Meet the die-hard fans of Madonna

Meet the die-hard fans of Madonna
Madonna's super fans: Panda Tan (left), Rahman Selamat (top right) and Glenn Nolan (bottom right).
PHOTO: The Straits Times and AFP

He won a Best Dressed award when he dressed up like Madonna in her Nothing Really Matters music video for a Madonna Madness party in 2000 at Zouk.

Since then, he has received offers to impersonate his idol at private functions and events, dancing and lip-syncing in drag and mimicking her signature looks.

Mr Abdul Rahman Selamat, 41, even has his own stage name.

Fellow Madge fans know the customer service officer as Madina, a moniker inspired by the 57-year-old US pop queen.

And she's the first thing Mr Rahman sees when he wakes up each day.

Almost every surface of his bedroom-turned-Madonna shrine is plastered with her face and filled with over $20,000 worth of posters, CDs, tapes, books, merchandise and collector's items.

Giant posters are taped to the ceiling, from which silver and pink disco balls hang.

His favourite magazine covers of Madonna cover his wardrobe doors.

Multiple display cabinets hold his Madonna-related prized possessions.

Mr Rahman even has several life-sized standees of Madonna in a corner of his room.

Of course, he'll be seeing her in the flesh on Sunday, having bought a $688 ticket for her first-ever concert here at the National Stadium, as part of her Rebel Heart world tour.

It will be Mr Rahman's eighth time watching the music diva perform live. He travelled to the US, UK, France and Holland for her past concerts, and he'll also catch her in Sydney next month.

The bachelor, who is the youngest of four children, first became a fan in the mid-1980s and had amassed quite a collection of Madonna memorabilia by 1988.

He frequently trawls US e-commerce site eBay for rare items including his most expensive purchase to date: a Like A Prayer exclusive promo box set that cost him $1,000 five years ago.

His collection grew when he and his parents moved to their current three-room HDB flat in Bedok North in 2000.

BEDROOM WITHOUT A BED

"I told my mother there's always space for Madonna in my room," Mr Rahman told The New Paper.

"I've never felt 'suffocated' by my collection. Looking at my collection gives me a sense of peace, especially when I listen to her music."

He's even willing to sleep on a modest-sized sofa bed to make room for his collection.

"My friends give me grief and ask me what's the point of a bedroom without a bed. But it's something I'm willing to do without," he said.

In the past, Mr Rahman's parents expressed concern about his obsession with Madonna as they did not want him to overspend.

"My mum has since accepted it, especially after I explained to her that it is also an investment," he said.

"Except that I don't think I will ever sell anything from my collection."

I've never felt 'suffocated' by my collection. Looking at my collection gives me a sense of peace, especially when I listen to her music. -Mr Abdul Rahman Selamat

MADONNA COMING TO S'PORE

No ticket is too expensive when it's to watch a Madonna concert, said Mr Tan Boon Tong.

The 35-year-old food service executive splashed out a cool $1,288 for a VIP ticket to her concert this Sunday just to get "quite close to the stage".

He watched her concert for the first time in Bangkok earlier this month and will be flying to Sydney next month to catch her again. He forked out about $600 each for both tickets.

Mr Tan told The New Paper: "Even I think it's crazy to pay that much but I might as well go for the best.

"I'm not too sure what this ticket entails. Overseas, fans who paid top dollar for VIP tickets get a special VIP book, food, drinks and pre-party access among others.

"It'd be unfair to Singapore fans if we don't get the same perks."

Mr Tan has been a fan since 1995, when his secondary school music teacher introduced him to Madonna's 1994 song Take A Bow.

That sparked his interest and spurred him to buy his first magazine which featured her on the cover.

To date, his collection comprises some 2,000 local and international magazine titles, CDs, vinyls and other merchandise which cost him a total of about $56,000.

Since his older brother moved out, Mr Tan stores his collection in the disused bedroom in the four-room Ang Mo Kio flat that he shares with his parents.

"When I was younger, I would spend my lunch time at Tower Records or HMV and pore over CDs that I planned to buy," said Mr Tan.

"Most of my pay from working part-time as a sales assistant at John Little would go towards those CDs."

GLOBAL INTEREST

After he noticed global interest in Asian magazines and CDs, Mr Tan sold some of his magazines online.

He sold a $150 box set containing a Rebel Heart vinyl, poster and other collectibles for nearly $1,400.

His mum has called him "crazy", but to him, Madonna is like his second mother figure.

"Her songs and on-stage speeches contain such inspiring, powerful messages," said Mr Tan.

"She also helps us learn through her mistakes.

"I respect that she is daring enough to speak her mind."

TATTOO

One Madonna fan inked his appreciation for the singer's latest album in the form of permanent body art.

The pop star posted a photo of the fan's tattoo on Instagram, showing a leg emblazoned with her album artwork, her face wrapped in black rope and the words Rebel Heart, captioned: "Monday off to a good start! #rebelheart".

SPRAY PAINT

A 59-year-old firefighter spray-painted signs and hung them outside his New York apartment.

The die-hard fan claimed he and Madonna were fated to be together.

One of the signs read: "M, the Universe brought us together in 1992 and again this year in Prague. Meet me please XXX."

His antics got him in trouble with the police.

WHEN

Sunday, 8pm

WHERE

National Stadium

TICKETS

$108 to $1,288 from Sports Hub Tix (3158-7888 or www.sportshubtix.sg)

ashikinr@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 25, 2016.
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