A Day at the Bookshop by Junior Win

(I was before the Encyclopedias bookshelf.)

I was at the bookshop today. I had a plan to buy some updated Encyclopedias for my work. I now had been writing regular supplement for some Education journal. They requested me to write Encyclopedia in their weekly issue. It was not difficult for me. The library at home had been started by our grandparents, was the rich treasure of knowledge for the family, and it was now very useful for me. I also had a hobby of loving Encyclopedias. But sometimes I wanted to read more updated. That’s why I was at the bookshop.

I found many Encyclopedias in the bookshop. I searched one by one patiently among them. The Educational journal was for young people. I had to decide which one be the best to translate. Yes, in Burma, the readers in Burma preferred reading in Burmese. Most of the magazines, and journals here were published in Burmese. It didn’t mean that they could not read English, but they preferred Burmese books to English books. Their interest was only on Burmese books. They only wanted to read articles, novels, or news in Burmese. If readers demanded articles in Burmese, we had no other choice. If we want to give important news or educational information or Encyclopedias, we would have to translate them into Burmese.

Now, I was before the bookshelf in the bookshop. This bookshelf was full of Encyclopedias. I loved to buy all. But I could not afford to do it. The prices are very big. But I found some series of Science, Environment, World Atlas, etc, and their prices were quite reasonable. Although each had 20 to 25 pages, the information inside was very valuable. I chose one or two from them. I carefully chose updated Encyclopedias.

When I saw a book called ‘Amazing Questions Incredible Answers for Children’, I found that the price was very cheap. The book was as big as a novel. It was 5 books series, and each contained a hundred of Questions and Answers of Encyclopedia, and they were published from New Delhi, India. I was surprised to see that all of them were written in English, not in Indian. Compare to my country, the reader here demand books in Burmese. But readers in India, even their children loved to read English books. It said that ‘to keep your child’s pace ahead of the time, ….’ It meant that the adult trained their children to read English Books, and they knew that very important thing for a child was to get familiar with the basic of education for a steady and competent growth of mind. It also meant that the writers in India did write in English to keep their future generation’s pace ahead of the time. They also considered the price for their books. One can afford to buy their Encyclopedias. But the information inside could compare with that of the other kind of world-wide Encyclopedias.

I now back from the bookshop, with many thoughts. I did not know our readers one day, would demand to read Encyclopedias in English than in Burmese. Who knows?