The Importance of Reading

We have decided to give this year a theme that will run like a red thread throughout 2021 – Literacy. The primary focus will be on Reading; a past time that has been fallen by the wayside. Of course, we all still read daily: we read our emails and messages on social media; we read the news (even if this is online); we read and follow instructions or we read for our study and work. But how many of us still pick up a book and read as a form of relaxation, and get lost in a world of worlds?

Although the literacy rate in Indonesia is higher than other developing counties (95.66% in 2018), studies have shown that Indonesia still has a massive reading problem. It has come to light that the understanding and the use of written information is shockingly low. It may come as no surprise that amongst IELT students, reading has often come up as the exercise they require the most support in.

Moluccans are renowned storytellers and great listeners. There’s always a constant exchange of stories where there’s a gathering of Moluccan people. Think of a wedding, confirmation or christening, or even a wake. There’s the storyteller who tells his story, the listeners who listen attentively, followed by an interaction or discussion of opinions. It’s usually loud and accompanied by a lot of laughter. Our oral history will always be an important part of our lives, even now that we live in a digital age.

But now more than ever is the best time to pick up a book. Reading for pleasure can take your mind off things, it can be relaxing (how many people read before they go to sleep), but it can also be a great way to broaden your horizon and improve your language skills (if you read in a different language than your own). Reading enables you to escape, forces you to use your imagination and dares you to fantasise. The lack of actual reading books should nowadays not be an excuse not to read. There are many sites where you can download free books, like Planet eBook or Free ebooks.

We are fully aware that there is a great shortage of reading books in Maluku and that there’s no library in Ambon, as it was destroyed during a fire several years ago. We are however trying hard to fill the Unpatti Language Centre with books again. A shipment is currently making its way to Maluku and there will be more books to come. It will take some time, but we’re in the process of organising a few drop off points in Holland, where people can drop off their unwanted books, so they can be donated to the Unpatti Language Centre.

The Bahasa Basudara Team will be reviewing their favourite books in the coming months, but there will also be some (live) book readings and reviews, a Book-to-Movie adaptation night and much more. Culminating in a Book Week at the end of October. Do join in and share your favourite book(s) with us. On any of our social media platforms or dare to write a review (blog) about it and encourage others to read it too. Let’s start reading again!