Terengganu School Students Perform Traditional Chant Dikir Barat In Arabic

01By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Ikhwan Hashim

KUALA TERENGGANU, TERENGGANU, June 15, 2015 – The East Coast musical form Dikir Barat is commonly performed at traditional gatherings in Kelantan and Terengganu, but at one event here Terengganu secondary school student sang it in Arabic.

The students were being honoured at the Closing and awards ceremony of the Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation (YDSM) 2015 here today.

More than 900 students from 56 high schools in Terengganu took part in two events aimed at fostering talented students in the Arabic language at religious schools, namely the Kalam Jama’ie Arab and Arabic Dikir Barat.

Awards and prizes were presented to the winners of the Arabic language programme, along with an English language programme conducted by The National University of Malaysia (UKM), by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Also present at the closing and prize investiture ceremony for strengthening the English and Arabic language in schools were the Terengganu Sultanah Sultanah Nur Zahirah.

Among the other dignataries were the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Datuk Mohd Zubir Embong; State Secretary Datuk Osman Muda and state Education Director Shafruddin Ali Hussin.

Programmes on the English and Arabic languages are important events organised by YDSM to foster interest among students to improve their mastery of both languages.

In his welcoming remarks, YDSM Board of Trustees member Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Embong said UKM’s English language programmes have been warmly received.

According to Prof Abdul Rahman, who is also a Fellow of the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) UKM, the English course has entered its sixth year and it’s clear that it made a good impression at schools in Terengganu.

Therefore, explained Prof Abdul Rahman UKM will implement an  additional English courses oriented towards arts, culture, heritage and history of the country specifically for secondary school students dubbed  ‘Your language, My Culture’.

He said the two parties would work together to assist the state Education Department to produce additional English language reading material geared for such a purpose.

“The first draft of the book for form one students has been prepared by a group of UKM researchers and the books will be tested first in five selected schools including in Setiu, Kemaman and Kuala terengganu in the near future.

“Learning is still using the same way but there are differences when reading in English where local content is used to enrich the stories such as ‘Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup’, ‘Ulik Mayang’ and even ‘Pak Pandir’ compared to reading Cinderella, Robin Hood and others.

“This initiative can make learning more relevant as local culture and history are used which is much more familiar to the students in the pursuit of progress in the 21st century,” added Prof Abdul Rahman.