Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Saadatul Bolkiah binti His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah officially opened the 6th ASEAN Traditional Textile Symposium. This year, Brunei Darussalam hosted the symposium with the theme "Upholding Traditions for Sustainable Future: Golden Ties That Bind." The function was held this morning at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong. Also present was Her Majesty Tengku Puan Pahang Tunku Hajjah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah binti Al-Marhum Almutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj as the head of the Malaysian delegation.
On arrival at the hotel, Her Royal Highness was greeted by Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports; Pengiran Dato Seri Paduka Haji Bahrom bin Pengiran Haji Bahar, Deputy Minister of Education; Datin Paduka Doctor Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; and Datin Doctor Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina binti Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Brunei Darussalam as the Co-chairperson of the Steering Committee of the 6th ASEAN Traditional Textile Symposium.
Also attending the function was Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah binti His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah. The ceremony commenced with the reading of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa led by Yang Dimuliakan Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Suhaili bin Haji Mohiddin.
In his welcoming remarks, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports among other things said textiles have long been a part of the Southeast Asian traditions and cultures, and have played a central role in the societies for centuries. They form a tangible history of culture, heritage and crafting traditions. However, he said, the long established textile traditions face threat from modernity and the rise of modern technology, challenging the ancient textile skills, knowledge and culture.
Her Royal Highness opened the 6th ASEAN Traditional Symposium and the Coffee Table Book titled "Golden Woven Fabrics of Brunei Darussalam". The symposium is a platform for traditional textile expert's researchers, students and entrepreneurs to gather, discuss and exchange ideas to preserve and ensure the continuity of traditional textile products in the region. Furthermore, the symposium also encourages the production of new textile techniques that can increase the production of new textiles while improving the traditional textile industry's capability to enter a wider market.
In her keynote titled "Sustaining Traditional Textiles", Dr Siti Norkhalbi binti Haji Wahsalfelah, Senior Assistant Professor and Director of Academy of Brunei Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, touched on the long history of textiles and have been an integral part of Southeast Asian cultures. To ensure the sustainability of traditional textiles, she said four main factors need to be considered; that is environmental, social, cultural and economic. By looking at the four factors, it will attempt to explore various measures taken especially in ASEAN member countries to safeguard and preserve the continuity and sustainability of traditional textiles.
Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Saadatul Bolkiah and members of the royal families toured a textile exhibition in line with this year's theme. The exhibition involved 22 entrepreneurs from the ASEAN countries to promote to the public, apart from exchanging views on textiles production methods and innovative designs that can be incorporated into traditional textiles.
The symposium is held biannually that began 12 years ago in 2005. It was first held in Jakarta. The event was a collaboration between the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, UBD, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Traditional Textiles Arts Society of South East Asia. It is also supported by the Brunei Arts and Handicraft Training Centre and the Department of Adat Istiadat Negara. The five-day activity began yesterday and will concludes on Thursday. 13 working papers will be tabled by representatives from the ASEAN countries and Canada.