Tan Kee Yuan,
The New Paper,
Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015
When Singaporean Patricia Sam spoke to her idol, South Korean actor Ji Chang Wook, some among the 2,500-strong crowd at Suntec City West Atrium gasped in surprise and admiration.
Yesterday evening, Ms Sam, a civil servant in her late 20s, was one of five lucky winners who had won an opportunity to meet Ji on stage, take photos and say a few words to him.
The chiselled-faced heartthrob was holding his first ever public, free meet-and-greet session in Singapore as part of his brand ambassadorship for body care brand Shokubutsu.
In fluent Korean, without missing a beat, Ms Sam told Ji, 28: "I'm very happy to meet you. You are very handsome. Can you give me a hug?"
Ji, best known for his role as Ta Hwan, a Mongolian emperor in historical epic TV drama Empress Ki, obliged with a radiant smile. Deafening shrieks and screams thundered across the mall.
After receiving her hug, Ms Sam told The New Paper that she had been learning the Korean language for two years. "I learnt it because of my love for Ji Chang Wook," she gushed.
"Those lines that I said to him on stage, I practised them every night before going to bed." A fan of Ji since 2008, she has travelled "a few times" to South Korea to catch him in his musical stage productions.
"He has mesmerising eyes and he treats fans really well," she said. "Earlier, when I hugged him, I could feel that he has been working out, he has muscles."
Another lucky draw winner, 17-year-old Singaporean junior college student Steffie Toh, said in English to Ji on stage: "I want to marry you!"
Still visibly excited from the whole experience, Steffie told TNP: "Getting to meet and talk to him is just so overwhelming, I feel like I'm still in a dream. My life is complete now." Another teenage fan, unfortunately, failed to see Ji in the flesh.
She fainted while waiting for Ji to arrive and had to be taken to hospital. TNP spotted her lying on the floor, her mum crouching beside her in tears.
The girl was then placed in a wheelchair and taken to the mall's loading bay area, where an ambulance had been called. When asked if her daughter had been waiting at Suntec City since morning, her mum said in Mandarin: "Nothing, nothing."
Singapore Civil Defence Force said it was alerted to an incident requiring an ambulance at the west wing of Suntec City Level 1 around 5pm yesterday. A teenage girl was taken to KK Hospital in a stable condition.
This article was first published on December 8, 2015.
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