Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) through the Academy of Brunei Studies and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) in collaboration with the Department of Southeast Asian Studies of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany held the second International Seminar on Malay Research.
The three-day seminar held at the Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Advancement (ILIA) was officiated by Associate Professor Dr Mohammad Ayub Sadiq, UBD Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic). Also present during the opening of the seminar were representatives from relevant government departments such as Museums Department, Radio Televisyen Brunei, Islamic Dakwah Centre, Information Department, History Centre and Adat Istiadat Department.
Following the opening ceremony, Dr Arndt Graf of Goethe University Frankfurt presented the first of three keynote presentations titled "Malay Studies in a Wider Context; The Case of Brunei Studies". Also delivering keynote presentations during the seminar were Professor Dr E Ulrich Kratz of the School of Asian Studies (SOAS), University of London with "Dictionaries of Traditional Malay: A Review" and Associate Professor Ampuan Dr Haji Brahim Ampuan Haji Tengah from the Academy of Brunei Studies with "Brunei's Last Malay Manuscripts: Views on Enhancing the Image of the Nation's Civilisation".
Looking at linguistic, cultural and historical contexts, Dr Graf's research identified how interest in Brunei Studies specifically developed from 1945 to 2017 through international abstracts, databases and indexes. In particular, his research saw how the Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) and Information Sciences Institute (ISI) both from the United States, Mycite from Malaysia and Indonesian Publication Index (IPI) from Indonesia collected data on the region.
With 575 articles about Brunei specifically, he observed that the data shifted from coins, philately and archaeology to economics and law following World War 2. In the 1970s, interest in Brunei Studies increased drastically which correlated with the Sultanate's discovery of oil and gas. Following its independence in 1984, there were about 10 articles on Brunei annually. The last 20 years saw a rise in an economic focus, particularly on Islamic banking, finance, law, diversification as well as education.
He pointed out that the interest in the region initially left out literature and music as it was considered at the time to be unimportant and may have resulted in a distorted view. However, an increasing number of articles now cover topics such as historic figures, Brunei Malay and other languages in Brunei and agriculture. With a majority of the articles being written in English, the articles on Brunei were also found in Malay, French, Indonesian, Arabic & German. He noted that the articles in Malay, Indonesian and Arabic were focused on religion.
With the theme "Elevating Malay Research in the International Arena: Cultural Pluralism and Malay Manuscripts Enhancing the Image of the Nation's Civilisaton", the seminar was intended to share up-to-date research and findings about the Malay World and as a platform for the exchange of views. Over 30 papers were presented, covering topics such as culture, language, history, literature and even food innovation.
The first International Seminar on Malay Research was held in UBD in 2013 and is an internationalisation effort as a result of the collaboration between UBD and Goethe University Frankfurt.