A house with many stories to tell

Rokiah Mahmud

Located in Kampong Tanjong Maya, Lamin Warisan is a house built in 1956 and turned into a museum in 2012 to preserve culture and heritage.

In an interview with the Bulletin, Manager of Lamin Warisan Nuraqibah binti Haji Abdul Hamid explained that the house was built by her great-grandfather Bendahari Haji Ghafar bin Haji Sidi and was later resided by her grandfather Dato Lela Raja Haji Mat Jair.

The decision to turn the house into a museum was because of the collections and references to the development of the Tutong District inherited from her great-grandfather, who was the Penghulu of Mukim Tanjong Maya at that time.

“The idea was brought about when my grandfather Dato Lela Raja Haji Mat Jair passed away and no one was looking after that house,” she said. “The house had many collections and references of the Tutong District’s development, the history of Tutong ethnic groups, Tutong dialect, religious and Malay manuscripts and many more.

“In 2012 the family agreed to name the house as Lamin Warisan (Heritage House) and since then we have hosted many activities that are associated with language, culture, traditions and food.”

Lamin Warisan, a house built in 1956 and turned into a museum in 2012 to preserve culture and heritage. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Some of the collections available at Lamin Warisan

“For those who want to conduct research, they can come to Lamin Warisan and find resources and documents that they can be referred to, especially on the development of Tutong District and Tutong ethnic groups.

“We also offer teaching the Tutong dialect with the aim to preserve it. Nowadays the young generation does not use the dialect in their daily conversation.

“We want to preserve the dialect so they will know their heritage and also encourage them to converse using it in their daily interactions.”

Meanwhile, Lamin Warisan has cooking demonstrations for visitors who want to learn about Tutong’s local delicacies.

The house is also equipped with several facilities and offers a multitude of activities.

Visitors can learn more about the Adat Bebasuh Kaki that is still practiced today among the Tutong ethnicity, as well as play traditional games like congkak, tinting and many more.

“They can also go inside the house and view the collections on display including the lineage history of Bendahari Haji Ghafar from the first generation until the current generation.”

One of the unique items on display includes the Brunei Constitution of 1959 book written in Jawi.

Since it was opened, Lamin Warisan has attracted visitors locally and also received more than 100 overseas visitors from ASEAN member countries, Europe and other parts of Asia.

“We hope our efforts to preserve the heritage, culture and traditions of Lamin Warisan will earn the support of many, especially among the local community to help us promote the place,” she said.

“At the same time, we also want to share the knowledge and skills that we have so that more will have interest in learning the heritage that we have inherited from our older generation.”

She hopes that Lamin Warisan could one day be a centre of knowledge, especially among researchers, academicians and students.

“Lamin Warisan has collections from around the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and many more. As descendents, we certainly treasure all these collections, especially old documents during the era of British occupation, as well as crafts and antique products kept by our elders. All these things have their own stories to tell.

“When visitors step into the house, they can immediately see collections of several antiques used by our ancestors, including kitchen utensils such as plates, the old-fashion mortar and pestle, the traditional equipment to process paddy for rice grains and so on,” she continued.

“Entering the living section, visitors can learn about how past generations slept traditionally on the floor covered with the white mosquito nets.”

Asked what she treasures most among all the collections and heritage inherited, Nuraqibah said the knowledge is what she most appreciates.

She hopes the knowledge will reach many people especially in the aspect of the language, culture and food that they are very keen to preserve.