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A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Jul 9, 2009

"Reading Marathon 2009" Successfully Completed

The "Reading Marathon 2009" was successfully completed on 9 July, 2009 at 1:00 pm.

With this event, NLB has set an official record for the “Longest Reading Aloud Marathon by Multiple Readers” in the Singapore Book of Records, reported in the Daily Singapore News.

This is my final blog at "Blog to Express" on the reading marathon event, launched on 3 July, 2009. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend every reading session, though. I would have scored an individual record in a personal marathon for the 6- day long, round-the-clock event without sleeping day and night, just to keep up with the "Reading Marathon 2009" at the National Library Building Events Plaza if I had done so. I could then apply to be awarded a certificate as "Person Without Sleep" record-breaker, followed by a "Person Who Sleeps Forever" award which will happen one day without me present to receive the award ; )

During my lunch break on 9 July, 2009 , I rushed down to the National Library Building, skipping my lunch but that's a small matter as far as I am concerned. I wanted to be part of this historical event and to seize this "once-in-a-lifetime" moment as a Singaporean, as a spectator and as a member of the National Library. It is also to bring my blog on this topic to a proper closure.

By the way, nobody invited me officially to blog about the "Reading Marathon 2009" and all views and opinions expressed are my own. I just blog to express about an event which I think is extremely meaningful in the context of a community of book lovers...those who love books and reading, not collectors of rare books.

It was not a grand ceremony on the scale of a Woodstock rock concert or the National Day Parade. It was a simple but meaningful ceremony. Not extravagant with frivolous fanfare.

When the clock on the stage wall struck 1:00 pm and the display panel blinks 144 hours to signal the completion of "Reading Marathon 2009", the Event Plaza at National Library Building came alive with the sound of drum-roll, colored confetti exploded into the air, and the loud applause of the VIPs, invited guests, participants and the event organisers. It was a happy and memorable moment to be cherished by everyone involved in this first-ever record-breaking marathon of continuous reading aloud of fiction stories for 144 hours, twice the number of hours for a previous reading marathon held in 2005.

Cheers and Congratualations!

Dr Varaprasad, Chief Executive of the National Library Board then stepped up the stage with a broad smile on his face.

He proudly received the framed certificate from a Singapore Book of Records representative and raised it above his head, as shown in the photo at the bottom of the blog. (Please scroll down to view it).

In a short speech, Dr Varaprasad thanked the Steering Committee of the "Reading Marathon 2009", the participants, the project partners, supporters, sponsors and everyone who helped in one way or another to make the event a success. It was a wonderful experience. There were ardent, enthusiastic participants reading aloud at 3.00 am during the reading marathon.

He gave credits to everyone but himself. I wondered why.

I read the following quote from a book many years ago at the National Library:

"Compliments motivate people. They are like fertilizer. They don't do any good until they're spread around. Distribute them liberally. You can never go wrong by spreading encouraging words. They might be nothing more than fertilizer, but fertilizer can make things grow faster and bigger".

Dr Varaprasad said that he was asked by the media after the completion of the reading marathon: "What's next?"

He replied that he will need to check with his Steering Committee before making a decision.

The reading marathon is not a simple event and certainly not a one-man show. It takes many months of planning, co-ordination, preparation and the support of participants, the sponsors, NLB staff at all levels and the public.

Whilst winning the record for the “Longest Reading Aloud Marathon by Multiple Readers” in the Singapore Book of Records is a commendable achievement for NLB, I believe it is not the main objective of the event as a competition to be the "bestest or the mostest" , whatever....

It is an incidental credit which ties in with the the READ! Singapore initiative, as clearly described in the NLB appeal for supporters in its handout quoted below:


Building a nation of readers who strive to broaden their minds and expand their horizons is no individual effort. This task is appointed to the NLB but also to all who hold a stake in the future of Singapore.

NLB and READ! Singapore welcomes your participation as partners in promoting the joy of reading.

How can your organisation or institution get involved in READ! Singapore?

- Organise book sharing/discussions at your workplace, school, tertiary institute, community centre or common area.

- Form groups with colleagues or associates to meet regularly and talk about each other's reading experiences.

- Organise events in conjunction with READ! Singapore, such as the Reading Carnival and competitions.

Besides their value in developing personal depth and skills, resulting in more well-rounded, well-read and thoughtful persons, book discussions can also serve to build rapport and help members of a group understand each other better. Book readings shared with members of other organisations also offer informal networking opportunities between staff at all levels.

You can also support READ! Singapore through sponsorships or provisions of resources in kind.

As the participation figures for READ! Singapore indicate, the campaign reaches thousands of Singaporeans of all professions and pursuits. With tremendous positive spillover effects for society and the economy plus uniformly favourable reception by the media, participants and existing partners in the public and private sectors, READ! Singapore presents a unique platform for wholesome exposure and to be associated with an event of universal acclaim.


At the end of the day, I think what the reading marathon had achieved is a community event which helps to highlight the joy of reading and books, promote the reading habits among Singaporeans, create awareness in the READ! Singapore programmes, the amenities and wide range of educational services provided by the National Library Board and the mutual sharing of individual readers' personal experience. It gives every participant the opportunity to read aloud in public, even at an unearthly hour of the morning at 3.00 am, without worries of getting arrested by the police for being a public nuisance : )

I believe the organisers would have obtained official approval from the Police to hold this public event.

Although "Reading Marathon 2009" as an event has ended, the reading marathon for everyone, whether silently or loudly as appropriate, goes on with everyone of us to complete the "Reading Marathon for a Lifetime" until we can no longer do so. The length of "Lifetime" varies from person to person though.

Happy Reading!

Sent from my Treo 650



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