Singaporeans need to know about these guidelines

I refer to the article “Arts House sets out sequence of events leading to cancellation of launch of The Phantom Of Oxley Castle” (Straits Times, Nov 14).

It states that “The Arts House has set out the sequence of events leading to the cancellation of the launch of a children’s book at its premises, contradicting what the publisher had claimed happened.

The book in question, The Phantom Of Oxley Castle, was supposed to have been launched on Saturday. The title and storyline bring to mind the 38 Oxley Road saga and Lee family feud.

On Sunday, Mr Edmund Wee, chief executive of Epigram Books, told The Straits Times that the Arts House had informed him on the phone over the weekend that they “did not want the book launch at their premises”.

Asked about this on Sunday, an Arts House spokesman said the final decision to cancel or postpone the event was in fact made by Epigram Books.

In a statement yesterday, the Arts House said it was approached by Epigram Books in September regarding the launch of Dream Island – the Mad Mad World Of Philip Yeo. This launch had a charity component to it.

In October, Epigram Books suggested expanding the launch to two books, and included The Phantom of Oxley Castle.

“As part of our efforts to support the launch of new books in Singapore, The Arts House agreed to launching both books at the same event,” said the statement.

Over the weekend, the Arts House informed Epigram Books that there had been “online media chatter” about The Phantom of Oxley Castle.

“The Arts House also highlighted that this development might have implications on the launch of Dream Island, which had been the original book we had been approached about, as well as its charity component.”

These steps were undertaken as part of its “usual process to engage in open dialogue” with venue users, particularly how they might affect their event, it said.

“At no point did The Arts House inform Epigram Books that we did not want the book launch to take place on our premises.”

Epigram Books decided to cancel the launch of the Oxley Castle book to focus on Dream Island, said the statement, adding that the publisher communicated its decision on its Facebook page.

The Arts House added that Epigram Books had reiterated to it on Monday morning that it had conveyed the reason for the cancellation to the media.

The children’s book is about a grand castle with 38 rooms, located on a tropical island. Two young princes, a princess and their pesky butler named OB Markus live in the castle.

Earlier this year, a dispute broke out between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his two siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, over the fate of their family home in 38 Oxley Road.

Asked about the Arts House’s statement, Mr Wee told The Straits Times on Monday: “I’m prepared to accept that there was a misunderstanding between The Arts House and me.”

He declined to comment further on the issue.

But in a statement earlier in the day, Epigram Books said it “has not received any letter of any kind” from the Prime Minister’s Office or any individuals.

It said it has taken legal advice from Peter Low & Choo regarding the book, and that the launch has been cancelled and postponed till further notice.

The Epigram Books statement also claimed there was “a misunderstanding” regarding what Mr Wee had shared with The Straits Times about the cancellation of the book launch.

“The decision to cancel the book launch was initiated by Epigram Books,” it said.

“While the original intent was to do a dual book launch, we have decided that it will be better to focus on doing a one book launch,” it said, referring to Dream Island.

It said it will continue to take orders but the delivery of the books will be confirmed at a later date.

Mr Wee had earlier said the book all characters in the book were fictional, and that it was not a re-telling of the Oxley Road events.

The 32-page hardcover book costs $16.90. Epigram Books said the first print order is 2,000 copies.”

According to its website, The Arts House is a multidisciplinary arts centre with a focus on literary programming. It occupies the Old Parliament House and is managed by a not-for-profit organisation – Arts House Limited (AHL) – under the National Arts Council. AHL also manages Goodman Arts Centre and Aliwal Arts Centre.

Meanwhile, online portal The Online Citizen (TOC) said on Monday night it “apologises unreservedly” to PM Lee for saying the prime minister intended to sue the publishers and authors of the book for defamation.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, TOC said at first that it had heard that the publisher and authors had been notified that PM Lee will be suing them for defamation. It later corrected the post to say the publisher would receive a letter on Monday.

On Monday, TOC said it first heard of the possible defamation suit launch “through a third party” who had spoken to Mr Wee. “A phone call was made to Mr Wee on Sunday to verify the story. We asked if the publisher had received a letter from the Prime Minister Office or Mr Lee Hsien Loong.”

TOC said Mr Wee’s reply was that he had not received anything yet, but was told to expect it on Monday.

“This is the original source for the post made on Sunday evening,” added TOC.

It also said: “We stand by the fact that we were informed by the publishers of possible legal action that would come their way today. Our information and source were deemed accurate and credible at the material time. The fact that the publisher shared our original post on Facebook serves as evidence. We have and will produce further evidence if the need to do so arises.””

In this connection, I would like to bring to Singaporeans’ attention – the following extract from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth‘s (MCCY) web site:

“Name and image of Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew

Mr Lee Kuan Yew is the Founding Prime Minister of Singapore, who led the Government of Singapore from 1959 to 1990. His passing on 23 March 2015 was a significant moment in Singapore’s history, with more than 454,000 queuing to pay their last respects during the week of mourning at Parliament House, where Mr Lee’s body lay in state. As Singaporeans grieved the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, many paid tribute to Mr Lee with icons and artworks which have served as powerful symbols to rally Singaporeans in national pride and unity.

To encourage such expressions of national pride and identity and the appropriate use of Mr Lee’s name and image, MCCY has drawn up the following set of guidelines:

  1. The name or image or likeness of Mr Lee Kuan Yew may be used for purposes of identifying with the nation, including on works of art or publications or items for charitable purposes, in accordance with law.
  2. The name or image or likeness of Mr Lee Kuan Yew should be accorded dignity and respect.
  3. The name or image or likeness of Mr Lee Kuan Yew should not be used for commercial exploitation or be assumed or taken to indicate any kind of official endorsement of products or services.”


Leong Sze Hian



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10 Responses to “Singaporeans need to know about these guidelines”

  • annelise:

    This is scary. Things are getting more and more ridiculous in this country . If it has nothing to do with the LEE family , then why not?

    GD Star Rating
  • Amos exposed PAP hypocrisy:

    Amos “likes” LKY so much he might be writing a “similar” book now that he is out of jail and has a US Green Card. While at Harvard for his talk he might want to check with Lee Shengwu if he would like to join and be a co-author. Book will be a guaranteed best seller on Singapore. They might even be able to sell the movie rights to Disney for a cartoon version.

    GD Star Rating
  • I'm Halimah also jiak liao bee:

    You have a choice but you and the 70% daft chose not to use that choice.
    instead you prefer to be screwed good and proper.
    Blame yourself for getting this country into this shit and allowed the LEEnasty to run all over you.
    And is the Art House working for the Govt or the people ?
    Who pays their salary, the LEEnasty or the tax payers ?

    GD Star Rating
  • Suspicious Minds:

    When one is guilty , one feels that everyone else is talking about you or plotting against you.
    ..he/shd becomes paranoid n suspicious ..
    Whats the use of all those mil$$$ when you cant even have a peaceful nite’s sleep.

    GD Star Rating
  • Selfish Sinkie Syndrome:

    I hope the idiots in white BAN this book.
    Once banned, its sales will proceed to skyrocket.
    Then, me and many others will all rush out to buy this book. lol.

    All parents can also read this as bedtime stories to their children, so that all future generations of Sinkies will forever remember the crimes of famiLEE.

    GD Star Rating
  • Bapak:

    When the book is banned in SG you’ll know there is a hidden hand.

    GD Star Rating
  • Harder Truths:

    North Korea has more freedom than $G.
    Luckily we have internet – for now.

    GD Star Rating
  • Amos Yee will write that book:

    Amos Yee, you might want to pursue your creative thoughts something along theses lines. For unlike other Singaporeans, you now have the freedom to do it.

    GD Star Rating
  • Dirty Old Man:

    PAP is government and anyone who speaks bad of PAP is an enemy and must be deal with, any means possible. There is nothing to be suspicious or paranoid about.

    They sleep very peacefully at night knowing that the security force will take out their enemies. Old Man said it’s ok to lock up the people under ISA even if they are really innocent, he said if he don’t lock them up, they might one day become a real threat.

    Suspicious Minds:
    When one is guilty , one feels that everyone else is talking about you or plotting against you.
    ..he/shd becomes paranoid n suspicious ..
    Whats the use of all those mil$$$ when you cant even have a peaceful nite’s sleep.

    GD Star Rating
  • billyma:

    But the name of lky can be used for political gain & election advertisement purposes.
    Yes, the above is applicable only to PAP.

    By the time the next GE comes around, the name lky will be a non factor.

    In fact, the country will be in such sad state that the name lky may just be as toxic as the name lhl be rotten.

    GD Star Rating
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