July 15, 2024

No fee, no fines: Retired headmaster Lee Kim Siew runs five mini-libraries at Puchong park at age 90

No fee, no fines: Retired headmaster Lee Kim Siew runs five mini-libraries at Puchong park at age 90


KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — Retired headmaster Lee Kim Siew’s love for books knows no bounds and expects no reciprocation.

Advertisement

At one point, Lee owned over 40,000 books and his treasure trove is now part of many libraries that he has established both at home and abroad.

Lee donated 6,000 books to set up a library at a secondary school in China and he gave away hundreds more to four other libraries that he established at three schools and a university in Thailand.

Now, at 90, Lee runs five mini-libraries at the Taman Wawasan Recreational Park in Puchong, which he established four years ago.

Advertisement

They are probably the most flexible libraries that you might ever find : every household can borrow 30 books and you can return the books anytime, no fee or fines charged.

Comprising small sheds with zinc roofs, the mini-libraries store hundreds of books in shelves and boxes under plastic covers. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Lee, however, is not just a book enthusiast.

Advertisement

He has also been a selfless custodian for the park back when everyone else deserted it.

“Few years back, the park was in a bad shape. Some people just dump their garbage here, making the area smelly and heavy rains left the park water-logged.

“You can’t even walk or sit here because it was infested with mosquitoes.

“So, I came everyday to collect the trash and dig trenches to drain the water,” Lee, who has lived in this neighbourhood for over 20 years, told Malay Mail.

Lee said tourists from as far as England and Hong Kong visit his mini-libraries to get reading materials. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Lee said tourists from as far as England and Hong Kong visit his mini-libraries to get reading materials. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Now that the Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ) has revitalised the park, the space has become a vibrant recreational spot, allowing Lee to set up his little reading sanctuaries.

Comprising small sheds with zinc roofs, the mini-libraries store hundreds of books in shelves and boxes under plastic covers.

Clad in his white shirt and boys blue shorts, Lee heads to the park with his walking cane every Monday to Thursday mornings to visit the mini-libraries.

He spends about two to three hours there, stamping the new books donated to the libraries to prevent people from stealing and reselling them.

It usually takes him at least 45 minutes to visit all five libraries.

Clad in his white shirt and boys blue shorts, Lee heads to the park with his walking cane every Monday to Thursday morning. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Clad in his white shirt and boys blue shorts, Lee heads to the park with his walking cane every Monday to Thursday morning. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

“People from around the world come here for books.

“Once, some tourists from England came to get some Reader’s Digest copies because they wanted some information about tourism destinations in Malaysia.

“Some tourists from Hong Kong also came to find some Chinese reading materials,” Lee said.

Lee’s humble appearance is a familiar sight for frequent visitors to the park.

“Some 10 years ago, Lee was the only one picking up the trash and looking after the park,” a 75-year-old Puchong resident who only wanted to be known as Uncle Lam said.

Lam, a former sub-contractor in the construction industry, hoped for the state government to build bigger sheds at the libraries to shelter the books from heavy rains and strong winds.

“If the government can build better sheds, the residents can donate some chairs and turn the mini-libraries into reading lounges,” Lam said.

Meanwhile, Lee said he has no plans to add more mini-libraries here or establish new libraries elsewhere. He prefers to dedicate the rest of his life maintaining the existing libraries.



Source link

OR

Scroll to Top