My bibliobibulous prose has reached the glossies! I have a piece in this months edition of new men's magazine chrome.
(SMART//SHARP//SEXY reads the cover. That of course refers to the writers. Too bad about the rest of you.)
There among the oiled torsos and designer stubble and the lip-glossed pouting pretty boys is my article They Ban Books, Don't They?
No prizes for guessing who the "they" is.
But what came as a huge surprise to me writing the article was just how many books simply do not make it onto the shelves of bookshops. Apart from the more high profile cases where organisations like the DAP or religious bodies kick up a fuss, no announcement is made about what is banned.
Anyway, I guess we must just accept that the Kementarian Keselematan Dalam Negeri (The Ministry of Internal affairs) has the interests of all Malaysians at heart. It would be too bad if you had access to information not sanctioned by a government body. Those in power are always wiser than you. They do not need to explain their actions.
And yes, it would be terrible if you had access to banned books like Thousand and One Nights (a.k.a. The Arabian Nights). Don't, whatever you do, spend time here.
And please avoid taking a peek at Khalil Gibran's The Prophet. It has been banned in Malaysia since 1992, never mind that it has been described as "one of the most inspirational works to come from any modern poet in the Arab world". (Psssst, you want to buy a copy? Just e-mail me ...)
It's quite obvious too that Lady Chatterley's Lover is a corrupting influence. It doesn't matter that it is a tender love story which shows the spiritual and regenerative powers of sex. The authorities have decided that it is smut and out of bounds for you. There's a lot more sex in last year's Booker prize winner. Explicit gay sex into the bargain. Come to that, there is more sex in just about any novel you pick up nowadays. All of them should be banned.
I end here due to sheer lack of energy, not from a shortage of books to talk about. If you want to read more you'll have to buy chrome.
(And if I can't tempt you, Dina Zaman has a great piece in it telling guys how to buy lingerie for their women. Lady Chatterley - eat your heart out!)