KIM JUNSU OF KOREAN BOYBAND 2PM FONDLY REMEMBERS 'GOLD WATERMELONS' IN SINGAPORE
Return to the Lion City: Kim Junsu will be playing tour guide to the rest
of his bandmates as they return to our shores for their December 04 concert
PICTURE: Launch Entertainment
FANCY having a Korean pop star for a neighbour?
Well, you may have had a star-to-be living next to you and never known it.
Here's a surprising tidbit - Kim Junsu from popular Korean boyband 2PM once lived here for 'several months' when he was 10. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old can't remember much about his time here, though he hasn't forgotten visiting our zoo and the 'amazingly beautiful' Sentosa.
Kim told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: 'I lived in Singapore when I was young because my uncle was living here, and he invited me to stay here for a while with his family.
'I was too young, so I can't remember exactly where I lived. I just remember Singapore is a very beautiful town. I had a great time.'
We asked him whether he attended school here, but he didn't answer. Kim's relatives have since moved to another country, and he doesn't have any more family here.
His one grouse was that he couldn't go out without his cousin accompanying him as he didn't speak English then. But he does now, so he won't have that problem when he revisits our shores again the coming weekend. He will even be playing tour guide for his bandmates.
2PM - consisting of Kim, Lee Junho, Nichkhun Buck Horvejkul, Ok Taecyeon, Jang Wooyoung and Hwang Chansung, all aged 19 to 22 - will be in town to perform at the MNET Ultimate Live! K-pop concert.
Other acts at the show include fellow boy band 2AM, as well as Beast, Mblaq and Miss A.
But the rest of the boys should be wary if Kim suggests taking them to eat some sort of exotic fruit. Reminiscing about his earlier visit, Kim said that when he lived here, he ate ice-cream and snacks more than proper food.
The one thing that caught his eye was what he called 'gold watermelon'.
He said: 'I usually ate at home, usually it was Korean food though. I also ate local food and there was nothing that wasn't delicious.
'Oh! When I was there, I saw gold watermelon. Since it was the first time I had seen it, I was surprised.'
It wasn't clear exactly what kind of melon he was referring to.
The rest of the boys were tight-lipped when asked about their upcoming performance.
'Get ready for us, Singapore'
They said via e-mail: 'We prepared songs that many people have shown love for. Be ready!'
They added that they got along with all the other acts, especially the four-member 2AM, who are 'like our best friends, our brothers'.
The two groups branched out from the 11-member boy band One Day. 2PM's former frontman Jay Park left the group to pursue a solo career. 2AM is more of a ballad-focused group, while 2PM has established itself as one that concentrates on performance and dance.
The latter said that the one thing that it hopes to get the opportunity to do is to hold a fan meeting in Singapore soon.
The guys wrote: 'Hey our Singapore fans! We really missed you. We've been nervous and excited about seeing you all. Hope you stay healthy and well until we meet and I think you can expect a lot from our concert.'
LOL-ing so hard at the gold watermelons XD anyone care to guess? locals? I think he's probably referring to the yellow-flesh watermelon but who knows~
Reported by Charlene Chua for The New Paper (Singapore)
2AM: WE ARE NOT AS POPULAR AS 2PM IN SINGAPORE D=
RARELY would you have artistes acknowledging that they lag behind other celebrities in fame and success.
So, it was surprising and somewhat refreshing to hear the dudes of Korean pop quartet 2AM admit that their boyband peers 2PM are 'definitely more popular than us in Singapore'.
2AM comprises the muscular Lee Changmin, 24; the handsomely tanned Im Seulong, 23; Jo Kwon, 21, who stands out with his slight effeminate behaviour, and Jung Jinwoon, 19, the baby of the group. The foursome were in town yesterday to promote their debut full-length album Saint O' Clock.
They will join fellow K-popsters 2PM, Mblaq, Miss A and Beast on stage tomorrow night at the inaugural MNet Ultimate Live! concert.
While it might seem unfathomable that they'd toot the horns for another group, the guys insist that competition has never been a major concern for them, especially when comparisons are drawn to the six-member dance outfit 2PM.
'We don't think much about rivalry,' main vocalist Jo told The New Paper with a smile.
'It's a fact that 2PM has more fans than us in Singapore.
'Actually, we treat them like brothers... all of us get along very well and we render support to one another constantly.'
2AM and 2PM share an affinity that extends beyond the exchange of polite pleasantries. Both are sub-groups that branched out from the 11-member boyband One Day. 2PM started out with seven guys, but one of them, Jay Park, left last year to pursue a solo career.
Without any hesitation, vocalist and rapper Lee even added that '2PM has crazier and more passionate fans'.
But he subsequently explained: 'The type of music they do (fast-paced, thumping dance tracks) attracts many fanatic teenage girls.
'As for 2AM, we specialise in singing ballads and sentimental tunes. Our genre enables us to reach out to a broader fan base.
'Our audience covers a wider age range and goes beyond Asia too.'
The boys, who were chosen to represent Asia with their anthem Number One on the official Fifa World Cup soundtrack earlier in May, are highly confident of their combined vocal prowess.
When quizzed about what distinguishes them from the sea of homogeneous boybands in South Korea, Lee said: 'Our vocal performance and ability to harmonise would be the biggest thing.'
Egged on by the press conference's host, they spontaneously serenaded the local media with an excerpt from one of their songs, a capella-style.
With a cheeky smile, Jung added that besides their ability to hold a tune better than their K-pop counterparts, 'we stand out because we are fitter and taller'.
Drawing guffaws from the crowd was Jo, who promptly pointed at Lee's low-cut, V-neck jacket. Lee, the hunkiest of the group, was wearing nothing beneath it. But don't expect these four lads to start taking off their shirts during live performances a la their bosom buddies from 2PM.
'Our focus is on ballads - it would be severely abnormal for us to rip off our clothes halfway through our songs,' said Jo matter-of-factly.
ahahahaha! Kwon bb, never change ya hear me XD
Reported by Tan Kee Yun for The New Paper (Singapore)
MEMBERS OF KOREAN BOYBAND BEAST REVEAL WHAT KIND OF GIRLS THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO
IN THEIR fans' eyes, they are perfect. Adoring fans have dubbed the guys' act 'hole-proof', a literal translation from a Korean expression meaning perfect.
Since they made their debut last year, the members of Korean boyband Beast have enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame. But just because the six dashing guys are relishing their new-found celebrity, it doesn't mean they would date only those in show business. One of them is even willing to date fans who can't speak Korean.
Lead vocalist Yang Yo Seob, 20, told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: 'Date a fan? I've learnt that it takes more than language to understand each other. So my answer is yes.'
Yang, whose specialty is beat-boxing, is said to have very nice hands.
Actually, the Beast boys each has a 'standout' body part, according to their fans.
They swoon over Yoon Doo Joon's 'big eyes without double eyelids', Yong Jun Hyung's lips, Jang Hyun Seung's broad shoulders, Lee Ki Kwang's 'smiling eyes' and Son Dong Woon's doe-eyed peepers.
So what kind of girls do the boys prefer?
Yang prefers girls who are cute and have long, straight hair, while Yoon, 21, said: 'I like a girl with whom I can fall in love at first sight. Personality-wise, it would be better to meet someone with (strong) personal opinions as I'm too easily influenced by others.'
Jang, 21, finds that a 'girl with a pretty head shape and a cool attitude is very attractive'.
Lee, 20, likes 'someone who's sexy, cute and kind' - someone who 'attracts me in many different ways'.
Yong, 20, said: 'A girl who has well-defined features and who will love only me. I wouldn't like a girl who is too interested in other people's affairs.'
Son, 19, chimed in: 'A thoughtful person with whom I'm comfortable and who can really understand me.'
Beast, which stands for Boys of the East Standing Tall, won the Best Newcomer Award at the 19th Seoul Music Awards in February. In Singapore, its second and latest album, Shock Of The New Era, has sold more than 5,000 copies.
The boys will hold their first full concert in the middle of this month in Korea. But they will be in town tomorrow to perform at the MNet Ultimate Live! concert with other K-pop acts such as 2AM, 2PM, Miss A and Mblaq.
Beast has built a reputation in the K-pop scene as one of the few groups that can sing both uptempo tracks and ballads in perfect pitch - live. The boys are also known for their extensive vocal range and are excellent dancers. So what do they think makes them 'perfect'?
Said Yong: 'I think rather than use the word 'perfect', it's more like we know each other's strengths and differences.
'In this way, we can give each other quick feedback and play up each other's strengths.
'So we can put the best picture together.'
Ambition, said Lee, keeps the group striving to hone their craft daily. Keeping in shape is also a must.
Lee, for instance, exercises whenever he can.
'If I miss out on my visit to the fitness club, I will still do some weight training using simple objects. I also try to avoid eating flour-based products.'
And unlike Yang, who prefers aerobic exercises, Yong joked that he sings to keep fit. But fame does have its downside, as the guys have found out. For example, Yoon said that he missed the 'happiness' of ordinary daily life, like walking down the street freely.
And Jang feels rather restricted because he can't take the bus or subway without being mobbed. But he admitted that he finds it 'wonderful' when people recognise him in public, especially in Singapore.
Said Jang: 'Our Singaporean fans are very passionate. They express their love for us openly with their hearts.'
Reported by Charlene Chua for The New Paper (Singapore)