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It is not just about a quote about democracy, but who shared it and why.

Member of Parliament,Zainudin Nordin, recently shared a quote about democracy from a fantasy writer and that created a ruckus all over the Internet.

Shared Zainudin Nordin

“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.” 
― Terry Goodkind

Terry Goodkind shared the quote about democracy with reference to USA "forcing" democracy onto Iraq.

However, democracy wasn't forced into Singaporeans' throats. Democracy was a choice and we repeat it in our Singapore Pledge- "... to build a democratic society...".

Even Lee Kuan Yew, in his younger days as an opposition, said on April 27, 1955, "But we either believe in democracy or we not. If we do, then, we must say categorically, without qualification, that no restraint from the any democratic processes, other than by the ordinary law of the land, should be allowed… If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought.”

So why did MP Zainudin shared the quote about seems against the virtues of democracy? It is even weirder when you see a MP, democratically elected by the constituents of Toa Payoh- Bishan to represent them in Parliament, to share such a quote about democracy. 

Unfortunately, till now, we do not why MP Zainudi  shared the quote as he chose to remain silent and it is this silence that opened the floodgates of negative comments about the MP himself. 

First, women took offence by the text "Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action" in the quote MP Zainudin  shared. 

Mrs Lina Chiam, for the Singapore Progressive Party, wrote, 

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'. As a woman and an advocate of democracy, I urge Mr Zainudin to retract his statement and apologise to women in Singapore.

A meme also started appearing which seemed to have enraged MP Zaniudin as he has threaten to take legal action over the creator
If the ruckus is confine only to online, legal action will only create that Streisand effect.

One blogger argued that MP Zainudin was "putting forward the argument that the rights of an individual, any individual, is more important that the rights of the group".  Taking legal action against the meme starter seem to put this argument to naught. 

This argument raises another question. MP Zainudin belongs to the ruling party who now form the Singapore government. Was the statement targeted internally? This becomes even weirder as the Parliamentary Whip, as we know it, has not been lifted. 

At the end of the day, was MP Zaniudin intention to share the quote was to raise questions about democracy?

The New York Times did an interesting research on sharing, in today's age of social networks. 

The New York Times Customer Insight Group con­duc­ted a three-​​phase study of 2,500 medium to heavy online sharers. From this, they deduced that there are six per­so­nas of online sharers:

Altruists; who share help­ful, reli­able and thought­ful things.
Careerists; who intel­li­gently share valu­able resources and share to network.
Hipsters; who are more quirky and cre­at­ive, shar­ing what’s pop­u­lar and are less likely to email.
Boomerangs; those who share things simply for a reac­tion, a sort of val­id­a­tion and to feel empowered.
Connectors; the thought­ful plan-​​makers and organisers.
Selectives; thought­ful, resource­ful and inform­at­ive types who care­fully choose what to share and with whom.

The study also sug­gests that the per­so­nas are finely tuned by four medi­at­ing influ­ences on the sharer:

their emo­tional motivation
their desired present­a­tion of self
the role of shar­ing in life
the value of being the first to share

We can try to put MP Zainudin into one of these boxes, but the most important lesson learnt from this episode is this. 

Today, we have the Internet and we can search tons of information from a single site call Google. Sharing has been simplified with both the advent of Ctl C and Ctl V, or the share button. 

However, if you are in a position of high office, especially if you are a public figure, what you share can be seen as a subconscious of you are. 

As corny as this saying goes, "with great power, comes great responsibility", one can only hope that MP Zainudin takes this into mind when sharing future quotes. 


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