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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Tale of Two Concerts

On a boring saturday night in seremban, i was presented with a unique situation. i hadto make an important decision that really rattled my rarely-utilised brain. it was a choice between two: on one hand, i had Bob Geldof's musical showcase, Live 8. and on the other hand, the Akademi Fantasia concert in Putrajaya. how can a man like me be entrusted to make such a big decision? i'm not worthy of this kinda responsibility. it's no easy decision.
come on laaa...let's weigh in the factors: Live 8 comes in the footsteps of Live Aid held in London 20 years ago. it's probably the biggest musical event of our generation held in 10 cities with the hope of eradicating debt in Africa. Konsert Akademi Fantasia comes in the footsteps of AF1 and AF2 where the winners become super-huge popular mega-stars. though not held in 10 cities, it's held in the centre of our country's administration, Putrajaya. though both concerts are free, one could argue that the hyper-charged emotional environment and suprises in store for Akademi Fantasia viewers outweigh those from probably all 10 venues of Live 8. tit-for-tat, it's a close one to call. which one would u rather see? the botak head of Micheal Stipe or Mawi? the sexiness of Madonna or Marsha? the quick-wit of Will Smith or Felix? you get the idea of my dilemma here, people? i almost tore my brains out.
so as someone who can't really make tough decisions in life, i opted for the safe side: i juggled between the channels. channel balancing is no easy feat, especially when you have a mother and relative within close proximity of the telly. because u know the preference. where the difference between Bob Geldof and Bob AF2 are not clearly distinguished.
in any case, i got the best of both worlds. i got to see history being made for two reasons: the first time two contestants were ejected from Akademi Fantasia, and on the other hand, probably the biggest musical gathering held with the hope that poverty will one day become history.
though some see Live 8 as another marketing strategy where the biggest stars do something to give back to society (read: superstars have a heart too despite the gazillions they earn), i think it sends out the correct message. i mean, what better way to raise awareness other than through pop icons? face the facts: we thrive on celebrities. and when they say something, most times out of many, we listen. and by making Live 8 free, i think that was in good taste, because when you want the world's G8 leaders to cancel debt in Africa, you've gotta say, "Hey, we don't want money for doing this. If i could use without the extra cash, why can't you too?"
it's good to get an idea of how African countries will benefit from this debt relief. CNN has great coverage on Live 8 and the upcoming G8 meeting in Edinburgh. some critics argue that debt cancellation will do nothing to change things in Africa, as long as there are corrupt goverments and leaders still in power. my view is let's take things one at a time. there will of course be certain terms if say, the superpowers are willing to cancel the debt. i really hope that the money gained from this will be used entirely and wisely to assist the poor in Africa, and not some leader in Tanzania who gains to make a few bucks just because he can.
sometimes these people really make me angry. how the hell is the world going to help you if you can't even be trusted to help your own kind? corrupt African leaders with their own agenda are like parasites that feeds off its host. and in the end, everybody dies. i guess everywhere in the world is the same, whether you're rich or poor.
i read that 18 African countries are set to be able to benefit from these cancellations. that's a good start, don't you think? as long as the correct channels are used, and that the money gained from the cancellation of debt be put into good use, i say why not?
i'm glad they held this concert. it certainly opened up my eyes on the issues in Africa. i think the best way to gain from Live 8 is to be aware. awareness can do wonders. take a moment and have a read through the following websites:

Make Poverty History
Other good links

Official Live 8 Website

and if you have the time, why not just sign-up your name, too? i'm no activist and don't claim to be one, but just imagine how meaningful it would be for someone in Africa who's barely surviving to know that hundreds of miles away, someone is worrying about their future and is doing something about it. just imagine how it would be if we were to be born right smack in the middle of Ghana? is it a choice to be born into that situation? nobody wants to be poor. and i think the world could really use without poverty.
can we make poverty history? we sure can try.

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