Chasing Stars

Was it worth it?

Yes, she said.

As Faith was in the lift heading up to her hotel room, she bumped into band member Choi Jong Hun, who was wearing just a bathrobe, after a swim.

She managed to get a hug and a picture taken with him.

But not all fans are as lucky.

Nabilla Aziz, for example, queued for 13 hours for Korean boy band 2PM's autograph session at IMM Garden Plaza butwas disappointed.

Avid fans: Cindy Yong (centre) with her friends at Super Junior's Super Show 3 held last month.

But do parents think it is worthwhile for their children to spend somuch money, time and effort for just a glimpse?

Mrs Katherine Tan, 46, a housewife, is a parent of one such fan.

Her 15-year-old daughter, Adeline Ho, is always at the airport to welcome her favourite Korean pop idols with gifts in tow.

Mrs Tan said: "I am always worried that she is distracted from her studies when she does these activities for her favourite celebrities.

"But she said that she still finds time to study hard, so I can't stop her."

Another parent of a Korean pop fan is Mrs Charlene Francis, 50, a part-time cashier.

She said: "I always tell my daughter not to go but she will say that this is a once-in-a lifetime chance. I cannot stop her."

FOOD, water and even a toilet break.

These were things K-pop fan Cindy Yong, 20, gave up when Korean boy band SHINee cameto Singapore last March for a showcase.

After the event at IMM Building ended, the Republic Polytechnic student andher friends immediately hopped into a cab and headed to Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where the band was staying.

"I didn't eat or drink the whole day but the thought of being able to see SHINee kept me going," said Cindy.

For fear of missing the chance to catch a glimpse of the group, Cindy even gave toilet breaks a miss.

Yes, fans are dedicated and will go to great lengths just for that one photograph, autograph, hug or even a mere glimpse, of their idols.

Student Pamela Han,16, borrowed money from her cousin to pay for the $188 ticket to a fan meeting with Boys Over Flowers star Lee Min Ho.

Ask fans like her why they go to such great lengths, and they gush with girlish excitement.

For most, it's the thrill of being near their idols.

"There is an adrenaline rush," admitted student Lydia Wong, 20.

Added undergraduate Maryam Mokhtar, 21: "It is the kick of seeing someone whom you idolise close to you. Even in concerts, they are on a stage. But seeing them up close is a different thing altogether."

It seems that forsomeof these fans, chasing celebrities is an escape from daily life.

But do they think there is a limit to how far they should go?

A fan who requested to be known only as Vanessa said: "I think fans should be allowed to chase their idols as long as they don't compromise anyone's safety."

But the question is: Do their parents mind their obsession?

Said Ms Sara-Jean Yip, 22: "My parents chide mefor neglecting 'real life' sometimes, but they accept that it is just a phase I will eventually grow out of."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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