The Online Citizen

Banning of children’s books recommended by anti-gay Facebook group

Banning of children’s books recommended by anti-gay Facebook group
July 09
10:00 2014

By Helen Scida

I am writing to protest the action taken by you in banning two children’s books, ‘And Tango Makes Three’ and ‘The White Swan Express’ on the recommendation of the Facebook group ‘We are against PinkDot in Singapore’. I am appalled that an organisation tasked with the safekeeping of information that should first and foremost be unbiased and available to all should take action to censor what books can be made accessible to the public.

If the aforementioned group takes offence at the content of these books they should then shoulder the responsibility themselves to monitor their own children’s reading materials and/or put out information on these books for like-minded individuals to avoid; I cannot understand how completely removing access to these books for the whole population of Singapore can be seen as a reasonable or fair decision. What next? A Facebook group of three thousand people can have the power to remove books from a library – books, I have to stress, that are about the acceptance of adoption and adopted children – because they interpret these books as being pro-homosexuality. I ask again, what next? Removing books that have homosexual characters and depict homosexual relationships?

Removing books written by homosexual authors? It is not the place of the library board or private groups to decide for its entire customer base what it can and cannot read based on the subjective opinions of a few. It is the place of Singaporeans to exercise proper discernment in what they choose to read. This decision is shameful and not worthy of a society that prizes critical thinking and independence among its citizens because this amounts to state censorship, pure and simple. Furthermore, if these books passed the initial selection tests of the library organisation in the first place why is it a Facebook group, of all things, has enough clout to demand their removal?

These books are about inclusion – acceptance of adopted children and the plurality of families. I believe I am right to say that they are not exclusively promoting homosexuality. While it is the group’s right to interpret these books however they choose, it is not their right to dictate then that other people must think this way also. ‘Pro-family’, as the group uses it, is merely a smokescreen for a political agenda which has at its core the discrimination of a section of the population of Singapore.

Importantly, I believe it is clear that the libraries are full of all kinds of books that can be protested for not being ‘pro-family’ – as well as other books that are explicitly against our ‘core values’, as the Facebook group mentions. For example – the board’s public libraries carry religious texts that we can protest as promoting a religious agenda. Should we ban them? What about biographies of celebrities who have committed adultery? Or of high-profile criminals? There will be no closing of these floodgates once opened if we allow private groups to dictate what books can and cannot be available to the public, and the result is that our society will be all the poorer for it.

Coming back to the books in question, no matter what you believe, if the library chooses to censor access to books promoting inclusion then it follows that the library is promoting exclusion. It is limiting perspectives and viewpoints in the books it carries. This cannot, and must not, be. A library must not be subject to censorship.

I sincerely hope that this decision will be recanted as soon as possible and the books returned. I also request that I, and Singaporeans, be kept updated on the board’s decisions regarding this. Thank you very much for your time.

  • ASE

    I know a book which says somewhere “I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”. How’s that for anti-family?! Should we ban it?

  • Concerned parent

    We should honor & love homosexuals as a human person, but that doesn’t mean we can decieve our children & call shameful homosexual acts of lust as love. That’s what majority of Singaporean call it. Homosexuals should go attend ex-gay seminars and learn how to be delivered from this addiction to lust, not love. And not try to influence young impressionable children with lies.

    We shouldn’t copy western culture blindly in this area, coz there is a HIV epidemic in America & Europe affecting mostly homosexual gays & bisexuals who infect their gf & wives.
    All parents of all race & religions are affected and wants to protect our children from such lies & immorality.

    See the below HIV epidemic in USA. The HIV in Singapore is also rising, thanks to Pink Dot movement.

  • Concerned parent

    We thank NLB for honoring the Singaporean majority. Majority of Singaporeans are conservative and still think we can honor the lesbians & gays as fellow human beings; but not honor the homosexual acts. Because the facts is most Singaporeans think they are shameful acts motivated by lust , not love. Most Singaporeans think that gays & lesbians should attend ex-gays seminar to learn how to be delivered or set free from addictions to lust for same sex; instead of trying to influence young children with their shameful thinking. Perhaps NLB can trigger a paradigm shift by conducting a ex-gay seminar on how to break off from addiction to lust.

    America is having a HIV epidemic affecting mostly gays & bisexuals who also spread HIV to their girl friends and wives. We as parents should never import this kind of culture & destroy our children with HIV epidemic. According to Singapore HPB statistics, our HIV victims are rising together with homosexual populations. Thanks to the Pink Dot movement, thanks to the homosexual theme shows in Singapore theater & movies.