Monday, October 18, 2010

Book Exchange

Najib Razak when tabling Budget 2011 in Parliament on Friday had announced a special financial assistance of RM500 for all civil servants from Grade 54 and below as well as contract officers and retirees to be paid in December. So doesn’t this confirm that the country is not doing well, that civil servants do need financial assistance because of the spiralling cost of living? Najib himself confessed that “...Personally I will want to give a bonus but as a responsible finance minister, I cannot expend more than the national revenue” (Sunday, Star, October 17, 2010, p N1).

This is hilarious because Najib can afford to spend RM5 billion on Warisan Merdeka. Even DAP’s Lim Kit Siang had accused the Prime Minister of trying to outdo Mahathir Mohamad by building a 100-storey skyscraper – higher than Mahathir’s Petronas Twin Towers with their 88 floors – rather than a high-income economy (The Malaysian Insider, posted October 17, 2010). Maybe, I too was mistaken. I had misread about the part on “high-income” economy – it is really about some interested parties achieving “high-income” status!
My eyes were drawn to a photo in the Sunday Star yesterday, featuring the tiniest of libraries (p E7) at Marton cum Grafton in northern England. It is the familiar red phone booth converted into a book exchange – part of British Telecom’s "Adopt a Kiosk” campaign.

I found it intriguing and so I googled to find out more. And at webpage, posted December 01, 2009 – it was reported that residents in the Somerset village of Westbury-sub-Mendip rallied together to set up the book box after their mobile library service was cancelled. And so the parish council purchased the box, a Giles Gilbert Scott K6 design, for £1, and villagers put up wooden shelves inside and donated their own books. The phone box now houses around 100 titles from cooking books to the classics and blockbusters to children's books.

The phone box library is open every day for 24 hours and is lit at night. There is a regular check on it to see if some titles are not moving. These are then shipped on to a charity shop to keep the phone box collection fresh. A clever idea! I just pray they remain vandal-free.

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