As a child, I would escape through books. Like what Oprah aptly said: Books were my pass to personal freedom. It took me to worlds beyond my own, the small apartment in Woodlands, beyond Singapore, beyond my kampung in Melaka even. It allowed me to live many lives and die many deaths; to feel less alone; to fall in love, to grief, to problem solve. It has prepared me immensely for adulthood and for situations unknown.
In adulthood, I read, I steal time while waiting, while in commute, while resting. And in moments of darkness I return to books – to find words for what I already know. Books reread at different phases of my life gifted new meaning. After all, we read not only what is in the pages, but what is within us.
If there’s anything, any advice I can give to someone younger who wants to grab life by the lapels and make the most out of it, I’d say: Read. Read widely. Read diversely. Read for knowledge. Read for understanding. Read for empathy. Read so that you know that you’re not the only one in this world, that there are people who are just like you, but are so different from you at the same time. Like F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
We need a world that reads more books. Happy World Book Day. ❤️📚