November 12, 2016

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Libraries and Book-Crossing Practice

Khin Maung Oo

Much has been said about education, like higher education is key to economic development; a country without sustainable development in education of its citizens cannot achieve the sustainable progress in economy; and so on. It is quite right in saying so, but I want to assert that it is important to develop education and moral standard of the citizens in building a nation. To put it simply, a wrong system led our nation to a poor state. Most surrendered themselves to malpractices in their daily routines, fighting against poverty. In my opinion, that is an excuse. In fact, man matters most. Strictly speaking, all involved in the vicious circle of bribery-corruption-for-freedom-from-poverty are culprits of society of debauchery. Now is the time for us to build a modernized federal democratic union under the leadership of a good leader in unity, not to argue and find fault with each other. Something is urgently needed to be done. It is to nurture and shape younger generation into well-adjusted-and-well-advised leaders.
Admittedly, our country lagged much behind other nations, but I never mean that our people are poor in ability. Our country abounds in distinguished surgeons, economists, technicians and scientists. Plus, it is rich in natural resources. We all believe that a country’s prosperity wholly depends upon the leadership of its leader. Some time in the past, Singapore was a relatively less developed colonial land with no natural resources. From that state, it became a “First World” Asian Tiger. Much as the country lacks natural resources, its leader could manage to build up a prosperous world-class nation, using his abilities and the country’s human resources combined.
If preparedness for producing qualified youths to succeed the incumbent leaders goes unconsidered since now, our country would surely face intellectual bankruptcy to lead the country. We can imagine what will happen to us if the country would be void of educated persons in this intellectually challenging age. In my opinion, these may be attributed to lack of reading habit among them. Moreover, books give us moral lessons that will teach us to avoid any morally unacceptable deeds. Victor Hugo said, “He, who opens a school door, closes a prison.”And, John F Kennedy once said, “Libraries should be open to all—except the censor.”Admittedly, schools and libraries are the most effective places for sharing knowledge and vision, but there are many school-age children without even didactic lessons, on the street or as child labor in cafes. In spite of claiming that youths need reading, book-cases in libraries are closed.
Annually-held literary talks of well-known writers are tantamount to inviting audience just to listen to mot juste words. Above-said children dare not access libraries even if they want to. How could they understand the bad effects of glue sniffing, chewing betel-quid and abuse of intoxicants and drug?
It is not an exaggeration to say that every individual can be the one who establish a library, which needs no buildings and staff. People are never reluctant to donate much money to social, religious or humanitarian institutions, but they may be hesitant to set up self-help libraries mentioned above. Why? Some people are bibliophiles, keeping their old books and even back issues. They seldom throw those away, even when they move to new locations.
Book-crossing is defined as the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. In this way, an unaffordable book—especially for poor populace, will be relayed to many hands in a short period of time. To start this seeming-easy-but-time-consuming practice, we need organizers and enthusiasts. If this will be successful, I dare say it will help the government’s plan of sharing knowledge and vision to all by building libraries and sending school-age children to schools. If we recognize the value of potential benefits of book-crossing, it is a matter of time before our country will have numerous good results from it.

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