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Old 8th October 2013, 07:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?



Natalie Soh
The New Paper
Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013


Imagine saving up thousands to buy a fancy watch.

Then imagine sending it to your favourite K-pop star, who already has more than what you will earn in a lifetime in their bank accounts. Note that despite the gift, you will not get any preferential treatment from said star.

Welcome to the gift-giving sub-culture, particular to Korean pop culture fans. The reason? To thank the stars for working hard.

Hey, I work hard too. Unfortunately the likelihood of me getting brickbats is infinitely higher than me ever getting a car or iPhone for this column. Darn.

This gift-giving culture is enough to make me give serious thought to prancing around in a tiny neon skirt, getting plastic surgery and mewling out some Korean words that can be auto-tuned.

Facetiousness aside, isn't it astounding what star power can motivate people to do? Or potential star power anyway.

I confess to calling up the donation lines during charity shows on free-to-air TV back then. The donation was $10. I did not have $10 to spare as a very poor student then but I was, ahem, impressed with James Lye. Well, at least I think it was James Lye - my memory goes a bit foggy at these things I'd rather forget. It must be at least two decades ago now and I am cringing at ever thinking he was cute.

Speaking of money counters, we're also tackling a sensitive topic this week: Filial piety and whether there is an appropriate price tag to it. In our informal poll of 50 people, 68 per cent said yes, there is an expectation that children should give parents money. So there is obviously an unwritten rule.

Yet it speaks pejorative volumes about both giver and receiver that we need a Tribunal to enforce filial piety. That there are still 300 requests filed for maintenance a year, almost one a day, is sad.

There are complex reasons why familial relationships break down, but the state of the family here may bear watching.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob said on Saturday that balancing work and family is the single most daunting challenge many in Singapore face today. And I couldn't agree more. If anything, let this be a call for us to pay attention to our families amid the hustle of our busy lives.

Source: http://news.asiaone.com/news/showbiz...u-willing-give

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Old 9th October 2013, 01:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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$3,617 worth of gifts: What a sales assistant gave Rain

$3,617 worth of gifts: What a sales assistant gave Rain


HUNKY: Superstar Rain inspires devotion from Singapore fan Jane Luo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 04:00
Jennifer Dhanaraj
The New Paper


She shows us the eight $1,000 notes that she and her daughter are going shopping with this weekend.

Madam Jane Luo, 44, a sales assistant, calls it a "small budget".

Not that they are buying anything for themselves. They want to buy Korean superstar Rain a gift. It is unlikely that Rain knows they exist among his swarm of fans.

Madam Luo hopes to find the right watch - either a Rolex or a Victorinox Swiss Army - to celebrate Rain's first local appearance since he put one of Asia's most successful entertainment careers on hold to complete his mandatory military duty.

He is expected to appear at Fashion Week 2013 here on Friday.

"I discussed it with my daughter and we felt that a watch is significant as it marks the time that fans will now have with him," she says.

Madam Luo is just a growing number of fans digging deeper into their pockets to send lavish gifts to their favourite idols.

In fact, popular actor Park Shi Hoo received a Jaguar car that was paid for by his adoring fans.

Gone are the days of gushing letters and teddy bears.

These days, gift-giving has reached a whole new, albeit costly, level.

In the past few years, Korean fans have gone to great lengths to show love to their idols.

There have even been reports of Korean women taking out loans to fund this gift-giving subculture.

From the latest gadgets to luxury fashion apparel, these stars get it all - thanks to the fans.

iPhones? Check. DSLR Cameras? Check. Guitars? Check. Designer apparel? Check.

And these devotees simply call it "fan support".

Singaporeans seem to be buying into this subculture too.

Madam Luo says that she was first introduced to the concept when she met like-minded idol-crazy Koreans in 2006.

Since then, she's already splurged on a watch (when news broke that Rain was to be enlisted), two Samsung mobile phones, an iPhone, an iPad and a Louis Vuitton traveller bag on Rain.

She's also bought Korean boy band Shinee's five members an iPhone each.

Madam Luo defends the practice, saying that she does not keep track of how much she spends on her idols. She says: "Giving gifts comes from the heart. You don't go and count how much you have spent."

Miss Wallis Lee, 30, an administrator, is a huge fan of Infinite, a seven-piece Korean boy band. She has set up a fan site called Lyeolnam that seeks to pool money from local fans so that they, too, can participate in this "fan support".

Infinite performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday.

Miss Lee collaborated with four other fan sites comprising 50 members to raise $2,500.

It was used to sponsor a Korean buffet on Friday for Infinite and their entourage.

She says: "We just wanted to make sure they were well-fed. It makes us happy to know they are happy."

The buffet is arranged with the approval of One Production Singapore, a concert organiser who brought the band here.

Once the catering company arrives, the organiser brings them in to set the buffet up inside.

This means the fans are not even able to get a peek of their idols.

"But this is not why we do it," insists Miss Lee. "They've done so much for us. This is just how we repay them."

Miss Lee also regularly contributes money to buy more practical gifts for the boys. She donates up to $100 for each gift collection drive. "I need to control myself and not go overboard," she says.

She has also contributed photo printers, cameras, a DJ mixer, guitars and clothes from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada- all of which she does not own herself.

Established Korean fan bases with connections to the bands' management companies will usually collate all the donations and buy the gifts.

Photos of all the gifts are taken and put on the websites for fans to see. The fan site then sends the gifts to stars' management companies, who then pass it on to the idols.

"It's such a great feeling when you see candid shots of your favourite stars and all they are wearing are gifts that you have contributed to," says Miss Lee.

She says with glee: "When I saw Myung Soo (whose stage name is L) wearing a branded shirt and carrying the Samsonite luggage that we fans had bought for him, I was so happy."

And she is not stopping there. She recently started a donation drive to buy ad space in subway trains for the release of Myung Soo's new photo book, Bravo Viewtiful Part 2.

Miss Lee says that the ad costs about $8,000. This campaign is also a collaboration with the Korean fan base.

Student Clarice Sheng, an 18-year-old fan of boy band Exo, has also chosen to show her love for them by buying them gifts.

Together with some friends, who are also students, they bought a coup le of T-shirts from Armani Exchange.

"It's not much, especially when compared to what other fans buy them, but this is what we can afford as students right now," says Miss Sheng, who makes sure she doesn't spend more than $80 a month on gifts.

When asked why she has to buy them gifts, she sheepishly giggles and says: "Even I don't know."

"But I just love them. They are always so busy and they have put in so much effort. So this is our way of saying thanks.

"It feels like supporting them by buying their CDs and merchandise is simply not enough."

That is exactly why Miss Shannon Ang, 20, a fan of boy band Shinee, is starting a donation drive to buy gifts for them.

"We want to buy them branded clothes because they attract more of the idols' attention and they will wear them out more. This will make us so happy," says Miss Ang.

Some of these idols get fans to contribute to worthy causes. Miss Lee recently donated to a "rice wreath".

These sacks of rice, which are displayed at a K-pop group's concert venue, are then passed on to charities such as the Red Cross.

"There is no better reward than repaying society in their name," says Miss Lee.

But for some fans, there have been consequences.

Madam Luo fell out with her husband over her Korean idols.

Her husband, she says, walked out on her in May 2011 and they are now divorced.

Madam Luo recounts: "When I came home after the Rain concert here, I saw the note that my husband left on the coffee table - 'I have had enough. You can keep your love with Rain.'

"(It's) too bad we didn't see eye to eye."

She offers that her ex-husband was unhappy because "he thought that I was spending the household money he gave me on these gifts."

And once, when the electricity supply to their home was cut off, he blew his top.

She says: "He thought I had used that money to buy gifts for my idols. But I was just waiting for my paycheck to clear and I forgot to pay."

Other points of contention between them were the sky-high credit card bills and her frequent trips to Seoul in South Korea.

"I went to Seoul only when there was a pop concert that I wanted to catch," says Madam Luo nonchalantly.

She "fell in love" with Rain in 2004 after his debut in the immensely popular TV drama, Full House.

In recent years, she has also fallen in love with Shinee after she was introduced to the group by her two daughters, aged 12 and 17.

Despite spending arguably tens of thousands on her idols, she has seen them only at fan meets and greet sessions here and in South Korea.

It is her daughter Pearl who decides what exactly to buy for them.

"She is the one who will tell me what the idols need or want," says Madam Luo.

Both daughters and their mother are members of fan clubs in South Korea.

Madam Luo tries to go to Seoul once every two months. When she has gifts, she hands them to clubs who will then send the items to the artistes' management companies.

She says that she does not need a special occasion to spend lavishly on her favourite stars.

"I just buy when I feel like it, but I spend more when it's their birthdays," she says. "I don't really go shopping unless I want to buy something for them."

Source: http://news.asiaone.com/news/showbiz...tant-gave-rain

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Old 11th October 2013, 05:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

That's really crazy. And the worst of all, he is not going to remember who gave him what present.

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Old 14th October 2013, 09:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

Yes, some may feel it's too much.

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Old 16th October 2013, 10:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

Buying one iphone for each SHINee members.... woah lol and I thought I was spending a lot when I go for their concerts.

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Old 17th October 2013, 08:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

I believe if they strongly believe in them, they would do such thing, without a thought that they will repay their kindness.

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Old 17th October 2013, 08:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

I can confirm that these people, 10 years down the road would have find what they r doing now extremely stupid. I had also been crazy over singer in my teens.

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Old 17th October 2013, 08:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

I believe they will outgrown the idol mania.

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Old 17th October 2013, 12:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

There would come a day that this Madam Luo would realize how much she had lost by giving "unnecessary" gifts to her idol. She could have just donated the money she used to buy those stuff instead.

But then, who are we to judge a person?

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Old 23rd October 2013, 05:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: K-pop mania: How much money are you willing to give?

Only time will tell.

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