Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reading Ambassadors

Yesterday I spent some time reading and doing written exercises with my niece. She enjoys doing Maths (or "Atematik" as she says it) more than reading, which she sees as a chore, maybe because she still hasn't gotten the hang of it. It is quite a challenge to think up of activities to encourage her to read and write in Bahasa. But more importantly, to make her enjoy learning. If she starts getting bored of learning from standard 1, we're basically doomed.

One thing that she enjoys very much is reading together with another adult. She'd take one of my books or mags and choose her own book and then ask/instruct us to sit together side by side and read. When it comes to kids I guess everything is by example. And we need to show them that we also do the things that we want them to do.

Which brings me to the topic of today's blog entry. About the country's newly appointed reading ambassadors. I fail to see the impact of promoting the development or increasing awareness or improving literacy (especially among children) when the higher authorities put pretty faces as reading ambassadors. It takes so much more than fame and popularity to promote reading. We need ambassadors who are known to be voracious readers. Or those who are actively involved in promoting literacy in this country. Giving them the title of reading ambassadors implies that the country acknowledges their ability to relate to children, besides communicating well and regularly with the young people. We are not the only country with reading ambassadors. In the US there is a National Ambassador for Young People's Litterature. Britain has a Children's Laureate. Both posts acknowledge the importance of encouraging children to read. And require respected authors or illustrators.

Going a bit off tangent, I would like to talk about the gym I frequent. Who do they choose to grace the billboards and posters and be their spokesperson? Amber Chia. Dos she have a toned and healthy body from regular work-outs at the gym? No. She is stick thin and you are so afraid her thigh bone will snap when she does squats with weights. Even with 2.5kg plates on each side of the barbell you still fear for her safety. Then why choose her? Because she's a highly sought after model and thus recognized by almost everyone. Just put a pretty face, even if in her posters she does bicep curls wrongly and that her poses seem almost perverted. Nobody in their right mind will do their bicep curl repetitions with a sensuous pout while training in the gym. Nobody. They should add another rule to the gym etiquette: "Dilarang melakukan aksi tonggek berlebihan atau bibir muncung yang ketara sewaktu berlatih di gim".

But back to the topic. Do you guys see my point? Michelle Yeoh and Dr Sheikh Muzaffar are not selling cars or jeans or deodorants. They are reading ambassadors. We need people who are able to make a difference when they fill in this post. I want my niece to be have a joyful experience in reading, simply because she has better access to books and the teacher reads to them on a daily basis in class. I want my niece to explore the creative and imaginative side of her mind when they have activities in school that cultivate self expression through reading. I want her to realize that reading is not only something that you do to pass exams. It is a door that opens you up to a world of endless possibilities.

Can the two reading ambassadors do this for her?

Blogger Templates

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention the way Amber holds the barbells are potential dangerous and should not be tried by anyone at home, or at the gym....

    There was once a nationwide book exhibition a year or 2 ago....guess who officiated it? Grab your seat as I don't you falling off it!!! SITI NURHALIZA.......need I say more? (Quoting her in URTV's anniversary edition: "Thank for support me!"