Sunday, June 14, 2015

A choice: Being ignorant. Or not.

When I was younger, I loved reading the newspaper. Besides being encouraged by our Bahasa Malaysia teacher in school, reading the paper was one of few moments I got to sit and had proper conversation with my late dad. I fondly remember moments I shared with him discussing about politics in Sabah (read: PBS) as well as the local football scene (read: the Rhinos glory).

In college, I would made sure I spent time at the newspaper corner in the college library to get updated of the world outside academic books before getting on with my daily revision.

Upon graduation, I advanced into buying one or two different newspapers on my own, daily. Dad didn't have to worry about not getting his newspaper fix cos he knew I would already settled that for him. But two newspapers? Well, I needed to look on more work advertisement since I was a fresh graduate.

But I have not been reading newspaper very much for the longest time. Perhaps, ever since I started working. An eventually self-choice.

Why?

One fine day, when I was about 22 and full of enthusiasm to find a job, I visited a close aunt from my maternal side. My aunt's eldest daughter was there. She is one of those elder cousins that I looked up so much for her success in life. Being a fresh graduate, she asked me about my hunt for the right job. And the subject brought us to her telling that she had stopped reading the newspaper cos she loathed the filtered news that most of the time conveyed a total different story to the original. I did not understand her. But I vividly recall the assertiveness in her expression; the way she expressed her disappointment over things on the newspaper.

"Most of them are rubbish. A waste of time to read," she added.

In all honesty, to hear this coming up from someone who is intelligent and smart, I felt a little upset. How could she belittle the newspapers when those were the absolute medium that could be trusted to relay current news. Yes, said the girl who was in the early years of the 2K when smartphones were still an unfamiliar product and people were only starting to get use to online social networking.

Years gone by and I soon started to understand why my cousin said what she said.

I still read the newspaper...until the onset of online news starting from news shared in online social networking. Slowly, I find more and more truth about stuffs being told on the news aren't really what they supposed to be. Too much filtering. Too much additional words to make it 'presentable'. What more disappointing is, with so much politics involved, information alteration and filtering have become rampant. It is so serious to the point of having misleading or total different story altogether. And it does not help either when our political dramas are so chaotic and stupid at some point that I start to disgust reading them totally.

And I soon wear that same expression my cousin wore on her face years ago.

A disappointed citizen.

But my dear husband once said, "I read the newspaper not because I like the stories or cos I love reading them. I read the newspaper cos I want to be in the know. I want to be able to talk about it when someone talks about it. To be able to voice my opinion."

He has a point.

I find myself oblivious to big issues because of my ignorant to read the news. I find myself answering either 'I don't know' or 'I'm not sure' when asked about current issues.Well, I still read them. The headlines most of the time. If the headlines excite me, I'll read more. If they are the same stupid news, I'll ditch them and ask the hubby for details later.

However, another revelation hits me. I would missed all the important information that can usually be relayed in the newspaper.For instance, when the hubby told me about a road closure near our home and I nonchalantly asked him where did he get the news.

"This is the reason why you missed the info. You don't read the newspaper."

My bad.

So here I am, putting a new mantra in my head.

Read the news. Read the news. Read the news.

I'm trying now.