Tuesday, 7 November 2006

My take on the banned books issue...

Finally finished reading the copy of Rebecca Wells' Little Altars Everywhere that I got at the picnic. Not bad lah, for a first book although the reading order should be reversed (I think). Little Altars Everywhere is the prequel (I guess it's the right word to use) to Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which has since turned into that famous movie with Sandra Bullock in it which has Oprah (YES, Oprah) going on about it back in the day. I thought I didn't like the latter, but reading my journal entry about it, I really liked it. Go figure. I think I got it mixed up with Anthony Horowitz's Stormbreaker (yeah, the one playing in cinemas at the moment), that must be it. Whoops. (I didn't like the book all that much, too young for me).

Okay, enough talk about my reading. There has been a lot of noise made about banned books in Malaysia in recent weeks. There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said by a lot of other people. As someone who loves to read (I don't think I qualify as a TRUE bibliophile), I take offence that a group of non-readers trying to deprive the rest of us of literature that we must explore in our lifetimes. What kind of qualifications do you need to have the power to not let books into Malaysia anyway? Like that I also want to work at the KDN lah, if that's what it takes to feed my reading habit... > P

What's more outrageous is that there isn't a public, unified list of "What Not to Reads" (all different ports of entry, different criteria of what sort of books not to let in) for the reading public to be aware about in the first place. What the fish. The usual titles about homosexuality, religion, or what I kind of get it (but they shouldn't, seriously), but come on -
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood?! What the fish...?! Little Altars Everywhere was a tad racier than that. (To my recollection, anyway). So the arbitary, man.

Of course the news is out about Salman Rushdie's books are being banned - unfortunate because I never got the chance to read any of his work (I only heard about how well
The Satanic Verses was received by certain groups of people).

And it happens everywhere - conservatives wanting to ban
Harry Potter for the witchcraft, Catcher in the Rye for the language, The Vagina Monologues for the V word and the content HERE, etc - any excuse to ban a book. And trust me, personally, I would WANT to read some of these banned titles to see what the fuss is about and would go out of my way to get them.

If the penalty for possessing banned books is truly exercised and houses are being raided, there wouldn't be enough room in Malaysian prisons to hold every literate person in Malaysia who has at least one "banned" book in their possession. (Last I saw, it's a maximum fine of RM20,000 and 3 years in jail). Die lah like that.

So yeah, there's a blog for bloggers who are against book banning and I might as well leave them a link to this rant. Here's a link on Silverfish Books - a list of banned titles in Malaysia - at the Johore port of entry.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]