Promote the importance and beauty of reading

"Read till book spines break and your writing will be like a god's" - this is a common Chinese saying, stressing the importance of reading.

However, statistics have clearly shown that the number of people who read is actually dropping. An NLB study released in June showed that 7 per cent of people in Singapore did not read a book in the past year.

This, I believe, is due to the technological revolution, with the increasing use of devices such as the mobile phone.

Mobile phones provide entertainment in a shorter period of time. A survey revealed that humans' attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to eight seconds.

Mobile devices provide entertainment quickly through apps such as Spotify, Netflix and YouTube.

Books are like the moon, and mobile phones are like the sun. Without the sun, humans admire the moon and give all their attention to it. But when the sun comes into the picture, it overshadows the moon - why read for entertainment when one can get the same interesting content through mobile devices faster?

We can borrow from the occurrence of eclipses to promote reading: Show that the moon has its usefulness and that, without it, a beautiful phenomenon such as the eclipse cannot occur.

Promote the beauty and the importance of reading - only then will more start to read.

Teo Li Yang Terence

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'Promote the importance and beauty of reading'. Print Edition | Subscribe