Jasminum sambac, City Centre – On a rare occasion, I was enticed to sit and watch a teenage film on Astro till it ended. I am no couch potato but I find “Gossip” not like the usual teenage flicks like Twilight, American Pie or High School Musical. The nature of the film was more of suspense with a few unexpected twists in its storyline. What kept me glued was because it was about a group of college students conducting a school project. Secondly, the intriguing project was for their Communications class and I myself was once a Communication student. The best part was that to see how those students manipulated the naivety of human psychology through one of the forms of communication; Gossip, rumour or in a more academic term, Grapevine Communication.
Grapevine Communication (GV) is widely studied in the fields dealing with people in organizations such as Business Communication, Management, Organizational Behaviour and also Human Resource Management. It is a form of informal communication or means of spreading information without official recognition by the authorities in the organisation.
In one article, it posits both rumour and gossip are identified similarly as GV. However, the definition of both words may be defined differently;
- Rumour refers to information pertaining the organization that affects the relevant people .
- Gossip is restricted stories regarding to an individual’s personal affairs.
Back to the film, three teenagers decided experiment human communication by coming up with an untrue gossip about a popular young lass unconsciously being raped by her boyfriend. The news spreaded in the university like wild fire and from mouth to mouth the gossip mutated into various versions. The gossip then spiraled out of control when the boyfriend was arrested as he was accused for the crime. This shows how a gossip can simply destroy a person’s life with a blink of an eye.
Allah says that “fitna is worse than killing…” (Baqara 2:191). When a person is killed, it is the end of his story but when he is being slandered, it is a murder of his character. He will have to live on with that stained mark tarnishing his image in people’s eyes. It is the human nature to remember the dark side stories about others, especially when it comes to the sensational ones. It is a worse case, if a slander haunts the victim wherever he goes, to the extent it affects his source of rizq.
Observing the trend of our political scenario today, I wonder how significant has grapevine communication been utilised in the tussle for power between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. An in-depth study should be expedited to identify the extent or frequent usage of this misleading communication tool in their political propaganda and campaigns. By revealing the behaviour of political parties in spreading information to the voters, it would save the Malaysian citizens from being stupefied by cheap politics. Hence, saving the nation from being plunged into death because of the ravenous grapevine politics.