By A. Jeyaraj
I use to think that I was one of the few people in Ipoh who spend money on books. However when I went to Big Bad Wolf Book Sale I realised that my thinking was wrong. I went to the sale on three days during working days and public holiday and was surprised to see the huge crowd. The crowd was multi-racial, Malays, Chinese, Indians and others. I noticed that people did not come for sightseeing, they were actually selecting the books they were interested in reading. Most people bought a number of books.
However, one of my friends said that people buy the books not to read, just because they are cheap. It is part of Malaysian culture to buy whatever is cheap, whether you need it or not.
I am wondering since we have a big reading population why not form a Book Readers Club. We can share what we are reading and recommend what books to read and exchange books. We can have intellectual literary discussions. During my school days in the fifties, though I was in science stream, we had to read the classics. The teachers were also avid readers and were able to comment on the books we read and suggest what we should read.
I urge one of the English speaking NGOs like PAGE to form a Book Readers Club in Ipoh. Nowadays everyone is talking about the importance of English and the necessity to master it. Readers’ clubs can encourage the usage of English. The numbers do not matter, a handful of interested people would do. We have to find participants who are interested in reading and call for an initial meeting.
I hope someone who has influence and means would take the lead in setting up the club. There are many sites online with information on how to set up these clubs. Let us start the Club and make Perak a knowledge-based state and ensure that the people are knowledgeable.
“Reading maketh a full man” – Francis Bacon