Read… and free your mind


My fellow tutor-blogger Kevin Seah expounds beautifully on the sheer power of reading in this article.

One of the things that most perturb me about our education system in Singapore today is that students hardly read anymore. I am not referring to reading textbooks and prescribed works of fiction and non-fiction. I am not referring to voluminous GP “reading packages” forced down students’ throats.

I am talking about independent reading, the kind where a student flits across a library picking up books on everything from psychology to history to information technology (and a gardening magazine along the way) just out of sheer curiosity. The kind where a student reads a newspaper because she genuinely wants to learn about Lance Armstrong’s moral justifications for using performance-enhancing drugs and the level of risk of an accountant or flight attendant’s job being taken over by a robot.

Most Singapore students today do not even read one book outside the school curriculum per year. The great majority also do not read newspapers on a daily basis, or even every other day. I just met a former student of a top 5 JC who managed to get through JC hardly ever touching a newspaper. It is quite remarkable that she actually managed to score a C for GP, but just think of what she could have accomplished had she cultivated a reading habit.

Dear students, I know you are all bogged down with bucketloads of homework, tests and CCAs. But you must also make the time to learn about the world outside your textbooks and develop a healthy curiosity about the real world around you. When you leave school, you are not going to live in a textbook. You are not going to be faced with textbook problems. You’ll be faced with a constantly changing, morally confusing world filled as much with opportunity as with risk. Therefore you must always be keen to learn and explore. Reading is not the only way, but it is certainly one of the most robust and proven ways to learn. Education is more than school; it transcends any building or syllabus. When you seek to educate yourself, on your own terms, by reading at least 15 minutes a day, you receive, as the Americans like to say of their liberal arts programmes, “an education fit for a free man, and not for a slave”.


For enquiries on GP or secondary English tuition by the blogger, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, please call/text 98392152 or click ‘About the Tutor/Testimonials’ above. All lessons on a one-to-one or two-to-one basis.

I also offer Personal Statement writing/ editing services for university/ scholarship applications.

For GP model essays, click here.


About gptuitionsg

A dedicated English and GP tutor with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, Steven Ooi retired from the profession after a 14-year career during which he was one of the most sought-after private tutors in Singapore. He is the recipient of the Minerva Prize from NUS, which is awarded to the top English Language honours student of each cohort. This website, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 on Google and has received over 530,000 hits, has now been converted into a GP resource site cum listing of recommended tutors. If you are a GP or English tutor who wishes to be listed here, please email Steven Ooi at stevenooi18 @ (remove the spaces). Interested parties will be assessed and interviewed by him, and qualifications will be checked. These procedures are necessary to uphold quality standards. DISCLAIMER: While every reasonable effort has been made to assess the competence and verify the qualifications of recommended tutors here, no guarantees are made and you engage them at your own risk. By using this website, you agree that you will not hold the webmaster Steven Ooi responsible for any consequences — direct or otherwise — that occur in relation with your use of this website.
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1 Response to Read… and free your mind

  1. Mr Seah says:

    Thus I have expounded beautifully! Haha 😉

    It’s interesting that you mention magazines — I spent a ridiculous amount of time reading guitar magazines back in the day. I would read every single page, except the classifieds, and that surely had an effect on my grasp of the language.

    I eventually used a guitar magazine article as a primary text for a university lit essay too!

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