After an angered fan posted a video on YouTube showing how Wonderkiddo Justin Bieber rudely shoved an airport employee (who just happened to be her father) asking the star to autograph an audio CD, the netizens were quick to react.
Filipinos were appalled, vowing never to have anything to do with the Canadian star. No one, regardless of stature, can be so rude or display such arrogance especially to a fan.
But there was an equal number of Pinoys who not only sympathized with Bieber but defended his reputation.
Instead, they turned the tables, pleaded for understanding and berated the over-enthusiastic Daddy for breaking protocol, expecting to be given special privilege just because he works for the airport and stationed himself along the path to the tube that connected the departure terminal to the plane. Ano ka? Sinusuwerte?
I decided to post my own survey to get a taste of the popular reaction to a somewhat amusing event. Using my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I asked my friends and followers what they thought of that incident considering that there the news was already picked up by the Internet and had hit the papers with entertainment writers who found the visiting star anything but cute or likeable.
Lo and behold! I received the same reaction --- with some adding a dash of apathy and condescension while others spat their own brand of venom.
What was evident was that the numerically older sector of music-loving-media-savvy Pinoys did not think much of Bieber.
Popcorn for tweens
The adults felt that he was popcorn meant to feed tweens. This age group must represent the parents who accompanied their kids to the Mall of Asia concert. There they watched their children display behavior quite similar to epileptics having attacks (complete with shrieks and convulsions) to show how much they loved the star.
Never mind if his voice was described as gravelly and that he was not exactly in top form. When it was later found out that poor Justin was throwing up backstage but gallantly continued with the concert, these screaming little girls could easily campaign to fast track his beatification.
Those who defended Bieber felt that he was just having a bad day. Some dismissed the misbehavior as a kid acting his age. After all, if you had to go through an hour-long concert of singing your lungs out and dancing while you really prefer to lie in bed because of some infection, you are not going to behave like an ambassador of goodwill to smile and spread cheer or the Word of God to over-eager fans from the Third World, right?
Still bad behavior
But there are others who still asserted that this was really bad behavior, unwarranted and unforgivable arrogance. Manila may have just been another pit stop to his world tour but that does not give Bieber (or his entourage, for that matter) the right to behave the way they did. After all, he refused to look at the cameras when he arrived and left: he had a tighter security than if the Prime Minister of Canada came over for an overnight visit. And he was only simpatico when had to do so --- that was while he was singing onstage.
Regardless. Whatever. If, at his age you become the object of worldwide attention, enjoying the peak of your popularity and had your hair being bid out at eBay, then you must be living in a completely different plane of existence. Privileges become obligations --- and blessings turn into offerings. In return, there is that ceaseless pressure, the impossible schedule and the intolerable expectations. That is the price to pay for temporary omnipotence.
At seventeen, the Wonder Boy from YouTube can land on our shores wearing a bonnet with earphones carrying a skateboard. Let us see how it will be … say, ten … no, five years from now. That should be interesting to speculate.
In the meantime, let me just sing, " Baby, baby, baby, oooooooooh…"