Justin Bieber in downward spiral of bad behaviour

Happy New Year, Justin Bieber!

Here's a pair of handcuffs for you.

Perhaps, the first of many? The Biebz has finally been busted after more than a year's worth of bad behaviour.

The 19-year-old was arrested early Thursday morning (about 5pm Singapore time) in Miami in the US state of Florida, and charged with drag racing while intoxicated, driving with an expired licence and resisting arrest "without violence".

Pictures on celebrity news site TMZ show the singer partying the night away - shirtless - in a Miami club, before taking a Ferrari and Lamborghini out for a spin with R&B singer Khalil.

The police officer who arrested him said in a report that Bieber had "bloodshot eyes" and a "stupor look".

The report also states that Bieber confessed to having beer, marijuana and prescription pills in his system.

Unrepentant?

The smiling mugshot released by the police to the press suggests that the pop star is unrepentant.

And why should he be?

He was let out soon after on a bail of US$2,500 (S$3,200).

That is pittance compared to the estimated US$58 million he earned in a year, according to a Forbes report last June.

The ease with which he got out of jail for this latest incident, and the numerous other times he has dodged arrest for violence against clubgoers, neighbours and paparazzi, may explain why he was still smiling after his release.

He even made the time to wave to fans as he was driven off.

After all, other pop stars like Chris Brown have done worse and still continue to chalk up No. 1 albums.

Other teen stars like Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes, however, have never quite recovered from their tailspin into alcoholism and drugs.

Will Bieber join their ranks soon?

The facts do not paint an optimistic picture. His father, according to TMZ, was apparently one of the people who helped block off the street on which he was drag racing. His mum was, according to the star, the person who had been giving him the anti-anxiety pills he had in his system when he was arrested.

Kick him out of the US

His arrest, after a series of bad Bieber news, has prompted some concerned US citizens to write in to the White House to get the Canadian teen kicked out of the country.

"We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug-abusing Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation's youth. We, the people, would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society," reads the statement, which needs 100,000 signatures by Feb 22 to have it reviewed by White House staff.

The Twitter hashtag #DeportBieber trended worldwide, but so did #FreeJustinBieber.

As always, Beliebers are standing by their man.

They cite the immense pressure he has been under as a global star as the reason why others should sympathise with his situation.

"He (Bieber) is a teenager and he makes mistakes," student Shraya Shankar, 17, told The New Paper. "He is a kid and he doesn't need all the media attention around him because it will only pressure him. I have been a fan of his since 2009 so I am not going to leave now just because he has done something wrong and got himself arrested."

Another student, Sharmin Lee, 16, said: "He has been through a lot and what he needs is help and support from his fans. He will remain my idol whatever he does."

It is a view shared by non-Beliebers as well. HOT FM91.3 DJ Cheryl Miles lays the blame for Bieber's bad behaviour on poor parenting of a very rich, very confused teenager.

"I don't see him as an adult, he's 19. He came from nothing and is now a megastar. Fame and wealth draw out the true character and the weaknesses of a person," she said.

"If you don't have a strong foundation, this is what happens.

"I think he's capable of bouncing back from it, but at this point, he is definitely in need of help."

Others feel the arrest and the subsequent publicity will do nothing but raise his profile.

Easiest way

"I guess there's no such thing as bad publicity when you look at it," said music producer Don Richmond.

"We live in an over-communicated world with social media at its helm. The easiest way to get one's attention when there's so much information going on at the same time is to act out in a negative manner. It's all in the name of everybody's entertainment.

"We create our own monsters and even this article about their behaviour is essentially egging them on for more."

Even parent Kwong Kam Shoon, 53, seems resigned to Bieber's continued success.

"That is pop culture for you," said Mr Kwong, whose 18-year-old daughter is a Bieber fan. "Teenagers like them bad like Justin Bieber, not a goody two-shoes. We, adults, cannot deny how big a fan pool he has and how girls are easily attracted to him," he said.


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