The Boy Who Cried Wolf / 狼来了!熊来了?绑匪来了!?

A grizzly bear was featured rummaging through a rubbish bin for food in Singapore in a video on Youtube the year before last. Fearing an impending public attack, members of the Police Force, Wildlife Reserves and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society went on an island-wide hunt for the bear. It was later discovered that the bear was, in fact, a man in disguise as a marketing gimmick for a shaving product.

Singapore is not inhabited by any grizzlies and neither was a bear on the loose from the zoo. Nevertheless, we could not deny the remote possibility that the bear could have swum from across the straits or been smuggled into the country.  Therefore the grandiose search team was deployed and resources by relevant authorities were wasted.

Rumours of child abduction spread like wildfire across the nation last month, with two cases reportedly having taken place in Tampines.  One spurious story tells of a primary three boy led away by a man, and another recounted the forced dragging of a young girl from a childcare centre into a minivan. Several concerned residents contacted me to ascertain the rumours.

It is almost impossible that a little girl would have been allowed to go to a childcare centre without adult company. There would have been other people near the centre and it is unlikely that they would turn a blind eye to the victim in the event of abduction. However, I still got in touch with Tampines Neighborhood Police, which then reassured that there were no reports of child abduction.

Two days later, police verified that the primary three boy skipped classes and was found near his house at 11 that same morning. The person who started the rumour of the little girl’s kidnap was later also found to have circulated unsubstantiated information regarding the set up of a road block in Tampines. Police has confirmed that this person did not have reliable sources and was merely informed through hearsay.

There is a wealth of information and oddities on the internet.  It is important to filter out the non-credible materials.  Unlike verbal exchanges that are gone with the wind, information disseminated through new media is akin to words in black and white, often with far-reaching effects and influence. It is therefore crucial to exercise a reasonable level of responsibility and sensibility when sharing information. Information from one individual could be dismissed as personal bias, but when more and more people spread the same information, it could be perceived as the truth.

It serves the relevant authorities no purpose in hiding the truth. In the case of child abduction, the police force would most definitely heighten public alert and beef up investigation. Hence, we should not subscribe to make believe and illogical hearsays.

We teach our children not to emulate the boy who cried wolf, and we should also not act the grizzly to attract unwarranted attention. We must always be on our guard to battle against external threats. Even though the abduction reports were bogus, nobody can promise that there are no wolves in sheep’s clothing. While we must maintain our confidence, we must not take our security for granted and strive to keep up our vigilance and discerning ability.

by   Baey Yam Keng 

《我报》10-4-2012 炎下之意(专栏)文/马炎庆 













网络讯息丰富 并非事事可信









Link : The Boy Who Cried Wolf  / 狼来了!熊来了?绑匪来了!?


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