Brunei Darussalam Celebrates the Advent of Ramadan with Poetry
Bahana magazine and the literary society revived poetry evening and honored Southeast Asian writers who won the Mastera Literary Award
For the first time, a global poetry reading session was held, inviting the Egyptian poet Ashraf Aboul- Yazid who read his poem ‘A Street in Cairo’
Bandar Seri Begawan
On the evening of the fifth day of Ramadan 1444 AH, Bahana magazine and the literary society in the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam revived an evening of poetry readings and honoring Southeast Asian writers who won the Mastera Literary Award.
The evening was held to celebrate the International Poetry Day, and to celebrate the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan. The event moderator was Zefri Ariff (Brunei Darussalam).
Mastera Literary Award is a regional prize awarded since 1999 for the best prose and poetic works, as well as for literary criticism in Malay of the writers of the South – East-Asian countries. The founder of the award is the Southeast Asian Literature Council (Majlis Sastera Asia Tenggara), abbreviated as Mastera.
The Council was established in 1995. Its founding countries are Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In 2012, it was joined by Singapore which previously had observer status, and in 2014 by Thailand. Representatives of Viet Nam and Philippines where there are minorities who speak Malay languages periodically participate in the activity of the Council.
Prizes are awarded every two years for works published during the two previous years. Winners receive diplomas and a bonus of 10,000 Malaysian (two thousand two hundred and fifty-eight US dollars).
At 9.30 pm, the event started with a recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat by Mohammad Jazmeen Tassim. Then we reviewed a video on Bahana Magazine, which covers all aspects of cultural, economic, historical and political issues. The winners of Mastera Literary Award were introduced to present their readings, either live or by recorded videos shown by organizers. The winners were NurFik Brunei (Brunei Darussalam) – 2008 Mastera Young Literary Award, Nurhamizah Samihon (Brunei Darussalam) – 2017 Mastera Young Literary Award, Tia Setiadi (Indonesia) – 2013 Mastera Young Literary Award, Nisah Haron (Malaysia) – 2017 Mastera Young Literary Award and Hassan Hasaa’ree Ali (Singapore) – 2017 Mastera Young Literary Award.
The second part of the evening was for Bahana Poetry Reading Session, contributed by Aminah Momin (Brunei Darussalam), Khoer Jurzani (Indonesia), Rasli ABR (Brunei Darussalam), Suzi Al-Fatoni (Thailand), Atin Aswana (Brunei Darussalam), Shahril Samri (Singapore), , Dr. Phaosan (Thailand), Shahnizam (Brunei Darussalam) and was concluded with the readings of Mohammad Jazmeen Tassim (Brunei Darussalam),
For the first time, a global poetry reading session was held, inviting the Egyptian poet Ashraf Aboul- Yazid who read his poem (A Street in Cairo). He also added one of his poems written for children on fasting. He said: “As most of the poets today celebrated the holy month of Ramadhan in their performance, I will read this short poem:
God knows that I am fasting
The fasting child asked his mother,
I’m hungry, when do we break our fasting?
She said: My son, be patient and wait
In hours and the sun will go down!
But before sunset, think;
There are more hungry children,
Fasting is not just about hunger
God imposed fasting on us
To make us sympathize, with thanks.
In a message from Lenna NB – one of the organizers – she expressed the highest appreciation and thanks to the participants, activists, lovers, fans and observers of literary art in coloring the Baca Bahana activity: “God willing we will meet again in April. God willing, Baca Bahana organizers will try to implement this project as best as possible. May our charity and worship in this month of Ramadan receive blessings and mercy from Allah Ta’ala. Amen amen ya rabbal Alamin.”