Ines Alanah is obsessed with Lana Del Rey.

IF you ever meet Ines Alanah – at a concert, by the roadside, at a mall, where ever – do not make the mistake of telling her that you’re the biggest Lana Del Rey fan in the world. Why? Because she is.

The 15-year-old student is an ardent fan (that’s an understatement really) of the American singer-songwriter and has been following her career even before Lana Del Rey was, well, Lana Del Rey.

“I know and listen to all her old songs, even the ones she wrote before changing her name to what it is now,” says Ines.

FYI, Del Rey (born Elizabeth Grant) went by the stage names of Lizzy Grant, Lana Rey Del Mar, May Jailer and Sparkle Jump Rope Queen before settling on Lana Del Rey. Phew, talk about having an identity crisis.

Ines admits that she gets annoyed when people act as if they are Del Rey’s biggest fan, when in fact, they only know a song or two.

“Yes, I know it’s very selfish and arrogant for me to think this way but I can’t help but believe they are not real fans. It feels as if I connect with Lana more than the other fans do. I’ve listened to her music longer and know her better,” she says.

Ines, who follows her idol on most social media sites, received a surprise email notification stating that Del Rey was following her account on Twitter.

Yes, that got her to scream her lungs out – at school, while in the library.

This she used as an opportunity to send private messages to the singer and then a bigger surprise happened when a few months ago, Del Rey actually replied to one of her direct messages.

Ines' private message from her idol, Lana Del Rey.

“I just went crazy because it meant that she acknowledged my existence. Twice. She knows who I am and that I’m her biggest fan,” says Ines.

Her mother thinks that she has an unhealthy obsession, but Ines just shrugs it off, knowing that there are other teenagers out there who are insanely into one act or another.

She’s right. There are millions of young (somehow they happen to be mostly girls – must be something in the hormones) bands of protective fans who pledge their life and loyalty to young celebs across the world.

There are reports on the Internet about how one Justin Bieber fan carved “JB I LOVE” on her arm, and of another who gave away her virginity for Bieber’s concert tickets.

These girls, and millions of other fans, have taken the meaning of being fanatic to a whole different level. Not only are they interested in the music, they are also heavily invested in their idol’s private life – from who they date to their family members’ well being.

Each fan following has its own name, such as Beliebers (Justin Bieber), Directioners (One Direction), Little Monsters (Lady Gaga), Swifties (Taylor Swift), Smilers (Miley Cyrus), Lovatics (Demi Lovato) and Selenators (Selena Gomez).

These fans are so fiercely protective of their idols that it is no surprise that “wars” break out on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. Cross the line and you might just find yourself getting “educated” and sometimes downright bullied by these diehard fans.

Crazy mentality
As much we want to understand why some fans go absolutely nuts over their idol, we just simply can’t. It has happened for ages – from The Beatles to Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson. These artists had their fair share of fans back in the days, but perhaps due to the absence of Internet and social media sites, fans couldn’t interact with their “haters” and leave scathing comments without fear of repercussion.

“I have had arguments over my favourite bands before. I don’t mind if people ask why I’m into certain bands but the moment they start insulting them without even having listened to their music, that’s when things get ugly,” says Tokio Hotel fan Joanne Raena Raj.

However, Joanne draws the line at bullying others.

“It is an unwritten rule that as fans, we need to speak up and defend our idols. If you like their music, then you wouldn’t stand the insults that people throw at them,” says Shamani Krishnan, 18.

Shamani and Joanne waited for hours just to get a glimpse of their favourite band, Tokio Hotel.

The INTI International College Subang student is also a big fan of Tokio Hotel – even before they were recognised in Asia, and admits that she doesn’t tolerate any insults from people who don’t understand the music.

“We’re like ‘we like them, you’re stupid’,” says Joanne, who is also a big Avenged Sevenfold fan.

The girls even took German classes (they said that they had always planned to learn the language but uhm, sure), and “stalked” the band on their two visits to Malaysia. They loitered around the lobby of the band’s hotel at 6am, hoping to catch a glimpse of them. They did … many hours later.

“We just wanted to see them. The other fans who arrived later were really annoyed that we got to meet and spend time with the band members. Those fans were telling us to leave the boys alone and that we shouldn’t bug them,” says Shamani.

“Well, that was funny cause they were doing exactly the same thing as we were. At least we weren’t taking photographs. We know that the Tokio Hotel boys don’t like to have their photos taken,” adds Joanne.
The girls acknowledge the fact that there are factions among the fans, each claiming to be the biggest fan group.

This rivalry, they said, doesn’t just happen among Tokio Hotel fans, but among fans of other artistes as well, though the situation in Malaysia is not as severe as that in other countries.

“We really don’t know why it happens. Just natural instinct I guess. A competition among us to see who is really the biggest fan of the said band,” says Shamani.

Ru Yuan feels that it's okay to like both J-rock and J-pop music.

Wong Ru Yuan, 18, who is currently a diehard One OK Rock – a Japanese rock band – was told that as a J-rock fan, she is not supposed to like J-pop acts.

“I didn’t get it. Why can’t I like both genres? Apparently in Japan, it’s an unwritten rule that you can like either genre, but not both,” she says.

But as Wong might just be the only J-rock fan left standing in Malaysia (she assumes there are other J-rock fans in the country, but for the life of her doesn’t know how to reach out to them), she doesn’t feel threatened for “breaking the rules”.

The bullies
While most people know better than to hurl insults at someone’s idol, lest they want to face the ugly consequences, there are some who are not aware of the rule. Too bad @fishcheung812 learned that lesson the hard way.

The girl made an unsavoury comment on a photo posted by Hong Kong superstar Edison Chen on the free photo sharing site Instagram in which Chen is seen side-hugging a child. The photo was captioned as “Another one of my God children! How cute is she?”

Upon seeing the photo, @fishcheung812 left a comment in Mandarin, which roughly translated to Chen acting like a pedophile and urging him to let go of the girl.

Incensed, Chen posted a screenshot of the comment and left the rest of the job for his over 105,000 Instagram followers to complete.

The user quickly changed her profile setting to private and even took on a different username – @edcisash*t! Now, that user simply doesn’t exist on Instagram anymore.

“Some fans are really crazy. They really go overboard with their obsession,” says Ines, who is also a major Belieber.

During the singer’s most recent visit to Malaysia, Ines had the good fortune of running into the singer while he was on a shopping spree at a mall in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya. He was accompanied by his girlfriend Selena Gomez and she, Ines claims, was subjected to verbal abuse from Bieber’s fans.

“They were telling her that she’s not good enough for him and that she should leave him. They were being really mean, and to think that they call themselves Justin’s number one fans. That was really embarrassing,” laments Ines.

Bieber is famous for many reasons, one of them being his crazy fans. In March, they started a Twitter petition urging fans to unfollow Lady Gaga so that Bieber could reign as the number one artiste on the social media site. Lady Gaga currently has more than 28 million followers whereas Bieber has about 27 million.

#OperationUnfollowGaga was a bust, though it didn’t go down without some major tongue lashing between Beliebers and Little Monsters.

One of Gaga’s fans tweeted: “Oh children, how pathetic. You Bieber disciples seriously need to grow up and get a life …”, while another fan said, “Beliebers, you have gone too far. This is disgusting. SHOW SOME RESPECT. Lady Gaga is awesome.”

“Yes, Justin Bieber’s fans are crazy. They are even crazier than the One Direction fans, and that’s saying something,” says Ines.

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