A dream come true for home science pioneer

Hakim Hayat

It had always been a lifelong dream of Hajah Norsiah binti Abdul Rahim, 87, to publish a collection of her recipes garnered from decades of cooking experience whether at home, or during her time as a home science teacher.

Her dream became a reality with the launch of Resipi Bonda at the Tarindak D’Polo Restaurant in Jerudong yesterday, joined by her close friends and family.

Hajah Mumtazah binti Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti, the eldest grandchild of Hajah Norsiah, said with her sincerity and generosity, she has bequeathed her knowledge and experience to students and housewives through culinary art in school.

“With her effort, the cooking class that was established in Seria, Belait District was expanded to Brunei-Muara District, with help from her closest companions. Their tireless efforts were significant, with more students completing home science courses. Some have also become teachers or instructors in the subject.”

Hajah Mumtazah also shared that during Hajah Norsiah’s time with her family overseas, she had the opportunity to introduce Brunei culinary in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, India and Jordan during events, classes or even television programmes.

Hajah Norsiah binti Abdul Rahim, accompanied by her eldest daughter Datin Hajah Zalina binti Haji Omar, launches her cookbook. PHOTO: HAKIM HAYAT

She said Resipi Bonda’s publication means a lot to her family and expressed hopes that the wisdom from Hajah Norsiah would be passed down for many generations to come.

“Our elders’ knowledge is a valuable asset because it is also a part of our tradition that helps to shape the national identity,” she added.

Hajah Norsiah was one of the pioneers in teaching home science management and initiated a class at her home in Seria town in the 1950s. In 1957, she caught the attention of Muhammad ‘Alam Seria School’s headmaster who later incorporated home science into the school curriculum and offered her a permanent teaching position under the education department.

She inspired a great many teachers to specialise in home science education and appeared in countless television programmes produced by Radio Television Brunei.