It’s easy for B:READ to write about “fostering a stronger reading culture” in Brunei, right? The committee has managed to establish a presence and keep ourselves together for two years. We organise events, store hundreds of books, and keep talking to you guys on our Bookswap group on Facebook. Isn’t this what we do? We’re adding on to the noble work of the overworked teachers and underpaid librarians of the country.
That said, we have our limitations. Our schedules are not free; our resources are not bottomless. Our to-do list and mind maps of ideas will never be completely achieved. In truth, we could use your help in doing something quite simple to encourage a stronger reading culture – by ensuring there is a reading culture at all.
We know that you’re reading. You log into GoodReads regularly and can’t resist popping by the bookstore when you’re at a shopping mall. But do you have someone to talk to about reading? It’s completely okay to enjoy reading alone or without a community surrounding your hobby, but if you’ve never tried otherwise, we invite you to consider opening up the people around you to reading.
You don’t need to become a full-time reading evangelist. Where reading may otherwise be viewed as an outdated, anti-social or “smartypants” activity, let’s make reading more “normal” in Brunei:
1. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about enjoying reading
You don’t have to hide your inner bookworm!
- If a friend asks you what you did on the weekend, and you spent a whole Sunday reading, don’t apologise about being “boring” – tell them what was great about the book!
- Don’t worry about going into a crowded cafe alone and planning to spend your time quietly reading. Heck, cafes aren’t the only eateries where you can read. Don’t worry about bringing a book into a fast food restaurant or a food court. If you’re eating alone, you have the choice on how to pass the time; if you can do it by staring out the window, or browsing Instagram on your mobile phone, why not read a good book?
- When a good friend is going abroad and has asked if you want anything, “a bestselling thriller from a book shop” is a valid request. Continue reading