Out of the blue, I ask my friend to choose what she’ll buy if I give her 500 bucks – book or food.
I was not surprised to hear her go for food. It was just the practical thing to do. Who would want to waste their money on something that they cannot eat or something that they can’t practically use? This is reality, especially in a third world country like the Philippines.
Reading has never been popular in my country.
When I was a kid, I really hated all my reading assignments. During class discussions, I was not alone in avoiding my teacher’s eyes when she asks if we read today’s lesson. Reading is boring and a waste of time.
Now, I regret those times I chose sleep whenever my teacher ask us to read a book. I regret how I wasted my whole day watching TV instead of engaging myself into reading a good material. I wish I could go back and put all those times into good use.
But are Filipinos truly not book lovers?
It was probably true in the past, when internet and smartphones are not yet invented. But today, with all the advancements and technology around us, I don‘t think that Filipinos are still not book readers.
The influence of the internet and other social networking sites plus the emergence of different and high tech gadgets has encouraged (sometimes forced) many of us to read. Because of different websites and reading apps today, many Filipinos now are spending some of their time into reading.
This should be a positive thing for the country. However, instead of being happy towards the fact that many Filipinos today are reading, I became more anxious because of the kind of content they are consuming.
Since it is easy to upload and publish books and other reading materials on the internet, many aspiring, budding and even pretentious writers create books without undergoing decent editing. Moreover, contents are not being moderated.
What is more worrisome is the fact that majority of the people publishing and reading crappy materials on the internet are teens.
Youth of today seems to be so addicted to creating stories that are centered toward teenage romance in all aspects and imagination. Many of their stories are very whimsical and out-of-this world without the slightest bit of critical thinking. Moreover, some of its content glamourized deviant behaviors like premarital sex and teenage pregnancy.
In addition to that, because of the popularity of these kinds of material, many publishing companies are tolerating this crap by putting it into print. Today, you can see books stores allotting two to three book shelves for these no-brainer books.
This is a serious problem, because these books are a reflection of the kind of youth we have today.
Think about this, how can we produce highly-skilled professionals from these people? How can we produce competent doctors, lawyers and teachers when these people are so engrossed with the love stories of vampires and zombies? Are we really going forward (or backward) to that apocalyptic future of zombies and idiots?
I believe that our personality and motivations are sometimes reflected on the kind of books or materials we are reading. If we don’t read much, most probably we don’t know much as well. If we are reading something that can’t even stir the slightest bit of critical thinking in us, I don’t think we will be able to think well enough.
If this will continue, I cannot imagine the kind of future this country will have.
But then again, some of us will think that reading stupid things is a lot better than not reading at all.