Kim Jong Kook was in town just a few weeks back for his fan-meeting showcase and I had the privilege of going together with DramaQueen. She is a big fan of Kim Jong Kook and I was swept up in her excitement (to an extent). You can read more about DramaQueen’s thoughts about her fan-meet experience here.
Apart from the MBLAQ concert, which we attended in Taipei last year, this would be my first fan meeting and the experience was interesting with fans more dramatic and enthusiastic than DramaQueen! She had even gotten KJK Global T-Shirts for the both of us to wear on the day itself. And being the supportive best friend that I was, I
On the day, we made our way to Kallang Theatre where the fan meeting was to be held.
|With tickets in hand, we queued up for the calendar and autographed album|
- There was no clear indication of where the queue (for entering the theater) started. It was just a big mess on the second floor and people could very inconspicuously jump the line. The venue was only a theater and not a stadium like the MBLAQ concert.
- Even the queue to purchase the autographed CDs and calendars had no clear marker (well, there was signage but at the front of the counter) of which was one for those who pre-ordered and another for those who had not pre-ordered. Due to the popularity of the autographed CDs, by the time we made it to the counter (for those that did not pre-order) we were informed that they had run out of the CDs. I distinctly remember hearing the staff at the counter faintly mumbling that there will be a 2nd batch (of which is really non-existent I think, as there has since been no news, or maybe amidst all that chatter I misheard).
- One DSLR was actually confiscated during the showcase. The ushers/security or whatever you call them only started being vigilant (with a 'vengeance) after the games had been played. Compared to the staff at the MBLAQ concert in Taipei (who politely but firmly requested those taking photos to stop and never once confiscated any cameras - DSLRs or otherwise), Mode Entertainment or the ones doing the confiscating were fiercely rude with frantic flashing of their mini-torches to get the ‘culprits’ attention (which by the way was a bigger distraction) and really a futile attempt. It could have been handled better.
- The handling of the photograph session was poorly handled: staff barked irately with a tinge of frustration demanding that we get into groups of 10, only to haphazardly separate the group into groups of 8 before we entered the photo taking venue on the ground floor. On the way down, there was more irritated urging for us to move faster down the winding flight of stairs. Those who were assigned ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ were supposed to squat/sit at the front. But seriously would it hurt to reiterate that point again for the benefit of those who did not understand what was going on? The tiny numbering of ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ were so tiny and near the chairs that it was confusing (it really made me unsure whether those were the spots for those seated on the chairs or for those on the floor).
It would have been helpful if the numbering for ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ were bigger and labeled with the extra words ‘squat/sit’. Yes, it was posted on Mode Entertainment’s facebook, yes some if not all fans read that (perhaps), but no it cannot be assumed that everything was understood as they intended (the numbering with the labeling would have been ‘helpful’). It would have been even better if they were less rude and more cordial too (or maybe it was just our batch).
- The deal breaker was that the photos taken were posted/made available on Mode Entertainment’s facebook, without informing prior – all they said was that they would send the photos via email based on the emails written on the thin vinyl-like (which by the way is a very bad surface for the ball-point pens that were provided) green wristbands. The photos already on their facebook have yet to reach our mailbox, which makes me wonder if they ever will (probably not)? Either way, I think that it was not worth the top-up. Given the experience I feel that it was a half-hearted attempt and very disappointing. For that price, I think the one for Harry Potter (I know it’s not an apple to apple comparison but it was about the same price for a bunch of photos, and I had both the hard and soft copy of 3 photos) was more worth the value and the after service was acceptable.
Alrights, with the disappointment out of my system on what ‘could have been’ a more memorable first fan meeting operational-wise, Kim Jong Kook pretty much made up for the bitter aftertaste by Mode Entertainment with his smiling face and adorable interactions during the fan meet (and he had really good complexion too!). Compared to a concert, a fan meeting is supposed to be more ‘intimate’ as the fans (in the truest sense) would get to play games and know more about their favorite artiste or more commonly known as ‘idol’. Like I mentioned earlier, do check out the lowdown from DramaQueen’s perspective (since she’s more the fan) here on the events (games and songs) that took place during the fan meet.
Generally, I have an issue with the use of the word ‘idol’ for a person, which in this context means “any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion”. Artistes (of any genre) need the affirmation and encouragement from fans in order to thrive in such an industry (it’s a given – the more ‘love’ they receive = their increase in value in the industry), but admiration and adoration, even devotion, to a blind extent (e.g. stalkers and such) is something beyond the understanding of my ‘logical’ senses. So when the MC for the day told Kim Jong Kook that the fans present in the theater worshipped him like ‘god’, I was seriously stumped. But he salvaged the situation, or rather my impression of him, when he replied that he was only human. He did a good job singing his songs (even with the constraints of the sound system), which were mostly ballads, and he had a sense of humor to boot.
It did help that the fan meet was extended by 30 minutes from the originally planned 1.5 hour to two hours, mainly because of the games and the interactions. Kim Jong Kook managed to keep the audience entertained throughout the games and engaged fans both off and on stage participating with him with his little comments. At somepoint during the tug-of-war game, where a rope that needed 6 staff to bring it out with hand gloves for protection (he reiterated, "I’m still human"), he asked, “What am I doing this for?”. The MC had to remind him he was doing it for the fans. It was an adorable moment. Another highlight of the games was when an adorable little boy came on stage to sing one of Kim Jong Kook's songs. He also has a pretty good command of the English langauge.
Overall, this fan meet was an interesting one solely because of Kim Jong Kook and the fans present (minus Mode Entertainment), and I got to understand why DramaQueen likes him. Perhaps the fan meet would have been more memorable if we did not top up for the photo taking and went home straight after that night. I may not be as much of a fan as DramaQueen nor spazz out like most fans, but I do appreciate a good show/music/performance (even better if the management/handling of the event was well done). That said, I would not mind attending his concert/fan meet again in the future; even better if it were with the entire Running Man team, but hopefully just not as poorly managed as this first fan meeting which left me with a tinge of disappointment, or maybe no top-ups of any kind - the simpler the better (perhaps).