Save endangered traditional food, urge Bruneians

Save endangered traditional food, urge Bruneians

BRUNEI - Traditional Brunei Malay food should be served not only during the festive Raya season, but also at national events to prevent them from going extinct, a workshop facilitator said.

Siti Nor Sollehha Nohaddin, a third-year Brunei Studies student at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, said most youths only have basic knowledge of some traditional kuih-muih (cakes) because they rarely get to eat or see them.

"That is why my workshop today is not about introducing, but instead taking a closer approach at these cakes," said the 24-year-old, who is conducting a workshop at the Language and Literature Bureau Library in the capital.

"Some of them know things like cincin as their grandparents sell them, but they don't really know how to make them," she said.

Her "Understanding the Heritage of Traditional Brunei Malay Cakes Workshop" targets children aged five to 12, but Siti Nor Sollehha said even some adults were not aware of the existence of some these cakes.

The UBD student said she did not know many of Brunei's traditional Malay kuih-muih existed until she conducted her research.

"There are traditional cakes that even locals have seldom heard about, such as Si Bujang, Ampong, Biraksa and Saku," she said.

Asked why she did a research paper on cultural heritage of these cakes, she said these delicacies were made by Bruneian ancestors, and it is the responsibility of present and future generations to ensure they are passed down continuously.

The workshop aimed to raise public awareness of traditional Malay delicacies to children, as well as build their confidence to interact and cooperate with others as a team.

"These kids can help spread awareness and get more of their friends to be interested in these traditional cakes," she added.

However, her long-term goal was to publish a monograph book.

"We do not have a proper book that illustrates a collection of all the traditional Bruneian cakes that also show the recipes to make them," she said.

"I hope this book will encourage more Bruneians to revive the making of these cakes and save them from becoming extinct," she added.

Parents of participating children at the workshop have also praised the benefits of educating youth on traditional Malay delicacies.

Hjh Nisa, 40, said the workshop was both educational and beneficial for her daughter.

"Instead of just hanging out at malls, children here get to learn about Brunei's cultural heritage and history," she said.

"They also get to develop their communication and interaction skills with children from other schools," she added.

The mother of three said knowing that her daughter was participating such workshops gave her assurance and trust that she would be safe.

A mother of eight, Marini Mohd Hassan, said the workshop was a perfect time filler for the December school holidays.

"Sometimes my kids head to a shop, they know what it looks like, but they do not know what it is called," she said.

"This workshop teaches my children the names of traditional cakes, and how to make (or bake) it gives them another hobby to fill their time," said the 35-year-old.

A Maktab Duli student who volunteered for the workshop, Khoo Jia Kok said more awareness can be obtained through social media.

"Uploading the photos of these (rare) delicacies to Facebook attracts curiosity," he said.

"This can encourage others to dare themselves to try something they have never heard of before," he added.

The workshop at the Language and Literature Bureau Library will run for three days, with activities such as photo colouring, composition writing and a traditional Malay Brunei cake exhibition.

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