Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why you should teach children to read ?

Educated idiots :(

Couple of days back I met a young professional who holds an important position in my field. Very aggressively she told me that,

"see Nishadee some of the members in our parliament are so dumb. I've heard that some of them are gonna vote against the 18th amendment. Its such a good amendment."

I was quite interested on reading it, so I asked her to give me the link to the content of the new bill from where ever she read it. Then she told me,

"Well........ I haven't read it.  But you know, we should support for it !!!".

I have no interest in discussing politics here. What I wanted to stress is how the people without the reading habit taking decisions.

I have met many well educated people who don't read for a toffee. Its so boring to spend time with them, because they have nothing to talk. Those who have not read books as children ,do not grow up as interesting people to associate with. They don't read a book, a news paper, they have no idea whats happening around, can be easily cheated, they take things for granted by listening to some fool without analyzing any fact or put it in to any logic. 

Recently another boy called me and said that he has got the set of questions which a particular company is asking in the interview. So he asked me whether I can help to find answers to those. So I said, "o.k if its something I know, I'll teach you." Very surprisingly, one question he asked me was 

"what is your ambition?" !!! Bit puzzled I asked him "Are you asking my ambition.. is it?" Then he told me

"No. Can you please tell me what I should say if they ask what my ambition is. I don't have anything like that" !!!!!

There are lot of other funny stories about the tragedies faced by people who don't read. I find so many technical and non technical articles in the internet on the importance of reading. But I don't think people who don't think its important to teach their children to read, reads these articles at all or I don't think they will ever realise. So I thought I will come up with an article with a collection of these stories. If at least one person realise that its important to implant the reading habit in their children, then my objective is accomplished.

I of course love reading and read anything and everything i get. Once a teacher told me "OMG tomorrow you have the exam and all this time you must have wasted time reading this huge story book. How many days did you wasted?" I felt very sad about her. It took me only about 1 hour to read it. Since I read so much, it takes me very small time to read.

Effects of not reading books and newspapers

1. Call from a customer

You may feel I'm laughing at the many people who do not had the privilege of being properly guided through childhood like how my family bought me up. No! I'm not laughing. I started this web site, because deep down it was very painful for me to see and having to associate with lot of unfortunate enough people who have miserable lives just because they do not know things. This is an article I wanted to write for so long. I think half of the problems in my country can be blames on the fact that people do not have the habit of reading.

So I thought of telling you the stories of the people I met whom I felt very sad about. Apologies if  I sound emotional.

I will tell you about a bad effect we had due to two people who never read. We had two managers who are obviously well qualified and talented. One day one of our key customers (from another country) has reached each of them separately through telephone to find out something about the country. This was the time where we were reaching the end of the war against terrorists and so many rumors were spreading around the world. One day this particular customer was informed and blamed by a terrorist supporter in their country saying that why they do business with Sri Lanka. So our customer's question was whether the things they heard was true. Thank god she was generous enough to call someone lives in the country to know the truth without just believing a rumor like most of our people do. But very unfortunate thing happened.

The first manager quickly cut the phone and disconnected the line too. Because he never listen to news or read anything. So he did not have any idea about war or the situation. He did not know about it as much as the customer knew. So he thought best way is to run away from the question. There is a saying that "silence implies consent". So obviously our customer thought all those must be true. That's why he kept the phone.

The second manager did much harm than that. She never reads but talks a lot even though it does not make any sense. So when she received the call, she had no idea whats happening or what she should do to protect the country's image or the business. So she thought she should say something to the customer , otherwise its not polite. Sooooo she ended up shooting bull shit. Usually people who do not read, don't have common sense as well. I'm not hoping to write her answer again  here and boil your blood. I guess no need to explain how that customer felt about the country.

2. Can you read and tell me?

Usually people who don't read as kids, never reads at all. I had a friend who always comes to me asking for things. I do not want to tell her anything, because she would say any dumb thing at any important place and quote my name. So what I do when she ask was, telling her "o.k go to Google. type your question. Read all the top links you get".  Her next answer is "Here, can you please read those and tell me what is in it"!!!! She required those information for very important tasks of her life such as promotions interviews, trainings etc. So other people who heard it finds it very funny. I tried my best to make her read. It always failed with her and with so many other people like her. It cannot be done with a grown up.You must implant the reading habit while they are kids.

3. I would rather pay, than getting it free by reading !!!

I've known a person who always complain that she do not have money and other people have money. One day she told me that she want to go abroad to do a MBA. So she wanted to go and register with an agent who sent people abroad. She had a first degree with a upper second class and many years of experience. I knew that she does not have to pay for the university and she could have easily obtained a scholarship. Same as she could have saved the money to be paid to the agent. When I share my opinion with her she told me that

"I'd rather pay and go to the university. I don't like to read these lengthy guidelines of scholarship providers and I can't be bothered to fill those forms. "

So, the total cost she had to bear for the whole thing was around 50 lacks Sri Lankan rupees for being lazy to read. Mind you I'm talking about a person who's monthly salary is only around one lack  rupees and in a country where a general salary of a person is much less than that.

There was a girl who thought that Anton Balasingham was a cricketer!!!. Those who work with me knows for sure that nothing written here is exaggerated. !!!!

There are many other interesting stories on these people who do not read. I will post them as and when I have time. If you are someone who never encouraged your children to read, you should feel that you are laughing at your self while reading this. I'm happy to end my article with this famous quote from Mark Twain. This summaries everything I want to say.

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read."

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