Saturday, November 01, 2003

The Hopeless Bibliophile

The Hopeless Bibliophile

Spent some time this morning at the National Library at Salemba Raya, perusing through books about Sukarno. Didn't manage to find anything interesting there. I had assumed that there would be a good collection of materials about Indonesia's founding father, but I was wrong. Later I went to Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) to check out the used book store there.

Found some really interesting stuff: one of them is an April 1969 publication by DAP, "Who Lives if Malaysia Dies?". Contains some interesting speeches and articles by opposition leaders then: Devan Nair, Lim Kit Siang, Goh Hock Guan and Chen Man Hin. It is intriguing to read about the issues that they debated about, and that was before May 13, 1969, that black mark in Malaysian history. This will be a good addition to my collection of books on Malaya/Malaysia back home.

I also bought a book about the Asian-African Conference in Bandung in 1955--useful material for my next project. My Indonesian collection is already piling up in my hotel room. I have to start carting some of them back to Malaysia before they completely fill up my already cramped space.

I also have two shelfs of my personal IT books in the office. These were shipped directly through DHL from Singapore when I moved to Jakarta. Managing books is a big hassle for me; space back home in Subang Jaya is running out. Some of my precious books have to end up in boxes under my bed.

I suppose a life filled with books is not a very healthy one. Even my Jornada PDA is filled with e-books. I have to try and "get a real life". Maybe I should go out on dates more often. But then I have this bad habit of treating everyone I meet as "interactive books".

In his three-volume collection of horror stories, Books of Blood, Clive Barker wrote:
"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."
So I am not alone.

People usually complain about books being expensive. They could be right. But sometimes we are willing to spend more than the price of an average book on a single meal. I am the type who would rather skip a meal to buy a book. Meals last only a couple of hours whereas books last a lifetime. You see, books will always be affordable to me because I only eat two meals a day.

Yes, I am quite hopeless.

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