‘Preserving culture is everyone’s duty’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
PRESERVING the culture and heritage of the country is everyone’s responsibility and with heightened awareness, it can co-exist together with modernisation, said the minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS).
In an interview with The Brunei Times, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Md Yusof said that one way to preserve culture is through improving the country’s museum institution.
“Museums are about heritage and heritage is about identity. It’s important to preserve our heritage (so) we will be able to show unity and uphold the values our country.”
Preserving culture and heritage, he said is everyone’s responsibility.
“Through museums, people can become more aware of Brunei’s existence and heritage. People can see the history and development of the country.
“If it’s possible, (we would like for) every distirct to have its own museum. Each district has its own community, heritage and identity, so by portraying their culture, people can understand them,” the minister said.
To commemorate the International Museum Day celebrated every May 18, the Department of Museum under MCYS will be joining more than 35,000 other institutions worldwide in raising awareness on the significance of museums in shaping the cultural development of the country from one generation to other generation.
The theme for this year’s worldwide celebration of International Museum Day is ‘Museums and Cultural Landscapes’.
It focuses on the importance of museums as means for cultural exchange and indirectly contribute to education.
According to MCYS public relations officer Mariani Hj Abu Bakar, the theme reflects the fact that cultures are changing from time to time.
“Our cultural landscape which appears within this period is the result of the legacy of our ancestors. Culture is a reflection of our past,” she said.
Brunei, she noted, is rich in cultural heritage, thanks to its seven ethnic groups who each have their own unique values and way of living.
“Birth, death, social interaction, weddings, food and games, dance and songs, all of these are part of our lives which have evolved through culture. Ask how births are celebrated in each ethnicity and you will see differences. These differences make our cultural landscape.”
She said the easiest way is to appreciate culture is by acknowledging its existence and practise it along with modernisation.
“They can co-exist even in this modern world without us even realising it. The simplest example I can think of is how we address our aunties and uncles by using traditional rankings such as ‘tua’, ‘uda’, ‘tangah’, ‘iring’, ‘amit’ and ‘bungsu’.
“Another simple and delicious means of preserving culture is through food,” she said.
Through the Museums Department, the public can see artefacts, culture and heritage being exhibited at museums in the sultanate.
Last year, a total of 164,283 people visited museums and parks in the sultanate.
There are ten places listed under museums and parks in Brunei: Malay Technology Brunei, Royal Regalia, Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park, Kulimambang Park, Maritime Museum, Sport Gallery, Royal Wharf Art Gallery, and the Kota Batu Archaeological site.
Since March this year, the Museums Department’s Media and Outreach Section has been actively going to schools with a programme titled ‘My Museum, My Heritage’ to commemorate the department’s 50th year anniversary.
The programme is targeted towards primary school children to inculcate a love for our heritage through the simplest and most fun form of entertainment - traditional games.
“Support museums by visiting us and by taking part in our activities. Help us by informing the department if there are new historical findings. Report of any illegal activities pertaining to our antiquities and treasure trove. These are some of the ways the general public can be part of our team in making sure our heritage remains appreciated and sustainable,” said Mariani.
The Brunei Times