Reading and Literacy Association (ReLA) President Dr Malai Zeiti binti Sheikh Abdul Hamid shared that with rising distractions evident today, such as online videos and the pull of social media, it is challenging to encourage children to read.
She highlighted that the exposure to children’s stories and reading bedtime stories significantly improves children’s interest. “Inculcating a positive reading habit may be an uncommon literacy practice in the Bruneian society. Perhaps it is time for the Bruneian society to take a more active role in promoting reading among children.”
She said this during the launch of Oman’s cultural story book Your Mother is The Sun and Your Father is The Moon at the residence of the Ambassador of Oman to Brunei Darussalam in Beribi yesterday. The launch was a collaboration between the Embassy of Oman and ReLA.
The event marked the fifth book launched from the ‘Cultural Stories From Around the World Volume I’ aimed at promoting education and culture while enhancing closer ties between Oman and Brunei through the exchange and retelling of cultural stories.
The book launch was hosted and launched by Ambassador of Oman to Brunei Darussalam Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashel Al-Maskari and Dr Malai Zeiti. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohamad was the guest of honour.
Your Mother is The Sun and Your Father is The Moon is a story about a married couple, Ahmed and Fatimah.
“Ahmed faced a problem in his marriage, which made him misunderstand his wife.
Nonetheless, with patience and fortitude, he managed to get over this misunderstanding and win his wife’s heart,” the ambassador said. “It is therefore hoped that the story will raise awareness on Oman’s history and cultural heritage.”
The publication of the storybook stems from the belief that children’s storybooks can create opportunities for children to see themselves, and others in a different light.
The cultural details and specificity within the stories offer messages for children, thus nurturing a love for reading in children that can last a lifetime.
The book is retold by the writers, including the ambassador, co-writers Dr Malai Zeiti and Haji Nasir Latif, with illustrations by Sophie Kehoe.
The ceremony also featured a live reading of the book by young members of ReLA.
Heads of missions, executive members of the Brunei ReLA and government officers attended the event.