Home' Greymouth Star : 01-May-2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Blasphemy, homosexual ideas and
psychological damage have all been used
as reasons to remove some of the most-
love children’s books from shelves.
Here are eight treasured children’s books
that have been banned at various times
and places around the world.
1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland —
With all of the books twists and
adventures, it was the fact that the
animals were able to use human language,
therefore putting animals on the same
level as humans, that caused the book to
be banned in China.
It was also banned in 1900 by a school
in New Hampshire for containing
“expletives, sexual content and derogatory
characterisations of teachers and of
2. Green Eggs and Ham — Dr Seuss
“That Sam-I-am, that Sam-I -am, I do
not like that Sam-I-am” — the words that
are part of so many children’s lives were
deemed to be a portrayal of early Mar xism
and included homosexual ideas by the
People’s Republic of China and the book
was banned until 1991 as a result.
3. Where the Wild Things Are —
When it went to print in 1967, there
were many objections over the dark nature
of this classic children’s book. A child
psychologist, Bruno Bettelheim, wrote
in his 1969 column for Ladies’ Home
Journal that the book was psychologically
damaging for three and four year-olds. He
believed that depriving children of food
was an inappropriate form of punishment
and would traumatise young readers.
It was banned by all United States
libraries for the first few years after its
4. Winnie-the Pooh — A A Milne
The delightful adventures of Pooh and
his friends have captured the hearts
of many children, but they have been
banned by numerous countries around
the world. Like Alice’s Adventures in
Wonderland, talking animals were deemed
inappropriate and this led to its ban
in parts of the United States. In other
parts of the world the book has cause
no end of offence — in Turkey because
allegedly Piglet is offensive to Muslims,
in Russia because of alleged Nazi ties and
a Californian school sent a 14-year-old
to an in-school suspension programme
because of her Tigger-embroided socks.
5. Charlotte’s Web — E B White
It has sold more than 45 million copies
worldwide, but it has been banned in parts
of both Britain and in the US. In 2006,
a group of parents in Kansas found the
book blasphemous and unnatural, saying
“ humans are the highest level of God’s
creation and are the only creatures that can
communicate vocally. Showing lower life
forms with human abilities is sacrilegious
and disrespectful to God.”
In another school in Britain, the book
was banned because it “might ” be offensive
to Muslim students. The Muslim Council
of Britain stepped in and the book
returned to the library shelves.
6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
— Roald Dahl
This childhood favourite caused
controversy over alleged racism when it
was published in 1964. In the original
book, Oompa-Loompas work for a wage
of beans, sing chants while they do their
work, and allow numerous experiments to
be conducted on them — but they were
not small orange-skinned creatures —
they were African pygmies. Dahl, after
hearing the criticisms, revised the book to
how it is known today.
The book was also banned from a
library in Colorado as it “espouses a poor
philosophy of life”.
7. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz —
This timeless classic has been shrouded
in debate for many years as various groups
have found ways to deem it to be offensive.
In 1928 it was banned in Chicago for its
ungodly influence in depicting women in
strong leadership roles.
Decades later, in 1957 the Detroit Public
Library banned it for having “no value
for children today ” because it supports
negativism and “for bringing children’s
minds to a cowardly level”.
8. Harriet the Spy — Louise Fitzhugh
A self-proclaimed spy, Harriet takes
studious notes about life with striking
honesty, making her a firm favourite of
children. Her flawed character has caused
controversy since the book publication 50
years ago. It was banned in some schools
and libraries in the US because “it set a
bad example for children”. In 1983 another
wanted the book banned in Xenia, Ohio,
saying that the book “teaches children to
lie, spy, back-talk and curse”.
4 - Thursday, May 1, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
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Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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uLetters to the editor
1707 - Union between England and Scotland
goes into effect under name Great Britain.
1884 - Work begins on a 10-storey building
in Chicago using a unique steel-framed
interior, making it the world’s first skyscraper.
1931 - The 102-storey Empire State Building
in New York, at the time the world’s
tallest building, is officially opened.
1960 - The Soviet Union shoots
down an American U-2 plane
piloted by Francis Gary Powers,
who is jailed for spying before being
exchanged in an East-West spy
swap in February 1962.
1967 - Elvis Presley marries Priscilla
1992 - US President George Bush orders
1000 riot police to Los Angeles, torn by ethnic
rioting, and puts 4000 army troops on standby.
1994 - Ayrton Senna, three times world
Formula One auto racing champion, dies after
a high-speed crash in the San Marino Grand
1999 - The body of British mountaineer
George Mallory is found on Mount Everest,
almost 75 years after he disappeared on a
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Joseph Addison, English poet-politician
(1672-1719); Kate Smith, US singer (1909-
1986); Joseph Heller, US writer
(1923-1999); John Meillon,
Australian radio and television
actor (1934-1989); Judy Collins,
US singer (1939-); Rita Coolidge,
US singer (1945-); John Woo,
Chinese-born film director (1946-
); Joanna Lumley, English actress
(1946- ); Ray Parker Jr, US singer (1954-); Tim
McGraw, US country singer, (1967-); Stuart
Appleby, Australian golfer (1971-).
“Think much, speak little, and write less. ”
— Italian proverb.
“Therefore confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another, so that you may be
healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful
and effective.” — ( James 5.16)
A special sevice is
being arranged in St
Church on Sunday
evening when the minister the Rt Rev W A
Best will take as his theme, Marriage. “ The
purpose behind this ser vice,” said the minister
today, “ is to stress the importance and place of
marriage in an age when its seriousness and
permanency is too lightly regarded.”
In a recent newsletter he has particularly
invited those he has married during his
ministry, which now numbers some 114
couples. “ Not all of these are living in
Greymouth now,” said Mr Best, “ but there are
many couples who over the years have been
married in St John’s and they too are invited.”
By early this afternoon Accident-Free
Day looked like being a success on the West
Coast. A check by the Evening Star of police,
hospitals and Transport Department officers
in Greymouth, Hokitika and Reefton revealed
nothing to marr the clean sheet. All gave a
similar reply, “Not a thing”. Chief traffic officer
Mr L A Wright said “everything is going
nicely and motorists appear to be behaving
Hopes that the West Coast ’s ‘no accident ’
record might possibly apply to the rest of New
Zealand were dashed early this morning with
two accidents resulting in minor injuries, one
at Massey north of Henderson and the other
at Westshore, Napier. However, Accident-
Free Day pursued a much better course than
had been expected. Until noon only the two
accidents involving injuries were notified. For
the same period on the same day last year there
were 12 notifications.
uFood for thought
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any microscopic bugs
and bacteria live on
our skin and within
our various nooks
and crannies. Almost
anywhere on (or even
within) the human body can be home to
these enterprising bugs.
Bugs affect us in a variety of ways: some
bad, such as infections, but many good.
From the passing of helpful bacteria from
mother to baby, to the defence of our
skin and intestine from disease-causing
bacteria, our resident bugs are with us
throughout the course of our lives.
A person’s belly button contains
hundreds of bacterial species. The belly
button is rarely well-washed and is a
cosy place for these bacteria to settle. The
bacteria here are probably not critical
to our existence, but their presence does
provide a quick and easy way to sample
the great variety of bacteria living on the
rest of the human body.
The documentary, Life on Us, links our
loss of hair (to get rid of these parasites)
with the lighter coloured skin of cooler
climate people. It even looks at why we
have some lice that came from our nearest
simian neighbours — in this case, there
must have been some close physical
contact. Despite some aspersions cast
on our early ancestors, this makes for a
complex and interesting tale.
Many of the protective species of
bacteria on the human body do their
job by competing for living space with
invading bacteria. Since the good bacteria
were here first, they have an advantage and
they are able to push the invading bacteria
These invaders might be bad bacteria like
those responsible for food poisoning. Or it
may be good bacteria such as those found
in yoghurt. In either case, the invaders are
at a distinct disadvantage.
In the case of skin, those bacteria on the
surface jealously guard their home and
invading bacteria find it difficult to find
nutrients and space to grow. Invading
bacteria can also be attacked by existing
bacteria using chemical warfare.
Unfortunately, as the documentary
points out, once your skin is broken these
invaders can get inside easily. Often this
causes a local infection, but sometimes it
causes problems throughout your body.
Scientists can take a simple swab and
quickly build up a profile for the sort of
bacteria to which you have been exposed.
As they build up profiles from many
people, it becomes possible to tell the
difference between good and bad bacteria.
Your belly button bacteria can then help
predict which diseases you might get and,
if you do get one, how easily you may fight
The story of the human louse and
its various specialities is also a good
one — and is examined with stunning
new electron microscopy videos. It is an
evolutionary tale that explores how lice
migrated across the body during our
hairier past. It explains how they had to
specialise to live in different environments
as we became less hairy, as head lice can
not sur vive on any other part of the body.
Bugs can also affect how we think.
Among the fascinating tit-bits is the story
oftoxoplasmosis and risk-taking behaviour.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection commonly
picked up from cat poo that can cause
serious harm to pregnant women or other
people with a weakened immune system.
In rats or mice, this infection is
associated with behaviour that makes it
more likely that they will be caught by a
cat. In humans, it was associated with an
increased likelihood of putting themselves
in a risky situation.
The two-part series is a co-production
between Australia and France, with the
Aussie trailer heavy on monsters and
dramatic music and the French version
heavy on lingering shots of human bodies.
For the most part, this documentary
delivers what is promised. It has beautiful
(and sometimes gruesome) graphics
showing what our bugs are up to. And there
is a wide-range of interesting findings —
some of which are sure to surprise even
Where the first part of the series lets us
down is its failure to deliver Australian
science. Most of the science highlighted is
being done overseas, while the commentary
and human interest stories are of Australian
origin. Fortunately, a sneak peek at the
second part of the series promises a much
stronger showing for Australian science.
Another shortcoming of this
documentary is in the lack of depth and
scientific rigour to which some of the facts
are subjected. This can be forgiven in a
documentary targeted at the general public.
Nonetheless, it would have been nice to
go into more detail and to give the pubic a
sense of how well established some of the
I personally was interested in how gut
bacteria colonise the vagina prior to
birth. These bacteria form the basis for
the infant ’s own gut flora. However, this
event was taken care of with a 10-second
animation showing descending sparkles
in the area of interest. When I looked
further into the topic, it seemed clear that
in some cases these colonising bacteria
are not helpful — a point missed by the
I was also interested in the role of
toxoplasmosis in human behaviour.
However, the story of its tentative links
with psychiatric disease was not discussed.
The controversy and complexity around
this topic could have provided more
insight into the scientific method.
It is important to appreciate that the
scientific method produces advances
that are not always grand leaps for ward.
Advances can come in fits and starts,
with sometimes fierce debate in-between.
The documentary is a good one, but as is
often the case, there is more focus on the
grand leaps, and less on the nitty-gritty of
Paul Bertrand is senior lecturer
in School of Medical Sciences at
RMIT University and receives funding
from National Health and Medical
Research Council for projects relating to
gastrointestinal health and disease.
— New Zealand Herald
Bugs living on us
Eight banned classic children’s books
Harold ‘Curly’ Martin survived
the fall of Singapore, the death
railway at Burma Road and an
American torpedo in the South
At 97, he might be thinking about
the quiet life.
Not a bit of it. He recently
treated himself to an X-Type
Jaguar and took a trip to Thailand
for the Anzac Day ser vices in
Kanchanaburi and to join others in
remembering his mates who lost
their lives working on the rail line
from Thailand to Burma.
Martin, from Albany in Western
Australia, is one of the few
remaining survivors from the
notorious death railway.
He believes Australians should
know more about what happened
70 years ago.
“There’s not many of us left to tell
about it,” he says.
“ What I’ve been concerned about
for years is the young people know
nothing about the fall of Singapore.
“They all know about Gallipoli
but Australia was never threatened
in the first war.
“It was the parents and the
grandparents of these young people
that saved us and they should know
“Eighty five thousand British,
Australian and Indian troops taken
prisoner and they know nothing
about it. A history of the Second
World War should be taught in
When Singapore was captured by
the Japanese in 1942 Martin was
sent to Thailand, where the POWs
had to march 200km to where
they were forced to work on the
“These men should be
remembered. I worked with them
and went through a lot — they
were star ved, they were worked
to death, they lacked medication,
clothes and shoes wore out,” he
“They were beaten but they were
never broken. They were soldiers to
the end and I am proud of them.”
Of the 60,000 allied POWs
who worked on the rail line,
16,000 perished, including 2800
Australians, as well as 90,000 Asian
forced labourers from a workforce
Curly Martin was one of the
sur vivors then ordered to Japan to
work in the coalmines.
After a boat and rail journey
across to Saigon and then back to
Singapore, they were put on the
Japanese passenger cargo ship SS
As it made its way through the
South China Sea it was torpedoed
by United States submarines.
More than 1100 POWs died and
Martin was one of 63 who survived
Martin eventually made his way
back to Australia by way of the
He lives in Albany, which has a
special place in ceremonies marking
the 100th anniversary of the
beginning of World War One.
“Curly” Martin lives life to the
six-hour bus journey to Perth then
drove it the 450km back to Albany
on the same day.
He worked until he was 65.
“I recently realised I have spent
more than a third of my life as
a pensioner,” he said, with a wry
As for his extraordinary life: “I’ve
always been lucky.” — AAP
No slowing down for ex-POW at 97
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