Brunei’s cottage industry showcase

National 2 minutes, 52 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THAI Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during the recent ASEAN Cultural Expo in Bangkok expressed his interest in the making of Brunei’s traditional handicrafts made of ‘bemban’ plant which is often used by locals for weaving products.

This was shared yesterday by Asmah Alas, secretary and head of economic bureau of Kg Bebuloh Village Consultative Council (MPK), who just came back from Thailand on Monday.

Asmah and another exhibitor Hj Sabli Hj Omar, treasurer and head of economic bureau from MPK Lumut I, were selected by the Ministry of Home Affairs to showcase the country’s handicrafts under the One Village One Product (OVOP) initiative during the regional expo from April 20-24.

“Our liaison officer says that the Thai prime minister is very interested in Brunei’s weaving handicrafts made of ‘bemban’ plant which used for making tekiding, nyiru and tudung dulang,” Asmah said, adding that the liaison officer also said that he wanted to know the process of making such traditional products.

The Thai prime minister specifically mentioned this when visiting Brunei’s booth during an introductory session held a day prior to the expo.

At that time, she added, exhibitors had met with Prayut who was accompanied by the Thai Minister of Culture Vira Rojpojchanarat.

Asmah said that she gained new experiences from her first time participation in the arts and crafts exhibition held outside the sultanate.

She said that all participants, including the Thai exhibitors were very creative and innovative in presenting their handicrafts.

She managed to bring home more than 6,000 Baht ($230) from selling the handicrafts made by five committee members of the economic bureau under MPK Bebuloh. She said that 10 per cent of each person’s proceed will go to the MPK Bebuloh. The money will be used to support the MPK’s activities, she added.

Sharing similar sentiment Hj Sabli also said that he made over 6,000 Baht throughout the expo, during which he showcased his wood carving products from miniatures of water taxis, racing boats to guitars.

For him, the event was not merely about gaining income but it was also meant to promote Brunei’s handicrafts in the regional expo, which can bring a positive impact to the development of the cottage industry in the sultanate.

It could also be an avenue to build networks with other exhibitors in the region.

During the expo, he said, a Thai wooden sculptor visited Brunei’s booth and expressed his interest in the Brunei’s racing boat. The Thai exhibitor then requested for exchanging each other’s traditional handicraft.

“So, I gave him the miniature of wooden racing boat and he gave me his traditional wooden boat,” said Hj Sabli, adding that the Thai exhibitor also gave him two wooden pistols.

He said during the event the Thai exhibitors alone had more than 500 booths selling among others food items, clothing, handicrafts and jewelry.

“The ASEAN Cultural Expo in Bangkok was the biggest exhibition I had ever been,” he said.

Previously, he participated in the world expo in Shanghai, China in 2010; cultural expo in Muscat, Oman in 2012; BIMP-EAGA expo in Melaka, Malaysia in 2013; and Borneo Trade Fair in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in 2014; as well as various exhibitions held in the sultanate.

Hj Sabli appreciated the Ministry of Home Affairs who had selected MPK Lumut I to attend the recent ASEAN Cultural Expo and expressed readiness to represent Brunei in promoting the country’s traditional arts and crafts.

The Brunei Times