Friday, April 15, 2011


The Straits Times headlines 15 April
Raja Petra's recent TV3 interview drives home the point that unless one gets the story first-hand, it's best not to believe it's true. 'I got it from a reliable source' is as good as saying I heard it from my trusted friend who heard it from his boss, who is in the inner circle of so-and-so, who is... You get the picture. As long as the reliable source can't be named, as long as the specifics are missing, the story belongs in the realm of fairy tales and fantasy.

Most of us are guilty of some degree of bias and prejudice. We are quick to believe scandalous rumours about people we don't like, and just as quick to defend the misdeeds of those we admire. We choose whom we want to believe and whom we want to condemn, never mind the lack of hard facts and evidence.

What makes some people so gullible they believe every vile story about someone they hate? What makes some people tell a bare-face lie without feeling any guilt? How can two people from opposite camps claim they are both telling the truth? Can there be different shades of truth?

You can take a person to court and have him swear on the Holy Book. But a bona fide liar will just as well lie to God as to anyone else. What's there for a liar to fear especially if he stands to gain with his lies, especially if the powers that be may have promised to protect him?

There's little difference between spreading true lies and propagating false truths. And there are plenty of these on the internet, especially in socio-political blogs, and in anonymous emails forwarded indiscriminately without any attempt to verify the claims and allegations made in the original email.

Better to be called a skeptic than a fool, better to give someone the benefit of the doubt than to deny him a chance to defend himself.

In the end, it is not us who will be the final judge of a man's guilt or innocence. It's the Almighty who gives the verdict and metes out the punishment.

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