I've been reading Manga since primary school days till secondary school days till JC.. I'm kinda famous in class for the sheer number of comic books that I have at my place (me, my kor and dajie combine powers.. now that's something you would not want to reckon with)..
I remember the heydays of manga in Singapore, every monday they would publish all the lastest and newest books from japan.. and I would happily go over to the bookstore over at Bedok Interchange (it's still there, it's over at the old Bedok Cinema side, on the 2nd storey, right opposite KFC..) and get myself 6~8 copies of the latest comics to satisfy me thru the week.. of course it cannot last me through the week given my speed in reading.. luckily there's always those short weekly magazines to sustain me till the next monday..
Now you know why I'm so broke during those times.. one comic book cost around 4~5 bucks, so an average of 30 bucks is spent on monday itself.. My allowance then was about 50 a week.. so I'm really amazed at how I managed to survive with the frequent trips down to town, all the delifrance meals and Hisatomo visits that me and Xuan love so much.. hmmm...
Haven really read much comics in the recent years, coz they kinda lost their shine to me.. The works are not as exciting as before, and I have other things to preoccupy myself with.. That is till recently when I hit a dry run in my SF books.. I've finished all my collections at least twice, there's no other new authors that I'm interested in at the moment, I've read thru 3 of Dan Brown's books.. exhausted Peter F. Hamilton's books, reading his Night's Dawn series thru twice (a total of 6 books)..
Having no more books to read.. I happily ventured into my sis's room and started browsing thru my brother's collections.. Complaining to my dajie that I have nothing to read.. she point out a few good series recently and got me started reading XXXholic.. ok the title sounds abit like porn, but it's not oki.. It's drawn by Clamp (see the cover above and you can see their style), the guys that brought you Card Captor Sakura, so how pornographic can u get other than the usual scantily clad girls.. It's manga we're talking about here, scantily clad girls are a common sight.
The series is really great but I only read it on my way to work, so am only at book 2.. that is damn slow wor.. I love the series, it's really interesting, dealing with magic and stuff.. plus one can get a lot of insights about life through mangas.. the characters talks about things that makes me think alot.. Like the lead likes to say this phrase.. "shi jie mei you ou rang, zhi you bi rang" meaning there's no coincidence in life, only predestined events. Another part I like is where she talks about an alternative dimension. The multiple universe theory where there are many of the same person living in different dimensions in a different universe.. She mentioned that whether or not it exist depends on whether or not one chooses to believe in it.. The same thing with life, if one believes that one's future is already predetermined, then it is predetermined; if one thinks that he can change the future, then his future can be changed.. It's all boils down to a matter of prespective and one's beliefs..
Manga at many times are not just pictures for children who are lazy to read actual books. It may be so in the long gone past, but manga had now evolved into a literary class of its own.. The topics manga deals with is far and wide, using pictures and simple conversations between the characters, manga is able to pinpoint the ills of our society, the thoughts running through most of us. Manga is not just pictures, it's a powerful tool to shape our thoughts.
When i was younger, doctors to me are just doctors, another person with a high paying job.. that is till i read this comic based on a real person called ye kou something.. It's about this japanese boy who was disabled then later overcoming all odds to become a doctor.. His story was very touching.. He was the one who discovered a cure for yellow fever(?). His story touched me and I look upon doctors with a different light from then on.
Also I love this comic series know was jiang tai de shou si.. which is this boy who makes sushi.. from the comic, I learn what real sushi is like (sakae, all those sushi counters in the supermarkets really dun qualify as authentic sushi, those are machine made.. bah..), ways to enjoy the taste of sushi (it's wasaBI, not wasaBE! and it's not supposed to be mixed into the shoyu but to be put directly onto the meat. Also the way to dip shoyu is dipping the meat part and not the rice part.) and even some traditional Japanese customs..
Comics can be looked upon as a country's ambassador.. through comics, I've learnt so much about Japanese traditions and histories (I love the sumurai and ninja stories)..
All in all.. I'm still in love with manga!!