This year has been a particularly sad year for artist circles in Việt Nam.
Many famous people from the theatre, music, cinema and other industries have passed on, like rocker Trần Lập, composer Thanh Tùng and classical opera artist Thanh Tòng.
But something even sadder is happening at the funerals of these famous people, when other well-known artists come to pay their respects.
Many people who are in the area throng to see their stars and behave with a complete lack of sensitivity.
Traditionally, when someone dies, his or her family receives relatives, friends and neighbours who come to express sympathy and pay their respects to the deceased.
When an artist or other public figure passes away, even people who did not know him or her personally will join the mourners.
The atmosphere in the house and the surrounding area is somber and quiet, except for the sounds of crying, chanting and sometimes, the playing of melancholy funeral music.
However, the sombre atmosphere has been rudely disrupted in recent times when famous people, particularly those with a fan following, are around.
“Recently, when a famous artist walked to singer Minh Thuận’s house, people in the area flocked there and cheered him, as if it was a celebration. I was shocked,” said a well-known model who attended the funeral.
“They rushed for our signatures and pictures. They laughed freely.”
It is good for artists to have a large fan following, but they need to be given their private space, especially at a time of mourning.
Many artists attending the funerals of their friends or relatives of colleagues try to avoid attention by wearing sunglasses and visiting during peak traffic hours, but these ruses don’t work all the time.
In fact, several members of the public go so far as to pass negative comments on the artists.
“They (the public) were very open with their comments. One said clearly that I looked very different than she’d imagined. I heard others say this singer is ugly or that one was more beautiful.
“They stood about 2-3 metres away from us and their voices were so loud. It was annoying and hurtful,” a celebrity said.
In these cases, the family members of the person who has died also feel sorry for the artists.
“We opened our doors to anyone who wanted to come and say goodbye, rather than organizing a private funeral for ourselves. It was a chance for all of us to say goodbye together.
“However, the rude comments on the artists who came made us feel bad. We wished that we had organized the funeral in a better and more secure way,” said a relative of an artist who passed away recently.
It is not surprising that artists, especially celebrities, hire professional security teams to prevent strangers from gatecrashing events like weddings.
But this cannot be an option when a popular artist passes away and many people want to express their condolences in person.
Some members of the public were disappointed and angry with the rude behaviour of their peers.
“I wish everyone realizes that behaving properly is a way to respect oneself, respect the person who has died and respect for the dead person’s relatives,” said Hà Thu Hằng.
“An artist’s signature or picture cannot get us closer to our idols, if it is obtained disrespectfully.” VNS