KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Banking on the hype generated by a recent pet-a-dog event, an independent library collective plans to hold an “I Want to Touch a Book” event tomorrow to continue the conversation sparked by the controversy.Buku Jalanan Titi, a chapter of the collective based in Titiwangsa Lake Garden, will hold a discussion on a book which has gone viral recently.
The cover of the book “Studies on Islam and Society in Southeast Asia” by William R. Roff shows a 1937 black-and-white photograph of a Singapore qadi, or Islamic judge, holding a dog.
“For this Sunday, we just want to share a space. Anybody can come, and share what they understand following the resurgence of the issue,” a volunteer with the collective, Mohd Hafizuddin Aziz, told Malay Mail Online.
Hafizuddin said the two-year-old group will discuss the events illustrated by the book cover which was sparked by a Dalmatian kept by Tengku Ibrahim, heir apparent and younger brother of the Kelantan Sultan in 1937.
“After that, everyone will share their opinions. It does not matter if you have different thoughts. At the end, we will learn how to accept differences,” said Hafizuddin of the event, which will run from 5pm to 7pm.
However, he was quick to point out that the event is not meant as a “parody” of “I Want to Touch a Dog”.
“Parodies or satires are a waste of time.”
According to Hafizuddin, Buku Jalanan is a “library without bureaucracy”, where the public can borrow books on trust by just leaving their names and contact numbers.
The collectives have several chapters including in Padang Kota, Ipoh, Kota Kinabalu, and even overseas in Cardiff, Seoul and Dublin.
Its oldest and parent chapter in Shah Alam celebrated its third anniversary earlier this month.
According to Hafizuddin, the backlash against the pet-a-dog event organised by activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi reflected, in part, the inability to accept differing views.
However, he stopped short from saying that Malaysians generally shy away from books as suggested by the event’s title.
“We hope those of differing views can come this Sunday. Come with an open mind,” he added.