Singaporeans don't read enough. Or at all.
In March 2016, a National Arts Council (NAC) survey found that 56 percent of the 1,015 Singaporeans and permanent residents surveyed had not read a literary book in a one-year period between March 2014 and March 2015.
Almost half of them cited lack of time as a reason for not reading. The same proportion cited a lack of interest.
According to the NAC, literary books include fiction, poetry, drama, graphic novels, creative non-fiction such as biographies, critical writing and anthologies.
As there is rarely such a thing as a coincidence in Singapore, that survey finding was just a harbinger of what was to come.
Because now, lo and behold, there is now a national reading movement.
Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim flagged off the movement on Friday, June 3, 2016, by launching a campaign for people to pledge to "read more, read widely and read together".
This is about two months before Singapore's first National Reading Day on July 30.
The five-year initiative plans to bring books to people.
On a related note: Either out of sheer coincidence or a very well-timed and executed campaign, a vending machine dispensing literary books has come to life at the National Museum of Singapore at the same time.
An initiative of local book store Books Actually, a grand total of three vending machines have been planned.
The second vending machine will be at the Singapore Visitor Centre along Orchard Road and a third one will be located at the Goodman Arts Centre later this month.
Each machine carries between 20 and 22 titles by Singapore publishers. It can hold about 120 to 150 books.
Books sold range from S$10 to S$35:
Check it out:
Top photo via Books Actually