Tuesday, March 03, 2015

HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah launches book on Brunei's Tasek Merimbun



Rafidah Hamit
TUTONG

Sunday, March 1, 2015

HIS Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched Tasek Merimbun – The Black Beauty of Brunei Darussalam yesterday.

The book, which contains 168 pages contains information about the park, and is filled with pictures of the surroundings and its inhabitants, particularly the birds.

In the book, His Royal Highness said that for us in Brunei Darussalam, for the past 30 years, everything that is contained in the ASEAN Heritage Park concept is represented by the lake known as Tasek Merimbun.

“Like the forests, rivers, hills, valleys, peaks and coastline that surround us, it is part of our natural habitat.”

The author of the book is the Museum’s Curator of Natural History and Manager of Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Omar Ali who worked with photographer Hj Ilham Rohaidi Hj Mashud.

“Through this coffee-table book, I hope to share the natural wonders of Tasek Merimbun and give a picturesque insight to readers. May this book entice more nature lovers to visit this heritage park and discover what nature has to offer,” said YAM Pengiran Muda Omar Ali.

The release of the book was in conjunction with its 30th anniversary as an ASEAN Heritage Park.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah said that Tasek Merimbun is celebrating its 30th anniversary as an ASEAN Heritage Park this year.

“It became one of the ASEAN Heritage Parks on 29th November 1984, the same year when Brunei Darussalam resumed its full independence.”

“It is therefore most timely that the book is launched to commemorate its 30th anniversary as an ASEAN Heritage Park and more importantly, how it can help in generating awareness and interest amongst our population especially the young ones on what Tasek Merimbun is and what it has to offer.”

“The chapter ‘Birds, Birds and More Birds’ is one that is highly significant to the park. Tasek Merimbun is known as one of Brunei’s important sites for bird enthusiasts.”

YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair said that the park is a breeding place for birds such the Purple Heron and various egrets as well as a destination for migrating birds.

The park was also included as one of the arenas used in the First Borneo Bird Race in 2013 and is also famous for the beautiful black water lake, the largest of its kind in Brunei.

“It has diverse ecosystems which are home to a number of different forest types, one of which being the peat swamp forest. As such, it was declared a nature reserve in 1967 under the administration of the Museums Department.”

The MCYS Minister YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair also said that the park has continued to develop its attractions such as the Butterfly Garden which was set up in 2012 and has become one of the popular attractions in the park.

“In line with the garden mission which is “as a sanctuary for the purpose of studying the life cycle of its inhabitants”, the park has accomplished its feat of maintaining steady breeding habitats for butterflies within, having not found the need to acquire any foreign pupas to date.”

“Tasek Merimbun has played host to various important activities including research into numerous fields that relate to the natural world from stingless bees to practical horticulture.”

He added that it has also received visits from researchers from institutions around the world.

Since 2008, Tasek Merimbun has been the setting for an annual weeklong field course on Tropical Ecology and Conservation organised by Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom.

The park has also played host to the Young Naturalists Programme, an annual programme aimed at Year 4 and Year 5 students from schools throughout the country.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair said that programme focuses on basic fieldwork in various aspects of zoology. “Last year marked the beginning of some healthy competition amongst schools where a trophy was introduced. The winning team, which turned out to be the Ornithology group, was fortunate in spotting a bird that had never been recorded in Tasek Merimbun prior to this. The bird in question is the Grey Heron.”

The book-launch ceremony took place at the Balai Purun of the Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park.

Also present at the ceremony were the Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awang Abu Bakar Hj Apong, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman and officers from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

The Tasek Merimbun – The Black Beauty of Brunei Darussalam retails at $55 a copy.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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