Book Burning – Justified or Senseless?


Screen Shot 2013 10 09 at 12 03 29 PMArticle from here

One word – Angst.

I feel their angst too. To burn books after PSLE, must be an accumulation of frustration over time, a fair bit of anger and could possibly communicate a hidden message to the education ministry that they are sick of the oppressive educational standards?


Could the psyche behind this book burning action is a way of expressing hatred so profound that the offensive material must be removed from existence. By reducing the offensive stuff to ashes, it will be removed from the parents’ or children memory entirely.

Probably not.

I still tend to think that these Singaporeans did not think so much when they burnt those books. Mother or father is frustrated that the entire year is ruined by the stress of preparation of PSLE that they are unable to lead a normal life, and kid has been so stressed by this exam. That they decided one day after exam, “We have to take revenge. Take revenge on the torture that have been inflicted by these books the past 9 months, by burning them. Plus daughter / son is going to feel quite happy and satisfied once they see the books burnt. Yes, it will be no more. No more torture from these books.”

After all, exam is done, kid has already regurgitated what is read in those books at the exams, they have no more need for the books.

Book burning in history is symbolic of an oppressive regime which sought to silence an aspect of a nation’s culture, generally motivated by moral, religious or political objections to the material. Who has done book burning before? Oppressive regimes from Hitler, religious and communistic regimes through history. All in their efforts to suppress heretical or dissenting views that are perceived as posing a threat to the prevailing order (Wikipedia)

Book burning. What used to be an act carried out in extreme situations by extremists group. And NOT a function of developed or democratic government n these modern times, have evolved into a senseless expression of angst and frustration of some of my country’s citizens towards how they choose to manage societal pressures.

So mother and father do not realize the message that they are relaying to the kids through that action of book burning? That it is ok to be extreme. It is ok to display your angst by burning things. It is ok to display your hatred of something and burn them, as long it make you feel better about yourself. Today book burning, tomorrow arsonists?

Humans have always and will still be a confused bunch, methinks.

I wonder what will run through these kids’ minds when they finally become adults and have somewhat negative feelings towards their jobs or their bosses?

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  1. It’s a sad, sad day, when children are taught, and encouraged, to burn their books. Books have always been special to me, and I’m trying my best to inculcate a love of reading in my child, so it’s really depressing to see what other parents are teaching their children. Is there really a need for such extreme behaviour? After six to nine years of education, is this what they have learnt – to destroy what they do not like? I really worry for our next generation, and wonder what kind of world our children will grow up in.
    Adeline´s last blog post ..Southbank Library at Boyd