Best known as ‘Sparta’ or ‘Commander’ on popular Korean variety Running Man, Kim Jong Kook displayed a softer side during his first ever Singapore fanmeet at Kallang Theatre on February 22 to a sold out crowd.
The night started off with Today More Than Yesterday, which no doubt revved the crowd up despite it being a ballad. And with that song, the atmosphere for the fanmeet was set to one that was cosy and undeniably heart warming.
A short talk session was conducted shortly after and Kim Jong Kook amazed the crowd with his almost fluent English, hardly needing the help of the translator. This extra effort he took in attempting to speak throughout the fanmeet in English was indeed commendable, indirectly bridging the gap between him and his fans.
The most memorable part of the talk session was when the Emcee taught Kim Jong Kook some Singlish. It was not uncommon for Emcees to introduce a little bit of Singlish but the choice of Singlish this time around was a little different. Instead of the usual ‘la’ and ‘leh’, ‘paiseh’, ‘yandao’, ‘chiobu’ and ‘sotong’ were taught instead. Bouts of laughter rang through Kallang Theatre when Kim Jong Jook commented that he will most probably not use ‘sotong’ in Korea because ‘sottong (소똥)’ means ‘cow dung’ in Korean. He added that he will still attempt to use it in Singapore should the situation calls for it though.
And what’s a fanmeet with a Running Man cast when the signature ‘name tearing’ was not done. The Emcee boldly requested Kim Jong Kook to tear off his name tag and Kim Jong Jook gladly did it after a soft ‘paiseh’. He sure learnt Singlish well.
Moving on to the game segments, those who had attended his fanmeet last week had a slight glimpse of Sparta in action. In contrast to the assertive and competitive persona in Running Man, Kim Jong Kook showed a much softer, gentle and considerate side during his fanmeet.
The first game was the ‘Flamingo Game’ where fans were supposed to get Kim Jong Kook out of the designated box in twenty seconds while hopping on one leg. Though he did lament on how the game was to his disadvantage since it was two against one, he was nice enough to go easy on the fans when the game started and gave hugs to quite a few when the game ended.
Next, it was tug-of-war and though we all know that Kim Jong Kook is known for his prowess and physical strength, this game proved a little taxing for him too. At one point, he even lamented on why he was doing this for and sighed when the emcee passed him a pair of gloves when he realised that he is still human after all. However, despite the games being physically exhausting, he was considerate to notice that his back was facing the audience and requested for a change of sides so that fans could see him in action.
The highlight for the game section was undeniably the moment when Kim Jong Kook was asked to search for his ideal girl amongst the audience. All female fans were asked to stand and should they fit the description on the list being read, they will continue standing. Alas, seven girls were chosen and they needed to impress Kim Jong Kook while showing why they are the best.
The final fan interaction segment that night was a mini singing contest, where three lucky fans were selected to sing a couple of lines from either Men Are All Like That, One Man or Lovable. The contestants tried their best but it was a six year old boy who no doubt stole the hearts of both the audience and Kim Jong Kook.
Kim Jong Kook then continued with his latest single Men Are All Like That, followed by Don’t Be Good To Me and Saying I Love You. With regards to Saying I Love You, which featured Yoon Eun Hye in the music video, he did mention that he do not sing this song often in Korea, but he will just for all that were present that night. And then it was Lovable, where we witnessed the cute and adorable side of Kim Jong Kook. The encore song was One Man and with that, marked the end of his fanmeet.
It was heartening to know that even though Kim Jong Jook is better known as Running Man’s Sparta and Commander, his passion for the stage still lingers on. Not forgetting his amazing voice that no doubt melted the hearts of many, a softer side of Kim Jong Kook we don’t usually get to see. Now let’s just have faith that he keeps his promise and talks to his PD about bringing Running Man to Singapore.