*A GENERATION WITHOUT READING IS A GENERATION WITHOUT HOPE*
(Excerpt from Letter of an Indian Engineer)
"On the flight to Shanghai, at bedtime, the cabin lights were off; I found that the awake people were using the iPads, mainly Asians; they were all playing games or watching movies. Actually, I saw that pattern right from the start. When I was at Frankfurt International Airport, I noticed that most of the German passengers were quietly reading or working, while most Asian passengers were shopping or laughing, comparing prices."
Many Asians nowadays can't seem to have the patience to sit still and read books. Once, a French friend and I were waiting for a train at a train station, and this friend asked me: "Why do Asians all chit chat or surf the internet, but no one reads books?". I looked around, and it was. People talked on the phone, read text messages, surfed social media, or played games. They are busy talking loudly or pretending to be active; the only thing missing is a sense of calm and relaxation. They are always impatient and irritable, easy to complain about, and annoyed...
According to the media, the average person in China only reads 0.7 books/year, Vietnam with 0.8 books, India with 1.2 books, and Korea with 7 books. Only Japan can compare with Western countries with 40 books/year; Russia alone is 55 books. In 2015, 44.6% of Germans read at least one book a week - similar numbers for the Nordic countries.
In all of China's towns and cities, whether big or small, the most popular types of entertainment are mahjong parlours, food stalls, and PC bangs. Whether in the internet shop or the school's computer room, most students surf social media, chat or play games. The number of students who look up documents online is minimal. As for the managers, for example, businesses, all day busy dealing with reviews, receiving guests, and partner meetings,... so when I asked, they said they have not read books since leaving school.
The reason for not liking reading, statistics show that there are three main aspects.
- One is the low level of culture (not education) of the people. Therefore people always talk a lot when they meet, and chat all day without getting bored. They are always curious about other people's stories, constantly update social networks and have significant communication needs.
- Second, from a young age, it is not nurtured into a good habit of reading. Because their parents don't have the practice to read books, the young weren't nurtured in that environment since early in their lives. Remember, a child's personality is formed mainly from the family.
- The third is "exam-heavy education", which makes young children not have the time and energy to read books outside. Most of the time, if they even read books, those are to serve the exams. The outdated study environment has formed the habit of studying, having a degree, and then stopping reading.
Two countries that like to read the most in the world are Israel and Hungary. In Israel, the average person reads 64 books a year. From the time children begin to perceive, almost every mother teaches her children: "Books are a store of wisdom, more valuable than money, treasures, and wisdom is something no one can rob from you. Whatever you do, you have to read before going to sleep."
The Jews are the only people with no illiterate people; even beggars always have a book by their side. In their eyes, reading books is an excellent quality to judge people. During the Sabbath, all Jews stop working, and people can only stay at home to rest or pray. Shops, restaurants, and amusement parks have to close, all means of transport stops operating, and even airline companies. But there is one exception: all bookstores nationwide are still open. On this day, people come there to enjoy their reading sessions.
Hungary has nearly 20,000 libraries, and an average of 500 people have a library; going to the library is as good as going to a coffee shop or a supermarket. Hungary is also the country with the most significant number of people reading books in the world, with more than 5 million people reading regularly every year, exceeding a quarter of the population of this country.
Knowledge is power, and knowledge is property. A country or an individual who values reading and accumulating knowledge from books will be treated well. No matter what industry they work in, people who usually read have a very different way of thinking, and even if they don't have brilliant achievements, they still have a great mindset. Many races are vibrant but not civilised. Similarly, many individuals have a lot of money but cannot reach elegance just because they lack the depth of knowledge.
The population of Israel is sparse, but the talents are numerous. Although the country's history is short, there have been eight Nobel laureates. The nature of Israel is harsh. Most of the land is desert, but they can turn their country into a verdant oasis; the food industry is sufficient for domestic supply and exports a large number to other countries. Israeli society is orderly, and Israelis win respect from people worldwide.
Hungary is the "country of the Nobel Prize" compared to the population. The Nobel Prizes that Hungary has received belong to many fields: physics, chemistry, medicine, economics, literature, peace, etc. Their inventions are many that people usually say they cannot be counted, from small items to high-tech products. Because of reading books, a small country like them can acquire wisdom and, above all, have a superior civilization. Hungary is an immaculate and beautiful Eastern European country, and the life of ten million people is no different from the Nordic countries.
Books don't just affect an individual; it affects society. A great scholar once said: "The history of a person's thought development is his reading history. The community will develop or stay behind, depending on how many people read books and what type of books they choose.
*Remember: A race without reading is a race without hope. And so is a child, so is a young person."*