Read political tomes? Newspapers good enough

Professor Kishore Mahbubani deliberately sets out to play the devil's advocate in his provocatively headlined piece ("Can Singaporeans read?"; Jan 14).

True, we should not remain frogs in a well.

Given that Singapore is a highly exposed and globalised country, we need, all the more, to be cognisant of the external environment and to keep abreast of the headwinds that buffet us.

Prof Mahbubani advocates that we jettison self-help books in favour of weighty tomes of geopolitical analyses written by our founding fathers.

But most of us are not academics or political pundits; just ordinary citizens who read self-help books or fiction because we find them more befitting of our needs.

There is nothing wrong with reading self-help books for self-development, or fiction for pleasure or literary appreciation.

The fact that we are reading books is already a cause for celebration, given that many people are more disposed to skimming news feeds or social media updates on our screens.

For the man in the street, reading the newspapers daily would suffice.

The well-curated Op-Ed pieces are particularly useful in providing insights into geopolitical realities.

To broaden the public's horizons about the real state of the world, I would champion the reading of newspapers.

Marietta Koh (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Read political tomes? Newspapers good enough'. Print Edition | Subscribe