Sunday, February 4, 2007


I suddenly remembered how, when I was a kid, access to good stuff are limited. Right now I'm talking about books.

I used to love reading. I still am, only that I have less time for reading now. I have plenty of my time occupied with other stuff.

I read a lot of stuff, from adult magazines (not Adult, you know what I mean!) to kiddie comics, light articles to newspapers, to dictionaries, teenage novels. Even pretty advertisements! The list goes on...

Here I want to talk about how lucky kids are nowadays. And how sad, they never actually appreciate what they have now.

I used to read Enid Blyton's series. I bet everybody my age had. Blyton had lots of mild adventures series. Different characters, different places. A Blyton book is easily recognised by the signature printed on top of the cover, as well as at the side of the book.

I grew up reading Blytons. Unfortunately, they were the translated version. I didn't get my hand on any English version. The places are changed, the names remained the same. It did sounded weird those days. I was no kiddie-kid back then. My thoughts were like an adult. I did a lot of thinking and questioning. I often questioned myself why the bl**p do the stories made no sense to me.

As I grew up I started to understand why they didn't make any sense. The translation made them like that. I mean, well, maybe some kids will just accept whatever thing you give them. Just swallow it even if it made no sense. It was only a fiction anyway.

To me, reading story book is not just for fun. Yes, it is fun. Better than reading a journal. But picking up a story book is more than just that, for whatever story in it. We pick up the culture that comes with it. Imagine having the text preserved, except for some changes in the names or places (not the main characters' names). Things would definitely sound weird.

Imagine an old stone castle with cellars, dungeons and basements in Singapore. Or a house with paper walls and sliding doors in the US. I just can't. I was into logical thinking. I was serious.

Comparing then and now, kids now are lucky. They have easy access to books of all types. Books are now cheaper than it used to be, considering the exchange rates and all. Back then even a locally printed book is not really cheap. Really cheap ones are the ones translated and printed locally.

Now kids can buy prints exactly like what the author has written. They cost a bit cheaper because they are printed locally, or somewhere in the same region. And they have lots of English reading materials to choose from. How I wished to be like them!

But there is a trend going on. These lucky kids take things for granted. They never actually appreciate the luxury of having reading materials. Too much things to distract them from books, I guess. Books are made plays, movies. Who cares about reading anymore?

Another trend that worries me is the trend of not learning English! Hello... English IS important. It's a world's language. Some people say "The Japanese don't speak English, they're doing well." Excuse me, we are not the Japanese, OK? Plus, they DO learn English. And they speak better English than us! OK maybe not all of them. But people who have access to English really utilise that. They use Japanese as the main language, but that doesn't mean they neglected English.

I stress English usage as important, not because I am not proud with my own mother-tongue. I speak in my mother-tongue most of the time. English is mostly used for bl**ping. But I am aware of the importance, and so I try to use it a lot. I don't want my English to rot.

Whatever. I guess I need to include some few minutes of traditional paper books in my daily schedule. Now where can I find those extra minutes? Hmm...

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