I started to have more concern on my Indonesian people reading habit since I decided to pursue my study in library science. I sometimes wonder why it is so late…but I thought being late is better than never..
I have noticed that many Indonesians find more enjoyment in watching TV than reading books and I would say that there are a few reasons behind this fact. One of them is always connected with the Indonesian economical situation. People would prefer and prioritize buying rice/staple food to survive, rather than buying books. Books are expensive, thus they are not easy to be accessed.
Another reason is the lack of support from the Indonesian government itself. I mean the government as a body, a system, not a personal government employee. Because I believe there are some government officials who pay good attention to this matter. But I do not know how many of them. If they were many, they could have done something!
Let’s see for example, the situation of School libraries in many Indonesian high schools…Many of them look like a dead space, unable to energize students’ reading habits. The librarians them selves, are probably not aware that they play a vital role in supporting students reading habit, yet, the school teachers or principals.
I wonder why? Is it also culturally inherited? Hm…It might, but I am not sure. Some one might have an answer for this question.
On the other hand, I have also noticed that in many book stores in big cities, I have seen a great children enthusiasm towards reading. I have found children occupied with reading and they seem to have an enormous interest. Therefore I believe the situation of Indonesians reading habit can actually be improved. It can be initially cultivated from children. The emerging issue now is that how can we do that? How can we nourish the children reading habits? How can we, as adults, accommodate the children natural curiosity?
I am speechless now. I know it takes collective works and it is not easy to be done. It is a long process and an endless effort. I hope parents, educators, government, and adults in general will work cooperatively to create the reading habit atmosphere starting from a small group of people; family, neighborhood, school and community.
Oh my Indonesia, please read..
* I remember the first Quranic verse to be revealed, “Iqra” Bismi Robbikalladzi, kholaq” — “Read in the name of Thy Lord and Cherisher, who ceated—” What a beautiful verse…*