The New Paper
Tuesday, Apr 5, 2016
Despite wearing a neck brace on stage, Apink member Kim Namjoo gave it her all at the K-pop girl group's mini concert and fan meet last Saturday.
She had sprained her neck while rehearsing for the event, Apink Pink Memory Day, held at MegaBox Convention Centre in Jurong East. However, she managed to take part in games and shimmy in her seat.
Tickets to see the girls, who are often touted by critics and netizens as "successors to Girls' Generation" and "Korea's next National Girl Group", were priced at between $98 and $288.
Speaking to 2,500 screaming fans, the 20-year-old said in English: "I'm so sorry for not being in good condition due to sickness, but I promise I will show you a better performance next time, in perfect condition."
Namjoo's inability to dance with her fellow idols clearly did not matter to Apink supporters who, at one point, collectively held a sign with the message #GetWellSoon Namjoo, eliciting chants of "don't cry" by the other members Eun Ji, 22, Bo Mi, 22, Ha Young, 19, Cho Rong, 25 and Na Eun, 22.
Best known for their catchy, upbeat tunes such as No No No, LUV and Remember, the sextet performed songs and played games with their fans, officially known as Pink Pandas, during the three-hour gig.
To celebrate Apink's fifth anniversary, fans also prepared a surprise that left the girls in tears, with some even sobbing.
A fan-made video compilation of their appearances in music and variety shows was screened near the end of the event, accompanied by a sea of banners raised by the audience, reading "Even after five years, we thank and love you".
This was also the highlight of the concert for hardcore fan Lee Wei Min, 21, who had queued for 26 hours at MegaBox to buy the Cat 1 (VIP) tickets when sales officially started.
The full-time NSF, who also attended Apink's concert in Singapore last March, told TNP: "This is a very important milestone for Apink.
"They have won a lot of medals and prizes, especially in the last year. The Singapore Pandas had hoped to come together and do this for them."
It was love at first sight for Mr Lee, after he watched the music video for their hit song Mr Chu online in 2014.
He was attracted to the girls' "innocent and fairy tale-like image".
Mr Lee spent about a third of his monthly salary on their latest show, but he said it was "perfect" and worth every cent of the $288 it cost him. He also spent $105 on official concert merchandise, including a file and banner of his favourite member Cho Rong.
Cat 1 ticket holders like Mr Lee were entitled to either a high touch - which refers to idols giving fans high fives - or group photo opportunity.
Said a thrilled Mr Lee, who was randomly selected for the latter: "I have posters of Apink in my bunk.
"Sometimes, after an outfield or tiring day, my section mates will come into my bunk to see the posters because they feel that the members are pretty, too.
"Because of Apink, I feel very energetic now and am willing to face any punishment or 'tekan session' that comes my way."
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