In 2003, Jiro Manio was Magnifico, a boy who had so much love to give and took care of his family even at such a young age. More than a decade later, Jiro was just Jiro, a young man with the eyes of a troubled boy found wandering in an airport for days.
And since the news broke, everybody's been asking, “What ever happened to him?”
What people know and don't know
What people know is that Jiro was abandoned as a child by his biological father and has a foster father taking care of him since. He went into showbiz at 7, rose to fame at 11, lost his mother to cancer at 14, fathered a child at 15, and admitted himself to a drug rehab at 19. What people know is that Jiro lost his way somewhere and tried to get better somehow and that was about it.
Now what people don't know is that Jiro's plight is much about him as it is about this society.
When his plight sheds light to issues such as child abandonment, early fatherhood, drug abuse, pressure, depression, and mental illness—things that happen to people on a daily basis whether you were a child celebrity or not, what does the society do?
Do the people now just turn to comment boxes and once they've said their piece go back to being apathetic? Have the people been all too reactive for their own good that even those who wish to help get judged about it? Is it easier to add to the noise than to filter it so as to really show concern?
What people don't know is the kind of journey Jiro went through that got him to that airport or wherever he is today. What many people also don't know is how to practice compassion and reserve judgment when this kind of story arises.
In 2003, Jiro Manio was Magnifico, a boy who had so much love to give and took care of his family even at such a young age. More than a decade later, Jiro was just Jiro, a young man with the eyes of a troubled boy whom people can really help through collective understanding and gentleness.
After all, Jiro just probably needs to be reminded how to be Magnifico again.