Saturday, 31 August 2013

Lifelong learning and my love for books


A home without books is like a body without soul - Cicero
No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self choosen ignorance - Confucius
The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries - Descartes


Deeply engrossed in reading.


Knowledge in you is what other people can’t take away. Others can rob you off everything but what knowledge that you have gained will remain. Knowledge also works the way akin to the “garbage in garbage out” theory. If you learn the right thing, naturally you will be going the right path and vice versa. One can easily point out those who read and strive frequently to gain knowledge and those who are not.
There are many ways that we can acquire knowledge apart from school, university and books. Learning from others be it a success or mistake can produce valuable knowledge too. Travel is also one of the ways to gain knowledge. In order to keep up with the latest development and daily trend, we have to constantly acquire ourselves with new knowledge and skills. Learning is a lifelong thing and it is never too late to go back to university, pick up some papers to do or even join a company as trainee to acquire knowledge. Some years back, the then President of my party, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting launched the lifelong learning project which was very good but after he left office, the project die a natural death.
We are all created the same but some people will ask why the Creator is unfair because other people are smarter than them.  We are different from one another for many reasons. Our daily activities and daily exposures does change what is in us, either we are good or bad or intelligent or mediocre. Darwin is right, only the fittest survive.
It is very rare for you to see me without a book when I am out. I enjoyed reading while doing foot reflexology, having my hair cut or while waiting for someone. I will travel with ample of books so that I can read them while waiting for the flight, in the flight, in the train or while on long bus journey from one place to the other. Sometimes I even enjoy having lunch or dinner alone so that I can quickly finish reading a book. It is almost a habit that I can’t sleep without reading and without having the feel of the book next to my pillow.  
I loved to read since I was small. I read any type of books to enhance my knowledge but discarded fiction long time ago. Besides books, each day, unless I am overseas, I will read The Star and The Edge Financial Daily before I leave home for office. When I am in office, I will browse through Utusan Malaysia and Sin Chew Daily. On top of that, I read the weekly Time magazine and used to read Newsweek too but it has since ceased printing.
My father never say no whenever I told him to buy books or fund my other educational needs. My mother would always encourage me to study hard so that I will have a good future. When I started to work, I never hesitate to buy a good book no matter what the price is because I believe the knowledge gained is invaluable. I am proud of my library with a wide collections of books especially books about China, self-help, history, philosophy and biographies.
Though I never like fictional books, I do collect the classics from Kiplings, Dickens, Somerset Maugham and Shakespeare in my library. I will usually decline to lend my books to others because most of the time, they just don’t return it. I am sure many people share this.
I would attribute this to my family because it provides me with the right atmosphere and dad and mom are always supportive and they are proud of my achievements. They planned their schedules around my educational needs. Dad will reward me for my academic achievements and I collected a lot of them throughout the years. Some said I was born smart but the actual fact is I took afford to read, understand, think and remember something that I come across. I trained myself to have good memories.
The best place in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to get the books that you want will be Kinokuniya bookstore in Suria KLCC and Ngee Ann City. It has the biggest collection of books in Malaysia and Singapore that made MPH and Popular looked pale in comparison. Dymocks in Collins Street Melbourne and the Foreign Language Bookstore in Wangfujing, Beijing are my other favourites. Another place that I like to frequent is Select Books in Singapore for out of print books. And how can one forget Amazon.com – my beloved e-commerce site but the waiting can be frustrating.
Over the years, statistics do show that Malaysians are reading more on average but the rate is still low compared to other countries. I hope more can be done to enhance the reading among Malaysians but the main obstacle is that our books are expensive to create a reading habit on intellectual subjects.
Book fairs are just one of the mini steps taken and more often than not, book vouchers issued by the government went on sale at black market while serious readers will still find that books in Malaysia are expensive if we are to compare it on a dollar to dollar basis. If we are to create a well read and knowledgeable society, the price of all books have to come down.  Above all, one must find time to read or surrender onself to self choosen ignorance, as mentioned by Confucius.

1 comment:

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