legends stir up real fears
Have you heard this story?
A young girl went to Big C Hai Phong at lunch time to buy some goods, including
a refrigerator. She asked the supermarket delivery man to take them to her home.
The delivery man took the
goods to the address, but the house owner, an old lady, refused to accept them,
saying no one in her family had bought goods from the store. He was forced to
show the receipt and read the buyer’s name, age and address. As she listened,
the lady burst out crying and said: "She is my daughter, but she died in a
traffic accident several months ago."
The delivery man panicked
after listening to the story. He immediately went back to the supermarket and
reported the incident to his boss. Feeling there was something dubious going on,
his boss spoke to the counter person who had served the young girl and found
more than VND3 million in "ghost money" in her pocket.
Meanwhile, to compound the
issue, the refrigerator caught fire without any apparent reason. The story, of
course, turned out to be a rumour. No one knows where it started and what, if
any, was the reason for spreading it. However, the story became more and more
sensational every day.
The matter was only
clarified when the executive director of Big C Hai Phong , Nguyen Thi Phuong
Thao, went to many local newspapers saying there was no ghost at the
supermarket. "That’s an entirely made-up story that has dark intentions
for our business," he said.
The rumour ended, but it
took a lot of effort and time. However, it is one of many rumours circulating in
society. Some have adversely affected people’s lives.
Two weeks ago, a rumour
went around that a common grave for seven children without organs had been found
at Dang Xa and Phu Thi communes in Ha Noi’s outlying district of Gia Lam. The
story raced from mouth to mouth that there were people kidnapping children to
get their organs.
The story came to the ears
of Nguyen Thanh Hang, a resident in Thanh Xuan District. Se became worried about
her two children who always went out alone to have breakfast at street
"I decided to
accompany my children for breakfast, even though they are only 150 metres from
my home. I want to make sure that my children are safe," Hang said. Hang
reported what she heard to friends, neighbours and relatives. She even required
her young brother, who lives in Kim Lien collective quarter, to keep his eyes on
his children on their way to primary school about 50 metres from his home.
"I doubt it all. The
kidnappers may be scrap-iron dealers or just a man in a car," said Hang’s
brother, Nguyen Van Cuong.
Deputy chairman of Dang Xa
Commune People’s Committee, Nguyen Ba Hoang, said local authorities had
investigated the rumours and found them untrue. "No one is able to tell us
that they have seen the children’s grave. They only heard about it from
others," he said.
Investigations by local
authorities can help stop the spread of rumours, but they are not the best way
to stop them.
Sociologist Trinh Hoa Binh
said it was necessary to make a clear distinction between public opinion and
"If it is public
opinion, we need to accept it, but if it is rumour, we need to take steps to
stop its spread," he said.
Binh said rumours often
originated from people who were discontented with their lives. He said they
embellished a story to make a big impression on society.
Binh said many traditional
festivals acknowledged the spirit world, however it could lead some people to
blur the lines with reality.— VNS