Dear Mr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Informaton, Communication and the Arts,
my daughter and I have a very close relationship. Even though there are only two of us, we are bonded in love and kinship and we are a real family. Together with many friends I know who are single parents, adopted parents, blended-family parents, homosexual men and women, we are real, and we live alongside other Singaporeans from traditional men-woman union, making the same contribution to our country.
By removing books not conforming to the prescribed family model, I fear that we are creating an artifical reality for our young children.
I fear that my daughter is denied the opportunity to learn the diversity of families and that she will grow to doubt her value as an individual.
I fear that other children would only recognise a singular family model, and regard my daughter as alien.
I fear this perpetuates intolerance and bigotry, which leads to isolation and discrimination. I fear the outcome would be a society where children of different family circumstances would be mocked and bullied because others cannot relate to or understand their differences. T
he German poet Heinrich Heine wrote, “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”
And this, I fear most.
As a mother, I can teach my daughter to be brave and optimistic if ever being ridiculed about our family situation. As a mother, I can order any of these books online for her. But as a mother, I am powerless, alone, to change the society she would find herself in.
Consider this my feeble attempt, my fears as a mother and my aspiration as a citizen, to implore you to reconsider the censorship towards our children’s books, to make Singapore an inclusive society that has a heart as big as it needs to be, to hold all of our different families.
This post originally appeared on facebook.com/jaxepan
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