‘SAYA ni memang pemalu kak (“I am a little shy, sister”), said Farid Kamil as he lowered his gaze during one of our photoshoots-cum-interviews a few years ago.
I would always remember him as being this lad whose shyness borders on introversion.
Farid is known to be a down-to-earth artiste and among those considered to be squeaky clean, with no history of any kind of controversies.
So, when news of the Kedah-born artiste running amok at a police station last month made headlines, that was enough to create quite a stir in the entertainment scene.
The father-of-two had just been awarded a Pahang Datukship.
And, it surely didn’t take take long for Netizens to start peering and peeling for the reasons this Lagenda Budak Setan star had gone down that route.
While some were sympathetic towards him, others didn’t give Farid a chance in condemning his actions.
Initially, I just couldn’t believe it either. It seemed so out of character for him to do what he is said to have done.
The first thought that ran through my mind was that this must be a case of mistaken identity, just like what happened some time ago when a policeman mistook a reporter for celebrity Datuk D.J. Dave.
But when news of Farid testing positive for drugs spread, my heart sank. Here we go again with yet another young celebrity falling victim to the who-has-fallen drug menace.
Recently, actor Sofi Jikan was taken in for questioning by the police after Farid made a police report linking him as one of the three perpetrators who allegedly spiked his drink before the unfortunate episode at the police station.
The jury is still out on this.
Sofi’s drug test, too, came back positive for ganja, making him the latest casualty in the long list of celebrities who have been caught for drug abuse.
Abroad, celebrity addiction, as drug abuse is known, is big news. Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Cory Monteith and Philip Seymour Hoffman are some of the celebrities who died of drug overdose.
A star of the modern era, Winehouse died in 2011 at only 27, three years after struggling with drug abuse. Extreme alcohol consumption, too, contributed to her death.
Monteith, the actor from the hit TV series Glee, who had struggled with drugs since young, was found dead in a hotel room in Canada in July 2013. He had taken heroin the night before.
And who doesn’t remember Whitney Houston? My kids, probably.
Houston struggled with drug addiction for a long time. She was found dead in a bathtub of a Beverly Hills hotel due to cocaine overdose and extreme alcohol consumption.
I am sure no one begins using drugs with the intention of becoming addicted.
Addiction doesn’t hit you with one dose; it creeps up behind you and messes your entire life while you’re not even looking.
And, the line between recreation and addiction is extremely thin. You just don’t know what pain and desperation are until your stash of drugs is gone.
And when your coffers are empty, stealing will be the next option.
Drug and substance abuse among celebrities has always reflected the darker side of fame and money.
But are we really supposed to believe that people do drugs when they’re mourning, in abusive relationships or dealing with work pressure?
Cases are aplenty where drug abuse has led to financial or career ruin. It is time celebrities realise that lucrative offers stop heading the way of artistes who display erratic and unreliable behaviours under the influence of drugs.
Celebrities may have youth on their side, but death does not discriminate between the young and old. It is a great leveller.
Hizreen Azleena Kamal is a passionista with a keen interest in showbiz and pop culture (online shopping included!). And oh, she is also the Entertainment Editor.