Sunday, March 18, 2007

DPM Displays His Library!

June Wong and Daphne Lee interview Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Naguib Tun Razak about his personal library in today's StarMag.

The lowdown? Three thousand books despite frequent book culls. Political analyses, books on management stategy and biographies of world leaders predominate. Very little fiction as he doesn't have time for it. Favourite bookshop in Malaysia is Kinokuniya, but he also goes to MPH and Borders. Favourite bookshop overseas Hatchards in London, while he finds Foyles too big.

Some soundbites about reading in Malaysia:
We Malaysians don’t read as much as we should (because) we think we can get by without reading. And most of our children think that just by studying and mugging, they can get through exams.

... even if there are books, people don’t read because we switched to the Malay medium and this is the problem, especially with Malay kids. Practically all the books are in English and since their ability to read in English is somewhat limited, they feel it would be an uphill task to comprehend them.

... As for books in Bahasa, although there are some very good ones, they are more on the literary side. ... The emphasis is on style and they’re more emotive; they arouse emotions. They don’t really contain ideas, facts or knowledge, as much as English books do.

... we need literature teachers, and the teachers who are products of the Malay medium cannot teach English lit. So, before we can introduce lit we need to train the teachers and we need to wait for the next generation of teachers who have gone through the system and are proficient in English.

... Reading is a habit that has to be ingrained. Unless you can create an environment and a system that encourage reading and reward people who read, I don’t think much can be achieved by a campaign. Campaigns by nature are short-lived.

5 comments:

animah said...

For all we hear about Najib, and what you may see on the news, he is actually very eloquent in English. I have been "fortunate" (?) to hear his speeches in English a number of times - he comes across as witty and intelligent. You really don't get the same feeling when he speaks in Bahasa. It is clear which language he is more at home in.
In this interview he comes across as very sensible and then you remember who was the education minister duing the "dumbing down" of the syllabus, now continued by a minister who really is an idiot. It's clearly politics, the pandering to the masses who don't want English despite what common sense may dicate.
What a chameleon!

lil ms d said...

hear hear!

and his kids all go to international schools. so how laidat?

Ted Mahsun said...

I'd be embarrassed if someone noticed Nora Roberts on my shelves.

the legend said...

be like our DR. Mahathir...
he reads a lot. lots of info n knowledge gained from reading.
encouraged our children to read books. books are our best friend.

long live books

bibliobibuli said...

ted - and dan brown!!!!!!!

but no, people read to relax as well as to be informed and who are we to giggle

legend - amen to that

aminah, dina - you both so bad. poor guy opens up his library for our vicarious peeping and all you guys can do is snipe?