Protection from controversial ideas

Protection from controversial ideas
Two of the three children's titles - And Tango Makes Three (bottom and right) and The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption (left), recently removed by the National Library Board (NLB) as they were deemed not "pro-family", pictured at Toa Payoh Library on 10 July, 2014.

The fundamental structure of a house is its pillars. Likewise, the fundamental structure of a family is the father, mother and children.

Since time immemorial, family values have been based on this. Therefore, the National Library Board did the right thing by removing children's books that go against this principle ("NLB yanked out 3 other children's books"; yesterday).

If the NLB had done otherwise, then it would certainly have come across as promoting a political aim or, as Mr Benjamin Joshua Ong says, an ideology ("Not NLB's role to promote ideology"; yesterday).

The children's section in the library is visited by children of all ages. Young children are drawn to the pictures on book covers or their titles. They are not mature enough to "separate acceptable ideas from the unacceptable ones", and that is why there are rules in place to protect them from smoking, alcohol and other vices.

And because they are children, they should be protected from controversial ideas in library books that could influence them in a subtle way.

Some children are accompanied to the library by parents or grandparents who may not understand English. Hence, the books these children pick out cannot be vetted by their guardians, who have no reason to suspect that the library would carry books with controversial ideas.

Children have the tendency to trip and fall down, especially when their environment is cluttered. In the same way, developing minds should not be cluttered with stumbling blocks.

Adult life may present many challenges against traditional family values and fundamental truths, but the fact is that in our society, a marriage is between a man and a woman, and that when a male reproductive cell fuses with a female reproductive cell, a baby is formed - these are what children need to know.

-Grace Chua Siew Hwee (Madam)

This article was first published on July 11, 2014.
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