aka. The Things I Do For The Sake Of Blogging
News bloggers search for the most updated information on the latest issues. Food bloggers dare to try all sorts of cuisine and seek for the best places to eat. Travel and photography bloggers go to all sorts of places for the sake of having a story to tell.
Agent P goes to events featuring Korean entertainers just to have something to blog about. Never mind that she is not a fan of that entertainer, and that she might spend a considerable amount of cash or become inconvenienced in the process. Sometimes, both.
I tried my best to recover from my bad cold last Wednesday so that I’ll be able to go to Trinoma for this event. Reason? So that I can blog about it. My friend Lou – who is a huge fan of Kim Hyun Joong – was there as early as 7:00am so that she may be included in the first 400 buyers of Hyun Joong’s CD, which entitles her to high-five with him. I am not a fan; I mean, I like him because I learned that he’s a bass player and I have this certain fondness for bass players, but I won’t be spending another 500 bucks for another copy of his CD (which I gave to this blog’s psychic because she’s also a Hyun Joong fan) and I certainly won’t be waking up that early just to line up for a mere high-five. But now that I think about it, spending 500 bucks and waking up early might’ve been the better choice, after all.
I arrived at Trinoma at a little past 1:00pm. This is what I saw:
The mall was already open by that time but for some reason, these people are still lined up outside the mall. A little bit cruel, don’t you think? I mean, I heard from Lou that they were already given numbers for the queue, so why should they still be locked out from the building? I tried calling her to know what’s up but she’s not answering her phone. I gave up after three tries and observed the line. If it’s not that long, maybe I’ll go for it.
Err… no, thanks.
So I went inside the mall and checked the activity center. The place is still pretty much deserted, although there were a few people loitering outside the cordoned off area. To my surprise, a good spot near the stage was still vacant. It’s a small vacant spot between a large potted plant and the spotlights and speakers. Actually, there’s nobody in that area yet. So I stayed glued to that spot but did not approach the railings yet because I was still observing if security will drive people away from there.
After about 15 minutes, I noticed some young fans loitering around the area and picking their spot, so I literally draped myself onto the railing like a shirt that’s been hung to dry. Guess what: the girl on my right started pushing herself between me and the railing because the spot she ended up with was blocked by the spotlights. Err… excuse me??? One of her companions went to my other side, the side that was obstructed by the potted plant. She left when she realized that not only is that view obstructed by a plant, it was too deep into the side so it’s possible that the only thing she will see is Hyun Joong’s side profile. Not that it mattered, eventually. A few minutes after that, another group came in, and this group is infinitely more annoying than the first one. One of the girls pushed herself to my left side and said, “ate, pwedeng makiurong ng konti?” (sister, could you please move a bit?) I was about to move when I realized that if I move, I will end up losing my precious vacant spot and I will end up behind the spotlights, or worse, behind the speakers. Ah. hell. no. I was there first. I heard one of the girls from the other group saying they’ve been at the mall for a few hours already and I was like, “yeah, you were here at the mall early but why didn’t you save a spot?” I stayed rooted at my place even if the girl on my left was really pushing herself towards me that I started having this urge to push back. You know what? I’m not a fan, so if you ask me nicely and you don’t push yourself without even a hint of an ‘excuse me’ so that you can steal my place, I might give it to you. But since I’m already annoyed by this display of Kpop fangirl uncouthness that is so rampant in this country, my bitch horns promptly sprouted out.
By then, people have already realized that it is perfectly ok to start saving a spot at the railings and security won’t drive them away. My location was one of the better ones – actually, even better than being inside the cordoned area but seated wayyyy at the back – so people were really hounding around it. I finally was able to contact Lou and apparently, the line outside was just to enter the cordoned area. The numbers they had was just to buy the CD, and since they already have their entry stubs, they have decided to leave the line and just wait until 4:30 when they start admitting the participants in. Unfortunately, I cannot possibly leave my reserved spot. I mean, I was there, literally hanging onto the railings, and people are still taking my place away from me. What more if I move even just an inch away from there? Take note, this was only about 1:30, a good 4 1/2 hours away from the start of the event. I didn’t even have food nor bottled water with me. Thankfully, I had a hearty lunch.
Around a quarter to 2:00pm, I started thinking of ways to amuse myself while killing four and a half hours, so I took out my Corby phone and logged onto the ‘net. I took a pic of the stage to upload to Twitter to show to my friends where I was:
Unfortunately, my phone’s battery went kaput halfway through the upload.
Ok, so internet plan? FAIL.
2:15, I started writing my blog entry in my head. I also started texting my friends so that they could somehow keep me company in this ordeal, but it eventually became more difficult as the crowd became denser. I literally have to squeeze my hands between me and the railings just to get my phone from my bag.
2:30, I started realizing that I can already sing Hyun Joong’s Please in its entirety. They’ve been playing that and its instrumental version alternately and before I knew it, not only did I have my usual Last Song Syndrome every time I hear that song (in particular, the “I just don’t get it get it, why don’t you get it get it” part), I could actually sing the whole song now.
2:45, I began to wonder why the heck am I allowing myself to be tortured like this when I’m not even a fan of Kim Hyun Joong.
By 3:00pm, the crowd got denser. Just then, the video wall started showing Hyun Joong’s MVs and everyone pushed and screamed as if Hyun Joong is already there, performing. Of course, I chuckled at that. I mean, it’s just an MV! Calm down!
They also showed an Audi commercial, because apparently, Audi is sponsoring this event. How sosyal the sponsor ha.
By 3:20, I started realizing that I will be subjected to a loop of Kiss Kiss, Please, and Break Down + the Audi commercial for the next two and a half hours.
3:30, I begin getting flashes of Intensity moments in my head, particularly the part where the Manila Hotel commercial was looped over and over until we literally went Going Out Of Our Heads (Over You).
3:40, I’ve already memorized the choreography to Break Down.
3:45, I already mastered the sequence of clips featured in the Kiss Kiss MV.
By 4:00pm, I’m already bored out of my wits. Just then, I remembered that I have my music player with me, so I took it out and stuffed my ears shut. Ah, finally! Something to listen to other than Kim Hyun Joong.
Somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00, I felt the people around me starting to climb on top of my back again and pushing in. I have no idea what’s happening because I was listening to GD-TOP. So I took my earplugs out to know what’s going on. Apparently, everyone’s excited because… Kim Hyun Joong’s security guy has arrived. And I unplugged GD-TOP in exchange for that. In all fairness, though, when I saw the guy, I completely understood what the spazzing was all about. He’s soooo much hotter than Kim Hyun Joong.
4:30: my legs started to hurt and I started feeling a bit claustrophobic because of all the people leaning onto me. But I pressed on. Only an hour and a half left, Pau! You’ve already killed three hours! Keep the faith!
But wait… why are they still not bringing the high-five participants in?? I thought they’ll be let in at 4:30?
It was later on that I learned that the queue for the entry to the cordoned-off area was effed up because of yet another display of Kpop fangirl uncouthness: people who don’t have entry stubs were the ones who are lined up at the gate first. Naturally, the people who most rightfully deserve to be there, namely, those with entry stubs, were livid.
Around 5:00pm, they started bringing in the stub-bearing people. And this is when I completely took off my earplugs because the comments around me were downright amusing and definitely blog-worthy. One of which is the usual, “what did these people on the press/VIP area do to deserve to be there???” comment that comes from super-fangirls who think they should be the ones who should be there. Of course, in my head, I have two answers: (1) they’re there because it’s their job to cover this event; (2) they’re there because they’ve done something to make this event possible. You’re here – WE are here – because we refuse to buy Kim Hyun Joong’s CD but we want to see him in the flesh.
Here’s the thing: if you’re someone who is soooo persistent with getting a good spot to see Kim Hyun Joong, who screams at the mere sight of his MVs and his bodyguard, and who spews random stuff as if you’re the authority when it comes to Kim Hyun Joong, I am assuming that you’re a fan. Correct?
Amusing Comment No. 1: “Why are they wearing green?” – referring to the members of Triple S Philippines and generally, fans of SS501 who were asked to wear green for the event as a tribute to Kim Hyun Joong.
Someone on my other side said, she heard somewhere that green is the color of SS501.
So… some of your friends have no idea, and you yourself are not sure? I’m not a fan of neither SS501 nor Kim Hyun Joong, but I know what their club color is.
Amusing Comment No. 2: When the TSPH Flashmob Dancers were introduced, some people around me were like, “what? Who are they?” – So you really have no idea who or what Triple S is???
Amusing Comment No. 3: A young man dressed in a suit suddenly came out from the backstage area and everyone screamed, including the people around me. Actually, they screamed more because they really thought it was Hyun Joong. Why? Because the guy has black hair. I’m no fan of Kim Hyun Joong, but for some reason unknown to me, I know that his current hair color is blonde.
Amusing Comment No. 4: One of the trivia questions asked during the contest was, “what is Kim Hyun Joong’s latest single?” For which, my immediate response was, “where? Here in the Philippines or in Korea?” only because I’m not sure if Kiss Kiss is already being promoted here. But the girl on my side was like, “ugh, that’s easy! It’s Break Down!” Of course, she’s wrong because the answer is Kiss Kiss. Even I knew that, and I’m not a fan.
Speaking of the contest, here’s one part that got me really amused. They asked for volunteers who can sing at least a short part of Kim Hyun Joong’s song. If my Voltes friends were there and we were with Lou, we would definitely push her to join in because she can sing his songs in its entirety, and we’re dead sure she won’t be guessing the lyrics. The three who graciously volunteered basically either hummed the song or sang only the English parts. That sucks. Lou would’ve totally kicked major ass on that contest. Actually, given that by that time I have already memorized all three Kim Hyun Joong singles after continuously listening to them for three hours or so, I would’ve probably kicked major ass in that contest, too. And I’m not even a fan.
Around 5:40, my legs started to sleep and I started sweating like a pig. I felt like giving up. I kept looking at my watch and cursed at how it felt like eternity since I last checked the time but in reality only 5 minutes have passed. It felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life.
Here’s a surprise. It’s 10 minutes to 6:00pm, and the show has already started. However, there were still some games and some guests. Which, to my surprise – oh wait, given the aforementioned incidents I should not be surprised – only I in my area knew who these people are. I know Jacko Benin because his dad Joey was the bass player of Side A (as I’ve said, me and bass players…). I know Van Roxas because I saw his season of Pinoy Dream Academy. I know Young JV because… actually I don’t know him; I’ve only heard of him. And I know the TSPH Flashmob dancers because I know who or what TSPH is.
So I guess… I’m just someone who somehow retains useless information in my brain?
After about 30 minutes of filler and a looooong video clip from Ayala Malls, ladies and gentlemen… The Leader, Kim Hyun Joong!!!
Kim Hyun Joong? Hello?
No one came out for about 10 minutes or so. No, THIS is the longest 10 minutes of my life.
And then, finally… KIM HYUN JOONG!
Everyone spazzed. I felt the railings shaking. I felt… people climbing at my back! An arm with a hand that’s clutching a camera from someone who’s way at the back suddenly appearing beside my head and making me her human tripod! The girls around me screaming and jumping like crazy! And since we’re wedged tightly in that small corner of ours, my output were nothing but blurry shapes.
AAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! So much for wasting four and a half hours of my life just to have something to blog, and what I’ll be getting are blurry photos. Suddenly, I wished that I went ahead and woke up early so that I can spend another 500 bucks on a Kim Hyun Joong CD.
Immediately after Hyun Joong came out, he said a few words and then the high-five activity has started. At first, everything was pretty much done in an orderly fashion, although some of the high-fives became handshakes…
Then suddenly, something green similar to a grasshopper leapt onto Hyun Joong and clung onto him like a praying mantis.
Because of this daring display of guts, more people started to think that it’s perfectly alright to hug and even kiss Kim Hyun Joong so they did it without even asking for permission (because they won’t be allowed to even if they asked for it). And this is where things got really ugly in my eyes.
Really, people. I don’t know what is it about Filipinos and their obsession with giving a surprise peck or hug to an artista. I would understand if it’s a Filipino celebrity; they are already used to that kind of behavior from fans. But Kim Hyun Joong is not a Filipino celebrity. This kind of ‘skinship’ is not allowed in Korea. Not to mention that they are so strict with contract clauses that if it says, “high five event”, it really means that the only thing that the fans will get from Kim Hyun Joong is a high five. No handshake, no photo ops, no hugs, and definitely no kisses. We are lucky that Hyun Joong and his agency KeyEast are not too strict with this kind of conditions. Or if they weren’t pleased, they didn’t show it. At least, Kim Hyun Joong didn’t (his body language at some of the photos showed that he’s uncomfortable with the sudden bursts of skinship, though). If it’s a different artist, they would’ve probably walked out and refused to continue with the activity until they are assured that the fans will behave properly.
After that, security got tighter and the next participants were literally being dragged outta there. The first few ones were lucky because they were able to leisurely walk towards Hyun Joong and prolong their high fives for a split second or two. The ones after the praying mantis literally went by like a breeze, save for a few more ‘pasaway’ ones who stole hugs and kisses from Hyun Joong that they had to be pulled away by security. It’s quite embarrassing to see something like that, really. I won’t be surprised if the managers will be stricter for the rest of Hyun Joong’s activities in Manila, and it’s all because of the actions of a few uncouth people who don’t respect rules and personal space just to get what they want. And then, when the managers and/or the artist become distant, they would say that the artist has changed and has become a snob. It happened with U-KISS before. The boys were very gracious with the fan service in their first two visits here. On their last visit, their managers became strict because the boys were literally being physically maimed by fans (we witnessed this ourselves at Manila Hotel). You know what these so-called fans said? The boys have become snobs. I actually saw one who said that Alexander has “changed”. Because he didn’t wave at the fans when they arrived? Uh, hello, he was dead tired from the trip, it was late at night and the fans were unruly. What more do you want from the guy?
Anyway, I digress. I get really cranky when I see this kind of behavior from crazy Kpoppers, especially when they post at social networking sites saying that they are PROUD of what they have ‘achieved’ (I gave Kim Hyun Joong a surprise hug! I saw Alexander wearing just a towel at his hotel! I saw Rain at the pool and he stared at me!) and others are dead jealous of them. Disgusting behavior, really.
The high fives went by really fast that the only times it slowed down was whenever a kid was brought to the stage. Hyun Joong himself would pause and give the kids a hug, a pinch, and would even pose for a pic sometimes.
So the next time a Korean idol would come over for whatever, always remember to bring a child with you. It always works like a charm.
After only about 10-15 minutes or so, Kim Hyun Joong once again gave a few words and then, he’s outta there. Therefore, I suffered for more than four hours and I barely saw Kim Hyun Joong for 10 minutes. Fortunately, I was able to snap a few good photos. I’m posting the two best ones here; the rest can be found at my Coppermine gallery. If you’re one of those who got a high five, you might see your face there.
Incidentally, I Tweeted a couple of photos of JoongBo shippers (fans of the Ssangchu Couple from We Got Married) doing their high five with Hyun Joong while wearing their Hwang Bo headgears. They re-Tweeted these photos to Hwang Bo herself. Coolness, eh?
For more of my blogs about events related to Korean entertainment, please check out my K-Events Aftermath page.