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Friday, 21 December 2012

Reading opens up minds

BACK in my first year when I was asked to read cases by my professor, my immediate reaction was to ask how many pages were there to read.

My professor replied: “There’s no harm reading more.”

I also remember attending a scholarship interview where I was asked to give an account of the books I had read.

Proudly I answered: “I did not read any books besides the academic textbooks.”

It is really depressing and shameful that I took pride of my disinterest towards the habit of reading.

This may appear unusual for a law student like me to recount such a disinterest but I am afraid to say that many of my fellow Malaysian friends share such a disinterest, too.

Many students read for the sake of passing their examinations. Many spend time on computer games and working adults may find it tiring to read outside working hours.

As for myself, I turned impatient, disappointed, annoyed and even regretted choosing law as I later found out that I had to read hundreds of pages of cases every week (putting aside the textbooks, commentaries and other journal articles).

Over the years while in law school, I cultivated the habit of reading.

It was hard at the beginning when I had to flip through the dictionary to check the meaning of the words I did not understand, that I lost patience reading the countless pages of books and needless to say I shed many tears in my struggle to finish my law studies.

However, one thing I can assure you is that the sufferings bore fruit. Indeed, they were rewarding. I am no longer sheltered and ignorant.

My general knowledge and vocabulary have increased and with it, my ability to communicate. With the increased knowledge, I can voice an opinion if needed.

The habit of reading opened up my mind that I am now able to see things more objectively than before.

The treasure of knowledge also taught me to keep an open mind and not to accept another’s views blindly.

Reading news and non-fiction illuminates the world for us and reading fiction gives us what non-fiction cannot.

Through reading we travel and through books we find treasures. In those wanderings we find humanity, through the characters we find knowledge.

As how human beings need to be fed, knowledge serves as nourishment for our minds.

Reading opens up the door of knowledge, an important treasure for our country to achieve the 2020 Vision.
So, I urge all of you to cultivate the habit of reading, for yourselves and our country.

JUNE LOH Kulim, Kedah