THE READING LIFE ... RESHMONU
CELEBRITIES AND READING
There’s more to their pretty faces, arresting vocals and admirable achievements. Here’s proof that even celebrities turn to good old books to keep learning about the world around them. ERIC FORBES takes a respite from reading and talks to six famous Malaysians in the entertainment industry about their favourite books and how they find the time to read despite their busy schedules. THIS INSTALMENT: RESHMONU
RESHMONU, whose real name is Hiresh Haridas, is a singer-songwriter who sings mostly in English and Malay. A former sound engineer, he is known for popular songs such as “Walk Away”, “Cintaku Pergi”, “Hey Waley” and “Superfine”, as well as for his hip hairstyles. It has been a hectic year for Reshmonu as he has just set up a group of companies to help support the Malaysian music industry: a talent management company, a record label that concentrates on music in its digital format, a music publishing house, a music production/studio facility and a video production facility that specialises in high-definition videos.
Interview by ERIC FORBES
Photographs courtesy of RESHMONU
Where do you find the time to read with your busy schedule?
It’s indeed tough finding the time to read whilst starting a family, but now that all that has settled down, there are pockets of time here and there.
Do you think reading matters today?
Yes, reading is definitely important as reading is the first step in acquiring knowledge. It is also a good alternative when you need a little rest and relaxation.
What kinds of books did you read when you were growing up?
Fiction, comics, general knowledge, encyclopedias, etc.
Who are some of your favourite contemporary writers? What are some of your favourite contemporary books?
David Davidar’s The House of Blue Mangoes and Thomas L. Friedman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century.
Do you have an all-time favourite book? Why do you enjoy it?
Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days—because it took me 80 days to read it! However, it has gotten easier and better over the years!
Assuming you enjoy reading fiction, what are the elements in fiction that take your breath away? In other words, what do you think are the essentials of good fiction? What distinguishes the great novels from the merely good? (If you prefer reading nonfiction, tell my why. Perhaps you enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction?)
Fiction allows one to explore the unexplored and stretches one’s imagination, and this is especially useful in the creative world I live in. Not to mention its unpredictability. So exploration, imagination and unpredictability, I believe, are essential elements of good fiction. A great novel to me is one that possesses a sense of truth and reality.
What are you reading at the moment?
Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s Three Cups of Tea, an account of an American mountaineer’s failed attempt to climb the world’s second-highest mountain, who ends up building schools in a remote part of the world. This is a very inspiring account of one man’s noble deeds to his fellow men.
What are your thoughts on the future of books, particularly on e-books and e-book readers? Do you think they will replace physical books one of these days?
Yes, I believe it will happen one day as we are all for saving Mother Earth these days, and if I were to choose between a physical book or the planet ... the latter definitely wins hands down.
Reproduced from the April-June 2010 issue of Quill magazine