Marshall Cavendish Education issues apology for 'racist' Chinese-language book; will stop sale and distribution of series

The children's book, available for borrowing through the National Library Board, was removed for a review last Sunday.
The children's book, available for borrowing through the National Library Board, was removed for a review last Sunday.PHOTO: UMM YUSOF/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Publisher Marshall Cavendish Education has apologised to readers for causing any misunderstanding after a complaint surfaced that a Chinese-language children's book it published is racist.

In a statement on its Facebook page on Tuesday (July 21), the publisher said it will cease the sale and distribution of the Amazing Adventures Of Pi Pi series, which consists of five books.

Copies of the book Who Wins? will also be recalled from retail stores.

The picture book by Wu Xing Hua features a "dark-skinned" boy with "oily curly hair" named Mao Mao - which means hairy in Chinese - as an aggressive school bully.

The book, available for borrowing through the National Library Board (NLB), was removed for a review on Sunday.

This was after library user Estella Young highlighted the book's racial undertones in a Facebook post last Friday.

In her post, she questioned the rationale behind Marshall Cavendish Education publishing the book, in which the only dark-skinned character is portrayed as "irredeemably nasty", despite his appearance not contributing to the plot.

In its apology, the publisher said it had no intention to produce content promoting discrimination in any way.

"The books we publish cater to an all-inclusive society where diversity is respected and celebrated, and our team is dedicated and committed to that cause," it added.