Friday, March 5, 2010

Pasa lie...share the load

Pasa lie...share the load
CTALK By Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) Updated February 08, 2010 12:00 AM

You never really think much of it.

You receive a text message, you read it, and you laugh, you may even agree with the message and then you act on the request to “pls pass”. In the same context, you also forward emails of jokes or information that you yourself have not confirmed or bothered to consider before forwarding.

As far as you’re concerned it’s just a text message, an SMS or it’s valid because it came from someone you trust or agree with. Beyond the electronic channels, we also pass on the content of these messages and emails by word of mouth.

At one point or another we are all guilty, I’m guilty, you’re guilty and anyone who has a cell phone or access to a computer or listens to news and entertainment is probably guilty.

We pass messages or information that is unverified, corrupted, fabricated or biased. We basically tell other people about something we ourselves did not see did not hear or have no knowledge about.

In a court of law that is giving false testimony, In God’s law that is being a false witness against our neighbor. In the Philippines it is one of our favorite pastime. Unfortunately it is both a sin and a crime.

We often don’t realize that someone trapped us into becoming the author of a lie, a false accusation or a fabrication. For instance, how many times have you received an SMS message that starts with: “I got this info from a very reliable source…then ends with “Pls. Pass”.

Once you pass the message, the “I” is no longer the person who sent the SMS. The “I” is now YOU. So as far as the next person is concerned, “YOU” sent this very reliable information because you sent it to a friend who trusts your character and your judgment. That person in turn will “Pls pass” because of “YOU”, but will also end up becoming the new “I”.

The entrapment does not stop there. Some clever clods even name names, create scenarios, or just make what seems like “innocent jokes”. Consider for instance the Erap jokes. Funny? Maybe. Buthistory tells us that jokes are an effective tool in destroying the credibility, reputation and character of a person.

The more you find something to laugh about a person, the less and less respect you have left.

Pay attention to all the rumors that are spread about TV personalities and Movie Stars. Much of the gossip, SMS or email are about sexy photos, sexual exploits, gender bending, flopped shows etc. But exactly how many of the people who sent out the SMS, email or reports are brave enough to name names, of course none.

The damage happens when a “polluted source” succeeds in getting reputable or reliable people (like YOU) to repeat a lie, talk about a gossip, or simply crack jokes about the people who were the subject of rumors or intentional gossip.

Because you talked, texted or emailed or blogged about it, you mistakenly extended or injected “YOUR” credibility into a rumor, gossip or false accusation.

Thanks to your “innocent remarks” or your jokes, the author or distributor of filth and lies was promoted into a “K.O.L” or Key Opinion Leader of the gossip industry. Because good people validated a lie, it became a truth. As they say, all you need is enough people to believe in a lie in order to make it the truth.

There is no argument strong enough to justify giving a false testimony or being a false witness. It is worse than lying; it is serious intent to cause damage or injury to someone or something.

Try to figure out why God Almighty would bother to include this as one of the Ten Commandments? Why have governments all over the world taken the matter several steps further to provide a law, definition, legal action and punishment to cover gossip, rumor alongside defamation, character assassination, libel and slander?

That God and governments around the world view “Pasa Lies” with serious prejudice clearly tells YOU and ME that we must review what we say, what we text and what we “Pls. Pass…”

In this election season, in our day to day lives, we need to seriously set down personal rules on who and what we are willing to expose ourselves to in social or mainstream media. It is not enough to say “No” to smut or pornography or violence. The simple act of regularly watching TV programs can have a very revealing effect upon you. Consider what I discovered:

As a serious car enthusiast, I always look for and spend time to watch TV shows or DVDs about cars, restoration projects and the business of restoring cars. So the only shows I really get to watch are about cars, then world news, business and documentaries. That to me is both information and entertainment.

Not very long ago I noticed that some four-letter words started to “slip” into my vocabulary and even in my writing. In general, I viewed them as harmless four-letter words but began to notice that they slipped in more and more. I am no saint but it is also no justification to start cussing or cursing.

With very little effort, I traced the “negative influence” to some of my “favorite” programs on cars and motorcycles. You can bleep all the four-letter words as much as you want, but your brain can fill in the blanks in much the same way it can help you to read paragraphs with missing words or letters.

Please read this article once again and act. Don’t “Pasa Lies” because in the end you share the load and the responsibility.

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