More than 26,000 signatures were collected by Monday morning to support an open letter that is in favour of the banning of three children's books by the National Library Board (NLB).
“We will be sending it to various ministers from the Ministry of Communications & Information, Ministry of Social and Family Development, and the Ministry of Education,” said in a post on Singaporeans United for Family’s Facebook page. The page was created in February and it has been used to publish posts that promote “strong and resilient families” consisting of “one man one woman”, and their children.
In the open letter, the community group expressed their support for NLB’s decision to ban the books titled “And Tango Makes Three” and “The White Swan Express: A story about Adoption” after receiving complaints from a member of the public that they did not promote family values. The third book “Who’s in my Family?: All About Our Families” were reportedly removed earlier his year.
The group said NLB had banned the books in the interest of children who are unable to “evaluate homosexual content and stimulus at their age”.
They added that NLB’s decision showed that the board had “uphold” their role as a place that does not promote sub-cultural beliefs or behaviours at the expense of children – “not in the name of inclusivity” or “political correctness”.
The group also said that the board does not deserve the “flak” they are receiving over their decision.
NLB ‘deeply saddened'
On Sunday, NLB’s Chief Executive Officer Elaine Ng said she is “deeply saddened” by the disappointment among local writers on the ban, adding that the board will see what they can do to “reclaim the trust” from them.
NLB has come under major criticism after news broke on Tuesday saying that they have decided to ban the three children’s books. The books will be destroyed as well.
Also on Sunday, about 400 people had reportedly gathered outside the National Library on Bras Basah Road to read books – including the removed titles – with their children. The read-in occurred during a “Let’s Read Together” event organised by a Germaine Ong and Jolene Tan.
Prior to the event, Tan said that a police permit had been applied and that the URL of the event page on Facebook had been emailed to NLB. In the page, it was clearly stated that the banned books will be made available, she said.
Among those who attended include artistic director Ivan Heng who said on his Facebook post, “It’s important to note that at the heart of this beautiful gathering was a powerful protest - to remind our National Library of its role as a public institution of learning in a secular, progressive and democratic society.”
Many who are against NLB’s decision have also expressed their opposing views with the hashtag #FreeMyLibrary and some have changed their Facebook profile photos to the one below: