September 11, 2017. The just concluded ‘Come Together to Belait District Museum’ event helped cast the spotlight onto the district’s museum, located at Jalan Maulana.
Organised by six students from Politeknik Brunei (PB), Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE), Sultan Saiful Rijal Campus (SSRC) and the Cosmopolitan College of Commerce and Technology (CCCT) working together as a group called Bru’Elture – a portmanteau for ‘Brunei Welcoming Culture,’ the event hoped to catch the attention of the public as well as showcase the various exhibits and artefacts of historical importance housed within the walls of the Belait Museum .
Bru’Elture member Muha-mmad Nassrul Fahamee bin Mohamad Sofri told the Bulletin the primary objective of the event was to promote to local residents and foreign visitors the legacy and lifestyle of the olden days in the Belait District.
“The museum is also a place to introduce the various flora and fauna found in the country,” he said, adding that “Bru’Elture wishes to transform the museum into a key tourism location.
“The event promoted not only the museum itself, but also the various traditional games which we prepared such as ‘pasang,’ ‘congkak,’ ‘buah lapas-lapas,’ ‘salok-salokan,’ ‘simban,’ ‘tempurong laki,’ ‘kayu tiga,’ and ‘lumpat gatah.’”
To enliven the atmosphere at the museum, a colouring competition was also held yesterday, during the final day of the event.
The museum holds deep historical significance in the Belait District, as noted by Museums Department Public Relations officer Mariani binti Haji Abu Bakar.
“The compound was once the home of the former Belait District Officer Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar bin Pengiran Omar; he was the first to stay in this building,” she said.
Its significance goes even further as the building was previously used on several occasions as a banquet hall during 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’s visits to the Belait District.
To retain the building’s integral concept of blending both local Malay and colonial architecture, it was refurbished by the Belait District Office, with the Museums Department taking over the building last year to create a specialised museum for the Belait District.
Mariani also highlighted the various key galleries being housed in the museum, such as the Cultural Heritage, History of the administration and development of Belait District, History of oil and gas industry, and Natural Heritage galleries, among others.
“Each part of the museum focusses on a specific aspect and part of history of the Belait District,” she said, going on to state that the building was also recently renovated to cater to the ever-growing history of the district, and that “the museum has since been in operation since around the middle of last year.”
The museum is open every day save for Thursday and Friday, from 9am to 5pm.
“I encourage schools and students to visit the museum especially during this school holiday which is a good opportunity for families to come as a group, and also particularly seeing that the museum admission fee is currently free.
“The museum will hopefully be an essential medium to pass on the traditions and history of the Belait District to the youth as well as visitors to the country.”
| Daniel Lim |