Friday, November 2, 2012

(Big Bang)빅뱅, Hallyu, and Mass Hysteria in Manila

Last October 22, I had a rather unique experience of witnessing mass hysteria once again after a long period of time, I witnessed the arrival of Korean Pop (K-POP) boy band Big Bang in Manila for their one-night concert, as part of their Alive Galaxy Tour 2012. 

I must confess though that I am not a big fan of K-POP-I mean I only like 3 or 4 songs from it, but I am however not interested in loosing an opportunity to see stars, not just for bragging rights to my friends who missed seeing it, but on a general its fun seeing famous people, regardless if you like them, or even care about them, but once in a while you do get that perfect moment when its actually someone you like.

You might be wondering how a person such as me who by self-proclamation don't like Big Bang that much, and even K-POP generally on that matter, except for a few songs, that much -compared to my friends- end up in a frenzy of die-hard K-POP fans in the arrival area of an airport described by a travel bloggers site 

“Sleeping at Airports” as one of the worst in the planet. The answer lies in the series of events that transpired in one of my 
most favorite places anywhere, the library. 

October 22 was a Monday, which means, I only have two classes that day from 9:40 to 12:50, after my class I went to the library-nothing out of the ordinary yet because I always do this after my class to check if my friends are there or to look for books, and most of the time to read- I saw three of my friends sitting in my favorite place, the couch. 

The three of them have been buzzing about the rumored arrival of one of their favorite K-POP group, Big Bang, as usual these days, people get most of their rumors and follow them via Twitter. 

But this one was not a rumor, this was the rumor, at least for them, after reading the tweet directly from one of the group members of Big Bang, all of us joked that we should head to the airport immediately since the four of us didn't have any class anymore for that day, and was only planning to eat lunch somewhere.

Soon the joke was becoming reality, one of my friend said "since one of our friend is on her way back to our college and is in a cab right now, why don't we use her cab?","the five of us should forcefully jam ourselves in that cab and be in the arrival area of the airport ASAP".

34 minutes later, after the noise we created in that cab, and my friends being nauseous as a result of their over excitement, we'd arrived in the airport. And what we saw and would later learn was that the hundreds of fans that were there already had been there since the morning. We quickly joined them of course, but only temporarily. We soon chose our own spots, so that in the event that Big Bang choose another way, at least one of us saw the convoy. 

After 3 hours of waiting, what we had been waiting for has arrived. I initially thought that it was another false alarm, after all, for the past 3 hours all I got was that, well that and the loud noise the fans were creating.

I must say, being pushed back by the cute Korean suit wearing bodyguard, from the group, was the highlight of that week. The bodyguard wasn't suppose to go out from his van on their way out of the airport, but when you have fans, who are on the road banging (myself included) on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class cars the stars were in, its necessary.

I haven't had lunch yet-its funny I didn't even feel hungry- but after the group was not in the vicinity of the airport anymore, the crowd was slowly dissipating, and when the five of us found ourselves already we rode a cab back to our college, my friends to go home, me to eat a very much delayed lunch.

My take on the day was, I was reminiscing while eating my tempura in the nearby Japanese restaurant from our school, it was fabulous to have witnessed an event closest to the mass hysteria. It was like The Beatles was arriving, but an unfriendly one-for understandable reasons-nevertheless adored by their loyal band of followers.

It's very funny to learn that the current lead-star of K-POP, PSY -famous for his Gangnam Style-which at the moment of me writing this is the 2nd-most viewed video in Youtube history- who is protesting at the music-industry-complex and the lifestyle of the people inhabiting the area of Gangnam in Seoul of South Korea, and Big Bang- one of the most famous Korean boy band in the world- is managed by one label, among many labels that they are under in, YG Entertainment. 

The problem of lack of innovation still plagues the music industry of South Korea- and this has been talked about the media more pronounced nowadays, especially after Gangnam Style, and definitely has been talked about by Korean's who seek something more unique and creative, and less-abusive talent agencies- and puts hallyu -Korean Wave- in danger of loosing its fire. But not everything is lost, and definitely we all should be optimistic after all the American music industry did start this way, being robotic and homogenous and all, and bam!, Post-World-War-II-World (Cold War) begins, and what do we get? I think I need not to enumerate them.


Their ticket for the concert, I took a picture of it while we were in the cab back to our college. The three of them had paid for the most expensive ticket available. In my opinion, with the level of admiration they have for this group-I mean they are just such big fans, it was worth-it and not at all wasteful.

On the day of the concert, October 24, three of my friends were going to watch, after school, me and my friends traveled to the venue of where the concert was going to be held (Mall of Asia Arena) to wish the three of our friends well and basically to see the spectacle. The three of my friends had been in the venue since 6am, to put this in perspective, the concert was at 8pm. And according to them, when they arrived, there were so much people already. The people in line with them, they told me were from everywhere from the planet, like the woman they were seating beside was from London. I found the spirit of camaraderie among them and the friendly atmosphere in the waiting area, where all of the fans were sitting, some with their camps,yes, because some slept there, very cool. Ohh and by the way, that's me, playing with the road sign / pole.


Please, and feel free, leave your comments/suggestions,

Love you all !!!

-Paul Ken-  


  1. Hey! I found ur blog from nowhere and i'm from london. Bigbang just had their concert here few days ago and i'm so happy to read that some VIPs flew from london to manila just to see them! Wow. Oh btw, have u seen them in the airport? I love how unbiased you are in ur blogpost about them

    1. Wow!!! How fab you are!!!I only saw their silhouette behind their expensive (car-serviced) car windows while they were passing through me.

  2. Your friend's ticket is so expensive!!! Wahhh she's so lucky she got to see them up close!

    1. I know!!!! their so lucky!!! Well my friends earned it, their such a fan of this group, and they really put in the time to save money for the fabulous tickets.