Harnessing soft power of literary fiction to build democracy

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  • In general terms, the main purpose of reading is to expand our knowledge of the world and learn about worlds that we never thought existed.
    Reading expands our outlook on life and enriches our knowledge about the world. As we get to know about how people living far from us live and think, we begin to understand and sympathize with them, and vice versa.
    People read both fiction and literary fiction genres. A genre can be described as a category of literature, and includes mystery, suspense, science fiction, or horror. Generally, genre fiction tends to give higher importance to entertainment, and hence, it tends to have more mass appeal.
    Literary fiction, on the other hand, gives more weight to meaning than entertainment. Literary fiction also aspires towards art. In its broadest sense, literary fiction is fiction that attempts to communicate ideas, concepts, or feelings that transcend the structural elements of the story, for instance, the plot, the characters, the setting. Literary fiction makes us understand ourselves and others.
    It teaches us not only subjects we were taught, but also about life, living, and existence. The power of arts, or the soft power, enshrined in literary fiction can make our people physically and mentally developed. If people are not mentally developed, a fully developed state is yet to be realized.
    The literary sector has not yet reached a satisfactory level in Myanmar, and therefore, we need to encourage this sector.
    Promoting literary fiction means promoting understanding among diversities, which is also a basic concept of democracy.
    With its diversity of ethnicities and cultures, our country is a developing country that has just started on its path to development. Everyone, each society and organization, has their own strengths, weaknesses, and advantages.
    Different people have different opinions about the purpose of literature. Some tend to think of literature and arts as specific subjects on their own that have nothing to do with political or social affairs. Literature, especially literary fiction, concerns both politics as well as social affairs.
    Literary fiction can change and develop our life. It has the power to change the hearts and minds of readers.
    Hence, all ethnic youths must improve not only their literature, but work on other fronts, too, for their future as well as the future of the country.
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