Happy Salma encourages

(JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

JAKARTA: Actress and writer Happy Salma believes that children should be encouraged to read as soon as possible.

Reading habits developed from an early age, she said, can enrich the imagination and sharpen the ability to examine social issues, which can help children in real life situations.

“Although literature might have a very distant setting of time and context, by reading it we could be aware of the social reality,” Happy told The Jakarta Post.

“I myself can write because I am a fan of literature,” said the columnist for a national newspaper, who has also published three short story collections since 2006.

In a campaign to promote classic Indonesian literature, publisher Balai Pustaka has just republished a series of great novels by some of the country’s renowned authors, including Sutan Takdir Alisyahbana and Abdul Muis.

Celebrity icons have been selected for each novel; Happy has been appointed as the icon of Marah Roesli’s novel Siti Nurbaya, which was first published in 1922.

The 28-year-old actress says writers in Indonesia should work twice as much as writers in developed countries because of the country’s lack of appreciation for literature.

“I believe that with strong idealism, an Indonesian writer can reach a certain level of perfection, only they should work ten or twenty times harder that other writers from developed countries.” — JP

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