By Aung Khin
Although it is not a national holiday in any country, April Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on April 1 as a day when people make jokes and play pranks on each other. Those who fall victims of such jokes are called April Fools.
A few years ago, the website of a well-known western media outlet posted a concocted image of penguins flying over a mountain range. Other media organisations, foolishly, shared the story as though it actually happened, after failing to pay heed to its publication date.
Hoax stories are sometimes reported by the press and other media on this day, but explained on the following days. Although most such stories are not created with ill intention, they have the potential to be spread among people unable to discern the truth. Vulnerable societies may suffer a lot from a simple hoax story.
In Myanmar culture, there is a night named Master of Thief, which is celebrated on the first night after Tazaungmone Full Moon Festival around November. On that night, young people try to steal every movable item from any household and set them up at such improbable places as merry pranks, believing that the ‘thief planet’ influences the night.
Although the origins of these two events are uncertain, they are celebrated for their light-heartedness. Nevertheless, hoax stories or amusing thefts are intended to make fools of other people. White lies and stories told to mislead for fun are still lies. If someone takes another’s property, it is simply theft.
Telling the truth can help someone build self-confidence, which is nobler than theft. While playing pranks or stealing property may have light-hearted intentions, such actions can cause real problems for the victims.
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