Wednesday, July 16, 2014

National Library Board's 3 Banned Books

I would not be writing this if not for unceasing media attention given to the NLB's banned children books depicting gay lifestyle. The media attention given to this issue is really overblown; soon Channel News Asia will be airing a special documentary on this. I must say there is unfair coverage on TV and newspapers where 200 or so gathered for reading at the Central library is given much time and prominence in the media compared to 25,000 signatures in favour of the NLB's decision. I support NLB's decision without question. I love our national libraries. In fact I am writing this from a library. I love books and I support all kinds of books and intellectual inquiry from various perspectives of scholars and authors. But we are talking about children's books. One can't even have sex legally with a girl under 16 years old even with her consent. This is heterosexual sex but the State rightly protects young girls and women under age from being preyed upon or in the State's view, could not give considered consent given their age. I am citing this as an example that the State has authority to sanction or prohibit certain activities by law. And it is still the country's law that sex between males is an offence, even for consenting adult males. The State's view is enshrined in section 377A of the Penal Code.
If homosexual relations between consenting adult males is a crime, what is the big deal for the National Library Board, a State agency to uphold the country's laws, more so in respect of children who due to their lack of maturity would not have the moral or intellectual capacity to evaluate the issues touching on sexuality or alternative lifestyle portrayed by the 3 books. Children must be protected from deviant behaviour according to the laws of the land. When they turn 18, they can make up their minds what they want to read but before that happens, there must be guidance not just by parents but it is also the duty of the custodians and policy makers of our public libraries to uphold the laws of the State. They must be applauded for doing so.


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