Reading opens magic doors

By Trailerman Sam

Reading, to me, is the process of taking in or absorbing the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, etc., as we see them. It’s about making a meaning from the print, so to speak, as it requires us to construct an understanding from seeing those letters or symbols.

Thus, reading is good for you because it improves your focus, memory, empathy and communication skills. It can also reduce stress, improve your mental health, and help you live longer.

Reading allows you to learn new things to help you succeed in your work and relationships, whether to get a date or even kill that date. Believe me!

Books are therefore great entertainers or useful references for knowledge-gathering. When I read for enjoyment, I would pay greater attention to the landscape of the story and its characters, and try to feel what they are feeling. It’s my way of immersing myself in the imaginative world created by the author.

One novel that I have read more than eight times and still accompanies me to my appointments at the general hospital is “The War Of The Running Dogs” by Noel Barber. It is about how then Malaya defeated the jungle guerrillas during the Communist Insurgency in the 1950s.

I often put myself as Arthur Walker, the manager of a rubber plantation in Sungai Siput, being shot at blank range by three young insurgents. Somehow, the author had made the scene so vivid that I could even feel the pain. It was as if the bullets had also ripped through my own skin and flesh as I gasped for air with my eyes closed.

As for political books, I do love a good read about some individuals from the political arena although I don’t have the DNA for politics myself.

One of which was a gift from my brother entitled “Bose:The Untold Story of An Inconvenient Nationalist” by Chandrachur Ghose. Hard cover and 712 pages long. None of my students dared touch it.

One student told me she will get severe headaches with throbbing pain on one side of her head by just looking at it. I won’t be surprised if any of them got wobbly feet just by touching that book!

The book explores the views and questions about the charismatic Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose’s chosen alliance with the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan in the 1930s and 1940s. It also focuses on the man’s political career, including his activities with revolutionary parties in regions such as Bengal and Maharashtra, his views on women and spirituality, and his efforts to quell communal tensions.

There are also narratives on Bose’s efforts to create a mutiny in the British Indian Army, which ultimately led to the downfall of the British Empire in India.

Strangely, a lot of my students often fall asleep if I ask them to read just two or three pages of history books that can appear to be insomniac-curing to some.

But I find two of my nieces are somewhat different. They just love reading books. One of them is a great fan of Harry Potter. She could get so engrossed with books to the extent her mom would say:”Is there nothing better to do than books, books and books?”

Perhaps now I can conclude why this 25 year-old niece has completed her Masters in Biotechnology despite getting trapped in the magical world of stick-waving wizards in Harry Potter because she absorbs useful information!

Thanks for reading, folks.

Trailerman Sam is a popular tuition teacher in Penang. If he is not teaching, he is writing, drinking plenty of coffee and probably star or planet gazing. He can be reached at

The views expressed here are that of the writer’s and not necessarily that of Weekly Echo’s.