Balm on lips, heart in mouth

All it took was lip balm to make her the envy of many Korean drama fans.

Miss Sherri Ng was one of five lucky people invited on stage to interact with Korean heart-throb Lee Min Ho (left) at Causeway Point in Woodlands yesterday.

The crowd erupted into screams when the 27-year-old actor applied lip balm on her mouth as part of a game. Miss Ng, 38, excitedly told The New Paper on Sunday:

"This is the first time someone has applied lip balm on me, and it's the handsome idol Lee Min Ho! "My heart was beating very fast." The procurement executive added: "I think I won't remove the lip balm today. I feel like a princess."

The 30-minute public meet-and-greet session at the shopping mall was part of Osim's 35th Anniversary celebrations. Lee endorses one of the brand's massage chairs. Lee's appearance at the venue attracted more than 5,000 fans who jammed every level of the mall to see him. At times, their deafening cheers even drowned out Lee's voice.

Lee was in a jovial mood, laughing heartily and addressing his fans in Korean and Mandarin, telling them how much he loved them and how happy he was to be back. It seemed the actor was determined to entertain.

At a press conference held earlier at The Westin Singapore, he was friendly and chatty, amusing the local media with his candid answers. He revealed that he spends most of his free time sleeping - up to 12 hours a day if his schedule permits. He claimed there was a side effect though.

"My face looks swollen just after I wake up. "In fact, I feel it looks swollen now as I woke up only a while ago," he said with a straight face, through a translator.

"Maybe press conferences should be held in the evenings so that my face won't be look so swollen."

Lee shot to global fame for his leading role in the 2009 hit TV drama series, Boys Over Flowers, as the rich and arrogant Gu Jun Pyo. Critical acclaim followed with award-winning performances in City Hunter (2011) and The Heirs (2013), earning him the Mandarin nickname Nan Shen (Male God).

When asked if that monicker imposes on him the pressure of expectation, Lee laughed and said: "I like it. I'm happy being labelled that."

At 1.87m-tall and blessed with boyish good looks, Lee has always played suave leading roles. But audiences will see a different side in his upcoming movie Gangnam Blues. Lee said that his rugged look will surprise many,

"If you watch the movie, you will think: 'Is that Lee Min Ho? Why does he look so old?'"

He then touched his face, and said, "To prepare for the role, I didn't apply lotion to my face for six months. "I could feel my skin condition deteriorating, and it was not a pleasant experience. "But now I am done filming, and I am slowly getting back to my usual self."

To relax, Lee listens to loud music. "The music can be so loud that the crew members would walk out of the hotel room," he said. "I have even received complaints from hotels for blasting my music."

Lee said his fans give him validation and motivation.

"Just hearing their screams and making eye contact with them makes me feel better and makes me want to work harder."

Indeed, the charming actor was not stingy with his hugs and handshakes during the fan meet. Making the effort to interact with as many fans as possible, he even stopped to shake hands with those behind the barricades. One fan, Miss Andrina Loo, who had played a game with Lee on stage, described him as genuine towards his fans.

The 35-year-old, who is self-employed, said, "He took the initiative to hug me when we were supposed to burst a balloon together. "He's really very friendly and handsome. I'm so mesmerised.

"And I must say, he has very strong arms."

This article was first published on September 28 2014.
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