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Member of Parliament Zainudin Nordin has apologised for a posting on his Facebook page a fantasy author’s quote equating gang rape to the exercise of democracy.
In an e-mail to The Straits Times, Nordin said that the quote, though "provocative", was one of many he has posted as he had found it interesting.
The MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC was criticised by people online for being rude, offensive and insensitive after he posted on Monday a quote from “Sword of Truth” fantasy series author Terry Goodkind with the line "Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action."
In his e-mail explanation, Nordin added that "my only intent was to present my view that each individual has a choice and each decision comes with tremendous responsibilities".
He said to follow a majority mob might be democracy, but it is "democracy in its basest form" and "as a part of the quote says, and I agree: Democracy in and of itself is not necessarily good."
Nordin also told The Straits Times that he "never for a moment intended to offend anyone" and "I apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which the posting has caused."
The controversial statement, posted on Monday, had prompted a flurry of over 140 comments, most of them expressing outrage.
"Even if you did not say that yourself, it is still a very dangerous statement to quote. I simply do not understand why you chose to quote such a thing. Shame on you," posted Facebook user Joel Yap.
Another Facebook comment by Pauline Leong called the quote "truly, highly offensive" and demanded an apology or explanation from Nordin, while Freya Cyen accused him of being "unable to differentiate democracy, human rights and freedom."
Nominated Member of Parliament Lina Chiam of the Singapore People's Party on Wednesday released a statement on the issue, asking Nordin to "retract his statement and apologise to women in Singapore."
"In Singapore, we aspire to be a nation that is free to consider and tolerate different opinions in business, academic, political and to some extent religious spheres. However, we clearly need to avoid outrageously chauvinistic statements that condone rape culture. This is not a tall order, and our leaders should observe this. I therefore regret that the MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh Mr Zainudin Nordin has reproduced on his Facebook page an abhorent quotation which characterises gang rape as 'democracy in action'," read the release on SPP's Facebook page.
Others were not so quick to condemn, noting that Nordin had simply posted the quote and that it may not reflect his personal opinion. A look at his Facebook page also showed that Zainudin often posted quotes from well-known people.
"If the quote is by Zainudin himself, he will be condemned by the public big time, and the press will be talking about this for days or even weeks," commented user Rey Ong. "But since this is just quoted from somebody else, if anything, Zainudin is guilty of copying in bad taste more than anything else. Moral of this story - think before you quote and copy-paste."
"Did anyone here even read past the first paragraph? The point being made is that justice and consensus are two different concepts and we should respect the rights of the individual," argued user Yuan Ruo.
While Nordin did not respond directly to the comments on his page, he posted this quote by Roosevelt, "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user."
The next day, he posted another quote from American fiction writer Neal Stephenson.
“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
The full version of his post on Monday quoting Goodkind is as follows:
“People use democracy as a free-floating abstraction disconnected from reality. Democracy in and of itself is not necessarily good. Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action. All men have the right to live their own life. Democracy must be rooted in a rational philosophy that first and foremost recognizes the right of an individual. A few million Imperial Order men screaming for the lives of a much smaller number of people in the New World may win a democratic vote, but it does not give them the right to those lives, or make their calls for such killing right. Democracy is not a synonym for justice or for freedom. Democracy is not a sacred right sanctifying mob rule. Democracy is a principle that is subordinate to the inalienable rights of the individual.”
What do you think about the quote?
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