The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Singapore Halts Destruction Of ‘Pro-Gay’ Children’s Books

@AFP

Singapore (AFP) – Singapore on Friday stopped its national library from destroying two children’s books with gay themes following an outcry over literary censorship in the tightly regulated city-state.

Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim ordered the books moved to the adult section, where parents can borrow them for their children, after another title had already been “pulped” by the National Library Board (NLB).

“We stand by NLB’s decision to remove the three books from the children’s section,” Yaacob said on his Facebook page, adding that the board “will continue to ensure that books in the children’s section are age-appropriate”.

Singapore has separately banned a volume of the long-running U.S. comics series Archie because its depiction of a marriage between two men was deemed to breach local “social norms”.

Government officials insist most Singaporeans are conservative and do not accept homosexuality.

The two books to be moved to the adult section of public libraries are And Tango Makes Three — a true story about two male penguins in a New York zoo that raised a baby penguin — and The White Swan Express, which features children adopted by straight, gay, mixed-race and single parents.

The book that has already been destroyed is Who’s In My Family?, which discusses different types of families, including references to gay couples.

Some 400 people including parents gathered at a library branch last weekend to read the banned books to their children as a show of protest.

Sex between men is illegal in Singapore and punishable by up to two years in jail under a provision in the penal code dating back to British colonial rule.

The government’s refusal to rescind the law — which is not being actively enforced — has become a lightning rod for a growing movement for gay rights and inclusiveness in the multi-racial island nation of 5.4 million.

Yaacob, the information minister, said objections to the destruction of books “reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word”.

“I have instructed NLB not to pulp the two other titles, but instead to place them in the adult section of the public libraries. I have also asked NLB to review the process by which they deal with such books,” he said.

“The decision on what books children can or cannot read remains with their parents. Parents who wish to borrow these books to read with their children will have the option to do so,” the minister added.

More than 20,000 people gathered in a peaceful rally on June 28 supporting gay rights despite a fierce online campaign against the event by conservative Muslims and Christians.

AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

This is the first of what is sure to be way too many campaign columns to come. If you’d like them to land in your email inbox every time I write one, please buy a subscription.

Keep reading...Show less

Tape of home invasion attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi

Youtube Screenshot

Video released Friday of the harrowing home invasion and assault that nearly killed then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in October brought little in the way of self-reflection or regret from far-right Internet trolls and Fox News stars who spent months baselessly insisting that the attack had actually resulted from a gay tryst gone wrong. Instead, the denizens of the right-wing conspiracy theory ecosystem either claimed that the new evidence proved that they were right all along, or used it to float additional conspiracy theories about why it hadn’t been released earlier.

The key facts were available within hours of the October 28, 2022, attack. Law enforcement swiftly alleged that David DePape broke into the Democratic leader’s home in the middle of the night seeking to harm her and pummeled her 82-year-old husband Paul, sending him to the hospital for emergency surgery. Journalists who reviewed DePape’s Internet history subsequently revealed that he had been radicalized online and espoused a wide array of right-wing conspiracy theories, including QAnon.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}