Singaporean spends two days with G-Dragon in Seoul
G-Dragon is very generous with skin-ship, something Singaporean Merissa Tee found out first hand.
The final-year art design media student from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was constantly hugged by the K-pop star when she spent two days with him recently in Korea.
The 25-year-old local singer-songwriter was one of five winners from an Airbnb contest to receive a two-night stay in the Big Bang leader’s Dukyang crib in Seoul. They were picked from about 56,000 entries.
G-Dragon even played host to Ms Tee and the other winners from Korea, China, Hong Kong and Japan during what she called their “extraordinary” vacation.
Here’s a detailed account of how Ms Tee lived the dream of many K-pop fans.
Day 1, Sept 21
Ms Merissa Tee (right) with G-Dragon in Seoul. PHOTO: MERISSA TEE
It was 1 am.
As Ms Tee got on the plane at Changi Airport, she couldn’t grasp the fact that someone she admired greatly was waiting for her in Korea.
It was only when Ms Tee arrived at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport at 7am, that reality sank in.
In the car on the way to meet her favourite K-pop star, she chattered with the other winners.
Ms Tee told The New Paper: “I had prepared little gifts for them such as handwritten notes and some of our local sweets.
“Some of them were shocked when they tasted the durian sweets.
“We all got along well so that was great.”
As G-Dragon opened the door to his Airbnb listed home, Ms Tee was delighted to receive a big hug and even helped his guests carry their luggage into the apartment.
Jumping like a kid onto a beanbag, the K-pop star welcomed them into his abode which was a stylish space decorated with his personal items.
In the living room were costumes and shoes from his various music videos while the fridge and pantry were stocked with the singer’s favourite drinks and snacks.
There was also a map which G-Dragon had drawn where he had highlighted some of his favourite places in Korea to hang out.
Said Ms Tee: “It was all so surreal. And he’s a laidback kind of guy who doesn’t fret much about anything.
“In one room, I reached out for a photobook and it fell, so a whole bunch of CDs just crashed to the floor.
“I was so embarrassed but G-Dragon was just so cool with it, he just told me to leave it.”
G-Dragon has a great sense of humour, she said, and joked with them often in fluent English.
He told them to be relaxed and to make themselves at home.
Whenever they took group pictures together, he would always hug them close and say “Let’s get comfortable”.
Finding out that she was staying in the room where G-Dragon used to spend a lot of time in as a trainee and where he wrote many of his hit songs was the icing on the cake for Ms Tee.
She said: “As a song-writer myself, I felt so honoured. I felt so connected to the entire experience.
“The funny thing was that I tried to speak to G-Dragon in Korean and he replied me in English!”
At dinner time, the winners were taken to the famous cafeteria located in G-Dragon’s management company YG’s building.
G-Dragon sat down next to Ms Tee after she queued up to get the assortment of Korean food in her dinner tray, making her day again.
When one of the other winners realised that she didn’t have water, G-Dragon got up quickly and got it for her.
The winners then asked him about his life as one of Korea’s most successful artists, emphasising that he should rest more if his schedule is too hectic.
“Please tell YG that,” G-Dragon quipped, causing everyone to burst out into laughter.
He also revealed that he likes Singapore food such as chili crab.
At the end of the intimate dinner and chat, G-Dragon hugged each of them tightly and bade them goodnight.
Day 2, Sept 22
G-Dragon's Airbnb-listed home. PHOTO: AIRBNB
Ms Tee and the other winners did not get to meet G-Dragon that day.
Instead, they were taken on a tour of all the places that he had highlighted on the map in his home such as Nanji Park at the Han River and the aA Design Museum cafe in Hongdae.
G-Dragon had made sure his presence was felt by previously showering them with gifts.
Ms Tee said that whenever she was hugged by G-Dragon, she’ll be enveloped in his wonderful cologne which she described as an oriental, woody scent.
G-Dragon surprised them when he gave all of them a bottle each of his cologne - Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur.
He also gave them lots of Big Bang merchandise, Big Bang CDs, his favourite toiletries, Polaroid lenses for their cellphone cameras, pens, T-shirts that he had specially designed for his collaboration with Airbnb, designer mugs and books on Seoul.
To thank him for his hospitality, they decided to perform his hit song Who You, for him the next day.
Said Ms Tee: “Three of us are musicians and even though the others were not, everyone was very sporting and agreed to practise for our performance for G-Dragon.
“We did it in the dance studios in YG, that was very cool.
“I had brought my ukulele so I also prepared to sing him a song on my own.”
Day 3, Sept 23
Ms Merissa Tee gives G-Dragon the portrait (right) that she painted of him. PHOTO: MERISSA TEE
G-Dragon arrived at his Dukyang crib and was greeted by presents and performances from his guests.
After hugging them first, he proceeded to soak up each guest’s talent.
Interestingly, he had worn his sunglasses throughout but Ms Tee made sure she made “eye contact” with him.
She said: “I gave him a portrait I painted of him and he asked ‘Is that me?’, after which he mumbled to himself in Korean ‘This looks better than me’.
“All of us yelled ‘No, don’t say that!’.
“When I sang Big Bang’s We Belong Together to him, I stared so hard at him that I was sure that I had ‘pierced’ through his sunglasses.
“He looked surprised, raised his eyebrows and then concentrated hard on my performance.
“When I finished, there was awkward silence. Then he gave a big whoop of appreciation and said ‘You are a good singer’.”
She added that he really liked being physically close to them as he hugged all of them again.
Before he said goodbye to them, G-Dragon autographed Ms Tee’s ukulele and ended up spelling her name wrongly.
Said Ms Tee: “I felt bad telling him but I had to and I asked him if he could sign it again.
“G-Dragon said sorry but stared at my ukulele for a really long time as he had no idea how to rectify ‘Merrisa’ to ‘Merissa’.
“I told him to cancel the orginal and just sign over it and he did.
“On his message to me, he wrote ‘I will support you’. Knowing that he supports my music means the world to me.”
Related report: Singaporean to stay in G-Dragon's second home in Seoul