As soon as South Korean pop stars Jung In and Kang Gary took the stage, the audience went wild.
The charismatic performers were flown in to put on a 40-minute free concert at The Padang last Saturday night and they certainly worked the 8,000-strong crowd into high spirits.
Their show capped off a day of events at the NTU Fest 2014, organised by Nanyang Technological University students to promote their school and to raise funds for an endowment fund for Institute of Technical Education students.
The gig was open to students and members of the public for free.
While Jung In, 33, roused listeners with her distinctively soulful, raspy voice, it was rapper Kang, 36, who got the fans jumping and dancing away as he gamely ran up and down the outdoor stage to wave to them.
He is popular across Asia not just for his music but also because he is a cast member of the red-hot variety show Running Man. Jung In is a frequent collaborator with Kang. Both are artistes with Jungle Entertainment, a label known for producing hip-hop and R&B music.
When Kang broke into the catchy hits Rush and You're The Answer To A Guy Like Me - both of which are songs by Leessang, the hip-hop duo that he is a part of alongside rapper Gil - the crowd knew all the words and readily sang along as if it were a mass karaoke session.
Ever the joker, Busan-native Kang also got everyone laughing when he tried to show off the little Singlish that he learnt, mispronouncing "shiok" as two hard syllables "shee" and "ock".
Actually, all he needed to do to send the crowd screaming and cheering at the top of their lungs was say "I love you Singapore" and blow a few air kisses.
Bio-engineering university student Liyana Malek, 22, was among the crowd who went to the event to catch a glimpse of Kang.
Says Liyana, who professes to be a huge fan of Running Man: "I had seen him before at the Running Man fan meet last year, but this was different because he got the chance to sing more songs. He's just as great without his Running Man mates."
Junior college student Daryl Mok, 17, appreciated the opportunity to see Kang and Jung In sing together on several tunes, including their popular duet Your Scent.
He says: "I was actually a fan of Gary's and I learnt about Jung In through him. She has a unique voice and it was really awesome seeing them live."
The NTU Fest 2014 aims to raise money for the ITE Endowment Fund, which goes towards needy students at the Institute Of Technical Education.
Other than the Korean stars, local bands such as The Huckleberry Friends and District XII also took the Padang stage. Nearby, a carnival with more than 50 games, food and merchandise booths was in full swing throughout the day.
Several local celebrities including Chua Enlai - in character as his The Noose persona Pornsak Sukhumvit - as well as TV stars Desmond Tan, Ian Fang and Julie Tan worked their way through the fair grounds to meet fans.
Earlier in the afternoon, a running event known as the 5tylo Mile-O Run had 2,600 runners chugging along a scenic route around Fort Canning Park.
The day-long NTU Fest 2014 was officially launched last Saturday by Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat.
This article was first published on August 18, 2014.
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