Published on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 16:16
Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to the audience about her favorite books at the Irrawaddy Literary Festival (Photo - EMG)
The pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi encouraged young people to read in order to understand different cultures and backgrounds as she talked about her favorite books at the first international literary festival held last week in Yangon.
The internet encourages "polarization" among young people who share similar tastes and ideas and they have lesser link with those who are different from them, she said.
"If we try to appreciate and understand ideas and cultures that are different from us, we will have unity in the country," she said. "We will have a better nation only if the youths read."
She also said reading has helped her coped with difficulties in life, particularly when she was under house arrest for many years under the military regime. During her house arrest, she has read books about other people who were placed in detention, as she wanted to know how they coped with their situations and how their situations were different from hers.
The 67-year old Nobel laureate said her favorite authors were Victor Hugo and George Elliot because their writings explore the human mind and emotion, and also have political and social conscience. Her favorite character is the ex-convict Jean Valjean from Victor Hugo's famous work "Les mis?rables" because he was a revolutionist who changed the way we look at the world.
She also said she enjoyed reading "detective novels" which are helpful in finding out the motives of people as she is now heading the Parliament's Rule of Law Committee.
She revealed that she is a fan of J.K Rowling's Harry Potter novels and told the audience that she did not know how she could have been brave enough like the children in the novels.
The Irrawaddy Literary Festival was held from February 1-3 and features a wide variety of topics on Myanmar and English literature. Over 100 famous local writers and more than 20 famous international authors participated in the festival.
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