At what cost, Stardom? - Alvinology

At what cost, Stardom?

by2 two

Initially when I read the blog of this pair of 15 years-old twin sisters (named by2) on omy, I felt something was amiss, but did not probe further.

Something was not right with two little girls blogging about their lives overseas, without a regard for schoolworks or even their parents.

This pair of twin sisters by the way, are the latest artistes to be rolled out by Ocean Butterflies International (ob-i), founded by famous local musician, Billy Koh (许环良). ob-i is also the recording company that successfully made JJ Lin (林俊杰) the big star he is now, in case you don’t know.

The twins were talent-spotted by ob-i from its music school when they were 13 years-old. Marked for stardom, they were sent to Taipei, Tokyo and Beijing for grooming for 6 months since June 2007, last year.

After taking time to read through their older blog entries today, I finally realised what was wrong – ob-i made the girls dropped out of secondary school to pursue a music career with them.

You can read what the girls have to say about this in their own words on their blog:


(rough translation: Mom told us she need to go to Music Forest to talk to our teacher, Michael, about the contract. She said ob-i has decided to nurture us into stars, but first, we have to agree to drop out of school. The reason being we need to fly to Taiwan for training in a month’s time. When we first heard this news, we can’t believe it and thought everything was happening too fast. However, we were very excited too and very grateful to ob-i for giving us this opportunity. Of course we did not reject this offer!)

What’s even more shocking – Initially, they even lied to their teacher that they were going overseas to study:


但是最后老师还是要我们把那封信交给General Office ,-____- 由于休学的算是一件很严重的事,由我们自己跟general office说他们不会相信,所以妈妈还是要到学校来帮我们解释。

(rough translation: We need to hand in our application to drop out of school to our form teacher today. However, ob-i requested us to keep the reason for dropping out a secret. Hence we were very frightened. We were worried our teacher will ask too many questions. We went to approach our teacher after school with a group of friends. We lied that we were dropping out in order to purse our studies overseas. With the help of our friends, our teacher did not discover we were lying.

However, our teacher told us that we have to hand the application letter to the school’s General Office as dropping out was a very serious matter. In the end, we still have to bother our mom to come down.)

I thought all the reality TV, Idol-type TV shows were bad enough – Singapore Idol, Project Superstar, Superband, even Campus Superstar.

While I admire the twins’ resolve in making a name for themselves, I do wonder what rights ob-i had to pull them out of school this way. Were their parents properly consulted? Although I am a staunch advocate of free choice, I still cannot fathom two 15 years-old girls being able to decide for themselves appropriately, the serious implication of dropping out of school to pursue a singing career.

What’s worse, they were even made to keep this a secret from the school authorities and lied to their teacher.



at what cost, stardom?

Or is this the way things are for those under 18 in this time and age? – the guts to live their lives the way they want it. Individualism. Free Choice.

These are concepts I were unfamiliar with before I turn 18.

What is your feel about this?

Technorati Tags: by2, ocean butterflies, billy koh, JJ Lin, 许环良, 林俊杰, singapore idol, project superstar, superband, campus superstar, twins, singapore twins, omy,, by2 blog, music forest, miko bai weifen, yumi bai weiling, bai two, singapore celebrity


  1. woahhh! if I had the chance when I was 15, what would I do ?? What would YOU do ????

    OF COZZZZ me GRABBBB it!!!!!!!
    it’s once in a lifetime opportunity. 99% of us would never have such a chance.

  2. It has struck me also that they had to drop out from school to pursue stardom. Unsettling but nevertheless it is needed for their career. Hope they are able to reach the stardom they are working hard for. Jia you Jai you

  3. As an (old) artiste myself, I applaud the parents for it. I know it does not sound right but really such opporuntities don’t come by often or at all (I never had, that’s why I’m still only a gig performer at some grand old age). That is if the girls are really ready for it. I happen to know the girls and the mum and they were really dedicated in steering towards this. Whether right or wrong only the girls will know at later part of their lives. Just as long as they don’t end up like Britney. But then again, Britney with her current upheaval state of mind, she already has earned millions and who is there to say what her parents did were wrong? Only my thoughts. Anyway thanks for the post, your blog has been one of my daily staple

  4. Yup I’ve read it 🙂
    One comment from the papers caught my eye:

    In Tokyo, they learnt table manners and how to show respect for elders.
    With a laugh, Mr Koh recalled how he berated them for being bochap Singaporean teenagers who do not serve food or tea to elders and ignore people who are talking to them.
    The girls were scolded again for borrowing money after a shopping spree in Japan and for resting on their laurels after being praised.

    Quite child-like, but now I wonder if they will be famous though. They seem materalistic enough to me.

  5. Frankly, I think schooling is over-rated in Singapore. Many of my frens who are doing very well in their careers now, didn’t do well in school. Besides, you can go to school at any point in time, even when you’re 60. But opportunities like this comes once in a lifetime.
    I disagree though about lying to teachers and the school. The teachers also need to be EDUCATED about grabbing opportunities as they come. And I can’t agree that earning millions already makes Britney’s current behaviour acceptable.

  6. I don’t think you’re “too conservative”. We’re just used to thinking of secondary (or higher) education as a necessity, when it really isn’t in the real world. I’m with wildgoose above: it’s great that the twins took this opportunity, but there was no need to lie.

  7. You didn’t translate the part about them “continuing” their studies at an arts school. 🙂 It may not be Singapore’s “world-class” education, I don’t know, but they’re getting a different kind of education, in life, and perhaps learning their letters at the same time. It could serve them well in a PR-related job in future, though this lifestyle could also make them too materialistic… but who knows, they might get better mentors there than they ever would in school.

  8. Would you have been so offended if they had pulled out of Singapore schools to enroll in a classical music academy in London ?

    If in fact they are talented and assuming that the training is good, they will get far more out of going to Taiwan than staying in Singapore to get a piece of paper with MOE’s stamp on it.

    Lucky for them they don’t have to deal with NS too.

  9. Hmm, I think it’s ok maaaaah. Schools don’t run away, but such opportunities are really hard to come by. Furthermore they are literally learning lessons out of the classroom while most of their peers are still having information overload from their textbooks.

    But of course since they are so young, they will need an adult to watch and guide them. It’s a big world out there afterall.

  10. I say to heck with school and go and pursue whatever you want. Yes, a corny line from the ranks of cliche inspirational phrases. But it just seems that we can’t run away from the horror of a person quitting school. Just a singaporean mentality I guess.

  11. What disturbed me was they not only lied to their teacher but got their friends to lie for them as well. They even called their teacher a “big mouth” in the 3 July post. Sure hope their lesson on respect in Tokyo has changed things for the better.

  12. Well, I don’t have a problem with them quitting school to pursue a singing career. I do have, however, a problem with them lying to their teachers and making friends lie as well.

    Why is there a necessity to lie? It’s not as if the word is not going to go out anyway. It is and will be very soon. OB-I is not going to sign a new artiste, send them for training and keep it quiet forever. Soon everyone will know that they had to lie to get what they wanted.

    No matter whether we like it or not, fans look up to their idols for ‘direction’ and as an example of how to behave. And lying is not exactly a virtue that should be portrayed.

    In the first place, if you are convicted about pursuing this career, telling the truth to teachers & reporting to the General Office shouldn’t be that difficult. There’s nothing the school can do to stop you from leaving studies. It just takes a bit of effort but in the end, its your perogative.

  13. Oh to add on, most Japanese singers / artists in this time & era are younger than 15 when they first debut. Look at Morning Mesume, NEWS, w-inds etc..

    HOWEVER, Johnny’s Entertainment has a conviction. They have to finish their basic education (till high school I think which is about secondary school), meaning all their artists have to work & study at the same time. JE will provide tutors, textbooks, working their work schedules around exam periods etc.

    And the artists get booted out if they do anything bad (get pregnant, have sex, fail school etc etc). So the kids have the pressure to ensure that they are on their best behaviour. Cos the Japanese know, in the entertainment industry, IMAGE is everything. xD

    Just some comparison as food for thought.

  14. i think you missed out something quite important during the translation, they did mention that the ob-i arranged for them to attend a arts school when they fly over to taiwan. And they didn’t really lie but were just trying to keep the secret and not reveal the real reason.
    Anyway, i really admire the twins for the boldness and courage they have to fly over to taiwan by themselves without the parent’s company. Afterall, you can do alot when you’re still young, dont despise your youth 🙂

    I think they got it right, run after their dreams at a young age though they have to give up their studies in Singapore. But that doesnt mean they can’t pursue their studies further in Taiwan or in the future. Doesn’t Taiwan have a proper good school? They are very courage and positive, and that deserve my applaud and support.

    Well, in my own opinon, i think it is not just about stardom or fame. But rather their passion and own decision to pursue music and singing as their career. It takes 2 hands to clap. Music career is a wide range, even if they fail to be a singer, they can still be a music teacher or do things related to music. Because thats their passion for life. it doesnt matter if they fail, because they will learn.

    You go girls!

  15. While I agree that some form of basic education is necessary in a child’s development, I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to pursue a different path from formal schooling at an early age. That is, if they are really going to further their education in performing. Specialization at an early age will really give them a headstart in this arena.

    This is also why Singapore has started a sports school for kids with the gift and passion to get into sports and develop more talent at a young age. However, I do hope the adults around the girls will give them the proper moral guidance since they are still so young and immature.

  16. Just a short comment about your inference from what you see on their blog.
    First things first, they didn’t state on their blog ” Ocean Butterflies FORCED us to drop out of school and into signing a contract “.
    So you can’t assume that they were forced into signing a contract.
    But nobody knows what dirty secrets there are behind the curtains.
    And although they are quite talented and popular.
    They might regret not pursuing their studies further.

    Who knows what will happen to them few years down the road?
    IF they get kicked out of the industry, what are they going to do for a living in the future?
    It’s really a pity.

  17. y not? nothing is wrong.dey made an impt choice and dey are famous now.dey have talents,u said ” at wad cost, stardom?”. u have no right to judge them in this way. i mean. how many ppl can make it up dere? can u? do u have such talents? u even possess one?

  18. Hey , although they ditched their studies in SG , plz do check properly as they are enrolling in a school in Taiwan…And btw , their father just passed away recently and the father’s dream was for his daughters(By2) to be singers…Not only have they fulfilled their father’s dreams , they have also fulfilled their owns.Think About It, If Your Dreams Were Laid In Front Of You, Would You Say ‘NO’ Even If There Are Costs?and the cost of studies has already been solved by enrolling in a school in Taiwan..Next,their mum is also with them so they can’t exactly be lead astray..Plz , all you did was take the bad parts of the blog and put them together to judge By2.In fact,Miko and Yumi are such talented youngsters who have a long way to go and can shine for SG…Plz , start looking at the big picture and stop scrutinizing at the small mistakes ..

  19. in the entertainment industry, timing is very important. i think one of the reasons by ob-i wants them to fly over as soon as possible is because the market lacks notable duo/pairs that can sing & dance. especially during this period where HK grp twins career is going downhill…but skipping O levels in Singapore, seems like a risky move in a education-centered country like ours.

    but well, it’s their own choice & their mum was with them throughout this whole process. just hope they achieve success and really attend school in Taiwan…

  20. Well..Haven’t got their O-level is too bad. But this is a great opportunity. (10 year contract(that’s long) )Now they are pretty popular. Condolences for their late father as well. 🙁 It must be hard for them. Anyways, their album is pretty catchy. I like it.

    All i can say is that they are deemed to be singers together. They share such bonds. Im not singaporean (Malaysian) but what the heck, we’re in the same age group, and i like them. 😀

  21. well i tink it is gd 4 them to be in the music industry but there are also some risks but overrall i tink it is gd as tis can also be an experience for them, to see the real world. anyway, lets support them so they will not feel that they had chosen the wrong path and started regreting it. and also afterall they are singaporeans and had done so well, we should be proud of them! ^_^

  22. yes indeed this opportunity is really rare and alot of people will give up school to grab this one in a life time opportunity.nobody can guarantee success for them even though they may very talented.being a successful artiste has many other contributing factors other than talent and it’s really risky to give up their education for something that doesnt hold any firm promises for their not trying to condemn them but try to imagine if their singing career did not work out for miserable is that to waste few years of your life,drop out from school and go after your dream and end up with nothing.i admire they’re courage to make that decision but it was really risky how awesome that opportunity is.but it’s good to know that they are gonna continue theirs studies in taiwan.atleast they can complete their O levels now.

  23. wow, you know NOTHING about these twins. their dad passed away when they were 15. his last words were that he hopes that they would become successful singers in the future, a dream their dad never had to chance to fulfill. you’ll never understand what it’s like.

  24. I think I sort of understand the concerns surrounding these girls leaving school at a tender age of 15 to pursue their dreams. Kudos to their determination and may they find that shining pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Nonetheless, we must not forget the fickleness of the entertainment industry, and I sincerely hope that they can also realize the importance of getting a basic educational foundation. I’ve not seen (nor listened) to their performances but judging from the many positive remarks, they seemed to be doing quite well. I would wish for them to remain determined in their pursuit in the face of adversities, to truly love what they do, and set good examples for those who look up to them for inspiration.

  25. I am pretty ok with that twins way of face things, sometime its too late to start singing after their conventional school. Imagine, some people even start acting at age 10. Teenage is a good phase to shape of who you are, you eat right and do right things, the chances to success route is higher.

    Example, Joey Yung from hong kong, she start as “ugly duckling” and need to keep fit, learn this and that while need to catch up her own age, I am sure she can even do better if she already start young in all aspect of her life. She has to wait until middle 20s?

    The Boa, woah girl for me…she start training and most things while become a diva coz she start young. And i am sure there no worry for BY2 with lack of schooling, they can eventually bcm producer or director or whatever it is when they start mature..their route to stardom is very few reach, if they do, they will become great example for real artist.

    Hope they write a diary and a book, so they can inspire girls in Asia to be bold in themself. And secret of better looking skin etc, I notice top singers have high privilege in such knowledge to train them to radiate in the stage. Imagine, the quality of the Asians girl getting better for next generation, we could compete with “egoistic” hollywood, kind of bored to see the white or black people think nothing except themselves. Go ASIA!!!

  26. Hellos ! I think Its okay, both of them leaving their school to pursue their dreams, there are younger girls leaving their school to pursue their dreams in all over the world ! Anyways, By2’s dad passed away when they were 15. Their dad’s last words were that he hopes that they would pursue their dreams. / By2 Jiayou Jiayou !

  27. Oh Yeah? You think the fact that their becoming superstars and idols is bad? You’re the nobody who is sitting at home writing this blog here while those two girls are rich, famous and happy. They have the opportunity to travel around the world, be loved by so many people, and live the most out of their lives. It should be truly shocking if they missed the chance to become this successful just because of school. You have failed in your analysis and you are wrong.
    “At what cost, Stardom?” – Exactly, stardom. They are more successful right now than if they were to stay in school and missed the opportunity. They are concepts you were never familiar with when you turned 18 because you were not willing to take risks and you were not open minded enough. Your comment about their choice on this matter obviously supports that fact. You wish that you could have traveled around the world like they did and be as famous and successful as they are right now when you were their age, but you didn’t. So don’t bash them just because they can do what you were not able to.
    The world needs more of these cheerful girls around to keep the atmosphere alive and bring a little more happiness around. Because the fact that they became famous, a lot of people were able to enjoy their music, laugh while watching game shows they attended, and open their eyes to their unique style of performance.
    Your unsupportive comments about the two girls disgusts me. They are trying to be happy and successful and they are not harming anyone. What other reason do they need to chase after their dreams? They are so talented and are trying their best. It would be a waste of they were never discovered by 0b-i.
    BY2 is awesome and they will surely be phenomenal. Their future is bright and I’m happy for them. I hope that they become even more successful and more people will support their effort and dreams in becoming superstars.

  28. I hate them,they are like creature..
    Their voice sucks..
    Always being cute but they are not cute either!

  29. Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.
    -Louis E. Boone

    Good examples of Singaporeans living their dreams! Rock on!

    Report have already emerged that they are making 1 million less than a year and I’m not talking in taiwan dollars

  30. It is not up to me to comment as I also believed in individuals having the rights to make individual choices over their lives. What we think is the best may not be the best for other people. But judging from the recent entertainment news report about BY2 performances in Taiwanese entertainment shows, instead of making a name for themselves, they were tossed into the negative limelight for their lack of basic general knowledge. When quizzed by the tv compare “where is Vietnam?”, the twins showed their ignorance about it. Besides these, they also made numerous jokes during other events/programs reported by reporters that can be avoided if they have stayed in school much longer (at least after GCE “0”level).

  31. I would do the exact same thing. Yes, schooling is important, but really, you have the choice to finish school when you’re older. Becoming a famous singer and dancer is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Also, what wasn’t mentioned in this blog, or whatever it is, is that their father died. And it was apparently his dying wish for Yumi and Miko to fulfill their dreams.
    Their mother is proud of them, and they are doing very well. I am a fan of By2, myself. Although, lying to their teacher was wrong, I have to say.
    I wish them the best of luck with their career.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts