Saturday, May 09, 2009

Philippine Customs blocking imported books

A blog post from Robin Henley, University of Iowa Creative Writing professor on a fellowship in the Philippines:

Philippine Customs imposes illegal duties on imported books

Setting aside the impression one gets that the reasoning behind their duty-happy spree is idiotic (that 'missing coma the Undersecretary points out being a particularly brilliant piece of idiocy--one wants to check her educational credentials), and setting aside the fact that if one more copy of Stephanie Myer's moronic Twilight never lands on the Philippines I'd be a happier Filipino, there are serious consequences to this development.

Like the curtailment of knowledge between countries. Like a further financial burden on educational or cultural organizations (never much of a priority for governments, mind you) that depend on these books. Like students or youths or anyone even remotely interested in a subject that might require a book suddenly finding themselves out of luck, because someone insists on hanging government policy on a missing comma.

Shame, shame.

Postscript: a cursory google search reveals several blogs discussing the subject, including an excellent one on the legal ramifications. Problem is, though, they all quote the same source (that website I link to above) and I haven't spotted (yet) a major Filipino newspaper covering the story. So in case this whole thing's a hoax (I don't know, it just so sounds like the government), For the record, I at least entertained the possibility.

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