Hoping to bag something 'priceless'

Hoping to bag something 'priceless'
FANGIRLS: (From left) Alysha Ang and Francine Quek with their Ziploc bags for catching ‘1D concert air’.

When it comes to logic-defying fandom, some Singapore Directioners have it, well, in the bag.

UK pop group One Direction performed at their much-anticipated first-ever concert in Singapore at the National Stadium last evening.

More than 6,000 fans of the quintet got in line at the Singapore Sports Hub once the official queue for the free standing area started at 11am yesterday.

Since no overnight queueing was allowed, some fans arrived as early as 4am, eager for the chance to get as close to the stage - and to Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik, who are in their early 20s - as possible.

The concert was part of the Asian leg of One Direction's On The Road Again world tour, which kicked off last month in Australia.

Among the first in line was bleary-eyed student Francine Quek, 16, who barely slept a wink the night before due to the mounting anticipation, and her group of wildly excited friends.

She and Alysha Ang, 16, had armed themselves with Ziploc bags. "So we can catch the air that they breathe and keep it forever," said Francine.

They seized on the idea after a fan of US rapper Kanye West used online auction site eBay last week to sell a bagful of air, allegedly from an unspecified show from his Yeezus tour.

The auction, which started at US$5 (S$7), had gone up to more than US$60,000 before it was taken down. It has been relisted with a starting bid of US$10.

Francine's bags are labelled "Harry's breath" and "1D concert air" while Alysha calls hers "H's CO2" (Harry's carbon dioxide). The girls plan to scoop the air whenever Styles comes near them.

Asked how she plans to keep the bags safe, Francine said: "Another friend came with clothes pegs so we can seal them extra tight. I plan to hold the bags tightly and protect them with everything I have."

But unlike West's enterprising fan, these die-hard Directioners have no plans to profit from their souvenir.

"I will never sell this. This is priceless," Francine said, adding that it could fetch a price that is "higher than Kanye's, maybe $1 million".


Is this the craziest thing she has done for her idol?

Probably, she said, and she is glad that the bags will be hers to keep as she has no plans to share them with other fans.

"They should have brought their own Ziploc bags," she said with a laugh.

Her group also devised a strategy to secure the best spots once the doors were scheduled to open at 6pm.

One of them, student Siti Hawa Samsudin, 21, had painstakingly watched live videos of One Direction's previous gigs and marked out the spots where the boys would stand at particular songs.

For other early birds, it was a family affair as their parents tagged along for the seven-hour wait.

British horse-riding instructor Karen Bates, 39, took leave from work and woke up early to keep her 12-year-old daughter Chloe company. They arrived at about 4.30am and were among the first in the queue.

The pair had watched One Direction twice in the UK.

"She fainted when we watched them last June because she was so overwhelmed with emotions. Fingers crossed that history won't repeat itself," she said.

Meanwhile, her husband staked out at Changi Airport at 4.30am yesterday to snap a photograph of Styles - Chloe's favourite - arriving at around 9am.

Horan, Payne and Tomlinson followed a few hours later while Malik was reportedly the last one to reach our shores in the afternoon.

Mrs Bates said: "She even has a necklace that says Mrs Styles. She's Harry's wife, didn't you know?

"When her dad called to tell her Harry had landed in Singapore and sent a photo, she screamed and cried."


She also allowed her daughter to take a day off school yesterday.

"We got her a sickie but I see half her class here anyway," she said, laughing.

Kuala Lumpur-based Hong Kong housewife Canjoe Ngo, 50, ran errands for her 14-year-old daughter, Siobhan, and her three friends to make sure they were well-fed and hydrated.

"I'm worried she might faint. I love my daughter and will do anything for her. Besides, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her," said Mrs Ngo.

Her Irish husband, Mr Jeffrey Bannister, 47, took leave from work as he was tasked with chaperoning the girls throughout the event and was reading to pass the time in the queue.

"I'm making sure they stick together. Someone needs to watch over them," said the owner of an IT company.

At about 6.20pm, the doors opened to let the eager fans into the stadium.

In their wake were piles of rubbish, ranging from ponchos, leftover food in plastic bags and empty cups - strewn behind the barricades.

Announcements had been made earlier to remind the queueing fans to pick up after themselves. Some heeded the reminders but for most, the announcements clearly fell onto deaf ears.

After the gig, Francine said her two Ziploc bags were filled.

"It was a fun show, it was worth it," she said. And yes, she wished she had more bags.

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