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.

The 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. #wearereal

Jaxe Pan

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