By AILEEN LOO
MANY concert-goers were left disappointed when news broke that day three of Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) 2014 was to be cancelled due to the untimely deaths of six youths from drug overdose.
Frustrated and exasperated tweets, status updates and posts flooded social media sites when ticket-holders found out mere hours before the show was scheduled to begin that they were to miss stellar acts such as Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Yuna and Grammy award-winning musician Pharell Williams.
Early chemical reports showed that a new drug used by the six victims, known as “Tab”, may have contained a lethal mixture of ingredients. That lead many people to question the authorities’ decision to pull the plug on the concert altogether.
The organisers, sponsors and the thousands who had paid to see their favourite artistes perform live were all left in the lurch. So why exactly did the authorities take such drastic measures?
In some ways, cancelling the festival came across as a short-term solution to the problem of drug abuse at raves. But at the same time, it still sent a strong message to party-goers that they have to learn to have fun responsibly. They should learn to draw the line between having fun and being reckless.
Ask most people who attend such events, and they’ll tell you that deaths do occasionally occur. The fact that the authorities took steps this year to solve the problem is a relief for me, as we do not want them to be sweeping such things under the rug.
No doubt, many will think that the irresponsibility of a few people shouldn’t have to affect thousands of others, but we need to put things in perspective here. Lives were lost, and we don’t really know the full story on how it happened.
So, let us not be insensitive to the families of the deceased. Allow them to grieve for their loved ones without having to be bombarded by angry accusations.
The FMFA case was followed quickly by the cancellation of Life-In-Color, a global live music concert to be held in April.
You can ban as many raves as you want, but ultimately, the problem of drug abuse will not be resolved unless we deal with it head-on.
Let’s hope the authorities take the necessary steps from here on to educate the youth, and to ensure young party-goers can continue to have a great time without worrying about more deaths being reported the next day.
The writer is a member of The Star’s BRATs young journalist programme. For more info, log on to facebook.com/starbrats.