IN 1982, the National Literacy Survey carried out by the National Library reported that Malaysians only read an average of one to two pages a year.
Malaysia’s reading habit Christopher Teh Boon Sung Posted on July 6th, 2010
Reading rates in 2005 among Malaysians have not improved since 1996 (photo from thestar.com.my)
Fortunately, the reading habit among Malaysians improved to two books per year when the National Literacy Survey was repeated in 1996.
Nonetheless, the last National Literacy Survey carried out in 2005 reported that Malaysians still read an average of two books a year. In short, there had been no improvement.
The last survey also reported that Malaysians read increasingly less as they grew older. By the age of 50, for example, only 20 per cent of Malaysians would still continue to read books, a drop from 40 per cent (a figure which in itself is pathetic) from those in the mid-20s to 30s age group.
Reading is not even the favourite pastime of Malaysians as most prefer to watch television or visit social media sites.
The survey also unearthed the trend among the young who read only to acquire knowledge.
Good books are storehouses of human knowledge and wisdom. Anyone who has the key can enter these store houses and help himself. And, that is what the Big Bad Wolf is doing.
Known as the world's biggest warehouse sale, the Big Bad Wolf is in town at the Expo at Danga City Mall in Johor Baru until Sunday.
There are almost 500,000 books and non-books that included fiction, non-fiction, children's and young adult titles. I noticed that early bird promotion for selected titles are being offered at a discount of 85 per cent.
The bookworms were having a field day here and BookXcess, which runs the Big Bad Wolf, has added irresistible offers.
For the first time the public can pick up imported posters, pottery, collectibles, tin-plated signage items, box sets, and activity kits.
On the Curious Corner section, there is an assortment of merchandise such as board games, movie posters and limited edition memorabilia.
Wherever they go, the Big Bad Wolf has been attracting massive crowds, young and old. What more during this school holiday season for both the Malaysian and Singapore schools.
Reading as we know provides incomparable pleasure and nourishes the mind with information and knowledge. The habit of reading at an early age helps in the child's development and builds a strong foundation for the child's logical thinking skills.
He who reads widely and judiciously has a full mind. Thus the saying: "Reading maketh a full man".
A man who does not open a book has a comparatively empty mind. He may learn from his and others' experience but will lack depth.
It was indeed a sight to behold to see several youngsters walked out of the expo hall with boxes of books filled to the brim while a few others strolled away with trolleys full of books.
The famous American author and poet Maya Angelou once said: "Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him".
The key to improving our education is by inculcating a strong reading habit.
Reading moulds your personality, determines your world view and psyche, empowers your intellect and perhaps even change you.
You are what you read. New Straits Times 5 June 2014