Tackle gadget use to boost reading

It is difficult to comprehend why our level of reading has remained consistently low despite our high literacy rate and easy accessibility to public libraries ("It's time to bookmark time to read"; June 4).

Perhaps it is important to study the issue in perspective.

Unlike in the old days, when people would read books and newspapers when taking public transport, the advent of technology, which provides commuters with a wide range of enjoyment, has changed the situation.

Today, most people on the train are preoccupied with their own video watching, game playing, messaging and music listening.

Maybe this is a fashionable thing to do nowadays, which explains why commuters who read books and other printed materials have become a rarity.

Hence, the National Reading Movement should target both the young and old who indulge in smart gadgets, so that, over time, they will discover the importance and joy of reading.

The National Library Board's initiative to make books more accessible to office workers and the elderly is laudable, but nurturing the love of reading can be an uphill task if people who can read do not read.

This is one particular aspect which should not be ignored.

I will always remember former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's view on the importance of reading. He said: "A man has no future if he does not read books, nor does a nation."

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng