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Why I Abhor Ozine?

Note: This is a guest post by cosplayer Mari Chii Perez

Given this time of the year, most of you who are reading this right now have probably just been in Ozine Fest Encore 2011, be it one afternoon or all three days. Even weeks before I've already been seeing enthusiastic Facebook statuses talking about Ozine Fest and I've been flooded with friends asking whether I will grace the said event or not. But to all of them, I said 'no,' 'nope and never will'-- basically, I've given everyone who asked and consulted about Ozine Fest a negative answer. Most of whom I have expressed a negative opinion upon have also asked why I bear such pessimistic resentments, and it's been quite tiring to repeat the story to each person every time, especially when the story is sad and of a bad ending. So my comrades, allow me to enlighten you to why I abhor Ozine events.

It all started March last year, when I got an invite from a close family friend to join them in their Final Fantasy Group Cosplay for Ozine fest 2010. Upon reading the details of the invite, I was all giddy and enthusiastic to what this Ozine Fest was as I had never attended one and immediately, I checked the event posters and details online only to be more excited that there would be a Karaoke Contest. The moment I read that announcement I wasted no time in dilly dallying and started rehearsing the song I wanted to sing (Flavor of Life -Ballad Verion- by Utada Hikaru) in hopes of being able to give a good performance and impression to the otakus I would meet. You can tell how my heart was into this thing as on the first day (audition day), my iTunes reported that I had already practiced the song almost 50 times. I gave it my all on the first day despite the epic delays of schedules and was thankful to have made it to the semi finals.

On the day of the semi finals, unfortunately, was also the scheduled day for Group Cosplay. On first glance, one would not be worried about the two events being scheduled on the same day as Ozine had two stages that could accommodate two simultaneous events; however, real problems arose as some semi finalists for the karaoke competition were also participants of the group cosplay. The karaoke competition which was originally scheduled to happen earlier than the Group Cosplay kept on getting delayed and delayed until it ended up starting the same time as the Group Cosplay did. The organizers of Ozine, instead of finding out who among the participants joined both contests, just put on a cold shoulder and neglected what could happen next. The contest started off smoothly with contestants 1-4 with three pure karaoke contestants and one dual participant who voluntarily sang just half of his song as he was a participant of the group cosplay. But when it was my turn (me being contestant number 5), in order to just give way to the next contestant to be able to join her group cosplay skit, one female organizer forced me to bow down at the middle of my song and get off the stage. If you don't believe me, then here's some proof:

I am not trying to be a spoiled brat here complaining that I was forced down, but rather I am very disappointed at the irresponsibility and negligence of the Ozine staff in charge of that stage at that time. First of all, they SHOULD have been more responsible in carrying out their schedules and plans.They should have followed through with the schedule since there were no emergency nor life threatening delays anyways (the delays were more of due to participants not yet showing up and with delayed action of higher ups). Second, they SHOULD have been prepared that some contestants had joined both contests or if not, they should have just advised all otakus in the event to choose only 1 contest to join in. Third, like what I pointed out awhile ago, they SHOULD have inquired and known who among the contestants were part of the group cosplay as well so that they could have been offered the choice to sing early (to make it to their skit) or sing last (after their skit) or sing just half of their song (like what one voluntarily did) or just defer their participation completely. Fourth, in the polite world, unless there is a life threatening emergency or situation or profanity/ violence shown, you NEVER force anyone down from the stage no matter how much you feel like it. Not only was it insulting to me to suddenly be forced to bow but it was also unfair as I was the only contestant not in the group cosplay who was forced to come down. At the time I was pulled off the stage, so many thoughts entered my mind but one prevailed-- "Did I suck so bad they had to pull me out?"

The sad part is that the part of the song left for me to finish at the time I was pulled of the stage did not even surpass two minutes and the contestant after me performed her skit much, much later than the time I was forced down-- as organizers, is it right to give in to the extreme panic of one contestant at the expense of the dignity of another? And mind you guys, the lady who forced me down did not even apologize nor explain herself; were the judges who had nothing to do with it even the ones who apologized to me later on.

You think that my ranting blog post ends here but unfortunately it does not. Still thankful at the time that I made it to the finals, I mustered up my dignity for a third day only to be booed at by one of the event organizers. Proof also here:

Being exposed to amateur singing gigs and costrip gigs, I already had a strong idea of how some audiences can be judgmental and harsh towards others as they are difficult to track down and given punishment/ sanction, but I was disheartened by the fact that the one who made those heckler sounds was in fact one of the event organizers. He, as an organizer, was one of the persons supposed to enforce discipline and goodwill at the event, but unfortunately what he did was set a bad example to convention goers. What's more is that with his actions, he made all the other staff look bad when in fact, there are some ozine staff who are truly loving and dedicated towards the job. In other words, what he showed was pure unprofessionalism.

I may just be an amateur, relatively unknown singer and cosplayer, but I believe that even I deserve respect and dignity onstage. Some may call it pride, but I call it standing up for what I think is right-- to not support events that have leading organizers who are this rude and unprofessional. I know all of you may have different views and standpoints, but this is what's mine, and I thank you for reading it up to this point.

That's why the next time you ask me if I'm attending an Ozine event and I say 'no,' please refer to this blog entry instead. Thank You

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