We got caught red handed yesterday evening at the A&W. No, not caught eating by the JAKIM flers albeit I could get away with eating in public because I don't look Malay. We got caught reading by a blogger operator http://www.readkl.blogspot.com. I was trying to solve a Soduku puzzle, and I had that constipated expression on my face when a pleasant lady approached us to introduce herself then sought permission to take our photos. I thought taking the photo with a book like, "The Science Of Leonardo" which I vowed to read as soon as I completed the Soduku puzzle would be more groovy rather than getting caught solving "Soduku for beginners".
Wow....reading must be an uncommon virtue, so much so, someone would want to take photos of an old lady reading!! I do hope that I'd live to see the day that no one would bother to take a picture of anyone reading, because uncommon had become a common thing.
My daughter told me this morning that she needs to read about 20 more books to get reward from the "Buku Nilam" project run by the Kementerian Pendidikan who grant rewards for those who read more than 100 books in one year. I'd like to think of it as an incentive rather than a bribe. You can't blame me for thinking as such, since we are talking about the Malaysian government after all, by which through experience, bribery tend to be true...(N.B. for the people who surveys blogs and decide to charge me with sedition, here's a message; why don't you charge that Ahmad Ismail with sedition?).
I wonder who came up with that "100 books" idea? What if a kid reads 100 books that consist of 10 pages each, like say, a comic? Would that be fair to those, say like my daughter, who reads books thicker than Samy Vello's face (say about 300 pages each)? So I told my beloved daughter to suggest to teacher, so that she can suggest this to the Kementerian Pendidikan, that they go by pages instead of the amount of books. It's ironic how, by suggesting this, the Kementerian Pendidikan may get some "pendidikan" from the students instead. Well, never too old to learn anything, that's what my father use to say.
My father is a reader too. I can't say the same about my mother, unless reading recipe books and the Quran counts. Actually, it's reciting the Quran. Something I argue with my mother constantly because as much as I feel that it is good reciting the Quran daily, I feel that reading and understanding it is much more important, but that is another story...
The thing is, many people ask me what formula I use that I've managed to enhance the reader in my daughter. The answer is simple really. Conveying it to the person who ask the question, without sounding condescending though, is anything but simple. Children follow what the adults around them do, not so much of what we say. (although funny how the expletives never seem to escape their ears' attention). So if you want your child to read, you yourself will just have to read to show them that reading is a routine thing, like brushing your teeth,(well, to a child, maybe not brushing teeth), or eating, or pooing.
I use to read to her even since when she was in my womb. I remember buying her a plastic book toy to play with while bathing in the small baby tub. She was never without a book. I use to read her bedtime stories every single night until one fine day, she knew how to read, and started reading me....... to sleep!!
Hitherto, she reads about 3 books per week. I spend about RM200-300 per month just on her books. It has become a priority in the family. My father, during my childhood would refuse me a new pair of jeans, but never a book. I guess, I am paying it forward. I am happy with my daughter's habit, albeit it would be great if the libraries have a more updated books.
Another thing about the Malaysian Libraries. Children under 12 years old are prohibited to enter the adult section, which I think is ridiculous. Perhaps that is the reason why we don't have geniuses produced in Malaysia. The only one we have, was quick on the mental calculation, to have nothing to do with Malaysia, I guess to reciprocate Malaysia's role of having nothing to do with her becoming a genius in the first place. The only help she got from the Malaysian government was a group of self proclaim self self elected "life saviours" trying to get her out of the harlot activities. If prostitution is the big concern, go after the corrupted politicians then. (Well, what do you call a person who screw others for money?). As always, I digress....
Back to the reading topic, I am very happy that my daughter is a book junkie, not to mention that she is not a geek, a trait many would ascociate with reading. In fact I find it fullfilling to have a conversation with her as many a times, she inspires me with new ideas. So what if I can't afford that new dress or shoes, just so I could get her some books. It's an investment. It also depends on one's priority. If you decipher the importance of feeding one's soul with knowledge via reading, then perhaps that branded jeans does not look as appealing as the latest "Lord of the Rings" series. Yupp!!! My daughter is definitely an apt reader. It can be painful to my pocket, but not as much as the joy it brings to my heart. The only thing that make me panic, however, is when she comes up to me and say,"Ummi, can I learn speed reading?"
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