Thursday, December 24, 2009

Making Reading a Habit

by Ahmad Aidil Syukri bin Hamzah

We always heard about how important critical thinking skills, managerial skills or public speaking skills are. But hardly do we consider the importance of reading skills. Does it mean that reading habit is not important anymore in our daily lives?

Unfortunately, i think it is such a pity that only a small fraction of the Malaysian population likes to read. An old report saying that Malaysians read only two pages a year on average. Me myself, I could not remember what is the title of the last book that I have read. It means that it’s been a while since the last time I do so. I think the only moment that I’ve spent a lot reading is during my school day especially when the examination day is around the corner. I think most young generation today experienced the same like me.

For me, today’s young generation are mostly interested to know about celebrities and pop culture rather than history, languages, literature and geography. If we let this continue, we shall soon have a nation with less-informed people who are lacking in knowledge and ideas.

Honestly, I would prefer to hang out at "mamak" with friends for long hours rather than reading. Besides that, I would rather choose to surf the internet for long periods or sometimes a whole day than spending my time reading. Books is no longer important for me. The most important thing is my mobile phone. I think most of my time I spent is twiddling with my mobile phone. I spent a lot of my time and money for it.

All this while I am always complaining about my extravagant expenditures such as phone bills, fancy clothes, hair salons and bike. But never once I complaints about the lack of reading materials whether it’s books, magazines or newspapers. I know that the prices of books are expensive but compare it to the price of things mentioned earlier, it should be affordable for me to purchase a book. It sadly goes to show that I tend to waste money on trivial things rather than investing in gaining knowledge, ideas and creativity through reading.

Although I read less book this these days, every Malaysians should start to make reading a habit. With internet, there is no reason not to read.

In my opinion, if we want Malaysians to develop a passion for reading, it should be done at a young age. I remember as a child reading comic books. I think reading develop my writing and spelling skills. Besides it develops my ability to be creative and think outside the box.

I am glad now that there are second hand or discount book stores in many places. This will ensure that books get a wider audience. Although with my current salary, I may have to think many times about buying a book, these places could help me cultivate my reading habits. I think this is also one of the reasons that contribute people to choose reading as their habit. If there are more second-hand book stores, it could help people like me to buy books with affordable price.

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