Renewed focus on heritage 
during Malay Language Month

This article is more than 12 months old

This year's Bulan Bahasa, or Malay Language Month, will return for its launch at the Malay Heritage Centre on Sept 9.

The festival has not kicked off from there since 2008 and it underscores this year's focus on language and heritage.

Among the highlights of the launch at Kampong Glam will be children's picture book author and storyteller Jumaini Ariff, who will be telling folktales while accompanied by a live gamelan troupe.

The writer of eight Malay-language books is one of Bulan Bahasa's three language ambassadors, or datu bahasa.

She told The Straits Times that some of her fondest memories of falling in love with the language were from listening to the Warna radio channel at home as a child.

"I would sit at the counter while my mother was cooking, and other than speaking to her or annoying her, I would learn things like pantun (rhymes), the formal diction of the radio presenters, how they addressed the elderly and storytelling," said Ms Jumaini, 38.

"There are so many stories living inside my head. So, as an author, I have a wonderful outlet to share what I know."

This year's programmes - spread out between Aug 15 and Oct 15 - will revolve around the themes of ilmu (knowledge), budaya (culture) and mesra (relationships).

The festival was launched in 1988 by the Malay Language Council to encourage the use of Malay in everyday lives of Singapore's Malays.