Sun, 08 Jun 2003

Do you love or loathe glamorous young celebrities?

Leo Wahyudi S, Contributor, Jakarta

Young celebrities today are living the good life. They make fantastic sums to star in TV series or for their albums. Teen star Agnes Monica reportedly earned Rp 40 million per episode, one of the highest paid actors in the country, when she played a young unmarried mother in the TV show Pernikahan Dini.

But does all the fame and money go to their heads?

For instance, a peeved Agnes is said to have ordered the firing of crew members she deemed unprofessional. Teen heart- throb Roger Danuarta recently held a lavish birthday party at a five-star hotel at an estimated cost of Rp 800 million.

Other rumors circulate about teen stars caught up in a life of drugs and partying. It's a far cry from only 20 years ago, when teen stars were known for wholesome, clean-cut lifestyles (even if the truth was somewhat darker).

We asked a bunch of Jakarta teens whether they consider the young stars a budding brat pack, or worthy of their esteem.

Stephanie, 16, a second year student of a private high school:

I am not irked by the fact that many young celebrities now are caught up in glamorous lifestyles. They spend their own money. I don't have the right to say anything about how they lead their lives.

They are famous and wealthy but it will be better and more praiseworthy if they want to donate part of their income to the poor.

I think young celebrities should learn to think about the unfortunate, and then they will learn about humble and simple lives.

Besides, if I were one of them, I would rather invest my income for my future education. It's the most important priority, and better than having fun by partying or frittering away money.

By the way, I like singer Krisdayanti because she is friendly, beautiful and, above all, talented.

Aldo, 17, a second year student of a private high school:

The young celebrities are entitled to adopt free and glamorous lifestyles because they also work hard for that. But if they are too ostentatious in their displays of wealth, I think it will widen the gap between the rich and the poor here.

Their lifestyles will not affect or inspire young people. Personally, I would rather live my normal life. It's unrealistic if we try to catch up with them.

However, I sometimes dream of having the posh, fascinating life of a celebrity.

I don't have any favorite local actress or actors. But I admire music group Edane because of their skills and songs.

Erika, 15, a second year student of a state-run high school:

The lifestyles of the young celebrities here tend to be excessive for their age. I'm disgusted when I see them on television.

Their appearance in soap operas or other shows is often indecent. The way they dress is not appropriate for our Eastern culture.

I also see that once they gain popularity they also change personally. I would rather see the young stars of yesteryear because they stayed grounded and led normal lives.

My idol is Dian Sastrowardoyo. I admire her talent.

Dwi, 18, a third year student at a state-run high school:

Our young celebrities tend to be Western-minded, particularly when we talk about their lifestyles. They are ostentatious and party lovers.

To be honest, I don't like to watch them on television but I realize that it is their right to lead their lives as they see fit.

It's too bad that our soap operas only show the glamorous and comfy lifestyles of the upper class. It will, in a way, provide a terrible impact on youngsters in viewing their own culture.

Well, I like actor Primus because of his good acting. Besides, his personality and his mature characteristics have inspired me be like him.

Andi, 18, a second grade student of a state-run high school:

I guess the lifestyles of the young celebrities like Agnes Monica are too much for their age. Perhaps, that's the consequence of their profession but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are that way.

When I heard the gossip that Agnes bought a very expensive car recently, I wondered about the truth of the rumor. I mean, I wonder how she could earn so much money to afford the car.

She is just like ordinary young people like me, despite her popularity.

I don't doubt that her sensational appearance could, in a way, have an impact on how the young live, but I also believe that a lot has to do with the way we choose to react.

Frankly, I don't have any personal idols among local celebrities. However, I like music group Naif. They are young musicians but they are keen on singing old songs.

Fanny, 17, a second grade student of a private vocational high school:

I believe that the appearance of most young celebrities now is too vulgar and they are arrogant.

They are just junior or senior high school students, so it's really not necessary for them to dress up the way they do.

In addition, I really don't like that Agnes Monica wore a too- short skirt as part of the school uniform of her character in one show. It's really indecent.

She wasn't like that when she started her career. She should be ashamed of herself.

Anyway, I like singer Nafa Urbach. She is beautiful and has a funky physical appearance. She is simple and not vulgar, I guess.