Concert Experience: Hallyu Pop Fest in Singapore – 手心手背都是肉,爱我还是她?

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. 😝

Hugging my new carrot plushie like a fool outside Kallang Wave Mall where I had a quick dinner first before the concert

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.

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Last Sunday at #HallyuPopFest2018 in Singapore specially to support Taenggu. I actually did not specially plan or prepare anything beforehand. Pretty much had a see-how-things-go-on-that-day kind of attitude towards this concert. Initially I thought I would just follow the event full day schedule: 1pm showcase, 3.30pm red carpet, 5pm artiste engagement, 8pm concert. But in the morning after reading tweets from other fans saying that Taenggu wouldn't be attending both red carpet and artiste engagement, I gave up the idea of heading down to Singapore Indoor Stadium early and ended up hanging around at Dhoby Ghaut by myself eating and drinking whatever that I had been craving for while waiting for time to pass. Around 5 plus, just when I was about to set off to the stadium finally, I happened to pass by a shop at Plaza Singapura displaying a bunch of these really cute and huggable carrot soft toys! Lol and it made me think of Taenggu immediately. I thought it would be a good idea to get one of these big carrots to "feed" her who is my bunny. 😂 But it was a major dilemma. On one hand, I had no idea how I could pass this as a present to her. On the other hand, I thought the carrot could be my company for the night to watch the concert together while I could have something to hug as if Taenggu WAS the carrot. 🤣 So I ended up doing the latter. But I felt such a fool, a 바보 doing it. 😝 – to be continued next post – #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #太妍 #泰妍 #泰古 #concertexperience #toxiclove #oncebittentwiceshy #actionsspeaklouderthanwords

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– continued from previous post- I really was there to support Taenggu only although I also know a couple of NCT127's songs like Fire Truck and Cherry Bomb which got me more hyped up when they performed them. Taenggu was the finale. I was excited when she came out finally after 2 hours into the show! Performance-wise, she was great as usual. I sang along with her to all songs from the audience except for Fine which I took an emotional break and just watched her sing only. But from my own personal concert experience point of view, it wasn't entirely a pleasant one due to the internal struggles and conflicts I had. I couldn't ignore the feeling of her being so cold and distant to me again. But rest assured, although it wasn't the best concert experience I had, it wasn't the worst that I had experienced too, although after the concert, upon reflecting back, it really made me question if my relationship with her was a healthy one and worthwhile to carry on from the physical and practical point of view. It's already beyond acceptable if I were to get hurt over and over again like this… Time to rethink my situation and find ways that will better serve my personal emotional needs and not open the same old wounds in my heart over and over again without a permanent remedy. #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #太妍 #泰妍 #泰古 #concertexperience #toxiclove #oncebittentwiceshy #actionsspeaklouderthanwords #HallyuPopFest2018

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Throwback to the time when Taenggu came to Singapore for Hallyu Pop Fest about 3 weeks ago. Why did I feel like she was putting on a false image on her public social media during that time that was so unlike her usual friendlier and more approachable self? Why did I feel like she had to put on a diva-like mask, wearing sunglasses (which she usually doesn't) and having a poker face expression in her selfies that made her seem colder and more distant from her fans when she was in Singapore? But why then, at her rehearsals behind the eyes of the public, she could let her guards down and behave more freely like her usual innocent self and even wear shorts and flats like a girl next door? Coz like what we usually see in movies and dramas, an idol who put on airs usually pretends to be approachable in front of fans but is more arrogant towards his/her staff behind-the-scene, isn't it?? But why for Taenggu, it was the reverse? Why did she have to do this? She must have had her own difficulties that she had to hide, I guess… . Tweets from serenity_0206 #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #太妍 #泰妍 #泰古 #questionsquestionsquestions #puzzle #mask #falseimpression #hallyupopfest #concert #singapore

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That look on Taenggu's face, as if she had no choice but to carry on putting on a show but still took chances in between to steal glances at where I was sitting at, as if she could/wanted to see me hugging that big carrot plushie while singing along with her from where she was on stage… Whatever her difficulties were, at least I managed to see moments like this that showed she still cared about me through this short clip. 👀 . 📽 saw this vid from taeng_happiness #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #泰妍 #太妍 #泰古 #是不是看起来有什么难言之隐 #不能说的秘密 #whatkindofdifficultiesmustshehavehad #sheisntthatcoldright #puzzle #hallyupopfest #concert #fancam #somethingnew

A post shared by Celeste Namu Koh (@lovestorieswithtaenggu) on

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It took me about a week after Hallyu Pop Fest before I finally opened up about the pain I felt at the concert on Twitter. I shared about my various terrifying thoughts that ran through my mind after the concert questioning things like what if Taenggu wasn't the same kind and genuine person I thought she was, what if she was someone who goes after fame and money who would ditch someone for another person who could benefit her more in material or practical terms? What if she had changed and grown more arrogant? The next day after the tweets were posted, Taenggu responded with the above picture on her instastory. The word "脱" in Japanese has the same meaning as the same character in Chinese. It means take off or get rid of. How should I interpret her picture? To me, it could mean taking off her 高高在上 diva-like mask of an idol, she is still the same innocent sincere (coz her hand was placed on her chest) bunny whom I am familiar with underneath. 🐰 Haha seems legit. 🤔😆 . . #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #太妍 #泰妍 #泰古 #脱 #脱下偶像的包袱 #getridofheridolimage #shesstillthesamegirlweallknow #shesstillthesamebunny #interpretationofapicture #내마음 #youunderstandmeright?

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About a week before Hallyu Pop Fest, I started getting a little excited and briefly talked about what might be happening on my side in anticipation of Taenggu's arrival on the following Saturday on my twitter. It was at a really bad timing when Taenggu came to Singapore. My house was under the Home Improvement Programme and renovations of our unit's bathrooms would start on the following Monday right after Hallyu Pop Fest. Renovations could have started much earlier in August if it wasn't for my father to delay it till September in order to avoid the Hungry Ghost month. And on the Saturday when Taenggu was expected to arrive in Singapore, I would have to be grounded at home by my father to help out with shifting of furnitures and wrapping them in plastic covers to prepare for the renovations. I ranted about how I could have gone to Changi Airport to try my luck if I could bump into Taenggu when she would arrive if I didn't have to stay at home under the orders of my father. Awhile after I tweeted, Taenggu posted this picture with a smiley face gif image of a cloud. From her expression, she looked like she was trying to communicate with "me" (my soul) on this matter. She looked like she was trying to prep me on what was going to happen during her time in Singapore, as if she was telling me what to do and what not to do. I had no idea what exactly she had said to my soul but my gut feelings seemed to tell me that perhaps she wanted me not to do anything (as in don't try to deliberately look for her – me being grounded on that Saturday would be a good thing after all), just go along with the flow and what my natural circumstances would put me in. At the end of the day, she was concerned, would the outcome of me attending this Hallyu Pop Fest concert be a happy ending (like the K-Wave 2 in KL earlier this year) or a sad ending (like her Magic Of Christmas Time concert in Seoul late last year)? It was a 50-50 chance just like that alternating cloud smiley face. Right now, one month has already passed since Hallyu Pop Fest, I guess it was a… maybe happy ending. 💜 #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #太妍 #泰妍 #泰古 #oneweekbefore #hallyupopfest #singapore #maybehappyending

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Seems like Taenggu is catching on the trend of wearing hair glitz these days, making her hair look bling bling. ㅋㅋ ❇ I thought the hair glitz make her look like a mermaid, don't you think? 🧜‍♀️ . When she first sported this look at Hallyu Pop Fest in Singapore about a month ago, she was showing off her hair to the audience on stage. At that time, even though I was kinda unhappy with her, I still half-reluctantly gave her my praise, "Okay la, (your hair) looks a bit pretty…" Like just a liiiiiiittle bit pretty only. Lol! But actually it's very pretty. 😝 . [1] original video from snsddomination (youtube) [2] pic from serenitysone (instagram) #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #泰妍 #太妍 #泰古 #mermaidhair #hairglitz #blingbling #hallyupopfest #singapore

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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… 📖💜

2 thoughts on “Concert Experience: Hallyu Pop Fest in Singapore – 手心手背都是肉,爱我还是她?

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