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 

狼来了! 

从前的牧童,在山上放羊发闷了,顽皮地跟村民开玩笑。看着他们慌慌张张跑上山来赶狼,却扑了个空,觉得很好玩,于是再次玩弄村民。可是,真的有狼出现时,村民却不要第三次上当,结果牧童的羊被狼吃了。

 

熊来了?

前年的一段youtube短片中,一只熊在新加坡某个角落翻搜垃圾桶像在找东西吃。公众担心被野兽攻击,警方、动物园和保护动物组织人员于是展开了搜寻活动,后来真相大白,短片原来是某个品牌剃须器搞的宣传片,熊其实是人扮的。

新加坡没有野生熊,动物园的熊也证实没有逃走,但万一熊是从邻国游泳或被人成功走私偷渡入境,那怎么办?这个可能性虽然渺茫,但也不能百分百铁定不会发生。毕竟公众的安全最重要,有关当局不敢掉以轻心,结果,人力资源被浪费了。至于商家到底想怎么样把熊和剃须器联系起来,葫芦里卖的是什么药,就不得而知,因为这个不妥的创意点子夭折了。

 

绑匪来了!?

上个月底,手机短讯、电邮和互联网盛传,新加坡不同角落有几个儿童被拐带或差点被陌生人牵走。其中有两宗还“发生”在淡滨尼。据说,一名小学三年级的男孩上学时,在学校门口被一个男子带走。另一个小女孩儿则在托儿所外被一名女郎强行拉进一辆小货车。谣言传得沸沸扬扬,我就接到好几个居民的询问,大家都很担心孩子的安危,想要确定真相。

一个不到七岁的小女孩,不可能没有在成人的陪伴下去托儿所,托儿所附近也应该会有其他人在场,他们不可能看到有人为非作歹而置身事外。不过,宁可信其有,不可信其无,我于是联络上淡滨尼邻里警岗查个究竟。结果,警方确定并没有接获任何孩子被拐带的报告。

两天后,警方发出文告,澄清小三学生是自己逃课,并于当天早上11时,被发现在住家附近。

至于小女孩被绑票的案件,原来是以讹传讹。第一个在网上发布消息的人还爆料,说警方在淡滨尼一带设置路障。警方追溯源头时发现,该人其实没有亲身经历或目睹事件,完全道听途说,甚至加盐添醋。结果,这则传言却在网上不断被转发,闹得满城风雨。

网络讯息丰富 并非事事可信

网络世界无奇不有,讯息丰富,但不是事事可信。

现代科技让我们可以很快地分享消息,但手机短讯、电邮和互联网留言,不像言语一般,说了可以当被风吹走。人言可畏,现代科技传达的讯息有如白纸黑字,传播影响力更大。所以,自己不确定或不信服的消息,千万不要加以渲染。一传十,十传百。一个人的言论可能只是偏见,10个人附和也许就会被当成大多数人的看法,100人都这么说时,就会演变成千真万确的“事实”!

我们要有信心,如果真有其事,有关当局是没有理由掩盖真相的,因为纸包不住火。如果真的有拐带孩童集团的不法行为,警方肯定会加以调查,并发出警惕,提醒公众小心。否则,不法之徒更嚣张,更多孩童会失踪,警方的工作岂不是更繁重?所以,这是无根据,也是没逻辑的理论。

 

不可失去信心和判断力

我们教小孩子不要去学那个为了好玩而说谎的牧童,我们也不可以扮熊去引起别人的注意。村民不会第三次上当,伪造恐慌者自己却成了一只狗熊。自己的小孩自己要照顾好,不要认为绑架事件只是“谣传”而就戒心大减。披着羊皮的恶狼可能真的会出现。

警方绝对不会像村民那样,一朝被蛇咬,十年怕井绳,但是,公众如果对事情的真真假假,失去判断力和信心,那社会风气要亡羊补牢就太迟了。

 

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

 

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