Perhaps a generalisation that requires an in-depth study into the culture of reading, but it is safe to conclude that there is a nonchalant attitude towards reading in Brunei. Debates have sparked on Twitter about whether reading is essential in an everyday life, and discussions have seeped its way into the cracks of e-mails looking into different variables on what has caused a weak reading culture in the country.

But nay! Reading is a powerful tool in the current world environment, and people need to realise that and give themselves the ammo to intellectually adapt in that environment especially with the interconnectivity of global relationship!

Here are essential reasons why reading is crucial:

Firstly, in this advance society where a Blackberry is practically sewn to your chest, and an iPad glued to your hips, the transfer of information is at its current peak. It will move faster in the future once they start installing those fibre optics Internet connection I kept reading about on the newspaper.

With the quick transfer of information, people are able to think better for themselves and pick which part of the news they wish to read and ignore. People are far more opinionated, and if you’re going to disagree with this, please refer to a website called ‘YouTube’ and study the comments section.

It does not matter whether those opinions are ridiculous, but they are opinions. Forming an opinion is better than not having any; and an integral way to form an opinion and communicate is to read. It does not matter what it is you read: the newspaper, a magazine, and bless you, a book, reading provides you with the tool to formulate an opinion.

Secondly, reading allows the transfer of ideas, which in turn helps you formulate your own ideas.

Remember that one time a while ago when you were with a group of people, and they were discussing something which sounded intellectually stimulating, but you had nothing to contribute to the discussion?

You want to know how you can join in the fun of verbal debate?


Ideas are shaped by a person; the fusion of neutrons, protons, and electrons together in their brains. These ideas do not just get transferred by intensely gazing into another person’s eyes. These ideas were written down, passed from one person to another, bound into an object called ‘book’ or ‘magazine’, published by publishing companies, and circulated to the masses to consume, understand, and even disagree with. This ties up with my first point, and by devouring ideas of others, you are able to shape your own opinions and communicate them.

Lastly, let’s look back to our respective childhood in school.

Other than counting—and possibly how to colour, tie your shoelaces, and why you shouldn’t punch that kid—what was the first thing school taught you?

To spell, so you can read.

Guys, the Ministry of Education. They are on to something!

There is a reason why this was taught, and it is not just a method for the government to see literacy rates rise for the country in order to heighten our development index. The reason why you were taught to read was so you would be able to understand ideas, create your own, communicate them, and compete in the market for when you get older. These are integral part of society and a way to connect individuals together to create change. Reading extra things that are not assigned to you helps you develop your thinking better, whether it is for exams or a job interview. Enable your mind to expand by reading. It will help you advance in our society.

There is a reason why people in Brunei can easily move up the social ladder, and by putting the extra effort to read helps them do better in exams and life in general.

Isn’t that amazing? How reading can help eradicate the lines of social inequality?

So, go forth and read! Reading is not and should not be a chore. It should be an activity that compliments life. I could explain to you how reading is magical and creates the world of wonders. I mean, they made a theme park for Harry Potter and Dr Seuss; where did those elements come from? Books! I can try to convince you how reading to me is an escape that life in Brunei cannot offer me, but I would prefer it if you find that out for yourself by cracking open something with a spine, and by that, I meant please do not murder anyone.

(Originally posted on B:Read’s Tumblr)

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