Read to cultivate critical thinking and refresh spirits


Education involves gaining of knowledge and ideas from literature. It is not limited to literature taught in schools, but includes all books and manuscripts in the literary world. Thus, reading is integral to education.
The love for reading was evident in Myanmar even during the campaign for our independence, with people reading widely, voraciously, and tirelessly.
“One has to read first in order to judge the habit,” said State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her speech at the ‘All Who Can Read Should Read’ campaign, held at MICC II in Nay Pyi Taw on 20 December.
“So, I can’t say how valuable or useless reading a book is as it is something that one should find out for oneself. For me, reading is valuable because it widens my world. It also strengthens my inner self and greatly supports my development,” said the State Counsellor.
“Book addicts like to read books and yearn for them. Even when they don’t have books, they think about the ones they have read and thereby, renew their strength and spirits. If the love for books is instilled in people while they are young, they’ll read for life, which will benefit them as well as others around them,” she said.
The State Counsellor also urged parents to encourage their children to read from a young age. “Make a habit of discussing the things they read. Review and discuss the books that have been read and have a cultured discussion on differing views,” she said.
The benefits of reading are many. Reading diligently from a young age is beneficial for oneself, one’s community, and one’s country. This was evident in the campaign for independence, when the accumulation of a lifetime of reading pushed young nationalists forward in the drive for freedom.
Young people in those times searched within the pages of books for ideologies that were coherent with their vision for the country. They read every book on politics they could lay their hands on. Books were hard to come by in those days and interesting books were often passed on from one person to another.
Upon hearing of a good book, people tirelessly searched for it so they could borrow and read it. Thakin Kyaw Sein of Dobama Asiayone used to say: “We neglect our hunger and read.”
Literature is of immeasurable value. While struggling to achieve independence for our country, our forefathers read to enrich their minds and broaden their perspectives to develop a modern outlook.
In the present time, I wish the youths of the country develop the habit of reading so that they, too, may widen their horizons and work to help their community and their country.

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