Chapter 1: No Money to Buy Even an Alarm Clock
We did not have money to buy even an alarm clock, my mom used to tell us.
So of course, there was no money to buy books.
Those were the early years of my childhood. I remember even all our school textbooks were borrowed
from the school's 'Skim Pinjaman' (Book Borrowing Scheme). I remember spending a lot of time in the school library when I was a kid. That was the only way I could read stories, lots of stories.
I remember looking forward to see the postman. My mom's friend in Singapore knew about our situation so she frequently sent us books from Singapore - classics, Readers' Digests and encyclopedias. Most of the books we have on our shelves at home were all bought by her. My sisters and I 'devoured' these books hungrily. Especially me. We read anything and everything we can get our hands on.
I remembering standing the whole day in a bookshop during my teenage years, just so I can finish reading a book because I could not afford to buy it. Books were so expensive then.
And when I was 19 years old, I remember that was when it first came to me. The thought of owning a bookshop or a book-related place. I dreamt of a place where storybooks will never again be too expensive for anyone. I dreamt of a place where stories from books can come alive. But how? Where? When? Where would the money come from?
It would take more than two decades for this dream to be realized.