Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious society. There should be respect for each others’ belief systems, if no respect, at least tolerance. Some Christians and Muslims might be offended about the gay culture and lifestyle supposedly rampant in Singapore in their eyes, and thus engineered for the removal of such “offensive” children’s books shelved in the NLB. This caused an equally righteous backlash from book lovers and open-minded people in general regardless of their religious affiliation. The police also allowed a permit for this protest, framed as a public book reading which attracted people in the hundreds.
There is space for religious doctrine but NLB and its books are shared space and public items for all. Religious doctrine should be left outside NLB, deposited in a locker for safekeeping. There are religious-based books e.g. CS Lewis’ lovely Narnia books, shelved in NLB which might be offensive to the shallow or closed-minded atheists,agnostics or someone from another religion, but they didn’t engineer for these books to be pulped based on the books’ Christian allegories and ideas.
Hence, these particular Christians and Muslims who are part of the anti-Pink Dot movement should respect secular belief systems in public and shared spaces like the libraries. More so if they want others to respect their belief systems in their own communities and spaces. Respect expects reciprocity. If some Christians don’t want their children to read such “offensive” books, which is their right to do so, guide their children accordingly. Just don’t tell other parents who don’t share their beliefs what their kids should read or not read.
SINGAPORE – A reading event today (July 13) featuring two of the three children’s titles that were removed from public libraries drew about 400 people, according to estimates by the organisers.
Held at the National Library Building atrium, Let’s Read Together! seeks to highlight what the organisers feel is important in children’s literature, said co-organiser Jolene Tan, speaking at the event.
“We think that some of the books that have been withdrawn from the library are among the books that we think are useful for this purpose,” she said. “Since they are no longer available here, we thought it would be nice to have an event where we make them available to those people who would want to read them.”
It was reported on Tuesday that the National Library Board (NLB) had withdrawn three children’s book titles – And Tango Makes Three, The White Swan Express and Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families – as they did not promote pro-family values.
The organisers set up a makeshift library at today’s event, offering about eight to 10 children’s books, including And Tango Makes Three and Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families, for participants to borrow and read. The other books talk about different family structures and sex education. Participants also brought their own books to read or read to their children.