The goat story joke that was believed
Whoever said Saudis are not light-hearted people are simply wrong. Like all nations of the world, they are very much into mirth, laughter, telling and yes, playing jokes on others.
Take the news item that was reported not so long ago in the Saudi press about a man buying a male goat for SR 13 million. At first nobody discerned it could be anything but credible news item on the wires.
The reporters took it seriously, saying the man brought the goat because of its rare qualities. And what’s more there were the views of other breeders who thought it was too much of a price to be paying for the goat.
The story went into media viral, reported not only in newsprint but splashed all over the social media websites, attracting much interest and commentary by many of those in cyberspace. And many Saudis were abhorred at the astronomical figure.
Much commentary was made on twitter with the Saudi bloggers lambasting the buyer of the goat for paying such a price, questioning his very morality and asking whether it wouldn’t have been better if the man made a contribution to a worthwhile cause such as buying an orphanage, contributing to charity or even developing his own town.
There was a real ballyhoo about the Saudi goat story, and some pointed out it was a refreshing diversion from the news bombardment and hard stories on Syria, its chemicals weapons, the war coalition led by the United States on that country on Islamic State and the Russian fight to beat that organization.
Days later the cat was let out of the bag. The whole story turned out to be a prank which the friend of the supposed buyer played on him. It started when Dawi Fahad Al Harbi, went with his friend to buy a spare-part for his car at a cost of SR 1300 which he paid for through writing a check.
Al Harbi always photocopies the checks he writes. The friend managed to get hold of the photocopy and added four zeros to the amount and next to that he wrote “value of a goat-cha”. In other words, he digitally manipulated the check to make it look for real and then he started to post it on the different websites.
Al Harbi pointed newspapers got hold of the news and started publishing which created much havoc in his hometown. He said although many of his friends thought this can’t be true, because they knew of his situation, as he was an employee who lived in a rented apartment, many people fell for the joke.
He added many of the elderly members of the clan were upset when they heard the news of the fake sale, and the fact that it was his friend who got him in the soup, and he was only a part of the prank. They didn’t look too kindly on the explanation.
Al Harbi, who is studying for one of his MBA, is appealing to the media to get him out of the mess he is in at the moment by publishing a truthful version of the story. But will the media be willing to do that? And will telling the truthful story behind the fake SR 13 million sale be a better news than the first? This is indeed the power of media communications and I dare say, its privilege.
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