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Bieber Fever Reaches Unsettling Heights

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I love Justin Bieber. I've loved the little man from his early day and the kid had me at "Baby, baby, baby" and since then the video has broken YouTube records and I may have played a role in drumming up the numbers. I'm not ashamed to admit to this little tidbit.

What I find myself perplexed by however is the decision schools in Ålesund, west of Norway, have taken to afford teen girls to attend their idol's upcoming concerts in the capital, Oslo.

Five schools have decided, upon receiving requests from almost 100 girls, to reschedule midterms a week ahead so these girls won't miss out on the Bieber concerts, which would have been held the same week as the schools' tests!

Take a moment to think of what other excuses you would have had to come up with for your school to allow you not to sit for your midterms. A sick relative? Yes. A medical operation or leave? Yes. Even a family trip could have worked. But rescheduling exams for a bunch of girls so they can attend a concert?

This indeed is a classic example of the ever-growing "first world problems" syndrome, which is often and heavily clogged with issues that seem earthshattering for the few who are blessed with wealth.

"We find it regrettable, but we preferred to move forward the Norwegian exams to avoid problems," Roar Aasen, the headmaster of an upper secondary school in Ålesund, told AFP.

When I first read this story on a Norwegian news site, I thought it was an April Fool's Day prank, but upon checking the date of the publication and a quote from the school official, shame and astonishment over how far removed from reality my beloved adopted country seems to be washed over me.
It's not just me, from what I have read and seen online in message boards and on Twitter, no one in their right mind can fathom this decision.

We've all had idols but the recent adoration and fascination we, as societies, seem to have for celebrities has gone overboard! For what are we teaching our kids when something as frivolous as a concert, of someone who seems to have a new album out every second month, is grounds enough to have your midterms reshuffled? When you raise kids in a world that seems to indulge their every whim, where do we draw the line and teach them the world (or at least the rest of the world) doesn't work like this?

I fear for where we are headed as I see no decline, but rather an increase in this senseless glorification of the rich and famous. I'm also afraid of what we are telling and teaching our kids is important. When five schools rearrange their tests' timing to accommodate the few, what message does this send to the others, those who prioritise their education and who had worked hard to prepare for those tests?

If this is how we are preparing our youth, the future of tomorrow, for the days ahead, I dread to see what adulthood and its demanding responsibilities will do to so many of this generation.

Luckily on the day this came out, the world reached the first-ever global arms trade treaty deal that seeks to regulate the billion dollars business.

Maybe there is hope for the human race after all. I'll just settle for this comforting notion, while the chosen few are screaming their little hearts out for their idol, and I sit here listening to Justin's biggest hit, yet again.