Given how important culture is to one’s community and the nation as a whole, having the avenue to experience, record and preserve the culture is as important as the culture itself.
The Cultural Research Methodology Workshop was one of the initiatives led by the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) which saw over 40 youth journey across the nation to experience the unique culture of each district.
The five-day workshop aimed to provide youth with opportunities to improve their skills and techniques to produce quality and comprehensive analysis, especially in researching the cultures of the nation.
As highlighted by the DBP, a culture defines how generations before lived their lives, from their daily routines to ways of thinking; which over time has cemented itself into the core of the society as it is passed down from one generation to the next.
One side effect of this loop, especially in modern times, is that it is susceptible to degradation, in terms of to how many customs associated with the culture erodes before eventually disappearing from the consciousness of the community that it once thrived in.
As such, the rationale behind the workshop was to avoid such a demise by enriching the youth’s abilities to research topics with proper methodology as well as to prevent the decay of a culture by experiencing, recording, and preserving it through first-hand accounts.
One participant was Muhd Firdaus bin Awang Abdul Sani, a student from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). He said the workshop provided him with a unique insight into the cultures and customs across the nation.
“We were able to experience the cultures first-hand, such as in the Temburong District where we met with a fisherman to learn about how fish were caught in the past. In Tutong, we learnt about the culture of basuh kaki and how it came to be associated with weddings in the district. And lastly, in Belait, we learnt about the various kinds of woods and trees that can be found there.”
In experiencing these customs and cultures, he expressed excitement in learning something new, as they represent traditions passed down for many generations.
“I can’t help but feel excited as it helps us to gain experience and information, especially on cultures that we might not be especially knowledgable about.
“I also enjoyed learning directly from first-hand accounts of experts in their cultures and customs, rather than just from the Internet, books or photos.”
Participant Farahaina binti Anchong, who recently started working as an officer at the Brunei History Centre, also shared how impactful the workshop was.
“I have been working in the government, specifically in research at the Brunei History Centre. I was able to expand my knowledge and skills related to cultural researchacross the nation throughout the workshop,” she said.
She said she and the other participants learnt how making kelupis unique for each district.
“The process of making kelupis and how it has evolved is based on the beliefs and guidance passed down from one generation to the next.”
Muhd Firdaus and Farahaina expressed hope that similar workshops will be held in the future.
“I hope that the workshop will continue in some form and be extended to whoever, be it people in universities, schools, or agencies and departments, as it helps to provide an insight into our culture while also realising the mission of the DBP,” said Muhd Firdaus.
Farahaina believed that the workshop can be beneficial in providing an avenue for the youth to experience the cultures of the nation while also developing their research skills and knowledge.
“Participants will be able to make use of the knowledge gained to produce a better quality and comprehensive analysis of our culture that can benefit the sociocultural aspect of the nation.”