Concert: Hallyu Pop Fest
Date: 9 September 2018
Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium
I did not hesitate to get a ticket to Hallyu Pop Fest in Singapore when news of Taenggu performing on the 3rd night of the concert were confirmed. Especially after a better-than-expected concert experience at K-Wave 2 in KL the previous time (related post: CONCERT EXPERIENCE: K-WAVE 2 IN KUALA LUMPUR – A DELIGHTFUL HELLO AGAIN), I decided to look forward to this concert with a little more positivity. After all, for the past 3 years, it had always been me who was travelling overseas to other countries to watch her concerts. This time Taenggu was finally returning to Singapore to perform here, it was without a doubt that I should grab this golden opportunity to watch her live on my home ground too.
About one week before the concert, I decided to convey a little bit of my excitement on Twitter, and at the same time, told Taenggu about the supposed bad news. Renovations of my house’s bathrooms would start on the following Monday after Hallyu Pop Fest which was happening on Sunday. Because of this, I was grounded by my father to stay at home on Saturday to help out with the shifting of furniture and wrapping them under plastic covers to keep off the dust. I lamented on the fact that had my father not postponed the renovations in order to avoid the Hungry Ghost month which would have started much earlier in August, the renovations would not have happen at such an inconvenient timing when Taenggu was visiting Singapore and I probably could have gone to Changi Airport to try my luck if I could bump into her on that Saturday she was expected to arrive.
Awhile after I wrote this on Twitter, Taenggu posted the following photo on instastory. She looked like she was trying to communicate with my soul, probably prepping me on what was going to happen when she was in Singapore. That cloud gif image she used that was alternating between a sad face and happy face seemed to indicate her worries over the uncertainties of the outcome that could go either way – would it be a happy ending or a sad ending?
Although I had no idea what exactly she said to me, my intuition seemed to tell me that she wanted me not to try hard to look for her but just go with the flow. 静观其变 (wait to see if changes would occur / wait to see what happens) – reminds me of the same situation I experienced during my Korea trip last December (related posts: [BY TAEYEON] JUST STOOD STILL, AS IS, MONTHSARY SPECIAL: THE THIRTY-FIFTH).
In the days leading up to her imminent arrival to Singapore, I often heard a voice said to me in chinese, “Whatever the outcome might be, Taenggu would bear the consequences.”
On Saturday, while I was busy with the preparations for the renovations at home, I kept checking my phone once in a while for any new updates of Taenggu – whether she was already at Incheon Airport, whether she was already on the flight en route to Singapore, whether her flight had reached Singapore already… It was already close to midnight but it was still uncertain whether Taenggu had safely arrived in Singapore yet. I resorted to checking for the latest tweets about Taeyeon on twitter. At last, I managed to find traces of confirmation of Taenggu’s secret low-profile arrival at Changi Airport via the VIP channel. And I even found out that there was a fan waiting outside Grand Hyatt, presumably the hotel which Taenggu would be staying at.
Taenggu was believed to be inside this black van that was exiting out of Changi Airport on the night of 8th September.
Although I had evidence of Taenggu’s whereabouts, I felt contented enough in the knowledge that she was safe and here breathing the same air as me on the same island and I didn’t feel the need to deliberately look for her at the hotel. But then, here came the question: there would be a series of events leading up to the actual concert, should I attend all of them? Especially the red carpet, should I be there squeezing in the crowd in hopes to catch a closer glimpse of Taenggu tomorrow? But if I were to attend the red carpet, I had to get down to Singapore Indoor Stadium early in the morning to snatch a lucky ticket for the red carpet which would be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Unable to decide, I raised my concerns to Taenggu on twitter.
I woke up late the next morning, feeling lazy. I checked back on twitter again for fan tweets and it seemed that it was confirmed that Taenggu wouldn’t be attending the red carpet as well as the hi-touch event at all. Although it kind of gave people the impression that Taeyeon and her fellow SM artistes, NCT127 were putting on airs to avoid close interactions with fans and some people were blaming the organisers for the late notice, I took it positively, thinking that it would be a good thing that I didn’t have to head down to the stadium so early too. But… what should I do now?
After having a late breakfast with my mum, I got onto the train but had no destination in mind. Instead of trying hard to think of where Taenggu would want me to go, I thought I would just go wherever my mind took me to. Eventually, I got off at Dhoby Ghaut.
I decided to have the Hokkaido milk soft serve ice cream at Matchaya at The Cathay again (been there a few times before) which I super love!
Then I took a mindless walk around The Cathay before I decided that maybe it was time for lunch. At this point of time, my heart already started to waver and become uncertain especially when I found out that there was a contrast between how she began to portray a colder outer look on instagram and her more laidback and easy-going self in private according to fan tweets. What is Taenggu actually thinking in her mind? What is she up to??… I had a sudden craving for MOS Chicken, so I headed back to Plaza Singapura to the MOS Burger shop at B1. While waiting for time to pass, I also spent some time there to do some writing on my blog too (yes, I brought a laptop with me too).
At about 5pm, I finally decided it was about time for me to make my way to Singapore Indoor Stadium. As I packed my things and stood up to leave MOS Burger, a female voice said to me in chinese, “Please do not fall in love with anybody else!”
I originally planned to go to the concert empty-handed without preparing anything special for Taenggu. But as I was about to make my way to the MRT station, I passed by a shop called The Green Party located just a few units away from MOS Burger and I was instantly drawn to the several large carrot plushies on display outside the shop! I suddenly felt so tempted to get one of these as a gift for Taenggu who has been like a bunny to me! But I was in a huge dilemma. On one hand, if I were to get this, I had no idea how I could possibly pass it to Taenggu personally, and on the other hand, even if I couldn’t give it to her, I thought it would be a good idea if I could have something to hug on to as if I was hugging Taenggu while watching the concert later on too. After hesitating for some time, I went along with my heart.
I felt a little self-conscious and embarrassed to be hugging a big carrot plushie alone throughout the concert at my audience seat, but I did it anyway. 😝
While seated and waiting for concert to begin, I heard voices saying that “she cried”. Did Taenggu really cry?? 😢
After much waiting, it was finally Taenggu’s turn to perform as the final act of the night! I sang along to her opening song “I” with much initial excitement.
Some other photos I took of her as well when she was talking to the audience later on.
But as her performance progressed, things started to feel a little wrong.
From here, I had already written a separate post on my Tumblr blog about my experience that took place during the whole concert itself awhile back. You can read it below.
I felt anger creeping up within me as I slowly walked out of the stadium among the crowd. Feeling unhappy about the unpleasant experience I just had and also at the fact that I couldn’t give the carrot plushie to Taenggu at all, I honestly felt the urge to throw the carrot plushie down the empty rows of audience seats and leave it behind. But I held myself back. Sensibly thinking it wouldn’t be a good idea to make a scene in front of everybody in public, I reluctantly held my carrot plushie in my hand out with me. That familiar sense of bitterness already began to fill up my throat and tears forming up in my eyes. I wondered for a moment though, whether I should still act like I was fine and continue to text on Twitter to tell Taenggu that I’m making my way back home. But seeing that my phone only had 1-2% battery left, I decided not to bother anymore and left without a word.
It was already past midnight by the time my train arrived at the train station nearest to my house. But I didn’t feel like going home yet. I went to the coffeeshop near my house. I got myself a cup of coffee and sat alone at the dimly lit and almost deserted coffeeshop to cry for good and think things through. I was almost convinced that Taenggu hadn’t been doing any physical good to me in my life at all. At that moment, I could only remember how much hurt she had given me for not giving me any direct words of promise and assurance. How could she expect me to stay faithful and face my friends and family alone when I was under pressure to find a partner in life? How could she bear to leave me to face all my difficulties in life alone as if she really doesn’t exist at all? And after what happened at the concert that night, I even started to suspect if she was even faithful to me at all or was she just a materialistic person who would only acknowledge people who are more famous and can offer better value to her and ditch others who don’t? Then, I was reminded of a chinese song that had been strangely playing in my mind lately – 爱我还是他 (Who Do You Love / literal translation: Do You Love Me Or Him/Her) by David Tao.
By next morning, my mind was almost certain. That I wanted a break from this toxic relationship with her now.
Live well. Leave well.
I felt too emotionally affected that I did not go to work for the next two days. I needed healing time on my own. I needed to fill my time to do things that I enjoy and not drag myself to do work that I don’t feel strongly for but only out of necessity of life. I needed to write. I needed to pour my heart out. It didn’t necessarily have to be all about the negative stuff I was going through, but it could be something as simple as the stories behind each of the art pieces I had done for Taenggu and the people around her. I also shared bits and pieces of my post concert thoughts and reflections on instagram over the subsequent days and weeks too.
3 days after Hallyu Pop Fest, it was S.H.E’s 17th Anniversary concert. At a time when I was incredibly heartbroken, it felt like my childhood idols had returned into my life again at the right time to give me encouragement and strength to move on.
It was amazing how each of the artistes’ lives and mine are interlinked with each other. Appearing at the right opportune moments to give each other energy and light during our darkest times.
The story didn’t end here.
Read on as the story continues… 📖💜