Mighty Hoax and the Pinoy Culture of Chismis

I had a real life over the past weekend so I was away from the internet during the height of the tragedy in Japan. No tweets. No Tumblr posts. Just glued on the television and broadsheets for news and updates.

I have been backreading some of my favorite bloggers on Tumblr and I have seen their sentiments, posts, and other stuff to deliver news, information, and awareness to netizens of the cyber empire created by David Karp.

Technology played a vital role in spreading the news and information during the height of the tragedy. We have seen photos and videos here on Tumblr and Facebook. Twitter played an important role to seek help to rebuild the devastated nation. News agencies became an instrument to find missing people after the tragedy.

And while technology was used to spread information faster, it was also used by some cunning individuals to spread malicious items and hoax to induce fear.

Let’s Just Leave It to the Angry Birds

Earlier this morning, while having a caffeine break and waging war to pigs using my angry birds armada to refresh my mind, I received a text message about the alleged BBC report about the nuclear fallout in one of the nuclear power plants in Japan and how allegedly, a radioactive rain (brought by the wind from Japan) will wreak havoc in the Philippines. It also warns the people to take extra precaution. And according to a friend, some versions of the text messages went as far as advising the people to use umbrellas, raincoats, putting Betadine (iodine solution)on the neck, and taking generous amount of iodized salt.

So there you go my friends, in case of a nuclear war in the future, you already know that some of our Kababayans‘ protections would be the following: umbrella,kapote, Betadine, and iodized salt (Sing “Iodized salt! Iodized salt! Mag-iodized salt tayo” dekada nobenta jingle here).

I immediately dismissed the text messages as a hoax for I have read beforehand the tweets and updates of respected journalists and news agencies.

I bet the one/s who created this hoax was/were laughing like the King of the Pigs on Angry Birds – Mighty Hoax level.

“Yehey! Walang Pasok!”

I switched the TV on and look for a local news program. As expected, most of the people who were unaware of the real score about the chismis would panic. But I was taken aback when I learned that a school/college suspended their classes because of this chismis.

Seriously, why didn’t they (the administration and whoever who is in-charge) verify first the reports before suspending the classes? With today’s technology, one can easily know whether an item is true or not. There’s Twitter. There’s Facebook. There’s the internet.

I now wonder if some bored students were the ones who were behind this hoax.

Let’s be Mutants like the Ninja Turtles

Though there are people who panicked on this chismis, some, after knowing that it was just a hoax, were smart enough to poke fun on this chismis. Pinoy na pinoy!

Some said that if the radiation leak reaches the Philippines, we will be mutants – but mutants with super powers. And I had fun reading the would-be “powers” of some people and celebrities I follow on Twitter.

Having fun, smiling amidst a nakaka-badtrip na item. That’s a Pinoy classic.

Chismis Culture?

It all started with a chismis – an unconfirmed text message that was repeatedly forwarded because of fear. Whoever was the one behind this fiasco, he succeeded. He induced fear and changed the normal routine of some of the Filipinos. He created an instant talk-of-the town. Or if he did it for fun, for sure, he laughed his ass out.

It’s just so disappointing that some idiots grab the opportunity of a disaster to create something stupid and for self-gratification.

Should our chismis culture be blamed? Our love for showbiz-oriented shows and tabloid-liked stories may be a factor. But I saw something “good” with this incedent.

It also showed the culture of Pinoy compassion.

They forwarded the messages to their friends and loved ones hoping that it will save them from impending harm and disaster.

Unfortunately, they passed the wrong message.

And the rest was an infamous story.

With today’s technology, news and information can be delivered faster. But technology doesn’t give us accuracy or veracity instantly.

So here’s a thing my friends: Check your sources, verify the reports, look for the other side of the story, and dare to ask.

Mas mahusay ang may alam. Ngunit mas lalong mahusay kung tama ang nalalaman.

But for now, I will resume my war against these pigs. I need to gain more stars on this Mighty Hoax level of Angry Birds to have more golden eggs. Padayon!

This blog entry was originally posted on my Tumblr account on March 14, 2011.


3 thoughts on “Mighty Hoax and the Pinoy Culture of Chismis

  1. Pingback: Philippines: Bloggers dispel Japan nuclear scare hoax · Global Voices

  2. Pingback: Philippines: Bloggers dispel Japan nuclear scare hoax | Daringsearch

  3. Pingback: Philippines: Bloggers Dispel Japan Nuclear Scare Hoax · Global Voices « WorldWright's …

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