THAILAND was admitted as the fifth member of the Southeast Asia Literary Council (MASTERA) during the opening of council’s 20th conference in Brunei yesterday.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah said Thailand’s entry to MASTERA will strengthen the position of the council and lead to the implementation of greater agendas, particularly in “raising the glory of the Malay language” through literary activities.
“MASTERA will be more advanced and potentially crossing geographical Nusantara boundaries in an effort to bring Malay literature to the international literary world,” he said.
In his speech, the minister also advised the five-member council to lift and revive the glory of ancient Malay literature, literary figures and oral literature containing the culture and traditions that are associated with the assimilation of the community.
He explained that it would help MASTERA gain popularity by reaching out to its target groups and further penetrate the local literary world.Although MASTERA has conducted a variety of activities and programmes in the form of research, publication and marketing, YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair pointed out there were groups of people who remain unaware of MASTERA’s existence and activities.
“This traditional heritage needs to be preserved and strengthened especially through the new media,” said the minister.
He also urged the council to keep abreast of and utilise the digital world in popularising literature and culture as well as elevating the literary works across the geographic boundaries. He warned that literary works could be wiped out and left behind if not preserved and documented.
“New media is very important in life today, especially for authors to market their work more easily and also for commercial publishers via e-publication (e-Pub),” he said, noting that new media is an important aspect of life for Generation X and Y as well as for literature in schools.
During the conference, the minister presented the MASTERA Literary Award of $10,000 in cash prize, a certificate, a piece of traditional Jong Sarat cloth as well as translation and publication of literary work.
This year’s recipients were Pg Setia Pg Negara Pg (Dr) Hj Mohd Yusof Pg Hj Abd Rahim (Yura Halim) from Brunei, Bapak Professor Dr Sapardi Djoko Damono from Indonesia, Sasterawan Negara (SN) Professor Emeritus Dr Muhammad Hj Salleh from Malaysia and Suratman Markasan from Singapore.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair also launched MASTERA’s latest publications titled “Lima Tahun MASTERA (2000-2004)” and “Penterjemahan Karya Sastera Terpilih: Puisi”.
The three-day conference is held at the Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong.
The Brunei Times
Friday, September 19, 2014