This year Bangkok sees itself the World Book Capital _ a title Unesco bestows annually to a city with admirable programmes to promote books and reading. Of course, it doesn't matter if Bangkok is really worthy of such an honour, over the past several years we've been yearning to achieve many... umm... impossibilities, whether it's to be the fashion city of the world, the best tourist destination or even Asia's medical hub.
According to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the purpose of the campaign is to "reignite pride in Thailand's literary heritage and instil a strong and sustainable culture of reading among city residents", while "using reading to improve the quality of life and build a resilient and peaceful society".
Well, that sounds nothing short of exemplary. (And how could I not support a campaign that tries to boost people's reading frequency?) Projects range from book fairs and expanding and mobilising libraries to holding a library design contest and round-table seminars on increasing reading statistics among Thais (from five books per year per capita to 15). But when I looked deeply into the various projects, I found the campaign fails on a fundamental point _ people's reading enthusiasm.
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