Thursday, May 9, 2013

Out Of Context

A quote equating gang rape to the exercise of democracy has drawn flak to Member of Parliament Zainudin Nordin. The politician is being criticized by people online for being “offensive” to women after posting on Facebook a quote from “Sword of Truth” fantasy series author Terry Goodkind. 

The line goes "Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action."

Singaporeans had reacted angrily to the post and many had demanded an apology or explanation from the MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. I don’t think he should. I don’t think he should because people are taking that line totally out of context.

The full version of his post which quoted Goodkind goes;

“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.”

Mr. Nordin is putting forward the argument that the rights of an individual, any individual, is more important that the rights of the group. Now you may not agree with him, but at no point in his argument did Mr. Nordin said that democracy is rape.

Seriously, his post is nine lines long and people are taking one line out of the nine and making it into something that it’s not. What’s more this is a quote from a fantasy author! Mr. Nordin isn’t even the one who said it! Now Singaporeans want him to apologize for something he didn’t say because of something he never meant?

That’s total insanity! His post, which was even said by him, argued about the rights of the individual verse that of the group as a whole. Anyone who thinks his post is arguing that democracy is rape is nit-picking to a degree that common sense is being thrown out the window. Basically, they are talking absolute total nonsense! 


Anonymous said...

As MP, he should be careful with the words he used. Certain words are offensive in nature and should be avoided at all times. Maybe he should get the PM secretary to proofread before posting.

Ghost said...

I totally disagree. I want a MP willing to speak his mind, not one who need a speech writer to okay everything he says. I don't even think his post is offensive at all. In fact, I think people are making a mountain out of something that's not even a molehill. That's how stupid I find the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Right, why can't he even write his own thoughts, or unless he cannot write or think at all

Anonymous said...

My first reaction to reading the news on it was shock and disbelief that a MP could even quote such a phrase. I thought "another PAP elite, making stupid remarks."

But after reading the full quote, i thought that it is not as bad as the "headlines" made them out to be. To read only that one line, also discredit the original author because that is not the intent of the entire paragraph.

There are just too many irrational people who will jump on everything the PAP do and say, which is unfortunate.

Of course, there is the issue of having one's own thoughts vs quoting others. To this, i think it is ok to quote others. But one needs to be aware of the implications of quoting too.


Anonymous said...

To Ghost: speak own minds? swearing? vulgar? democracy is not even gangrape for goodness sake. just because some insane person makes a quote does not mean it is gospel truth.

Ghost said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with quoting other people. I mean Chinese people has been quoting Confucius for centuries; is that wrong? Also, I do not find the quote used in this case to be offending at all. It was clearly taken out of context by people.

7-8 said...

Imagine you are a guy - you see a hornet's nest. What you do is you take a stick and poke it. The inevitable consequences result and you end up in hospital.

Do you say, "the hornets are being stupid and irrational"? No, because you should have known what the hornets are going to do. You just don't say, "the hornets thought I was going to attack them, they took my remarks out of context". You don't say "I wish the hornets were capable of critical thinking". It's pretty clear that you should have thought twice before poking that hornet's nest.

And besides - isn't he directly saying that the 40+ % of the people who voted against him in GE 2011 were hard done by?

I don't have a problem with him saying those things in private conversation. But him, on facebook account that's meant to be an outreach to his electorate - the same electorate who put him into public office, is just stupid. Yes, he's talking about something that academics have written about before. It doesn't make it all right.

7-8 said...

I don't agree that a MP is willing to speak his mind is necessarily better. Thinking a thought is not the same thing as voicing it out in public. Speaking something out is an action taken after thinking about whether you want to speak it out. The difference between having a thought in your head and speaking it out is the difference between having a gun in your hand and firing it.

I don't mind that he has spoken out - now I know him better and I realise that he's unfit for office. He has no respect for democracy at all, and it is even worse if he were just doing it to "bait" people and make them look like they're not "critical thinkers".

Ghost said...

No. The quote is an argument on the rule of the majority and the limits of it when faced with the rights of an individual. How in the world do you get Mr. Nordin saying "40+ % of the people who voted against him in GE 2011 were hard done by" from the quote? I don't get that at all.
Also I think Singaporeans need to figure out if they really want MP who's not afraid to speak their mind. In the last GE, one of the main argument against the PAP was how their MPs were all alike and how they all how the party line. Now you are saying you don't agree that a MP is willing to speak his mind is necessarily better.
You can't have it both ways. Personally, I would much rather have a MP who speaks his mind and makes a mistake than one who don't say anything at all.