I don't think it is a hoax when Indonesia has a low reading interest. I read articles (I found on antaranews.com and thejakartapost.com) concerning reading interest in Indonesia that published a few years ago and I was surprised by the fact that Indonesian ranked 60th of 61 countries between Thailand in 59th and Bostwana in 61st for the 'Most Literate Nation in the World' in 2016, believe it or not, that's the fact. And welcome to the fact! How we can cope with this low literacy culture?
I can't help but believe because I experienced a small fact when I tried to share my random opinions in a writing/article form on Instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, people tend to ignore it all. Of course, for some reason it does not matter for me because they had a right and had their own excuses to ignore my WA story, they might think it was unimportant and uninteresting.
But the most important is, there is a frequently asked question like "how to grow a reading interest?"
Having low reading interest is not just happen to kids but also to all of the age range. Honestly, I do not feel as if I am an intellect or geek when I give concern to this issue. I feel concerned when I look at the facts that Indonesians are easily cheated by false information where they find it on the internet and they spread it throughout their social media account even without accuracy check. I feel sad when looking at parents, whom tend to give their kids devices than books or read their kids a story. I can't believe that people today prefer scrolling and tapping their social media to see other's outfits instead of reading news or article. I feel sad when I look at to the people that visit libraries just to take a picture with bookshelf background to be uploaded on Instagram instead of reading and discussing a book.
Wait, do not get them wrong, Warda. They might read on digital platforms. Come on, it is a digital era!
Yeah, it might be so. We can read the book online or in pdf form instead of a printed book.
I want to say many, many thanks to people who contribute to either technology advancement or advanced information technology that make lives easier than before. Again, I hear Indonesia comes to enter Industry 4.0 which anything can be done in a digital way. But sadly, not all information that available on the internet is valid and trusted. I think that book as 'jendela dunia' is still can't be substituted by anything. Meanwhile, we know that staring at the screen of our gadget very often and in a long duration can affect badly to eyesight.
There might be lots of people who have an interest in reading but have limited access to the book:
- Far access to the libraries
- A limited collection of books that available in the library
- They can't afford to buy a book because it cost expensive
- Inadequate Internet access to read
- The government does not facilitate them to grow reading culture and etc.
It might not fair if I make generalizations toward Indonesians that they are lazy to read. They actually always read at all the time on a smartphone but without we know what do they access and read. The digital era has changed reading behavior. Today generation who live in the digital era can access reading materials such as books, journal research, news, article in many sources and distribute it all through media social.
Least but not last, instead of "how to grow a reading interest in Indonesia?" it will be better becomes "what I/we can do to help people make reading as a habit?" and the government should interfere in this issue also invest more to education and literacy terms in order to create better generation.
I am sure that it will not be disadvantaged us if we like reading. We can start with easy and fun reading material like short story, folklore, comic or perhaps novel then we can change our reading material into serious theme/topic. When we become interested in reading we will make it a habit then it becomes part of our character.
I have some words to remind myself who always want to be a writer 'If you want to write something then you have to read, how you can write if you do not read'.