Zulafendi bin Mohd Sufri, a trainee from Pusat Bahagia Tutong District who is hearing impaired, has shown perseverance and determination to succeed in life.
His creativity and unique skill of creating replica of iconic building models using only recycled cut out magazines and cardboard as well as glue have earned him praise not only from the local community but also members of the Diplomatic Corps.
One of his amazing works of art is a model of the Brunei Energy Hub Dermaga Diraja which he made from recycled magazines, and was presented as a pesambah to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the official launch of Brunei Energy Hub Dermaga Diraja in October.
Zulafendi, who has been with Pusat Bahagia Tutong District since he was seven years old, has been learning the skill of making models using paper for more than 10 years under industrial training at the centre. He also possesses skills in cooking and farming as well as sewing from the many programmes in Pusat Bahagia Tutong District.
In a recent interview, the 33-year-old, who has some difficulties in speaking, expressed through sign language, “I am very happy that my art is appreciated by the public and purchased by them. I am also very happy that my art was a pesambah for His Majesty.”
Instructor at Pusat Bahagia Tutong District Faridah binti Singing said, “Zulafendi learnt the skill of building paper modelling from instructor Rohaya, who makes mini houses and small container boxes. Five years ago, the former ambassador of Turkiye to Brunei Darussalam suggested creating a model of the huge iconic mosque in Istanbul. This is when we found out Zulafendi’s unique talent after he completed the mosque. Many people were amazed with his skill.”
He built the structure with cardboard then cut out papers from magazines and rolled each piece of paper into very thin rolls, and then uses glue to stick each roll on to the structure.
The task took around two weeks to complete.
Faridah added that, “Zulafendi also earns an extra income from the sale of his artwork. He hopes to open his own business with the skill and earn a stable income in the future.”
Pusat Bahagia Tutong District offers basic skill training like sewing, baking, cooking, farming, art and handicraft. “We have been receiving orders for cookies and cakes for wedding events and functions. We also have the harvest of stingless bee honey. Recently, we started a small fish farming project, it is our latest initiative,” said Faridah.