‘Preserving our cultural heritage is paramount’

National 1 minute, 52 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE need to safeguard our cultural heritage, especially the intangible elements, is greater than ever as globalisation in the form of development and social change creates conditions that may lead to negative impacts which could undermine tolerance and respect of each other’s cultures.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof made the comment yesterday during the launching of the Seventh Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts (AMCA).

He said cultural institutions and the community itself therefore must play a leading role in addressing these challenging environments.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Awg Halbi said our cultural heritage – our shared values, beliefs, institutions and customs – influences our behaviour.

“Culture represents our collective learning in our adaptive attempts to solve frequently encountered problems of the past.

“All of us (member states) have very long histories. Our histories overlap and interweave on many fronts, leading to ASEAN having unique and diverse cultures.”

He acknowledged that the government, non-governmental organisations, private sector and the community work hand-in-hand to pursue sustainable development through efforts to synergise cultural policy, customary law (or adat), cultural and creative industries and cultural tourism.

“But paradoxically, we see what seems to be the decay of cultural values and understanding amongst our younger generation.

“If we do not address these imbalances effectively, it can lead to the breakdown of the fabric of our society, which can cause irrational political and economic decision-making,” he said.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Awg Halbi said “the sense of community isn’t something we can take for granted anymore.

“The responsibility to protect, conserve and promote our cultural values should be passed on to our youth (as our future leaders).

“We need to involve and engage them in our efforts so that our young generation will not only remember their culture, but more importantly, they will appreciate, value and thus impart our culture through their way of life to pass on to future generations,” he said.

In this regard, he said, AMCA should explore the important role of educational institutions and education in disseminating local cultural values to our future generations.

The Brunei Times