Brunei cultural collections in digital database in 2011

By Narissa Noor, BB 17 Sept 2010

Cultural institutions in Brunei Darussalam are making available a large database on material and non-material cultural collections, which will be available and incorporated in the international digital network in 2011.

These will include virtual gallery, historical data and performing arts, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Di Raja Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, told the 4th Meeting of the Ministers of Culture from Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) member countries earlier this month.

The need for collective action in maintaining, supporting and spreading awareness of heritage treasures is a major step in addressing the problems of ignorance and prejudice, the culture ministers had agreed.

“The challenges faced in preserving cultural heritage among others, originate from the lack of appreciation of local culture which compounds our own efforts to enhance cross-cultural understanding among nations. This is a common issue that we are all facing today. To address this we have a collective responsibility,” said Pehin Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hazair in his opening statement during the three-day meeting.

He also asserted that that the responsibilities to protect, conserve and promote our cultural activities also lie in the hands of the youths and highlighted the importance disseminating local cultural values through educational institutions.

“What many of our youths may not realise through no fault of their own is the contribution of culture towards globalisation,” he said.

“Inter-cultural understanding and appreciation add value to global economics and trade and more importantly towards global peace and stability. While we reap economic benefits and exchange information globally, we also spread and promote mutual understanding amongst the diverse cultures.”

This, according to Pehin Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hazair, makes it necessary to continue to step up efforts to further increase mutual understanding and cooperation through people-to-people exchange programmes especially those that involve the youths, citing effective programmes such as the ASEM youth camps, ASEM Youth Arts Festival involving young painters and artists; and joint culture related exhibitions that can be either done bilaterally or multilaterally.

One of Brunei’s own contribution to this effort is the availability of a database housing material and non-material cultural collections to include virtual gallery, historical data and performing arts by next year.

“The availability of cultural heritage works is a wealth that should be disseminated through digital portals medium such as the Culture 360 web portal facilitated by ASEF. This is also one of the effective ways to disseminate culture among our young generation that has become increasingly dependent on the digital media,” stated the minister.

Culture ministers from Asia and Europe attended the 4th ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Culture Ministers’ Meeting in Poznan, Poland from Sept 9 to 11. They came from 39 member countries and included representatives from Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and the European Commission.