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The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is back in stores

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

If you have been waiting eagerly for Sonny Liew’s comic book to be available again, well wait no more!

“The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye”, the 34-page book which has grabbed national attention in recent weeks, is again in stock from 19 June (Friday).

“The highly anticipated #TheArtOfCharlieChanHockChye will be back in stock at all bookstores starting from 19 June,” Epigram Books, the publisher, announced on its Facebook page.

The book had initially been approved for funding by the National Arts Council (NAC), and indeed reports said that NAC had already disbursed more than S$6,000 to the publisher before the release of the book in May.

However, just a day before the books’ public launch, the NAC withdrew the funding, citing the book’s “sensitive content”, without elaborating.

Mr Khor Kok Wah, senior director, literary arts sector, National Arts Council said in response to media queries:

"We had to withdraw the grant when the book The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye came out because its sensitive content, depicted in visuals and text, did not meet our funding conditions.”

Mr Khor did not explain or elaborate what the “sensitive content” was.

However, it is believed to pertain to the political content of the book, which included mentions of controversial incidents in Singapore’s history, including Operation Coldstore, where more than 100 opposition members were rounded up and locked up, some for decades, in 1963; and Operation Spectrum, where 22 activists and social workers were detained for being involved in an alleged and unproved “Marxist conspiracy” to topple the government under the late Lee Kuan Yew.

Page from Art of Charlie Chan
Page from Art of Charlie Chan

Epigram Books’ Edmund Wee told the media that he will return the $6,400 and is printing stickers to cover up the arts council logo in the printed books.

The second print will no longer come with the NAC logo.

The first print run was for 1,000 copies and retailed for $34.90 in major bookstores.

The funding withdrawal by the NAC resulted in widespread condemnation of the council, and increased publicity for Mr Liew’s book.

Consequently, all 1,000 copies of the books sold out on the first day of its release.

Mr Wee then said that the book will have a second print.

You can place your pre-orders at all major bookstores or at Epigram Books webstore.

“Believe us when we say good things are worth waiting for,” Epigram Books said.

You can also purchase the book at TOC's online bookstore here.

We have it in stock too.

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