Singapore National Libraries to Destroy "Gay-Themed" Books

After Singapore national libraries labeled a children's book about two male penguins who raise a baby chick "inappropriate," the conservative information minister, Yaacob Ibrahim, has vowed to ban "gay-themed" books in national libraries and destroy any remaining copies of books that encourage "non-traditional" family values.

According to a report in the Associated Press, the three books that will be "pulped" by the National Library Board are: "'And Tango Makes Three,' about a male-male penguin couple in the Central Park Zoo; 'The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption,' which involves a lesbian couple; and 'Who's In My Family: All About Our Families.'"

Yaacob Ibrahim, the Minister of Communications and Information in Singapore, said on Friday:

"The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about."

"Societies are never static, and will change over time. But NLB's approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them."

The decision to destroy the books has resulted in an oppositional protest by authors and writers in the largely conservative city-state.

Via the AP:

Donald Low, author of "Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus," a book recommending policy reforms in the tightly-controlled Southeast Asian state, said he had pulled out of the Singapore Writers' Festival in November to protest the decision.

"I see no evidence of a significant segment of Singapore society objecting to these books being in our public libraries, even if the majority of Singaporeans are conservative," Low said.

There has been no news on how and when the books will be destroyed.

[Image via Singapolitics]