| Abdul Hakiim Yakof |
Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Haji Mohd Daud, also known as Yusuf MD, was awarded with the SEA Write Award 2014 by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Maha Vajalalongkorn, represented by Her Royal Highness Sirivannavari Nariratana in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.
In an interview with the Bulletin, Haji Mohd Yusuf, after arriving back in Brunei Darussalam, expressed his surprise to be selected for the SEA Write Award 2014 because, as he said, he has been writing since the 1950s purely for personal satisfaction and not for money or for any awards.
Describing the award as the most meaningful gift of his life, he said he is grateful to Allah the Almighty and the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for choosing him as one of the Bruneians to receive the award.
As noted by the Language and Literature Bureau Brunei, one of the reasons he was chosen was based on his work, the “Aku Tak Mahu Sekolah” poem collection, presenting the life and experiences since his entry into the school as well as his observations on the environment.
In addition, he is a poet and writer who has been involved in the world of writing since secondary school and is now active in the national field of literature. He also has experience as an educator.
Haji Mohd Yusuf reminded the public that aspiring writers need to do plenty of reading.
“To be a writer, we need a lot of observation, travelling, socialising with the masses, mixing with the society, see the hardships and affluence of people, and get to know the good and the bad. Then we can interpret and write to present to the public,” he explained.
According to him, “To become a writer, we must be diligent in reading because reading is like entering a university. Such as the quote which reads, ‘a book is a moving university, because the book was written by an intelligent person’.”
Haji Mohd Yusuf hopes he can continue writing and until now he has written 400 to 500 poems.
The SEA Write Award is an award given annually since 1979 for poets and writers in Southeast Asia. This award was created to recognise the writers and poets of the leading countries in the Asean region, namely Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Among the main objectives of the award is to raise the local writers to the same level of the acclaimed writers in the region, recognise leading writers in the Asean member countries in the fields of literature and provide encouragement to authors and literary enthusiasts who contribute consistently to literature at the national and regional level.
Also present to welcome Haji Mohd Yusuf at the Brunei International Airport was the Director of the Language and Literature Bureau, Hajah Aminah binti Haji Momin.