I love the library. Any library. The architecture, the smells, that spaciousness and most of all, the books. If I have fond memories of the local library, that's because it opened my world to fantasy, goth and gore. Nobody in my army of strict Catholic caregivers stopped me from checking out witch rituals. They wanted to know what I was reading, without having to hide from them. As a result of my particular interest in these genres which can be deemed as Satanic or the Occult, I stumbled across the concept of controversial books and a list of 'banned publications'. It became that I started buying those books on the lists. After reading them, it didn't take long to understand why they've been banned or how they're controversial. Every book opens doors to different worlds. Whether I choose to adopt a book's opinions or whatever, is dependent on my independent thought processes. A result of nurturing from my non-judgmental non-traditional family and the excellent education system. The harder you try to put me in a box, the further I intend to jump away from it.
I love how everyone is speaking up. National Library Board (NLB) isn't remaining neutral like a library ought to be. The Singapore writers have spoken out and some have withdrawn from engagements involving the NLB. This is their livelihood, and they're willing to make a stand. Twenty years ago, this wouldn't have been possible. So I celebrate that. For the rest of us, we pen short polite firm letters about our views to NLB and its parent Ministry. Whatever views are all making themselves heard. So I'm not certain about what the heck is a "community norm" anymore. (About Penguin-gate here, here, here, here and here.)
Your children, your values, your family, your rules. You do the parenting, not anyone else and certainly not the nanny state. You don't ask someone to think for you. And you don't deride the values others hold. Not if Singapore aspires to be the democratic society full of arts and culture like it has envisioned. Let us bring out debates over and over again in various nooks of society like what every progressive city does, and wisely learn to agree to disagree.
We could argue till the cows come home about the reasons behind the ban. But one thing remains- PULPING BOOKS IS SO LAME. Of those books in our library fracas, I've only read 'And Tango Makes Three'. My copy is out on loan with the friends. When I was in Seattle, the girlfriend specifically asked me to buy this book for her children (who are at ages of nine, eight, three and two). Decided a personal copy is needed too. I like penguins. Appended is a a reading of the book. It's entirely your choice to hit 'play'.