Shining the spotlight on reading

Mr Haja Maideen of second-hand bookshop N.I.B. selling books to students, which they could return for a partial refund.
Mr Haja Maideen of second-hand bookshop N.I.B. selling books to students, which they could return for a partial refund.PHOTO: NEW NATION

Kudos to the journalists who were involved in presenting An Ode To Reading, the special issue on the love of reading on Sunday, May 8. It made for a pleasant afternoon of reading and reflection for me and I cannot ask for more of our national broadsheet. Or of my $1.20.

Coming at a time when a recent survey showed that only 44 per cent of Singaporeans had read at least one literary book in the past year, this special issue is especially pertinent. It shines the spotlight on reading and hopefully will encourage more people to read regularly and spur those who already read to indulge more.

I like that the articles in the issue run the gamut from the informative to the personal, from the quirky to the nostalgic. Even the food and travel writers have managed to put a literary slant to their pieces.

I am glad Sumiko Tan remembers the second-hand bookshop N.I.B. which also played a significant role in my formative years. She mentioned its pricing system, which I remember well.

For instance, if the stamp on a page of a book had the number "1.80", it meant that the book cost $2 and customers got $1.80 back when they returned it. I will always remember my first love.

Colin Lim

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Include more home-grown cafes in shopping malls

I refer to Retail In A Pickle (Life, April 28), about the poor business in Orchard Road malls.

My suggestion is that malls should attract home-grown cafes, ice-cream and waffles parlours and brunch restaurants as tenants, especially those which have a following, such as Fat Cat Ice Cream Bar and Sin Lee Foods.

There are few local cafes in shopping malls, aside from Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Toast Box and Eighteen Chefs. It would be great if shoppers could grab an Earl Grey tea ice cream from FatCat Ice Cream Bar while strolling along Orchard Road, or snack on Sin Lee Foods' fried sweet potato with salted egg yolk sauce while waiting for the movie to start.

This way, local entrepreneurs can expand their businesses, shopping mall owners can enjoy a steady stream of shoppers and shoppers can enjoy cafe-hopping and shopping at the same time.

Cory Chen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'Shining the spotlight on reading; Include more home-grown cafes in shopping malls'. Print Edition | Subscribe