Students sample traditional Tutong life

THE real-life replicas of different ethnic houses at the Cultural Village of Sungai Basong Recreational Park are a good starting point for students to learn about the past way of life and culture of Brunei, according to Cikgu Melhan bin Adam, Head of the Asian Languages Faculty at Jerudong International School (JIS).

Melhan was speaking while leading a JIS student field trip to the Cultural Village yesterday under the Tourism Development Department’s Tutong Destination Visit Package.

The visitors were the school’s Year 8 foreign students currently taking the ‘Malay Language as Foreign Language’ class.

The Cultural Village is located within the Sungai Basong Recreational Park – one of the country’s many natural parklands, and a popular spot among Tutong residents for picnics, jogging, family gatherings, and other recreational activities.

The park, a five minutes’ drive from Pekan Tutong centre, is home to a picturesque small lake, while huts which dot the park compounds and an open activity area are favoured hangout spots for families.

A representative from the Tutong Tiong Hua community doing calligraphy

A representative from the Tutong Tiong Hua community doing calligraphy

Students taking notes during the trip. – PHOTOS: AZARAIMY HH

Students taking notes during the trip. – PHOTOS: AZARAIMY HH

Students listening to a Dusun ethnic elder

Students listening to a Dusun ethnic elder

The Cultural Village itself, or ‘Rumah Budaya’, houses life-size replicas of homes of the five ethnic groups of Tutong – Puak Tutong, Puak Kedayan, Puak Iban, Puak Tiong Hua (Chinese), and Puak Dusun – from the olden days.

The park’s management went the extra mile to make the exhibits as authentic as possible – the cultural houses were built with the exact same material used in their construction in the past. Also included among the exhibits are herbs farmed by the five ethnic groups for use as medicines during those times.

Upon arrival at the Cultural Village, the students – accompanied by three teachers led by Cikgu Melhan – were greeted by the Chief Executive of the Tutong District Tourism Promotion and Coordination Body (BPPPDT). They were taken on a guided tour of the village by Abdul Aziz bin Haji Hamdan from the Arts and Cultural Body of BPPPDT, where they experienced the culture through traditional dances and music, and sampled some ethnic delicacies.

“For most students, this is the first time they are visiting the Cultural Village. The students are doing a project on housing structure, so the visit is a good eye-opener for them as they are getting the chance to see the different styles of ethnic houses, which could also be a good source of inspiration for them,” said Melhan, who was impressed with the concept of the Cultural Village.

Melhan, who hails from Singapore, added that he hoped students currently taking the Malay Language programme at JIS will get a chance to visit the Cultural Village at least once in the programme.

“They can explore the other attractions of the Sungai Basong Recreational Park. The Malay Language students can learn about the food, culture and different ethnic dialects of Tutong as well. Hopefully we can arrange more of such visits,” he said.

Borneo Bulletin | Azaraimy HH | May 3, 2018