Campus Alive

August 30, 2007

Chinese Whispers

Filed under: Message — campusalive @ 1:08 am
A to B : Simon fell into the drain yesterday.
B to C : A told me that Simon fell into the river yesterday.
C to D : B told me that Simon’s car fell into the river yesterday.
D to E : C told me that Simon’s car fell into the lake the 2 days ago.

That’s called Chinese Whispers phenomenon.
In this world where gossiping is a common thing, it is not surprising to find people misinterpreting messages and gossips. In the process, all these miscommunication and misinterpretation have done a lot of damages to other people’s reputation, life, relationship, and many more.

I was taught in a camp that we can assume but we have to test out our assumption to make sure that it is true. A lot of people tend to jump to their conclusion once they assume something.

For example,
“Hey, I heard that Christian cheated in exam.” A told B.
B jumped to conclusion and labeled the poor guy as someone bad because he never bothered to check out the truth from the person.

I had this experience in my own unique way today and for those who are hurt/disturbed, my sincere apologies to all of you.

This is how it goes:

I went to get a Hepatitis B(hep B) immunization jab this morning just to get myself immune to this disease. Immunization is basically a technique of inserting weaken bacteria?virus?(doctors, correct me) into a person’s body. This act will then enable the body to recognize the weaken bad cells and to fight them off while they are still weak. So, for that short moment of time while you are being shot for an immunization shot, I take that it is safe to say that you HAVE the disease for a short while.

Excited about contracting hepatitis B (which is dumb), I texted a very good friend of mine to tell the “good” news that I had hep B(which was partially true due to the immunization). Of course, not knowing the full truth, my friend assumed that I had the disease and soon, it became known to others that I had hep B when in the real situation, I was given an immunization shot.

Not knowing of the damages done by my little joke, I went on my life as usual only to find my another good friend contacting me, and asking me about hep B. That was when I realized how serious the matter had become and how out of hand it had gone to.

It was a joke; but misinterpretation and miscommunication make it look serious and a joke is no longer a joke. Of course, I managed to clear everything up at the end but I did learn something.

Moral of the story:
You can assume, you can joke, you can listen to gossip. However, it is your responsibility to test out your assumption before you draw to your own conclusion.

I once played this chinese whispers game before. The instruction was easy enough: pass the message and the last person would report back the message. The team that got the most accurate message wins.

A told B, B told C……………so on….until finally, Z got a totally different message from what M got.

This was what the facilitator said,
“There is no rules saying that Z cannot ask A about the message. So why do you pass the message around without checking the truth? Z can just go ask A about the truth and settle with it.”

Get the point?

Back to the story of Simon falling into the drain,
if E would have just asked A about the real truth, he wouldn’t have gotten the twisted story and jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Same thing in our life, if we are not sure about the “truth”, ASK.
If you THINK that someone is doing something wrong, go to the person, ask him/her about the real truth and sort things up. Do not go around punishing yourself and that someone by condemning/hating/cursing that someone. If you HEARD something bad about someone from others, same thing. You go to the “target”(even though it might be hard sometimes), and ask for the real truth. Do not jump to your own conclusion because it is not wise to do so.

And of course, when you joke, know your limits and try to think carefully what others might think about your joke. A joke can be harmful when it is not treated/responded well by the one(s) you played on. Remember the boy who call wolf? You can easily lose your credibility when you joke about something serious (like hep B >__<). At least, that is what I learned from this little chinese whispers experience I had today.

Well, it is my fault to joke about something that serious anyway. *knocks head*


Guilty as charged,



  1. haha… finally it came!!! and i think i was the only one who doesn’t believe tat u got hep B lor… coz u couldn’t hav pass so many medical check up right??? some ppl *ahem juz think too much… and probably they appreciate the life tat God has granted so they don wan to die early… tat’s y some of them starts to freak out… and i slumber saja even though we ‘stayed’ together for at least 1 sem… hee hee

    Comment by Pat — August 31, 2007 @ 1:01 am

  2. swt… dont encourage her.. LOL

    Comment by ej — August 31, 2007 @ 2:07 am

  3. hey hey, I don’t need encouragement. =P The world will miss my jokes if I retire from the joking business. And congrats to pat for staying calm all the time. I heard that another ALM student from Sibu was pretty calm too. =D

    Comment by Leen — September 1, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  4. ppl from sibu sentiasa slumber… haha

    Comment by Pat — September 2, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

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