritise communicating in Malay as it is the nation’s language.

He said another challenge is the lack of commitment in terms of being involved in producing Malay literary works.

“When producing Malay literature or literary works, we should be committed to finish and produce the best product and not stop halfway,” he said.

Lecturer Mohammed Zefri Ariff said to overcome this challenge, writers or producers must be given appreciation of their work.

“If constant appreciation and encouragement are given, writers or producers will surely be fully committed and produce great literary works.”

The literary festival is held at the Sarmayuda Hall of the Language and Literature Bureau in Berakas.

It is organised by UBD students and will conclude today.

The Brunei Times