No... I am not an addict to any such kind of drugs.
Mak Lijah nak citer pasal addiction Mak Lijah semasa kanak-kanak dulu.
I was a book addict. I just love reading. Masa Mak Lijah berumur sembilan tahun, Mak Lijah dapat demam campak. Campak yang besar tu. So kena kuarantin kat rumah. Adoilah... seksanya. Bukan seksa sebab sakit, tapi seksa sebab tak boleh nak buat apa. As an active child, quarantine is totally deplorable.
That was in the 70's, di Jalan Padang off Jalan Cangkat Jong, Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan), Perak.
And then I found this small magazine with small fonts but nice colourful pictures in it tucked among some women magazines and old newspapers. The stories inside were so well written, I felt like being part of it. The English was just so superb. Sekali-sekala tu, tersekat-sekat juga membacanya sebab tak paham some of the words in it. So terpaksalah tanya Mak kat dapur yang tengah sibuk memasak.
I finished the whole magazine that day. It was READER'S DIGEST. Rupanya Ayah memang subcribe the magazine monthly.
So I asked Ayah to buy me some story books after that sebab I was so restless at home. TV programme back then only starts at about 5 pm and masa tu mana ada video player, apatah lagi VCD player. Lagu-lagu Black Dog Bone, Anne Murray, Bee Gees, Boney M, M. Rizal, The Carpenters dah berapa kali diputar sampai Mak terjerit-jerit dari dapur suruh tutup suis record player takut panas dan meletup (katanyalah).
Back to my book request. Ayah bought me two Malay story books, later. Can't remember the tittle. I finished the books in one day. Minta lagi. Beli lagi.
Until one day Ayah decided to bring me to the book shop for me to choose the books that I want. I was sooo... excited sampai tak sedar diri kata still demam and supposed to be quarantined. Tapi sebab addiction tu, Mak Lijah tak kisah disapu calamine lotion berkepuk-kepuk kat whole body and face sebab nak pi kedai buku tu.
Nama kedai buku tu, "Buyong Yunos". I don't know if the book store is still around or not today. May be I should pay a visit to Teluk Intan one of these days to look for the store. The last trip was like 12 years ago and masa tu I was car-less.. So tak berpeluang nak meronda.
Anyway, Mak Lijah punyalah excited dapat keluar rumah, apatah lagi dapat ke satu-satunya kedai buku di Teluk Anson pada masa tu. Akhirya Mak Lijah dapat memilih buku-buku yang Mak Lijah hendak. I chose three thick hard-covered, English story books sebab Mak Lijah tak nak habis cepat. Kalau buku Melayu, 2 jam je boleh habis satu buku (buku kanak-kanak mana ada tebal sangat). And yet... habis juga membacanya within the next 2-3 days.
Mujurlah by then, campak pun dah almost over and I got back to school just to find out that we could be a member of the library dah. Macam orang mengantuk disorongkan bantal or to me, it was more like macam beruk dapat bunga sebab terlampau seronok dapat pinjam buku from a wide variety of choices. Cuma problemnya, masa tu, going to the library is like attending one subject-lesson in a week. Meaning we could only go to the library once a week. Not only that, we could borrow only two books at a time. So how? Dah gigil ni...
I had to resort to only two books jer lah, but, I would always carefully choose only thick, hard-covered English books. Kalau dah habis, bacalah buku-buku Enid Blyton (satu hari boleh habis), buku-buku The Famous Five, Secret Seven dan macam-macam lagilah as long as they were investigative books..
Things got better bila masuk sekolah menengah di Convent Green Lane, Jalan Masjid Negeri, Penang in 1981. Masa form one, buku-buku Trixie Beldon (lupa ejaan) memang dah khatam semua while my other friends were busy into buku-buku romance. By the time I reached form four I had to mark the books I have read and wish to read by rack sebab I have covered almost the entire library.
Bila dah habis sekolah, masuk university, boleh pinjam pulak kat perpustakaan USM... waaa... laaa....gi bagus. But by then, jenis-jenis buku dah lain and much later, I kind of left this story book-reading habit, although not totally leaving it behind. Sempat juga finished Da Vinci Code before it went to the silver screen.
And now... my reading materials are more of magazine-type while I try to finish Dan Brown's DIGITAL FOTRESS (dah masuk 3 tahun tak habis-habis lagi). Magazines I read now are more inclined towards housekeeping, landscaping, interior design etc. Maklumlah dah dapat kunci rumah baru.... Nevertheless, my passion on reading has never faded. I can spend a whole day in the book store than going shopping, provided I go alone.