Brunei Darussalam can become a hub of Islamic literature in the Malay Archipelago, said the Minister of Home Affairs yesterday at the closing of the 4th Nusantara Poet's Gathering.
Speaking at the Radio Television Brunei (RTB) headquarters in the capital, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Othman said that Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (Kupu SB) is working on an iniative that would introduce an Islamic literature degree at the undergraduate level.
"This opens up opportunities to literature students and researchers from inside and outside Brunei to study and review Islamic literature from a Bruneian and regional perspective," he said at the gathering which was attended by poets from Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Badaruddin also touched upon the differences in language between the participants and the need to find unifying elements in Malay literature and poetry to keep the art alive.
The acting Director of the language and Literature Bureau, Hjh Aminah Hj Momin noted that poetry recitations were delivered in no less than 13 languages during the three-day conference.
Preceding the closing, an afternoon of dramatic poetry earned the audience's applause as the participants recited their pieces at Dewan Raya RTB.
First up was Anna Noor from Indonesia with her Syair "Terbangun Dari Mimpi Panjang" or loosely translated as waking up from a long dream.
This was followed by a recital from one of her Indonesian counterparts who recited a heart-wrenching piece on the prayers of the children of Gaza. Entitled "Doa Anak-Anak Gaza Di Pagi Hari", (loosely translated to early morning prayers of the Gaza children) where he spoke of the plight the children of Gaza had to endure.
However, stealing the show was Annual Bakhri Haron from Malaysia who recited a poem with the aid of multimedia facilities. Each sentence intertwined with the tempo of his recital which made the audience excited and gave a standing ovation when he finally finished. .
This was the first time the Sultanate hosted the Nusantara Poet's Gathering since its inception in 2007.
To date there are a total of 150 members consisting of 34 Bruneians and 126 members from Indonesia and Malaysia.
This year's event was organised by non-governmental bodies in Malaysia and Brunei with the theme "Sustaining Life and a Green Environment".
At the end of yesterday's event, the Home Affairs Minister symbolically handed over the hosting duties to the organiser of next year gathering which will be held in Palembang, Indonesia.
The Brunei Times