By Cheryl Marie Tay
Dear National Library Board,
Before I begin my letter proper, allow me to provide a little relevant background: I’ve noticed that open letters are quite popular these days, and so far, I’ve managed to avoid writing any myself. You see, I’m too much of a hipster to do anything “cool”, so you must know how special you are, that I would actually jump on the open letter bandwagon for you. I’m also the only hipster I personally know, which truly cements my hipster status. Furthermore, it’s my birthday today, and the first serious thing I’m writing is an open letter to you. In other words, I hope you are just as honoured as I am that I am writing this letter to you.
But on to my actual letter: I have learnt that, in addition to the first three books you removed from your shelves on the grounds of complaints that they are not “pro-family”, you have removed 22 books by Robie Harris (author of Who’s In My Family?, one of the first three banned books), several of which focus on child-friendly sex education and just so happen to feature single parents and non-heterosexual couples.
The authors of two of the banned books have responded to your removal of them – Justin Richardson, who wrote that gay penguin book, also known as And Tango Makes Three, has dared to question our great government. Jeanie Okimoto, who co-authored The White Swan Express, has boldly disputed the infallible concept of family as purely heterosexual, a stance advocated by the complainant, Teo Kai Loon.
Clearly, these professional writers are woefully misguided and misinformed. Alarmingly, they have their supporters, many of whom swarmed your hallowed atrium on the holy Sabbath day for some anarchist “reading event” to protest your decision to have those books removed and pulped.
Fortunately, Teo Kai Loon has his supporters, too, as evidenced by this Facebook page. And I must say, NLB, I truly admire your firm stance in the face of such fierce opposition from these literary contrarians. Despite being deeply disheartened by these warriors of Satan, you have stood your ground. So, in an expression of my undying love for you and unwavering support of your worthy cause, I have decided to aid you in your mission to rid your shelves of demonic, anti-family books. The following is a list of titles you should ban and pulp to cleanse your stock of all that is unholy:
1. Aesop’s Fables
This is technically not a book, but a collection of many stories which have been poisoning children for generations. How are they not pro-family? Take for instance a story like The Man With Two Mistresses. From its title alone, you can tell this book is not pro-family. Other Aesop’s fables have suggestive titles such as The Ass and His Masters (most likely about the unholy practice of BDSM), The Beaver, and The Cock and the Jewel (the last two clearly euphemisms for female and male genitalia). Tsk tsk tsk. I suggest all books containing these stories be removed and pulped, just to be safe.
2. Grimms’ Fairy Tales
Like Aesop’s Fables, this is a dangerous collection of stories venomous to young minds. Let me give you a few examples
- Hansel and Gretel: The children’s abusive stepmother, afraid she and her husband will starve during the famine because the kids “eat too much”, hatches a plan to abandon them in the woods. Worse, their own father eventually agrees to go along with this wicked plan! And they later encounter a witch (obviously an agent of the Devil himself) whose candy house entices them (gluttony), and they very nearly get eaten. Surely, this is not pro-family.
- Cinderella: In the famous version of the story as we know it, Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters mistreat her daily for many years. Then, one fine day, her fairy godmother appears and magically transforms her rags to finery so she can attend the prince’s ball. She loses her shoe at the ball as she is leaving, and prince does not even know her name. Still, he finds her the next day, after which they marry and live happily ever after. Abuse, magic, and marrying someone you barely know? Blasphemy! Ban and pulp (BAP)!
- Sleeping Beauty: A king and queen have a daughter, who is cursed to die on her 16th birthday by a spiteful sorceress. A good fairy alters the curse, and when it is fulfilled, she arrives in a chariot of fire drawn by dragons. Dragons! How can we accept such servants of Lucifer being trumpeted as heroes aiding the good guy in her mission? Also, the “good guy” is a fairy, which means she practises magic, and is therefore evil. Worse, the princess is later awoken by a kiss from a prince, who is a complete stranger to her. This is clearly sexual harassment, and behaviour in which only harlots engage.
- Snow White: Snow White’s jealous stepmother sends a huntsman to kill her so she will finally be fairest in the land (though there is no guarantee this will happen upon her death), but he spares her. She takes refuge in a house shared by seven dwarves, who agree to let her stay after she promises to do all their housework. Her stepmother soon discovers she has been deceived, and tries three times to kill her herself, finally succeeding with the help of a poisoned apple. Laid to rest by the dwarves in a glass coffin, she is discovered by a prince who, like in Sleeping Beauty, awoke her with a kiss. This story is the worst so far: envy, vanity, murder, co-habiting with seven strange men, and being kissed by another strange man? Torch it, I say!
- Rumpelstiltskin: A miller lies to his king that his daughter can spin straw into gold, leading to the king having her locked in a tower to prove this, or face a beheading. An imp, Rumpelstiltskin, magically appears and does the job for her, saving her life. He does this twice more when the king gives her more straw to spin into gold, and, after having paid the imp with her ring, she has nothing left to give him. He makes her promise him her firstborn child, and returns to collect his payment when she has married the king and had her first child. She tries to avoid keeping her promise, and he compromises by saying she can keep her child if she can guess his name within three days. She does, and in a rage, he drives one foot so far into the ground that he gets stuck. The story ends with him grabbing his other foot and tearing himself in two. Avarice, violence, and promising to give up one’s own flesh and blood to some demonic magical creature? Sacrilege! BAP!
3. The Bible
Actually, all religious texts. I could pick out all the (predominantly Old Testament) verses that mention incest, slavery,patricide, infanticide, fratricide, regicide, homicide, suicide, sexism, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, concubines,adultery, and so on and so forth. And while some may argue that such horrors are mentioned in the Bible to show us what is wrong and let us form our own opinions, others may feel the Bible actually condones such behaviour.
But I think this letter is already long enough, and I wouldn’t want to take up any more of your precious time. I’m sure you have more important things to do, like scour your shelves for more books to BAP. But Singapore is a secular country which happens to have citizens of many races, religions and cultures, so in order to avoid exposing any of us to “conflicting content”, I think the best approach would be to BAP all religious books. It’s simple and requires hardly any thought – perfect for your busy schedule!
I do hope you consider my suggestions. I am a concerned member of the public dedicated to seeing family values constantly promoted in our country, and am well aware that the subversive, Satan-worshiping LGBT community seeks to rip apart our social fabric, starting with the most impressionable components of society: our children.
So, please – spare a thought for the children! They are our future, and God-approved censorship is the path to their success.
A Pro-Family Singaporean
This letter was first published at http://yoursirreverently.wordpress.com