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A little note from me. Someone pointed out to me that it was not supposed to be Rin Tin Tin - for the comic. It was supposed to be called Tin Tin. Forgive me if I gave the wrong impression. I was talking about the Belgian Comic Book. Some people may call it Tin Tin. But for me, it was always Rin Tin Tin. Anyway, whether it was Tin Tin or Rin Tin Tin, I will be forever grateful for my English Hero.
I love reading. As far as I could remember, I would always have a book, magazine or even a comic in my hand. When I was a kid, my mom always threaten to take away my food from the table because I would always reading while eating.
When I was in the primary school, I had asked to be a librarian in order for me to have the privileged of being allowed to borrow extra books. Enid Blyton and Charles Dickens were my favourite authors. But all those books were being translated into my own native language. Reading something in English was as foreign as the aliens. The only time that I had to read something in English was in the English classroom itself. We were "forced" to learn English from Standard One (that was when we were 7 years old). Those English classes were torturous. The only thing that I looked forward to was when we were learning some English songs like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars" and "Brother John".
When I was 12, I was sent by the Government to study at a school in the city. This was a programme by the Government to ensure that under privileged and rural kids had the same opportunity of educations as the urban kids. The only thing made things bearable while living in a hostel far away from your parents was books. I had became more an avid reader. I would borrow books from the library nearly every single day, until one day I realised that I had read all the books written in my native language and there was no more books in the library for me to read.
I lamented my problem to a friend and was telling her I could not find anymore books to read. Then she said to me "Why don't you try to read the English books?. There are more English books in the library than the books in our native language". I was aghast.
"I cannot read an English book". I said.
"Why not?" she asked.
"Well, I do not understand most of the English words. I do not want to read a book that I cannot understand".
"Have you ever tried reading an English book before?" She asked me again.
I took a few minutes to reply her, and finally admitted that I never try reading an English book on my own before.
Then she said to me, "Why don't you try reading an English comic first. Once you think you can understand them, then you may try reading some short stories. Give it a try".
Reluctantly, I agreed to give it a try. My first attempt was reading the Rin Tin Tin comic. I think the only thing that attracted me to read the Rin Tin Tin comic was the illustrations. And lo behold, I found myself fascinated with the comics and realised that the English words were not too difficult to understand at all. From there on, I fell in love with English written works.
I must admitted that for the first few attempts of reading English books, I would put a dictionary next to the book. Every time I found an English word that I did not understand, I would scoured my dictionary to find the meaning of that word. Then I realised, my brain would not retain the meaning of the world after a few pages.
So I decided just to write down all the words that I did not understand in a note book. Instead of immediately looking up the meaning of the word in the dictionary, I would continue reading and trying to decipher the meaning of the sentences and understand the concept rather than the meaning of individual words. After finishing a few pages or even a few chapters, then only then, I would look up in the dictionary for the meaning of all the words that I have had written down. With this system, I found out that I could remember the meanings of the words better and they would stuck in my mind.
I owed my gratitude to this special friend for pushing me towards English books. I would forever have a special affections for Rin Tin Tin because it managed to make reading an English work as easy as ABC. And for that, Rin Tin Tin would be forever my English Hero.
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