Have you been reading?

It seemed I had read just eight books in 2015, of which seven were non-fiction titles. A far cry from the voracious reading of my youth. Are we doomed to this decline?

The first National Literary Reading and Writing Survey by the National Arts Council found that 56% of the 1,000+ Singaporeans they sampled hadn’t read at least one “literary book” between March 2014 to March 2015 – these they defined to include fiction, poetry, graphic novels, creative non-fiction and the like (see the infographic below and read the links, for reasons).

I made the 44% cut due to the two graphic novels, Koh Hong Teng’s “Last Train from Tanjong Pagar” (fiction) and Jim Ottaviani’s “Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas” (creative non-fiction).

The bulk of my reading is scientific papers and book chapters, which are no substitute to for regular works with their attendant benefits. So I have been trying to maintain the habit. But I find I am hemmed in by work:

  • Late Jan – May: Sem 2 madness
  • Jun – early Jul (between Sem 2 & 1): some reading gets done here.
  • Aug – early Dec: Sem 1 madness
  • mid-Dec-early Jan (between Sem 1 & 2): usually one or two war history books in preparation for our annual walk in Feb to commemorate the Battle of Pasir Panjang

So how will I prevent neglect? Like other sleep-deprived Singaporeans, I must plan some breaks to allow my mind to breathe or else it will not happen.

So I began using Goodreads, and discovered friends struggling to do the same! I drop in once in awhile, vaguely aware of my 2016 reading challenge of 24 books.

Well, it’s May and I have managed six books. Dean Foster’s Star Wars book shouldn’t count, for it really was just the movie transcript, offering nothing new. Still, in the madness of May, I managed to read one of my neglected books. It seems keeping tabs is helping.

This June and July, the National Library Board will hold a two-month campaign to get more people to read. I look forward to being encouraged, will egg on my friends and look forward to exchanging stories!

Screenshot 40

Relevant articles:

  • What would it take to get Singaporean adults to read more? [link (CNA)]
  • Parliament: First National Reading Day to be held on July 30 to help nurture love of books [link (ST)]
  • Singaporeans have an interest in literary books – inaugural National Literary Reading and Writing Survey 2015 shows [link (NAC)]
  • Less than half of Singaporeans read literary books, National Arts Council survey finds [link (ST)]
  • Less than 50% read one literary book a year: Poll [link (ST)]
  • “Low reading rate: Lack of interest, time cited as factors” [link (ST)]

NRWS 2016 Infographic  Web

Discover Pulau Ubin during Pesta Ubin, 14 May – 12 June 2016!

“Pesta Ubin” is the 5th iteration of Ubin Day and offers a wonderful array of activities by more than 30 groups who enjoy nature, heritage, adventure and recreation activities on Pulau Ubin. Many events are offered free of charge to share the joy of this unique island with Singaporeans.

For more details, see the Pesta Ubin blog and facebook pages.

Pesta Ubin 2016

The festival starts on the 14th of May 2016 with a Chek Jawa boardwalk tour, a basic mountain-biking course, and an evening at the Wayang Stage, explorations of the western tip, a specialist heritage tour, and learning kampung cooking in a 100-year old kampung house! The truly marvellous array of activities continue until mid-June!

This festival is a ground-up exercise coordinated by WildSingapore which facilitates the offerings of various groups. A unique feature is a code of conduct the groups subscribe to, called the Ubin Way:

  1. Greet each other with a smile, a “Hello” or “How was your day on Pulau Ubin?” Respect the culture and get to know the people of Ubin, and each other.
  2. Do not litter – and pick up litter that we see. Bring it back to the mainland.
  3. Be gentle with wildlife – no balloons release, avoid noisy activities, be considerate during photography, don’t pluck plants or harm animals. At night, do not blind animals with the glare of strong lights.
  4. Minimise our footprint – avoid bottled water, styrofoam, plastic bags, useless freebies, pamphlets and single use items
  5. Encourage participants to patronise local businesses and share news about activities on the island.

To contribute an activity or volunteer, see the About page.