The trouble with banning books is that, if you do it, you end up looking like a prize idiot.
And that is what has happened to Che Din Yusoh, who is the “secretary of the publications and Quranic texts control division” at the Internal Security Ministry here. After all, the moment you are quoted in a newspaper (see here) as saying “As the country’s moral guardian, we cannot let these books in” and you are talking about books ranging from Spongebob to “Breastfeeding Your Baby: Revised Edition” to a book on collecting Chinese teapots, how can you not look a moron?
Che Din said most of these titles were offensive because of their sexual or violent content. Worse, he also said that some classics also had to be banned because they contained liberal Western ideas that were “not conducive” to Malaysian society. Huh. Just which liberal Western ideas is he thinking of? The one that says we should learn to think for ourselves?
I am still trying to work out if breastfeeding is a liberal Western idea, or has sexual content (breasts, you know), or maybe it’s violent. (Babies can bite. Ask any breastfeeding Mum.)