Singapore Member of Parliament (MP) Zainudin Nordin’s posting of a quote on his Facebook page earlier this week has been a source of heated debate online.
The quote is taken from American author Terry Goodkind, about the double-edged nature of the system of democracy, and it includes a line that goes: “Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action”.
His posting received negative responses from online users who took offence with the comparison between gang rape and democracy.
Since Monday, Nordin’s posting and repostings of it have drawn more than 180 comments and 120 shares on Facebook.
One Facebook user “Prabu Ramachandran” is “disgusted” at the comparison.
Other users commenting on repostings of the quote find it “insensitive”, “hurtful” and “offensive”.
Lina Chiam, a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, says in a post on the Singapore People’s Party Facebook page that there is a “need to avoid outrageously chauvinistic statements that condone rape culture”.
“This is not a tall order, and our leaders should observe this.”
Chiam, who is also the party’s chairman, expresses regret that Zainudin “has reproduced on his Facebook page an abhorent quotation which characterises gang rape as 'democracy in action'”.
“As a woman and an advocate of democracy, I urge Mr Zainudin to retract his statement and apologise to women in Singapore,” she adds.
RE-READ THE QUOTE
On the other hand, there are some users who say that those who attack the post are “missing the point” and they urge people to re-read the quote carefully.
“The quote is saying that just because something is the will of the majority… does not make it right. Gang rape is just an example of that. So is any persecution of minorities,” Facebook user “Dave Appleton” writes.
Another user “Ismail M Yunos” further explains the point: “…if you think about it, even though it is not a nice analogy, it is rather true. If 10 people voted to rape a girl, and the motion passed eight to two, and the two naysayers succumbed to peer pressure and all 10 then raped the girl, is that not dissimilar to democracy…”
But user “Hui Lok Yan Vii” says that the quote should not have been used in the first place.
“Did it ever cross your mind that such analogy is hurtful to other human beings? If you wish to drive home your view on democracy, is it necessary to use such analogy,” she asks.
“Chun Jin HoneyStar” agrees with that point, remarking that a “better analogy can be used here” since rape is “quite a sensitive issue”.
TOO SHARP A METAPHOR
Online user “Alvin Seng” says there is nothing wrong with the quote, objectively speaking, but he agrees that to use such a sharp metaphor “at this juncture where much of the Singaporean populace on the internet is out for blood” was inappropriate.
“…he (the MP) should have known better,” he adds.
Zainudin has not responded directly to comments on his Facebook page, but he posted a quote by former US president Theodore Roosevelt on the same day of his controversial posting: "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user."
Later in the day, he posted another quote from American science 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 16-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
What do you think? Was MP Zainudin wrong in posting the quote by Terry Goodkind? Is it an over-reaction to be hurt or offended by the quote? Let us know below in the comments section.