Colleen Figg

A gullible mass of warm hearts

2007-10-12 09:05

Colleen Figg

It's not often news items amuse me, as they are generally designed to be terribly serious and weighty, leading to pages and pages of discussions on local forums I belong to.

This pontificating can go on for days without any real conclusion ever being reached. In this respect they remind me of corporate meetings, where secretaries scribble frantically, jotting down, crossing out, leaving in, and then typing pages of minutes no one reads.

However I did emit a snort of amusement when I read of that Chinese woman who has been arrested for misleading the public. I was not aware that misleading the public was a crime anywhere, unless at top notch government level; but even there any "crime" that may have been committed is hastily swept under the handmade carpets and another whisky is poured.

This woman elected to pose as a fifteen year old girl who claimed online that she had been raped by her father. This led to outpourings of sympathy and about 300 000 hits, which must have been gratifying to Ms or Mrs Chen.

Now that she has been arrested for this terrible atrocity, the officials seem unsure what to do with her going forward, they mutter about "re-education through labour" which sounds ominously Stalinesque to me.

Recoiling in horror It conjures up visions of the apparently nutty Ms Chen being repeatedly and unwillingly acquainted with a bucket of icy water and some electrodes to the nether regions, to the accompaniment of shrieks and protestations and promises never to mislead the public again.

In all this, the "public" is made to seem a huge, gullible mass of warm hearted individuals; well-meaning but essentially thick as two short planks. This "public" is seemingly not expected to exercise any kind of discrimination and will swallow whatever it is told.

When this turns out to be a mass of lies, the public recoils in shock and hurt, and then the well-meaning slightly gauche body transforms itself into an outraged mob baying for blood. More dangerous than any snake and certainly more dangerous than Ms Chen's fabrications which were essentially designed for her own amusement and actually did no harm to anyone.

I wonder what exactly the arresting officers said to her. "Come with us, you've been lying online..." Or something carrying more import as befitted their station as policemen?

Since they take their work so seriously perhaps we could convince one or two of these officers to come and work for the South African public, who is constantly misled on all sorts of levels, but unlike its Eastern counterpart is seemingly clueless as to what to do about it.

Just saying.

Send your comments to Colleen.

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