WW2 exhibition back by popular demand

National 1 minute, 58 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

AN ENCOURAGING public response has prompted Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) to continue its Stories Through Memories project, which documents Bruneians’ first-hand accounts of World War II (WW2).

Dr Frank Dhont of UBD's Institute of Asian Studies said the project was initially planned to complete after the Stories Through Memories Exhibition at the Royal Wharf Art Gallery last year, but more members of the public wanted to contribute to the project.

“A lof of people actually came forward and we are more than happy to get into contact and interview these survivors,” he said, whilst noting that some people refused to be interviewed as they did not want to revisit the “unpleasant” memories of the second world war.

In a recent interview, he said more than 30 Bruneian survivors have stepped forward to share their experiences of the Second World War.

“Pop-up” exhibitions of the oral history project also took place at International School Brunei and Jerudong International School recently.

This has further spurred public interest as well as encouraged other veterans of WWII to volunteer themselves for the project.

“From the academic point of view, this (the project) will not be finished because anytime we have the opportunity to record a historical source, we should do it before it is too late.

“As long as we can, we are going to keep on interviewing more and more people,” said Dr Frank, adding that he is hopeful more people will be attracted to the project, be it scholars or members of the public.

Dr Dhont went on to say that the project aimed to provide a research database or a collection of stories so that Bruneians would be able to understand their history in the future before all witnesses pass away.

The historian added that the limited information left of WWII made the project more vital in documenting ordinary voices of Bruneians living in that era.

The project is important as it contributes to a different perspective of what happened in Brunei in that significant period that is not generally recorded in history books or official documents, he said.

Launched and exhibited in 2014 at UBD, the Stories Through Memories project captures Bruneian survivors’ accounts of WW2 in video.

Dr Janet Marles from Australia’s James Cook University, Dr Maslin Jukim, UBD’s Malay literature lecturer and Dr Dhont led the multimedia project.

The Brunei Times