Fanfare over G-Dragon

SINGAPORE - At least two fans among 20 who paid $1,000 to meet and greet their idol G-Dragon last Saturday felt let down.

But about 510 other fans of the huge K-pop star, each of whom had paid $120 each for his five-song performance, came away happier.

G-Dragon, leader of South Korean quintet BigBang, performed at a private showcase during Fashion Week at Marina Bay Sands.

Among those who shelled out $1,000 each were sisters, housewife Sally Siow, in her 30s, and boutique owner Doreen Siow, in her 20s. They had driven two hours from Johor Baru to meet their 25-year-old idol.

Ms Sally Siow, a mother of two, says: "Singapore is nearby, so I drove over. I wouldn't have paid for the airfare if it were in Indonesia or Thailand."

But she adds: "There was meet but no greet. We couldn't take our own photos. There was no handshake and no autograph."

All she and other VIP ticket-holders got was a fleeting photo shoot with G-Dragon in a room backstage before he performed, she says.

Security was tight. Organiser Fide Fashion Weeks confirms that many of the other VIP fans had flown in from Hong Kong, Thailand and China.

On Ms Siow's comments, it says it had planned the meet-and-greet session "with the best intentions" but that it was "not able to pre-determine the artist's preferences on-site".

G-Dragon had asked for a professional photographer to be on hand to "ensure quality" shots, it says. All proceeds from the sale of the VIP tickets, plus a top-up from a private foundation, will go to charity, it adds.

Ms Siow says she was unaware of the charity element and that organisers should be "upfront" with all details in future.

But for the $120 ticket-holders, G-Dragon's showcase, which began at about 6pm after a 90-minute wait, was heaven. Hits he sang included One Of A Kind, MichiGO and Fantastic Baby.

Polytechnic student Chew Jia Xin, 18, who has attended three other G-Dragon and BigBang concerts in the past year, says the "whole atmosphere was awesome".

She adds: "He came down from the stage while singing Crayon and I managed to reach out to him and touch his hand."

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