My Shared Memories with Yuchun in Guangzhou
On the evening of 13 June, I made my way to the airport. I was excited that I was finally going to meet Yuchun in Guangzhou, whom I have been following since I watched Sungkyunkwan Scandal.
I have always wanted to meet Yuchun and to see him in person. Due to work commitments, I couldn’t go to see him during the filming of his dramas. So I was really happy and excited that I could make it for this Guangzhou fan meeting.
I have been communicating with a few local chunsas and some of them were planning to go to this Guangzhou fan meeting. So I decided to tag along and joined them. Through the the help of fellow chunsas in China, we booked our hotel and FM tickets
Due to the flight time we arrived at the hotel at about 2 am on the 14th morning. The hotel was full house. There was not a single room left. I guessed all chunsas would want to stay in the same hotel as Yuchun. The presence of the huge bouquet of roses from the China Mama Fanclub at the concierge area provided evidence that Yuchun was staying there. I couldn’t describe how it felt like to be under the same roof as Yuchun. Somewhere up there in this building, Yuchun was resting. It’s almost unbelievable and exciting.
We left our luggage at the concierge area and went to rest in the sofas at the waiting lounge. As I tried to catch some sleep slouching on the sofa, a hotel personnel came over to tell us that we cannot sleep there. We explained that we were waiting for our rooms and he left us alone. Finally the day break and the hotel restaurant was opened for breakfast and we went to have our breakfast.
Due to the late check in time, we stayed in one of the chunsa’s room first and got some much needed rest while waiting for our rooms to be ready. In the afternoon, we met up with the chunsas from Hong Kong and Chengdu and got our FM tickets and the free fan goods from Micky Baidu. They were a blue light stick and a blue Micky head band. with light switch. We also heard from the chunsa who had gone to the venue to collect that tickets that Yuchun was rehearsing a Chinese song. I was quite excited to hear it. He had learnt a Chinese song for his Chinese fans? Wow!
In the end, due to some errors in booking, I still did not get my room when it’s time for us to get ready for the fan meet. So I still had to use the kind chunsa’s room to get ready for the fan meet. We all wanted to look nice and presentable to attend his FM as it is only respectful to do so. Then we took a taxi to the fan meeting venue.
It was already very crowded there when we arrived. I guessed we arrived just on time for the fan meet and missed the opportunity to write questions and notes for Yuchun. And with the help of a fellow chunsa, I managed to passed a birthday card to someone from Micky Baidubar who would hopefully be able to pass it to Yuchun through the organiser. Fans were already queuing up to enter the stadium and I only managed to get some last minute official goods from Cjes. Many of the goods were already sold out. There were also people trying to sell tickets to the fan meeting.
Finally, I was inside the stadium and found my seat on the 8th row on the right. On both sides of the stage there was a big screen each with the housewarming party logo. On the stage was a huge backdrop of a mansion. The fans around were excited and I was surprised that some fans even set up camera stands with SLRs and zoom attachments to get ready for filming while the security personnel did not even bat an eyelid. Our bags were searched before we came in. So I had supposed that we were not allowed to use our cameras but it seemed otherwise. Anyway, I had decided to focus all my attention at Yuchun and would not be taking any pictures. I wanted to set my eyes on him directly, capture the scene and remember it well.
At about 10 minutes to the start of the FM, the fans sitting at the outer area were allowed to come into the VIP area to fill up the empty seats. In fact, we had noticed earlier that the rows behind us were empty and we thought then that the fans had yet to come in. So there were a rush for seats and a slight commotion ensued. I supposed the organiser wanted to fill up the empty seats so that it would not look bad to Yuchun. Finally we settled down as the lights dimmed and the FM was starting. I turned on my blue light stick, put on the Mickey head band and switched on the light. Many turned around to look at the beautiful blue ocean. It was a beautiful sight with a huge Mickey silhouette lighted up at one side and many pretty lighted banners and signs among the audience.
The first thing was a video of Yuchun, apparently at ease in his house and then getting ready for this FM. Then the MC appeared. We shouted for Yuchun to appear and the backdrop dropped down and Yuchun appeared behind it. He introduced himself and greeted us in Chinese. He asked how we were doing and said that he was doing well. The MC then tried to teach him greetings in the local Cantonese language. Yuchun said it almost right the first time but said it with the Mandarin tone subsequently. The MC also asked the audience in Cantonese whether Yuchun was good-looking. He then asked Yuchun about his shoulder injury and I was glad to hear Yuchun said it was much better.
We were asked to sing the birthday song in Chinese and then in English. Some fans proceeded to sing it in Korean and it made Yuchun laughed as it was not complete and fizzled off. Yuchun’s wish was to continue doing activities and to have his fans staying with him.
Yuchun seemed to know his China fanbase well as after a video presentation from fans, he asked if it was done by Micky Baidubar. When asked for his thoughts on the video presentation, he expressed that he was very touched and thankful for his fans’ support, visiting him during filming and staying with him all these ten years.
During the chit-chat session, he expressed his liking for Chinese side dishes and that these dishes were really expensive in Korea. He also likes Chinese wine and found that there are many varieties here but the alcohol content is higher than in Korea.
Then the MC asked where the fans were from and I was disappointed that the MC didn’t ask if there were fans from overseas. I had wanted to show raise my hands to show the presence of the overseas fans.
Yuchun’s face looked longer and slimmer in person. I tried my best to look at him but he was just too far from me to see him clearly. He is really good-looking.
The programme for the night included granting fans’ wishes, answering fans’ questions and solving fans’ problems.
In granting fans’ wishes, I was happy though surprised that he actually did the giyomi up to the fifth one as I remembered he had refused to do it at an earlier fan meeting. He seemed to go all out to please his fans here. He’s really cute! There was one that he refused to do and didn’t let the MC say it but in the end he did anyway. It’s dancing. A fair bit of time was spent in the selection of wishes to grant and it didn’t helped when many of the requests were written in Chinese. I really wished that I had written my wish and put it up there as I could write it in simple English so that he could understand. I didn’t have a chance to write my wish and stick it on the board as the board was already removed when I reached the stadium. A few fans around me said that they didn’t had a chance to do so too. And I also finally understood why he likes to do the double eyelid thing – it is his habit and way of checking if he had swollen eyes in the morning when he wakes up! The last wish he obliged was to do a dance finally after relentless chanting from the fans. And I think he did it very well.
In answering fans questions, Yuchun didn’t know how to answer the question on his skin care management. And I wondered why he tried to stand up when he was asked what colour was his underwear. Did he really think that he would need to show a small part of it like what the MC had said? If he did then, I think the screams of the chunsas would bring the roof down! His impression of Chinese girls was from his experience in seeing them in Korea. He thought that Chinese girls are able and pure, including ahjumas. Yuchun has good manners especially towards elders as he stood up and did a little bow to the ahjuma who was pointed out by the MC. As for future plans, I am glad that he would try to have more activities before military service and hopefully, he would really get down to learning Chinese during the time in military service even though he finds that different tones to be really difficult. When he picked the second last question about his shoulder injury, many in the audience thought that it would be a waste a question opportunity as the question had been answered before at the beginning of the FM. But I was glad that he didn’t hear them as Yuchun explained further how his injured shoulder had really impacted his daily life. Even then, he still had some difficulty if he exert strength with his right shoulder such as during bathing. So he still has yet to recover fully from his injury. Yuchun was really speechless at the last question where fans asked what they were do as they could not see and accept anyone else after knowing him. I like it that he is honest with his answers even though he really seemed eager to please his fans.
The next section was the revelation of some “secret, explosive, revealing” private photographs of Yuchun. Well, those photos were interesting but nothing too revealing nor explosive. Yuchun himself knows that he is not photogenic and is bad at taking selfie. And I think, from the faraway position that I had seen him, his face is somewhat slimmer and he looks better in person than on the screen. He explained that he looked good in another picture because it was taken by other people when the MC teased him about being good-looking in that picture. I like the pictures showing him in natural relaxed situations. The MC always asked us whether we do really love Yuchun many times throughout the FM. This time, he asked again when it seemed that one of the often asked questions on Yuchun was about his weight management. Yuchun seemed to like to eat good tasty food and his weight had gone up and down. He said that he would lose weight if he reduces his alcohol intake. When asked about his favourite Chinese food, many in the audience shouted ‘eggplants’. But they picked up ‘hot pot’ instead. Yuchun is really a food lover. He wanted to look for good delicious food when he goes to Chengdu. The MC liked to tease the audience over his obvious advantage in being the MC and hence could be so close to Yuchun, taking selfie photos with him or perhaps even going food-hunting with him in Chengdu.
Then Gummy was presented on stage. I was fine when she sang his “Three Days” drama OST as I knew she was Yuchun’s guest although I thought initially that they would do a duet. When she sang the second solo, I was still okay as she sang well too. But when she stayed for the third song, I was wondering where was Yuchun. What happened? She was quite pleasant and I applauded her for learning her Chinese well enough to speak in it and sing the third song, a Chinese favourite “The moon represents my heart” in reasonable Chinese. But I wanted to see and hear Yuchun, not her.
I guessed Yuchun heard us and wanted soothed our emotions by presenting to us next a string of lovely and cute questions and heartfelt messages with adorable graphics with his pictures. In these questions and messages, he conveyed his love and gratitude for his fans. He asked if we missed him and expressed his desire to meet us as he missed us a lot. He expressed his gratitude towards his chunsas who had given him strength and support and hoped that he did that to us too. His messages were also very humorous as he “complained” about the lack of sleep during drama filming, ordering and eating unpalatable food, reciting long and difficult lines, receiving useless SMSes. He said that in spite of all these, he was happy because in his heart, he always has hoped to meet us and this kept him happy. It was interesting for me to note that he had described himself as being “your man” and at that for exactly ten years. I wondered what it meant to him as being our “man”. What expectations he had for himself as our ‘man”? Anyway, he expressed that our love for him these ten years had made him the “Park Yu Chun” that he is today and he wanted to to say “Thank you” and that he loved us too. Just as we gave him strength, he also hoped to bring us happiness and strength too. He would like us to enjoy his party with him till the end even though he might not have prepared much. And of course, all of us responded enthusiastically and I was really touched by his message.
In the counselling section, Yuchun was to act as the “Agony Aunt” or rather “Ahjushi” to help solve problems for his fans. The case was about a girl who got to know and like a boy online. She knew she should concentrate on her studies but she couldn’t help herself in this hopeless one-sided love. Yuchun was quite sincere in trying to help by asking a number of clarifying questions. The MC and the audience all knew that the “boy” in this case was actually a reference to Yuchun. But he didn’t know that and said that it was wrong for the “boy” to seduce girls online. I liked his view that if a boy likes a girl, he should meet her directly. I felt a little bad for us to be playing with his sincere effort to help this “girl” who was really his besotted fans. Finally, the MC told him that he had seduced his fans online and that his fans had willingly let themselves to be seduced by him. His response was that we were captivated by him because he came to meet us but he did not seduce us online. Another thing I noted was that Yuchun expressed different standards for different genders. He would object strongly such a relationship if the girl were his sister but would support it if it were his brother and if the girl was a good girl.
The next problem was a bit complicated. A girl who had promised a boy who liked her a chance if he achieved a certain school grade. However, she had no intention of honouring it as she had someone else in mind. She also did not want to hurt him. Just like in the first problem case, he asked questions to understand the problem and really tried to help. In the end, it was made clear to him again that the girl could not accept that boy because she likes him. Again, he was somewhat embarrassed and advised the girl to speak the truth to the boy. I was somewhat sad for Yuchun when he expressed envy for such a situation which is common stuff for others but not for him. The MC teased Yuchun’s for his apparent lack of experience in such stuff as he could not really offer much counsel in both cases. When Yuchun responded that he was actually not very matured in love matters, the audience made much noise. Then he tried to justify it by adding that those who knew much about love did not really know much about it. Yuchun had been very cute and was often embarrassed and shy during this section as in the end, he found that he was always the main cause of these problems and there was nothing he could do about it. And I also got to know more about his views on love relationships as a man and a brother.
For the cooking section, Yuchun prepared kimbap seaweed wrapped rice for two lucky fans. He showed the typical characteristic of traditional Asian males – not going into the kitchen and leaving the cooking to the women. His reason for being inept in cooking was not to embarrass his woman. His views are quite conservative and traditional. But I was really glad that notwithstanding such beliefs, he was willing to make kimbap for the first time for his fans. He was competent in using the knife for slicing as he explained that he had learnt how to prepare sashimi in his movie Sea Fog. He was really cute and kept asking for instructions. He has the habit of tasting or smelling the ingredients as he prepared the food. There were so much instructions and sometimes conflicting instructions and noise from the audience that Yuchun could not hear and follow the correct instructions. But it was fun and in the end he succeeded with some help from the stage crew. Yuchun is really smart and learned quickly. After the first one, he quietly and competently prepared the second kimbap on his own. The MC seemed to enjoy the limelight a lot and he went ahead to help pick the next few lucky numbers on behalf of Yuchun while Yuchun was busy preparing the second kimbap. What I am happy to note was that Yuchun had refused to let the MC have a bite on the kimbap as he had especially prepared it for his fans only. While waiting for the fans to come on stage, the MC asked for a selfie with Yuchun.Yuchun also remembered his promise to his fans in Shenzhen in 2012 that he would give them a treat but he did not respond as to when it would be. In the end, I felt sorry for the fans who could not come to the stage due the time constraints. Protests from the floor were ignored.
Yuchun apologised for not being able to prepare well the kimbap for his fans. He was grateful to fans who had brought food support to him and his fellow production crew members while he was filming in Korea. He felt blessed receiving much love from his fans and expressed his wish to continue his activities together with us. He would work harder and hoped that there would be happy memories of this time we had together with him even later when we moved on in life. He spoke about the importance of memories and he thought it was great to share common memories and love with us. A small incident happened during this time. The MC had passed a bottle of water to Yuchun and while Yuchun was passing it back to him, the MC dropped the cap and Yuchun helped to pick it up. The audience wanted the bottle of water that Yuchun had drunk from but the MC said to leave it for him later.
While filling up the time for Yuchun to change, the MC spoke about being a die-hard fan of Yuchun for ten years and urged us to love and support Yuchun in the future even when we were married. There were pros and cons that the MC is also a fan and liked to talk. He elicited much response from the audience and also much noise. So sometimes, it was hard to hear what was said on stage. It would be better if he could get Yuchun to talk more instead of the audience.
Finally Yuchun came out and sang “An empty space for you” . It was really a great pleasure to hear him sing “live”. I felt that I was enveloped in the warmth and sweetness of his voice. The lighting effects and background changes made me feel like I am in a surreal world with him. Initially, as Gummy had already sung three songs, I was afraid that Yuchun would cut down the number of songs that he would be singing until the MC said during the waiting time that Yuchun would sing us four songs. I was happy and relieved to hear that. The second song was “Leaning on You” and he sang it beautifully with emotions. It was really a pleasure to be there in the audience listening to him sing.
And after the second song, he spoke to us. He thanked us again for coming. I could feel his sincerity and humility as he expressed his desire to be with us, his chunsas, and would work hard as long as we stay with him. He also asked for our support for JYJ.
I had been wondering whether he was going to sing the Chinese song. One of the chunsas who had gone to collect the tickets in the afternoon told us that he was rehearsing a Chinese song. So I was expecting it. But then Yuchun stopped after the second song and I was somewhat worried that due to the time taken up by Gummy, the number of songs to be sung by Yuchun, would be cut short. And I was so glad when he started to sing the third song. It was the Korean version of the Chinese song “Fairy Tale” (童话). Initially I thought that he was going to sing the song in Chinese and not a Chinese song in Korean. So I was waiting for him to switch into singing the Chinese lyrics in the next verse. But it didn’t happen. The audience had also started singing the song in Chinese. All these had somewhat distracted me from immersing myself fully in his sweet voice initially. Anyway, it’s a beautiful song. I have liked the original Chinese version for a long time. I was happy that he liked it too and had chosen to sing this song.
Then after the third song, he stopped and spoke again. For a moment, I thought “Oh no! Is it the end?” Didn’t the MC say four songs?” Fortunately, he just wanted to thank us and get our support for JYJ again.
Finally the last song – “A Walk with Her in Spring” was sung. I really like this slower version better than the original Britpop version. I particularly like the long piano introduction. Yuchun can really make beautiful notes on the piano.
When it ended, we were so reluctant to leave. Anyway, when I got outside, they were still selling some fan goods like umbrellas and bags by other vendors. I met up with my chunsa friends and we took a cab back to the hotel. Finally, I got into my room and had a proper shower. I had biscuits for dinner as it’s already quite late in the night. My roommates didn’t come back to the room with me. They came back quite late. I suppose they went for dinner.
I got to know that a group of chunsas were planning to see Yuchun off in the airport the next morning. So I asked to join them. I then tried my best to rest and get some sleep. The next morning, I went down to the lobby, placed my bags with the concierge and went to meet those who were going to the airport. As we gathered around a desk, a Chinese man passed by and told us that Yuchun would be leaving at round 10:30 am and advised us to either wait outside where we could see Yuchun’s car coming out from the car park or at the basement car park where he would get into the car. We decided to check out the basement car park and I gave up going to the airport.
When we went down there, we were told to behave as otherwise, Yuchun would not come this way. So we lined up orderly and they put barricades in front with several men standing guard there to prevent any mishaps due to over-excited fans. Finally, after quite some time, Yuchun finally appeared for a mere 1-2 seconds before he disappeared straight into the car with dark tinted windows that you cannot see anything inside in that dim car park. And that’s the last time I got to see Yuchun in person. But it seemed so unreal to me. Before I actually had a good look at him, he disappeared into the car. As I tried to recall the scene, it seemed like watching a super short video.
Overall, it is a wonderful and memorable experience for me. This trip has deepened my connection with Yuchun. It’s interesting and fun listening to his responses and watching him doing things. And it is really a great pleasure to be seated in the audience listening to Yuchun sing live. I am glad I had made my way to Guangzhou for this fan meeting. Besides Yuchun, it was also a pleasure meeting all these wonderful and helpful chunsas that I had got to know through SNS. What I would like to do if I am going for the another one of this is to go the venue earlier to write notes and questions for him to answer and to take my time to browse through the wide variety of fan goods.