Jam Sebastian, the other half of the popular real-life couple JaMich together with his fiance Michelle Liggayu, has passed away yesterday after succumbing to lung cancer (he told the public about it early last year). He would have turned 29 on March 20.
Since the pair began uploading videos featuring themselves back in 2011, the “JaMich” love team has maintained a massive following on all social media platforms. Given their prominence on the Philippine social media scene, the news of Sebastian’s death generated intense attention not only from netizens but also from major media outlets.
For example, hash tags like #RIPJam, #PaalamJamSebastian, and #BeStrongMich were the top trending topics on Twitter as of Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the editors of online news website Rappler.com has deemed it important to give wall-to-wall coverage to every single thing happening to the couple, which is comparable to what they did during Pope Francis’ visit last January and their current coverage of the Mamasapano, Maguindanao tragedy. Are they giving too much publicity for a single person’s death? Just imagine if Rappler had been around when Rico Yan died.
There’s no doubt that JaMich’s long-established popularity among Filipino Internet users is the main reason why they are getting all this attention. Despite this, Jam’s fiance seems to have done everything else she can to get further attention from people.
In the past days and weeks, we’ve been fed with endless stories related to the Jam-is-dying-soon saga. For example, we know that Jam requested to be subjected to euthanasia, and that he became unconscious a few days ago but suddenly managed to wake up and scribble a message for Mich, and that he was visited by big-name celebrities like Kris Aquino and basketball star Jimmy Alapag.
We know all of these through the social media posts of Michand her brother Christopher. Of course, these items are not complete without attaching images or video clips showing Jam in his emaciated condition.
Before proceeding, let me share with you what award-winning writer/TV host Lourd De Veyra once described as the people’s tendency to unleash their “inner Kris Aquino.” That refers to the people’s willingness to share every single episode of their private lives to everyone just to elicit attention, fame, and sympathy. And with the aid of social media, engaging in that is now all the more easier.
While a vast majority of netizens are expressing their condolences over Sebastian’s death, some of them are instead criticizing Liggayu for being a famewhore. Use this link to read some of the less-than-pleasant comments directed against the woman.
Losing a loved one is a universal experience. I, for instance, lost my “Daddy” two years ago after a bout with an advanced type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, by the way, was also the cause of Dolphy’s death in 2012).
However, unlike Sebastian’s relatives, our family made it a point not to take photos or videos of him during his final hospitalization. Will you take a picture of your mother or father at a time when he/she is experiencing unimaginable suffering and have it shared on Facebook afterwards?
A thread that I started on Facebook regarding this topic has received dozens of responses so far. One of the more notable insights came from James Lindo, an engineering student from Quezon City who. According to him, because of Mich’s decision to post pictures and videos of Jam in his emaciated condition, the latter “will now be remembered as the “weak, thin, and ill Jam,” instead of the “cool and handsome Jam” that his previous videos depict.
No stranger to controversy:
The pair has encountered controversy in the past. In 2013, their pledge of giving P1,000 to the victims of super typhoon “Yolanda” for every 10,000 views to a video they uploaded on YouTube received flak from netizens. They were accused of using the tragedy to gain greater popularity.
In September of last year, the couple again received criticism even from their own fans after Sebastian expressed his desire to save money and buy an IPhone 6 (a goal he dubbed as #IponParaSaIPhone) at a time when their followers were actually sending him donations for his cancer treatment.