August 1, 2021

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Bread is food

5 min read


I was dissatisfied with the words of the ward deputy to the worker Tran Van Em, but I was also happy that his leader spoke out in a timely manner.

Mr. Nguyen Sy Khanh, Chairman of Nha Trang City People’s Committee has publicly apologized and accepted responsibility for the mistakes of his subordinates – Vice Chairman of Vinh Hoa Ward – Tran Le Huu Tho with Mr.

In the video of the case of handling administrative violations under Directive 16 on social distancing filmed by Mr. Tho himself, the deputy of the ward said that “bread is not essential” but “food”. Fortunately, the city’s leaders soon published a list of essential goods and affirmed that bread is also an essential food.

It was a right, timely and dignified action. If it is wrong, accept it, accept it as correct, decisively and frankly. Immediately, the overwhelming support of many comments on social media made me think of how we are inundated with news today.

In these emotional tumultuous days, it must be admitted that the cadres’ conduct was wrong. The keyword “bread” immediately caused laughter and laughter for the community. What’s different about the story is the subsequent quick correction by the city’s leadership.

Such an attitude is well received because perhaps this is not often seen in our society. Therefore, I sincerely hope the community will recognize that as a bright spot. Because more than ever, in addition to fighting the Covid 19 epidemic, we also have to fight a number of other epidemics: Translating fake news, negative news, and translating “policy interpretation”.

Fake news, as we know, has been rampant with the pandemic since the beginning of 2020. Fake news confuses people, causing unnecessary panic. From “last-minute news” such as the army will use helicopters to disinfect the whole city to the number of people who died from Covid 19 and were abandoned by hospitals. The management agency has sanctioned countless cases, but fake clips and announcements still crept everywhere, in closed groups, whispering to each other. Fake news wreaks havoc on the Internet community’s immune system.

But there is still a news that is considered “drinking bait” for netizens still exists. It’s a delta variant of fake news, which is “half-baked-half-truth” news. Like the story of citizen Tran Van Em who went to buy bread, many people just repeated “non-essential bread” over and over, ignoring the city’s sincere apology and request.

There are news that only live half a life – stop at the point where it gets annoying. As the story of the lack of ventilators in Ho Chi Minh City hospitals is shared crazy, but the transfer of 299 ventilators to Ho Chi Minh City on July 18 or the addition of 800 ventilators on July 19 was almost ignored.

The way many people use social media for bad purposes, or unknowingly only care about the negative, causing the public to be led astray is called “drink news”. Buttons that share bad news become “disgusting share buttons”, only half the truth is shown, in order to create emotion and outrage. The destructive power of this type of media causes negative psychology, mutual distrust and erosion of social capital. That is the real epidemic that is spreading dangerously.

The brother’s accident also poses another problem, which is not new now, which is the role of officials at all levels, everywhere, in the implementation of common guidelines.

With decentralization and decentralization, localities can independently issue epidemic prevention directives in their localities. From the general direction of the central and provincial levels to the ultimate enforcer, many policies have been interpreted based on the capacity and sometimes the will of each person. According to the leader of Nha Trang City, Mr. Tho had “insufficient awareness” leading to “improper handling of the spirit” of Directive 16.

Not only “bread” and “essential goods”, over the past time we have argued about concepts such as passports, negative tests, isolation, medical declarations… a lot of confusion between anti-epidemic boundaries.

When Hanoi was “closed to the cage” on June 22, 2021, the restaurant was open until 9 pm. But in some places, when I took my family out to dinner, the official vehicle of the ward staff went on patrol and called for restaurants to close at 20 o’clock. Shippers are angry but do not dare to argue because “for fear of being ignored by them, it is difficult to do long-term business”.

What makes me feel ridiculous is not the ward’s request to close earlier than prescribed, but the tone of voice shouting at people. The cadres have a young face, only about the age of the children of many shippers, but the way they say it really makes me angry.

“Is that woman deaf? If you sit there, don’t turn off the lights and close the door”, “Everyone get up and go home, don’t eat or drink anything, don’t you feel scared? then they also “you”, “me” or say nothing to the elderly, threatening to collect all the goods.

I understand that they are doing hard work, with the same fear of epidemic prevention and some people’s lack of awareness, but that is not a reason to shout or bully. If I were like those who opportunistically like, record clips and post them online, there would be more stories for society to discuss. Reporting like that definitely helps me “float” without worrying about being penalized.

The story of the bread makes us question, are the current anti-epidemic concepts uniformly understood and consistently implemented? Although soon after that, the locality issues a document listing what is considered essential goods, but this is also the time when the Government or functional ministries come up with a clear conceptual system for consistent application across the country. the whole country instead of letting each enforcement officer understand and apply it in his own way.

In the midst of blurred lines, only the weak suffer. We do not know how many situations of injustice may have occurred in places, how many short people have become pitiful violators because of spontaneous interpretations in policy implementation.

In “Creating News”, Danish international journalist and speaker Ulrik Haagerup introduces a new concept of news: the world’s best news. The stories in this category are as follows: The number of children dying each day is now 17,000 fewer than in 1990; 90% of the world’s population has access to clean water; the annual deforestation area has decreased by 3.1 million acres; The number of deaths from malaria has decreased by 42% since 2000.

The good news above is akin to “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” aka “Crusoe Therapy” by German journalist Stefan Klein. Simply put, when we look at a glass half empty or half full, we will locate a negative or positive attitude towards an event. Therefore, I don’t know if Mr. Tho has apologized to Mr. Em or not, but I still think: “Bread is the best news of the day”.

Hoang Anh Tu

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