... some barely literate little Napoleon - to borrow Pak Lah's term - sitting behind a KDN desk in Johor Bahru has decided that the book is not suitable for MalaysiansAnd it gets worse:
We spoke to the distributor of this title. He confirmed that all Salman Rushdie books are now getting the 'treatment'. He related how he tried to ship in the hardback edition of Shalimar the Clown, and was told that it was 'restricted'. He didn't argue. He says he never argues, because he wants the rest of the shipment to go through. This is how all Malaysian (and Singaporean) shippers are treated. If they decide to argue, every single one of the hundred odd boxes will be detained for 'further inspection', if not ripped open right there on the tarmac. If a complaint is made 'further up', this treatment can be expected for every subsequent shipment. It is not surprising then that distributors prefer to suffer in silence.Raman has also posted up a list of over 100 banned books (from just one distributor, note!) and proposes a rather nice little party game you can play with it. Which is really the only way to cope with all this silliness. But he's right - the laughter quickly gets replaced by outrage ... and then with a deep deep sense of sorrow.
And then, I have to be honest here, with the thought who wants to live in a country where books are banned?
Meanwhile ... Midnight Lily gets enraged on behalf of Dorothy the Dinosaur. Eyeris records a conversation between KDN officers as they sort through the books, Sashi says "Bullcrap!" Suanie says WHAT?!?!?!??! WHY?!?!?!??!, while Minishorts decides to lament and worry. Sharanya says Oh. My. God. and ponders the threat Sponge Bob Squarepants poses to society. And Whereinsoever ponders the apparent contradiction between announcements of reading campaigns and book-bannings.
Let's hope someone is listening!
Index: On Censorship