`Many would rather go to the mall than read'
The Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Publishers Association is holding this year's annual Jakarta Book Fair at the Bung Karno Sports Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, from May 24 through June 1. The fair has attracted thousands of visitors, but some students who visited the event told The Jakarta Post that reading habits in the country were still far less than they should be.
Urfi, 16, is a third-year student of Nurul Fiqri senior high school, Depok, West Java. She lives in Kalibata, South Jakarta, with her family:
I like reading, as it's my hobby. I like reading all kinds of books, magazines, novels and religious books. I'm reading a detective story at present.
Reading is very important for developing the nation. I've learned many things from reading books.
That's why I try to spend some of my pocket money on books every month -- well, at least I try to buy one comic book.
However, it's sad that many youngsters nowadays prefer to spend their time at the shopping mall or cinema.
I still spend much of my time at shopping centers, just for fun. On the other hand, I also read a lot at home.
Delicia, 17, is a second-year student at Tarakanita senior high school, Gading Serpong, Tangerang. She lives nearby with her family:
I like reading books. I get more enjoyment when reading, particularly when I read fiction and comics.
I've now started to read best-sellers, such as Chicken Soup for The Soul. I was motivated to read more after someone gave me that book as a birthday present.
It's cool and fun. I enjoy reading now. Besides, a lot of my classmates also read books like novels or comics and sometimes what we read becomes our topic of conversation during the school break.
Nonetheless, I don't save money every month to buy books. I only buy books whenever I want to. It depends on my mood, too.
However, in general, I'd say that the reading habit among youngsters remains far from what is expected. Not all youngsters like reading books.
Personally, if I had to choose between reading or going out with friends to the shopping mall, I'd choose the mall, despite the fact that I'm not addicted to shopping, as my friends are.
Hikmat, 22, is a second-year student at Bina Nusantara University, majoring in information systems at Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta. He lives in Depok, West Java, with his family:
Reading is my hobby. I always spend some time each day reading a book; anyway my subject requires a lot of updated information.
I read any kind of book. Recently, I read a book on the latest programming system.
It's a shame that not many of my classmates are interested in going to bookshops or book exhibitions.
They prefer spending hours a day playing electronic games or at shopping centers, just for fun. Reading, for some students, is deemed a tiring activity; in the modern way of life that we now lead, many seek instant enjoyment.
My friends tend to read books only because they are asked to by lecturers.
Grade orientation seems to predominate over curiosity in the minds of many students.
Unfortunately, books are just too expensive these days, let alone for students like me. Imported books are far more reliable than local ones. However, the price has skyrocketed. Perhaps the library is the best solution under these circumstances.
-- Leo Wahyudi S