World’s largest floating book fair docks in Yangon

The MV Logos Hope, which claims to be the world’s largest floating book fair, docked in Yangon last week, welcoming people onboard to peruse thousands of titles at its below-decks book store.

The vessel, which aims to promote education and cultural development, is operated by the German Christian non-profit organisation GBA Ships. It will remain at Ahlone International Port Terminal until October 14 and entrance is free.

The ship has visited more than 60 countries since first setting sail in 2009. In addition to the book store, it has dispatched teams of volunteers to help out in Yangon orphanages and distribute book vouchers and other supplies to children, donated by patrons from a recent visit to Hong Kong.

Its sister ship, Doulos, docked in Yangon in 2002, although it was only allowed to dispatch volunteers and not open a book store.

“It’s already a miracle that we can come here, [and] so far people are actually really positive and excited about our visit,” said media director Ivy Chiu. “Four hundred people from 60 countries stay on this trip, and we try to show our love. Simply being here can be a good impact.”

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Families and school groups featured heavily in the thousands who came on board for the ship’s opening day on October 3. the store’s roughly 5,000 books, sold at discount prices, offer a mix of secular and Christian titles.

U Soe Than, 55, visited the boat in the hope of finding mathematics textbooks, while his teenage daughter looked for titles on American pop music. He said he would have appreciated an offering of Buddhist books, but the ship’s visit encourages religious acceptance.

“This boat is especially a Christian missionary ship, but that is no problem because here Buddhists and Christians live together peacefully,” he said.

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