| Abdul Hakiim Yakof |
IN ORDER to propel MASTERA further into the local literary world, I see the need to raise and resurrect the glory of old Malay literature, folk literature and verbal literature which highlight traditional culture and is closely related to communal assimilation. We should maintain and empower this heritage in new media.
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, said this during the opening of the 17th Southeast Asian Literature Council Conference (MASTERA) and the presentation of MASTERA Literature Awards last night at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong.
The minister began by highlighting the signing of Thailand Malay Language and Literature Bureau as one of the member countries in MASTERA.
He stated the signing is historic for MASTERA, as after nearly 20 years of struggling to increase membership, Thailand, through its Malay Language and Literature Bureau, became the fifth member after Singapore became an official member of MASTERA in 2012.
“I am made to understand that in conjunction with the 20th MASTERA Conference, there will also be a Southeast Asian International Literature Seminar (SAKAT), carrying the theme ‘Literature in New Media, Potential and Contributions’.
“I believe that the two-day seminar will broaden the outlook of regional literature experts towards producing new knowledge that can raise the dignity of Malay literature into an international level.”
He said big names, experts and figures from the world of literature will benefit not only seminar participants but also higher institutions and members of NGOs.
“Talking about the theme of literature in new media, we should keep up with developments in the digital world and make it a leverage towards socialising literature and national culture; and we should uphold literary works past the geographical limits, which if not preserved and documented, will become extinct and sink through the ages.”
He also stated that the theme “Literature in New Media, Potential and Contributions” fits well with the condition and life now, especially to the “Y” and “X” generation and literature education in schools.
“New media is a very important part of life now, especially to authors to market their work more easily and also to a commercial publisher via e-publication (e-pub).
“Digital literature is easily accessible in the virtual space such as e-books, video games, and mobile applications.
“In this regard, I’m very proud of the efforts that have been made ??by several parties in the development of literature in new media such as those operated by Melayu Online and e-Sastera (Cyber Literature).”
He congratulated the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) for successfully organising the MASTERA Theatre Festival and hoped that such activities will be extended not only in the Brunei-Muara District but also the rest of the districts and if possible all five MASTERA countries.
The minister concluded his speech by also congratulating writers from each MASTERA member country, specifically Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore for the MASTERA Literature Award.
“I am confident that all four literature figures chosen by their respective countries are figures of calibre and are prestigious in raising the status and glory of literature, either through research, writing, presentation of working papers and sacrifice of time and energy.
“I hope the awardees will continue to spread their wings in playing a role in writing and constantly contribute successfully towardsdeveloping Malay literature and Southeast Asian literature.”