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Monday, June 06, 2011

Why Malaysians do not / hardly read books?

. . . . S T A T U S
Mood : so-so

I am a typical Malaysian. There is a question that needs an answer: Why Malaysians do not or hardly read books? 

We all know that, in today's world, if you don't excel in your studies, you will be regarded as hopeless. I am currently a teacher trainee who will be graduated in a few years time. I'm currently on internship. I'm working as a part time teacher at a kindergarten/after-school day care centre.

Why there are more and more this type of tuition centres/study centres/after-school-day-care centres? Easy money? Yes! That's right! There are more and more parents who think that they NEED to send their children to professionals to ensure that their children are on the right track. They want their children to be educated and excel in their studies. Around 1 km diameter with my house as the center point, there are already 4 centers.

Above are the reasonings why I think education is very important to children today. Next, I'm going to focus on the topic today: Why Malaysians hardly read books?

It's strange. Since parents are willing to pay hundreds ringgit Malaysia to send their children to these centres after school to enhance their studies, why STILL children today hardly read books? What is the major factor that caused this phenomenon to happen to our country future young leaders? Why they do not like to read books?

The picture above is a campaign. Those books are free. Hence, these students read. 

Malaysia National Library
Big and comfortable. 
I have not visited there myself but I think it should be quite a good environment to read. 

"Malaysians Do Read!!!"
I do not agree on this saying because I don't see that happening. 

I'm NOT talking about children itself. I'm referring also to adults in Malaysia. How many of us actually read a book during our leisure time? How many of us read at least one book per year? I will not say it is nil because there are people who read. However, the number of people who read is small. 

In my opinion, I feel that Malaysians do not practise reading because books are EXPENSIVE. I say this because I'm a Malaysian. It is not cheap to buy books in Malaysia using Ringgit Malaysia. For an example, a book written by Cecelia Ahern, Thanks for the Memories can easily cost RM 33.55. I bought it in Popular bookstore. Honestly speaking, the price is not cheap and not everybody thinks a book worth that price. I bought this book because I'm Cecelia's fans. However, if I am just an ordinary person who don't even know who Cecelia is, I probably will not buy a book for the price of RM 33.55. 

Another question: Why we always see the Whites read books? 

Somebody told me before that the Whites read whenever they have time. They read books while in the bus waiting to reach to their destination. That is very hardworking and persistent. However, why Malaysians can't be like them? Are we not humans like them? The answer is because: the Whites can afford to buy books. 

The book written by Cecelia Ahern, Thanks for the Memories costs RM 33.55 but it only costs $7.99 to the Whites. Both prices have HUGE range. If I'm a White who owns $ currency, I will not hesitate to buy books and read. 

NOTE : Of course, my discussion today is specially meant for those people who have right attitude: love reading. 

So, in a conclusion, I really hope one day the books sold in Malaysia can be cheaper so that everybody is able to afford to buy books. It is always better to read books that belong to yourselves. Books borrowed from the library has duration and often, it is not a pleasure thing to do if you rush yourself to finish up a book in a limited frame of time. We enjoy slow reading. 

I can understand why books in Malaysia area expensive. It's all because of currency conversion. However, I still hope that one day they will be cheap. 


  1. hello. I'm a student of interior architecture. we study human behavior and character to create a space and design. for me, i don't think the main reason of low reading habits among our society is because of expensive. because we have lots of public libraries in malaysia where people can read free books. plus, reading doesn't mean that u have to read books only. u can read news paper, magazine and its cheap. however, malaysian dont really go to library. because its boring, dull and not in a strategic place.

    i do realize that nowadays people don't really sit in a kopitiam and read newspapers like before. for me, to encourage them to read especially among kids and teenagers, is that we have to show them first. then they will follow us.

    im in a process of proposing a new idea of public library in Malaysia. the idea of how the public library itself can encourage malaysian society to read.

    so thats my opinion and comment about reading habits in malaysia. sorry for my wrong english grammar. =) still learning .. thank you.

    1. Hello Sarah,

      Thank you reading my blog. ;)

      In my opinion, you are right to a certain extent-- People nowadays don't sit in kopitiam and read newspapers like before. This clearly reflects the nature of Malaysians who who do not like reading. When I wrote this blog post, I was actually referring to a minority of people, like me, very stingy in coming out money for books. ;)

      I beg to differ 1 of your points here-- Library has a lot of story books as well as other genre books. This is undeniable BUT there are some books which library does not supply. For example, I like to read Cecelia Ahern's books (the prominent author of PS I Love You) I couldn't find any of her books in the public library. So you see, the book that I want to read is not there--- Further more, many books in the library are quite old and rarely updated. Even there is, very little.

      Parents being the role models must start when their children are young. It does not bring much impact once the children are teenagers/adults. They simply don't bother anymore. I study Second Language Acquisition by the way.