I still remember vaguely how my love affair with reading started. I was in Primary School. My family (my parents, my younger sister and I) went out for a dinner at a roadside night market. As we waited for our food to come, a magazine seller came to our table holding a stack of magazines and comics. He shoved a few children magazines to our faces. My parents ask us whether we were interested in any. I told them, I think I want the Donald Duck magazine. My parents paid for it. The seller handed me the magazine. I felt joyful. That was the first magazine I’ve ever read. That was a critical moment in my life. If that seller didn’t come to our table that night, I am not sure if I would develop a love for reading growing up.
Reading my first magazine was a wonderful new experience for me. Donald Duck magazine was a comics magazine, it consisted of stories about Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Pluto, Uncle Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck, and other Disney’s characters. It is weekly magazine and it is in the Indonesian language. As I was just a little kid, I didn’t really understand the stories. I simply read every word I could find, from front cover to the back cover.
My uncle, who lived in the same house with us at that time, noticed that I loved my first magazine. He asked me whether I wanted him to buy another issue. I jumped at his offer and immediately said yes. From that moment, my uncle brought for me Donald Duck magazine every single week, until I became a teenager. My uncle is probably the one who has shaped me into someone who loves reading.
My uncle took the initiative to introduce me to another kids magazine: Bobo. For a certain period of time, he bought me 2 magazines every single week, Donald Duck and Bobo. Then, as I grew up into a teenager and started my journey in high school, my uncle bought me even more magazines: Fantasi, Gadis, Kawanku, Aneka. He did this even after he got married and moved out from the house we were living in.
Every week, I looked forward to the arrival of magazines from my uncle. I would buy plenty of snacks in advance and savoured them slowly as I read through all the pages in the magazines. I wouldn’t skip any page, even if I didn’t understand or the content didn’t interest me that much. Reading has become my hobby and my passion.
I had so many boxes and magazines in my childhood home, that my parents asked me if I was okay with their proposal to give them away to my parents’ friends. I was reluctant at first because it was my childhood treasure, I said no the first time. As I left my house and went to college overseas, in Singapore, I felt that the magazines serve no purpose lying in the boxes in my home, so I told my parents that they could give the magazines away.
Aside from magazines, I started reading books. They were mainly Chicken Soup for the Soul and Harry Potter. I got sucked deeper into the joy of reading. As I grow into an adult, I realised that I love non-fiction books most. I love inspiring books which are based on true stories, about people achieving something they have never thought they could. Probably that draws me to aspire to live a life not less than an adventurous one.
Do you recall how certain books or articles keep you glued to it simply because you enjoy reading it? I do, and I want more of these. Do you recall your favorite place to sit down and to read? I do, I love reading by the window, accompanied by snacks or drinks. Do you recall how you admire certain author because of the way he/she combines each word into a great sentence, and how you wish you were one of the characters of the story? I do. I have so many reasons why I love reading, but my words can’t even do them justice. Words, articles, books, to passionate readers, are like paintings and songs to art and music lovers. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be a great piece of work, it just has to come from the heart and through persevering learning and practices.
For you who love reading as much as I do, I hope you keep finding good reads to satisfy your craving. When you find them, I hope you savour your reading slowly, not just flipping through to the end.
With the advance of internet and technology, I find myself getting less and less hardcopy book or magazine time. I spend more time on my phone, texting, playing games, scrolling through social medias, and catching up on my Newsify and Feedly (both RSS Feed readers). It seemed that I get more reading done through social media and RSS readers, and I was perfectly content.
However, over the years reading RSS Feed readers, I felt something was missing. I subscribed to whatever blog that I faintly like. Sometimes I have 1000 unread articles. Sometimes I dread loading up my RSS readers, feeling overwhelmed by all those unread articles. When I eventually opened the readers, I was determined to read the articles ASAP in order to reduce the number of unread articles. Occasionally, I didn’t actually read most of them word by word, I simply scrolled through just to see the photos. It kind of defeats the purpose of reading, doesn’t it? What you feel uncomfortable doing is either a challenge to step out of comfort zone, or something you should really stop doing.
I want to focus on reading just good articles, those with content that gives me joy in reading, not content that is created simply for SEO purposes. So my next step forward is to trim off, from my Newsify & Feedly, websites that produce content that I do not care deeply enough about. I admit that I am sometimes guilty of writing articles in the most boring way simply to meet my own deadlines. I promise I will learn to write better articles that hopefully deserve your time.
I know that time constraint is a big issue nowadays to get your reading done, so let’s minimise unnecessary disturbance (games, social media, aimless scrolling through phone), and go to your favorite place to read.
And for you who love reading hardcopy books and magazines as much as I do, let’s keep the tradition going.
Lastly, let’s thank the person who has influenced us into reading and supported us along the way. For me, it was my uncle and my parents.