Stop. Look. Listen.


DUMAGUETE CITY – In an age of lightning-fast delivery of both information and misinformation, it is now so easy to make a stand without really knowing the full story. One reads a headline and, without giving it much thought, the reader makes up his/her mind regarding the matter and blasts it to his/her social media audience. People weigh in, comment after comment, and before anyone knows it, the post becomes viral. | STOP. LOOK. LISTEN.

It is a little unnerving to say the least. More and more people seem to base their opinion on a particular slant without actively seeking the whole picture. There is no opportunity to think, to evaluate, to be critical. Feedback has become automatic, a knee-jerk reaction almost. Post it on social media and whatever it is becomes gospel truth. And even when facts prove contrary to that stand, the truth is repelled with such a damning hashtag: #FakeNews.

It is pretty crazy, this world that we currently live in. However, we can still be beacons of truth should we choose to. We can start by having the patience to go over the different sides of the story and to listen to arguments we are accustomed to object to before making any judgment. Disagreeing agreeably is a huge step towards ridding our society of this vile language and seething animosity that have bitterly divided us.

Here are some issues that we can look into:

There are reports of some schools who have yet to receive the promised government vouchers that partially cover education expenses of scholars in Senior High. It would be easy to dismiss that government has been remiss of its obligations to said schools. Upon close inquiry, it can be gleaned that schools have to strictly comply with requirements before the funding will be released.

Here’s another. Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the controversial Dengvaxia vaccination, released a statement saying the vaccination may increase the risk of severe dengue among recipients not previously infected by the virus. It can be noted, however, that, on one hand, the Philippine General Hospital experts conducting the investigation said there is no evidence to directly link Dengvaxia to 14 child deaths after taking the vaccine. They continue to stand by their findings so much so that they are willing to assume responsibility “should there be any case of injury due to dengue that has been demonstrated by credible scientific evidence to be causally related to vaccination.” The Public Attorney’s Office, on the other hand, found “strong links” between the deaths of immunized children to Dengvaxia but admitted the results were inconclusive.

And another. A video of tricycle drivers refusing a senior citizen from boarding became viral on social media. So many weighed in effectively skewering said drivers. Upon investigation, it came out that the drivers actually had a reason behind the refusal. The location of this incident was strictly for unloading only.

These are just some issues that are multi-faceted and the only way we can get to the crux of the matter is to read more and to listen more. The challenge really is to nurture the ability to pause and reflect before reacting. Let us consider critical and reflective analysis as strength not weakness which some quarters would like us to believe. The only way to survive a so-called post-truth era is to actually use, as Agatha Christie’s beloved character Hercule Poirot would say, “those little grey cells.”



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