Singaporeans and books

I am not sure if the public libraries are accurate indicators of the reading habits of the Singaporean populace.

Possible avenues to conduct research on the issue are the online book sellers and websites such as Amazon on top of the established bookshops in this country such as Kinokuniya.

What about electronic books and the internet? Singaporeans may or may not be reading traditional books but that could be due to their reading electronic ones.

That said, I have noticed how parents who bring their young children to the public library, at least in the neighbourhood which I live; do not borrow books for themselves. My regular visits to the library with my children always include my having to borrow two to four books for myself.

It is not surprising that Singaporeans may very well not be reading as much as in the past if the appalling command of English demonstrated on Facebook is anything to go by.

Social media might be informal public spaces but I have yet to meet a person who can write decently, not do so even on Facebook. I suspect that those who claim to write or speak ‘properly’ only in formal situations do so because only then could they prepare adequately, using software applications to proof-read their scripts. 

There are some who claim that they do not have much time to visit public libraries. Is that really the case? We always have time to do the things to which we give priority.

I am willing to concede that reading is a bourgeois pastime, an activity that the genuinely poor would forgo in order to have more time to earn a living.

But for the rest of us who do not have to work two jobs, do we not have at least the weekends every week to spend time as we please? We can kill two birds with one stone by borrowing books also for ourselves when we bring our young children to the public library.

School? Schooling is the best time in one’s life to be reading as much as possible. The school and public libraries were my haunts when I was a schoolboy.

I am surprised that people can carve time out of their ‘busy’ lives to lift weights three to five times a week in the gym, jog at the reservoir every night, watch English football, pick up strangers in the clubs, or watch a film in the cinema, etc., but do not have an hour or two to spend at the public library or bookshop.

Hmm. We should be honest with ourselves and admit that we either do not like to read or prefer other things to books during our free time. 


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