Prince Malik upholds the importance of Literature
By Farah Ahmadnawi

"In my opinion, literary writers have an important role in the development of a nation in many aspects including shaping a community that possesses noble moral values that can also contribute to the country's harmony.

This observation was made by HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik in a sabda at the opening of the Archipelago Literature Meeting which took place at the Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong last night.

Talking about literature the Prince said that modern world brings many challenges to the literary profession in which interest towards literature may decline because society today is more in tune towards education and entertainment which are fast and easily accessible by the digital portal.

"In my view, this is the main challenge in developing literary works which is to ensure that their works and career remain relevant and of interest to society to read them, especially the younger generation of today and tomorrow."

HRH pointed out that in facing these challenges, literary writers must accept opportunities that come with the use of info-communication technology.

HRH cited that the Internet, mobile communication and multimedia technology have indeed changed our communication behaviour in every level of society throughout the world.

"I believe that this latest technology can be used to return and improve the functions of a literary writer as a source of education, source of knowledge and a way to provide effective advice just like in the old days."

The Prince said the production of literary works need not be limited by the publication of books and regular media only, the Internet provides more ways and opportunities to present literary works to the global community.

"Today we often hear about people of the Archipelago involved in immoral activities such as misuse of drugs and immoral social activities.

"Social problems such as these must be overcome by all parties including writers, in which the story telling media that they employ through their works is one effective media in highlighting awareness and encouraging society to stay away from these social problems."

HRH recounted the theme of the archipelago literature meeting 'Tapping into the archipelago literature' that focused on the works of Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien and other archipelago works such as Hamzah Fansuri and Raja Ali Haji as being appropriate because as the society of the archipelago is dominated by Malay Muslims, the archipelago writers must produce works based on the axis of Islam as well as highlighting the works of previous Archipelago writers.

HRH reminded the audience that their writing must become a source of inspiration to other current archipelago writers as a way to develop bigger and outstanding writers to new techniques and fresh ideas that will give off more positive effect and meaning to the readers.

HRH went on to say that, in order to achieve this goal, the writers must possess sharp minds and imaginative ways that may originate from their inherent talent, or from their collective life experiences together with equipping themselves with knowledge either through reading, research or interaction with their colleagues.

The event was organised by the Literary Writers Association of Brunei Darussalam (Asterawani) with the cooperation of the Language and Literature Bureau, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

This is the fourth time that Brunei Darussalam hosted this meeting and last night's event also saw the attendance of the Minister and Deputy minister of religious affairs, the Chief judge of Syariah court as well as other renowned local and regional literary writers.

The evening was highlighted with literary performances by the Rakis Club Universiti Brunei Darussalam and other cultural groups. - Borneo Bulletin (12th December 2009)