Nevertheless, I had a little outrage left for this reader's letter in The Malay Mail today, asking why Salman Rushdie's books are sold in MPH when :
... they are banned in most Muslim countries.(Unspecified, of course!!)
The unnamed MPH spokesman gives a very conciliatory answer and passes the buck to distributor Pansing.
If this bloke had wandered into my bookstore, I'd have told him to check in his bigotry and ignorance at the customer service counter. If I were a newspaper editor, I wouldn't have wasted column inches on him.
The fact is Rushdie's books are not banned in Malaysia with the exception of The Satanic Verses (although everyone who wants to read it can easily lay their hands on a copy). There is no earthly reason for them to be.
And the rest of us should stand up firmly against the very suggestion that books should disappear from the shelves.
I'm an extremist? You betcha. But I only read books. I don't plant bombs or throw young men out of windows. (Outrage is better saved for those people.)
As for whether Rushdie's books apart from The Satanic Verses are banned in other countries - I suspect not but I need to dig around to find the actual evidence. And certainly there is a move towards greater tolerance and away from book banning in the UAE [via].
While we're getting angry with things in The Malay Mail, let me ask you (since I feel like playing teacher today) if you can spot the grammar error in this sentence :
A leading light of the abolish English for science and maths campaign has a new book.The article goes on to talk about how the Higher Education Ministry and the Malaysian National Institute of Translation (MNIT) will hold a road show nationwide to promote A. Samad Said's book, Bisik Warna. The Deputy Higher Education Minister calls it :
...a work of arts (sic) and words from the national laureate on life, organisations, leaders and philosophy ...The (sic) proving that the journalist who wrote the column can spot someone else's ouchy grammar error, even if they can't see their own.
Congrats to Pak Samad anyway, and it is good to see a book getting so much official support.