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Appendixes A, B and C reported the same news about Jill Vidal on 25 April,
2009 by Sing Tao Daily, Apply Daily and South China Morning Post respectively. This
piece of newspaper talked about the latest drug scandal about a pop star, Jill Vidal. In
late February, she was arrested because of possession of drug, heroine. She was
detained in jail for 60 days and stood trial. She admitted taking drugs at least twice each
week. She felt a need to take drug into Japan. She regretted bringing drugs into Japan
and taking drugs. She apologised publicly to her family, fans and friends and promised
to kick the habit of drug addiction. A Tokyo judge gave her a 2-year term suspended
for three years for heroin possession.
Let us talk about some related concepts in psychology with her news. The
concepts include stress, habit formation, punishment, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs,
conflicts between id and superego, anxiety and stress coping strategies, and industry vs
inferiority in Erikson’s stages of personalities development.
From the Apple Daily newspaper, she claimed that paparazzo tracked her for
news reports and incorrectly reported her fake news on livelihood, social circles and
lover. These made her feel stressful because her image will be damaged, making her
infamous in eyes of her fans. She was afraid that this news will make her have less
work to do, affecting her earning.
According to SparkNotes (2009), stressors are psychologically or physically
demanding events or circumstances and stress occurs when people experience
frustration, conflict, or pressure. According to Atkinson (1993), conflict occurs when a
person must choose between incompatible, or mutually exclusive goals or course of
Maybe her workload was too heavy. Her amount of work was related to her
public image. She must maintain a good public image for her fans so that she could earn
more money through accepting more jobs. But this thought made her feel anxious. So,
she faced an inner conflict creating anxiety and hence, stress. She felt relieved instantly
when taking heroin. But she knew that she could not let this fact – her addiction - be
discovered by public media. She faced a conflict, greater than the previous one. The
more she took heroin, the more she was afraid of being discovered, the more she was
driven in this viscous cycle.
Personal stressor includes major life events such as the loss of one’s job. Her
taking heroin pushed her into the conflict further between her pleasure derived from
taking heroin and her fear not to let her addiction be disclosed to the public, which
subsequently led to her boss rescinding a contract with her. The more she took heroin,
the harder she could withdraw from heroin addition, the more uncontrollable this event
seemed, the more likely it was perceived as stressful one. This fueled the viscous cycle
of conflicting thoughts. She may be driven into learned helplessness, which occurs
when one concludes that unpleasant or aversive stimuli cannot be controlled, dragging
her into depression.
2. Habit (addiction) formation
Atkinson (1993) quoted that “heroine, at first, produces a sense of well-being.
Experienced users report a special thrill or rush within a minute or two after an
intravenous injection. Some describe this sensation as intensely pleasurable, similar to
an orgasm. Young people who sniff it report that they forget everything that troubles
them. Following this, the user feels fixed, or gratified with no awareness of hunger,
pain, or sexual urges.”
According to positive reinforcement in operant conditioning in your note, a
positive reinforcer increases the likelihood of behaviour by adding something
rewarding to a situation. The behaviour is taking drugs and the reward is happiness
experienced from taking heroin. The situation was that she faced much pressure from
her work and inner conflicts as said in point 1. This leads to the formation of the habit-
According to your note, punishment is any event that decreases the likelihood
that the behaviour that precedes it will occur again. The event includes being arrested
and jailed. Her loss of jobs and self-esteem plus negative reports from mass media are
all punishment that reduces the likelihood of the behaviour – taking drugs.
4. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs
Atkinson (1993) quoted that “esteem needs means the need to achieve, be
competent and gain approval and recognition”. A pop star is admired by fans. So she
felt competent to be a pop star and got the recognition to be a super star. This esteem
need gave her much pressure so she took heroin. The Apply Daily news article said that
she felt sad and regretful after being detained because her esteem need was no longer
satisfied. After kicking the habit, she felt refreshed and healthy physically and mentally,
as said in Apply Daily. It was because she has restored her esteem as a result of support
from her family and friends. The regain of self-esteem made her happy.
5. Stress coping strategies
According to SparkNotes (2009), coping refers to efforts to manage stress.
Coping can be adaptive or maladaptive. Adaptive coping strategies generally involve
confronting problems directly, making reasonably realistic appraisals of problems,
recognising and changing unhealthy emotional reactions, and trying to prevent adverse
effects on the body. Maladaptive coping includes using alcohol or drugs to escape
problems. In this case, she shoplifted in Japan and took heroin to cope with stress,
which is maladaptive.
6. Conflicts between id and superego
According to SparkNotes (2009), Freud believed that the id, the ego, and the
superego are in constant conflict.
Id is a reservoir of instinctual energy that contains biological urges such as
impulses toward survival, sex, and aggression. The id is unconscious and operates
according to the pleasure principle, the drive to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The id
is characterised by primary process thinking, which is illogical, irrational, and
motivated by a desire for the immediate gratification of impulses.
Superego is the moral component of personality. It contains all the moral
standards learned from parents and society. The superego forces the ego to conform not
only to reality but also to its ideals of morality. Hence, the superego causes people to
feel guilty when they go against society’s rules.
In her case, the id drove her to get more addicted to heroin. The pleasure was
derived from the instant physiological effect of taking heroin. Besides, when she
thought about her jobs and possible loss of jobs due to heavy workload and probable
disclosure of her addiction to mass media, she became anxious and stressful. This
created pain. According to pain and pleasure principles operated by the id, she may be
driven more into taking heroin.
However, her superego kept telling her that taking heroin was morally wrong
and socially unacceptable. Internal conflicts could make her feel anxious. In Freud’s
view, anxiety arises when the ego cannot adequately balance the demands of the id and
the superego. The id demands gratification of its impulses, and the superego demands
maintenance of its moral standards.
This conflict caused anxiety and hence stress, which drove her more into stress
coping strategies. In her case, she resorted to maladaptive coping strategies, including
shoplifting and drug addiction, which further straining the tension between id and
superego, tearing her ego apart more. A viscous cycle was sustained and strengthened,
resulting in more stress and in turn maladaptive coping strategies until the case was
disclosed and forced withdrawal, like detention or police intervention, stepped in.
7. Industry vs inferiority in Erikson’s stages of personalities development
According to SparkNotes (2009), Erikson proposed that in young adulthood,
people face the challenge of developing intimate relationships with others. If they do
not succeed, they may become isolated and lonely. So, she travelled with her boyfriend,
Kwan, to Japan.
In viewing Jill Vidal’s incidence, many psychological theories and concepts are
involved. Therefore, we can learn them from our everyday life.
14 名 港 記 者 旁 聽
結 果 當 中 14 人 、 包 括 本 報 記 者 ， 成 功 爭 取 入 內 旁 聽 。
Jill Vidal free on suspended 2-year term
Canto-pop singer admits buying packets of heroin in Hong Kong
Canto-pop singer Jill Vidal is free to return to Hong Kong after a Tokyo judge gave her
a two-year jail term suspended for three years for heroin possession yesterday.
The star, whose stage name is Wei Si, received the sentence after she pleaded guilty to
possessing the drug, which she said she had brought from Hong Kong.
Vidal, 27, had been in detention since February 24, when she and fellow singer Kelvin
Kwan Chor-yiu were arrested in the Japanese capital on suspicion of shoplifting.
Kwan was not charged and has returned to Hong Kong.
The court heard police found 11 packets of powder, each weighing 1.836 grams, inside
the cover of Vidal's suitcase. The powder was found to contain heroin.
quot;I just want to apologise to the people who really care about me. I'm really sorry for
people in Hong Kong, Japan, my family and my company,quot; Vidal said, sobbing.
Pleading guilty, Vidal said that on February 13, before going to Tokyo, she had bought
16 packets of the drug in Hong Kong, paying for it through an ATM machine.
A Hong Kong police spokesman said last night that officers would contact the Japanese
authorities about the case.
A police source said officers would question Vidal when she returned to the city.
Judge Kiichi Hirade warned Vidal that if she committed a crime within three years, she
would be sentenced for that as well as serving the two years for the drug charge.
quot;Please do not betray your family or friends from now on,quot; he said, adding that Vidal
had the right to appeal in 14 days.
The convicted idol, who was selected to be an ambassador for a government anti-drug
campaign in 2007, detailed her drug history at the trial.
She told the court she began using heroin in April last year on a friend's
She said she had been buying it two or three times a week, paying through an ATM and
having it delivered by a dealer.
Her defence lawyer said Vidal had been under tremendous stress from her career and
took the drugs for temporary relief.
The court quot;can't categorically blame herquot; because of the circumstances such as the easy
availability of the drugs in Hong Kong.
He added that the long detention had already served as a punishment for Vidal, who had
been socially damaged to the extent that it would be difficult to make a comeback as an
entertainer. She had also suffered by being left alone after the departure of Kwan,
whom the lawyer described as her boyfriend.
In his closing argument, prosecutor Tomotaka Fujio demanded a two-year jail term,
pointing out that Vidal was clearly addicted to heroin.
Mr Fujio added that Vidal's deep addiction showed that there was a high possibility that
she would offend again.
But Vidal insisted that she had managed to quit the drug.
Hong Kong barrister Shahmim K. Khattak, who is familiar with Japanese law, said the
penalty was relatively light but the detention before the trial had been too long.
Normally a suspect held in Japan would only be detained for up to 23 days.
Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild chairman Alan Tam Wing-lun said the 60-day
detention was a long enough punishment for Vidal and he hoped she would not make
the same mistake again.
A police source said Vidal would face a similar investigation to that undergone by
Kwan when he returned to the city on March 28.
The singer was questioned by police when he arrived at the airport and was met by a
narcotics division officer who searched his home but found no drugs.
Vidal and Kwan were arrested in the Dogenzaka shopping area, in the Shibuya district
of Tokyo, at 1am on February 24.
Police found a rolled-up cigarette containing cannabis on Kwan but he was not charged.
Vivienne Chow and Phyllis Tsang