Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chain letters - now spread by SMS and e-mails

Chain letters were common during my school and college days. I used to receive them from unknown senders and, out of sheer fear, burn the midnight oil to hand-copy them for passing on - alas, to all my good friends.

At a later stage when copier hit the market, there was a sigh of relief. Instead of staying up late, we queued up at bookshops to make the required copies of the chain letters for mailing out to the targeted poor recipients.

A typical chain letter consists of a message that attempts to induce the recipients to make a number of copies of the letter and then pass them on to one or more new recipients.

Messages in chain letters are usually of exploitative nature, aiming to take advantage of human weaknesses in emotions, greed, superstitious beliefs, etc.

Emotionally manipulative stories and get-rich-quick pyramid schemes have , therefore, long become the methods commonly used in chain letters, and superstition has been exploited to the fullest to threaten recipients with bad luck if he or she breaks the chain , and refuses to adhere to the conditions set out in the letter.

With the advent of internet and mobile phones, the spread of chain letters has become even speedier.

Within a short span of time, I received two chain letters, one via SMS this morning and the other through e-mail two days ago. Both letters sounded very threatening, but I chose to disregard them.

Years ago, I started to adopt a personal policy to break the chains of all the chain letters I received. I can't stop others from sending out, but I have restrained myself from spreading ill-conceived messages that are purposeless. Praise God for that!

Next time when you receive one , you may attempt to put a stop to it by breaking the chain.

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