1Malaysia Book Voucher Project

When Malaysian prime minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak tabled Budget 2012, he announced the allocation of RM260 million for the 1Malaysia Book Vouchers worth RM200 each for all students of higher education institutions as well as Form Six students. I must admit, at first I was completely oblivious of this until my friends started talking about it in early January. Even then, I didn’t think or care much for it.

Why is that, you ask? It’s simply because I’m not a fan of reading. I cannot find the joy that others find in burying themselves with their books. Avid readers often find themselves comfortably flipping through the pages like there’s no tomorrow while I always struggle to keep myself concentrated and interested even within the first few paragraphs.

As time passed, I started seeing my friends’ pictures on Facebook showing how they used their RM200 worth of book vouchers. They were proudly showing off their newly bought possessions. At first it was pretty normal, until I started to see people using the vouchers to buy comics, game guides and other very non-academic materials. Then came news that some were even selling their vouchers for a quick buck.

This saddened and angered me at the same time, and it forced me to think of how I was going to use my vouchers. Eventually, I figured it out.

Those RM200 vouchers were a gift from the government, though not necessarily a gift that I need. There’s a big difference between things that you want and things that you need. Judging by how some of my friends used their vouchers, it was obvious that they didn’t really need the vouchers themselves as they spent it in their own selfish wants.

But just because it wasn’t a gift that I needed, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a gift that someone else might need. Just because I couldn’t understand the joy of reading, it doesn’t mean that others won’t as well. Hence, I decided that the best course of action was to use the vouchers to buy books that I can give away to the less unfortunate, to those who actually need the assistance. I thought of those who’ve never even been able to get the opportunity to indulge themselves with a good book, comparing them with my own friends who’ve had the chance to read more than a handful of good books.

So with the help of a friend of mine, I went off and bought my RM200 worth of books. Here’s what I bought :

RM200 worth of books

I wanted to make sure that I used the vouchers wisely as well, so I spent half of it on Ladybird’s Key Words series while the other half went to books from Usbourne’s Young Reading series. The latter has a nice selection of classic story books, all of which I’ve never read myself before. Yeah, I know. Very ironic isn’t it?

But that wasn’t all. I got some of my friends to join in with me in donating their 1Malaysia book vouchers. Some were glad to help while others were reluctant. These are the books that I’ve collected to so far :

RM450 worth of books

Titles of books bought

If you’ve got any unused vouchers yourself or you’re interested in joining me on my little “mission”, please do get in touch with me. I’ll be glad to assist you in any way I can. Let’s spread the joy of reading to others, shall we.

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