VALUES EDUCATION VIA FOLKLORE: BRUNEI SHOWCASE
Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Guru Ra
Values education is of fundamental import in awareness-raising and human formation anchorage. It is important too that values are made to work for those imbued with it, for the powerlessness to assert values make people less human.
There are many entry points to values education, which renders values formation an open field for the exercise of creative imagination and ingenuity. One of these entry points is folklore. Among the showcases for the region is that of Brunei, which I will echo in this note.
As argued by me in previous writings, folklore is a depository of ancient wisdom in Southeast Asia. I would hasten to add the Polynesians as manifesting also such a deep embeddedness of ancient or divine wisdom in their folklore. Values are part of the practical domains for divine wisdom, as it is in values where virtues (dharma) are made to work in demonstrative ways.
Below is a news briefer of the Brunei efforts.
[Philippines, 16 June 2011]
Promoting values through folktales
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Friday, January 28, 2011
ANTHOLOGIES of local folk tales should be published to promote Brunei stories as such books are found to be lacking in many Asian countries, with the exception of Japan, said an expert.
Dr Chu Keong Lee, a lecturer from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore made this suggestion when he presented his working paper "Promoting values using folk tales from Brunei" during the last day of the Brunei Information Resource Collection Symposium at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
Local folklore are well worth promoting and libraries are the organisation most well-placed to promote them, said Dr Chu.
Additionally, governments can play a part in ensuring that local schools purchase a specific number of books for their students to encourage publishers to print local stories.
"Stories play an important role in the transmission of culture in a society, in effective organisational communication and learning, in knowledge sharing and in helping to understand a person's illness experience," said Dr Chu.
His paper analysed four local folk tales published in The Singing Top: Tales from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei by Margaret Read MacDonald in 2008.
The four folk tales were The Dollarbid and the Short-tailed Monkey, The King of the Mosquitoes, Dayang Bongsu and the Crocodile and Si Perawal, the Greedy Fisherman.
It also discussed the ways in which libraries can leverage on indigenous stories in promoting the values within the tales locally and internationally.
The stories were first read as a whole to obtain a gist of the story, after that, each story was read carefully to find out what it was about and what value was being referred to.
The values identified from The Dollarbid and the Short-tailed Monkey were the importance of paying heed to good advice and the consequences of ignoring it, bravery, compassion and the perseverance of nature.
The King of the Mosquitoes emphasised the consequences of greed, bravery, not judging a book by its cover and the fruits of kindness.
In the paper, Dr Chu suggested that librarians should train tertiary students to be engaging and sensitive storytellers when promoting folk tales and their values, and then the students can be sent to primary and secondary schools to tell the stories to other students.
This, he said, was a method successfully employed by the Mahasarakham University Storytelling Project in Thailand.
"Senior citizens should be mobilised as their real-life experiences contain many valuable lessons that can be used as examples that illustrates the manifestations of these values.
"Senior citizens are probably the best people to convey these values to the young because of the Asian values of respect for elders," he said.
The two-day symposium which concluded yesterday was attended by librarians, researchers, teachers, archivists, information specialists as well as government officers.
The symposium was aimed at sharing best practices and advancements in the management and dissemination of local information collection, while highlighting efforts to enhance collections and resources for the benefit of the teaching and learning community. — Zareena Amiruddin
The Brunei Times
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