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'The Hunger Games' used in Singapore as school text
Monday February 23, 2015 5:57 PM, IANS

American science fiction bestseller, "The Hunger Games", will now be used as a school text in Singapore, a media report said.

"The Hunger Games", written by American writer Suzanne Collins is about 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation.

"The Hunger Games" is an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12-18 from each of the 12 districts in the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death.

Secondary 2 students at Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS) are using the bestseller as a literature text, alongside the classic "Merchant Of Venice", The Straits Times reported.

It is the only school believed to be doing so.

Many support the move, saying the use of such a popular book will help draw more students to the study of literature.

But some have criticised by questioning whether the levels of violence in the book, which features duels to the death between teenagers, makes for appropriate study material.

The education ministry said that "The Hunger Games" was not on its list of recommended texts for lower secondary level, but added that schools were free to choose books they think would "meet the needs of their students".

SCGS vice-principal Shermaine Tang said it chose the book for its "literary value" in exploring themes such as friendship, love and family, survival and inequality.

The book, the first of a trilogy which has spawned a major movie franchise, also has a "strong female figure who exemplifies the values of valour", she added.

A parent said his daughter in SCGS had not read the book before the school introduced it.

"The book has gory descriptions of children killing children mercilessly to save themselves," said the parent who works in the financial services. "It's not right to introduce such violence to children so young."

But others point out that there was far more graphic violence in computer games and on TV, and studying the book will let children come to terms with it in a safe setting.

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