DESPITE living in an age of information overload, many lack the ability to differentiate between the truth and a downright lie.
“I read it on Facebook. It’s the truth,” said an Internet user sitting at another table at a cafe recently.
And, like a man possessed, he kept on telling his friends how true that particular post was, while sipping his drink on the cafe’s sofa.
Another group the next table over also had their own conversation.
“My friend read it on Facebook. He was told by another friend who read the same post. I don’t think it’s a hoax. It’s the truth, I tell you,” said the youth in his bright yellow skinny pants.
As this charade was going on, I wondered what the fuss was about. Apparently, a picture of a pork leg allegedly used to make soup in the Spring Mall food court in Kuching had recently made the rounds.
Someone claimed that this particular food stall, operated by Indonesian workers, made their Bakso soup using the pork leg.
Bakso is Indonesian meatball dish served with beef broth and other condiments.
For one who spends a fair amount of time in the kitchen, it’s safe to say I would know the ingredients of a good broth. One would need joint bones, as this is the most tasty part, once it has been slow cooked for hours.
That is why many of us like sup tulang, as the flavour is to die for and we would scour the whole town for the best soup joint.
Although investigations into the case of this pork bone is pending, the mall managed the issue well and in a professional manner by using all channels, including social media, to explain the confusion.
But one thing that should raise some concern is that this damaging post has ruffled feathers and created doubts in the minds of some consumers about the mall’s food court.
Although the reason why the person who spread this all over the Internet is known only to him, one question that needs to be answered is: how can a person who has never slaughtered a swine in his whole life or handled the meat know how it looks like in the first place?
Furthermore, social media users are jumping to conclusions just because a picture that looks like an oversized femur bone of a swine is circulating.
So, in a time where people no longer unwind their windows and ask for directions but instead, rely on their not-so-accurate global positioning kit, which, sometimes has detailed road directions for well-developed foreign countries — what is the truth behind this episode?
Time and time again, a lie will always lead to another lie and Sir Winston Churchill was right when he said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.”
Despite the easy access to information on modern gadgets we carry today, many are slow on the uptake when it comes to common sense. But these devices are not to be blame; it is the person behind it at fault, just like a car is only deadly when the driver decides to run people down. But we still need it to get from point A to point B.
Because of this information overload era that we are all living in now, we must go back to basics and put some thought into what we watch and read, as not all of that information is verified.
This attitude of simply believing what is available to us will only lead to our own destruction. No one is immune to that when they put their guard down.
A few months ago, a former senior policeman who headed a department in Bukit Aman lost RM8,000 in an email phishing scam. Kuching City police chief Assistant Commissioner Roslan Bek Ahmad said the victim followed instructions in an email requesting that he update his bank account details. He then realised that he had just transferred his hard-earned income to a third party. This kind of reliance and trust has had damaging effects on individuals and groups, but many still fall prey to such “disinformation”.
Even what you’re reading now is just my opinion of the issue at hand, just as Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said: “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”Then again, even the facts of history are sometimes questionable, because back then, there was no outlet like social media to share real time information as how most of us do now. DENNIS WONG - NST Home News Opinion 18 JUNE 2014 @ 1:11 PM