SINGAPORE - Do you want to be famous?
Really? The outer trappings may seem attractive - free gifts, less work, more glamour. The good life. Here's the good news: If you really want people to know who you are, you don't have to work too hard at it these days.
Just tweet something controversial or upload a rant on YouTube.
Various levels of celebrity are yours - especially if you are willing to expose your stupidity. Yes, you too could be known worldwide by setting yourself on fire while twerking.
Or try being a human version of the grumpy cat.
Or hang around the right social circles.
But just don't think that the fame is yours to keep forever. And once it's gone, let go.
There's little sadder than someone clinging on to past glories. Ris Low, for instance, seems to be trying to make a comeback.
One would have thought she would have given up trying to parlay her memorable interview into fame. Our columnist S M Ong has his take on page 35.
The world is full of wannabes like her, trying to translate one moment of notoriety into lasting fame. But why would you want to be famous? It's the epitome of the double-edged sword.
Sure, you'll be known, but there will be a legion of lurkers and commentators, ready to go over everything you say and do, like some CSI of cynicism.
Even the most innocent upload can attract a barrage of hatred. Remember Rebecca Black, the then 14-year-old who had a mini hit with the song Friday?
Going off the volley of bile aimed at her, you'd think she had committed some war atrocities. All because people didn't like the song.
It takes a certain mentality to be able to take on such criticism. A slightly different one to want it.
For the famous, you can never be anything less than perfect. Ageing is forbidden.
Wearing anything less than designer gear is verboten.
Anything less than a Photoshop-worthy beach bod is a crime.
God forbid if you have anything close to a muffin top. Everyone is ready to pounce on every flaw.
Take the Kardashians. All Khloe - the sister apparently going through some marital woes at the moment - has to do is appear alone at some mall or coffee shop, and the resulting headlines scream about how lonely she is.
But some have to live with the trappings of fame, even though it is not theirs.
Our interviews with the children of local celebrities (page 3) reveal some of the pitfalls of having a mum or dad who gets recognised on the street.
The children seem to handle it well and appear to have wise heads on their young shoulders. Certainly, they realise that "Don't you know who I am?" isn't for them.
They do have an awareness of being under scrutiny and the need to behave in public, if not for their sake, then their parents'.
It already seems like an unwarranted burden.
Maybe there's a lesson. Sure, get famous. But let it be for something worthwhile, not just vanity.
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