She learnt Korean for Ji Chang Wook
When Singaporean Patricia Sam spoke to her idol, South Korean actor Ji Chang Wook, some among the 2,500-strong crowd at Suntec City West Atrium gasped in surprise and admiration.
Yesterday evening, Ms Sam, a civil servant in her late 20s, was one of five lucky winners who had won an opportunity to meet Ji on stage, take photos and say a few words to him.
The chiselled-faced heartthrob was holding his first ever public, free meet-and-greet session in Singapore as part of his brand ambassadorship for body care brand Shokubutsu.
In fluent Korean, without missing a beat, Ms Sam told Ji, 28: "I'm very happy to meet you. You are very handsome. Can you give me a hug?"
Ji, best known for his role as Ta Hwan, a Mongolian emperor in historical epic TV drama Empress Ki, obliged with a radiant smile.
Deafening shrieks and screams thundered across the mall.
After receiving her hug, Ms Sam told The New Paper that she had been learning the Korean language for two years.
"I learnt it because of my love for Ji Chang Wook," she gushed.
"Those lines that I said to him on stage, I practised them every night before going to bed."
A fan of Ji since 2008, she has travelled "a few times" to South Korea to catch him in his musical stage productions.
"He has mesmerising eyes and he treats fans really well," she said. "Earlier, when I hugged him, I could feel that he has been working out, he has muscles."
Another lucky draw winner, 17-year-old Singaporean junior college student Steffie Toh, said in English to Ji on stage: "I want to marry you!"
Still visibly excited from the whole experience, Steffie told TNP: "Getting to meet and talk to him is just so overwhelming, I feel like I'm still in a dream. My life is complete now."
Another teenage fan, unfortunately, failed to see Ji in the flesh. She fainted while waiting for Ji to arrive and had to be taken to hospital.
TNP spotted her lying on the floor, her mum crouching beside her in tears.
The girl was then placed in a wheelchair and taken to the mall's loading bay area, where an ambulance had been called.
When asked if her daughter had been waiting at Suntec City since morning, her mum said in Mandarin: "Nothing, nothing."
Singapore Civil Defence Force said it was alerted to an incident requiring an ambulance at the west wing of Suntec City Level 1 around 5pm yesterday.
A teenage girl was taken to KK Hospital in a stable condition.
Underwater kiss not as embarrassing as expected
ROYAL: Korean actor Ji Chang Wook plays Mongolian emperor Ta Hwan in the historical TV drama Empress Ki. PHOTO: MEDIACORP
Ahead of his public meet-and-greet session at Suntec City yesterday afternoon, Ji Chang Wook fielded questions from local media at a press conference and roundtable interview.
The candid star shared his thoughts on his career-defining role as Mongolian emperor Ta Hwan in historical TV drama Empress Ki (airing on Channel U on weekends at 9pm), filming a potentially embarrassing shower scene and kissing two of Korea's hottest actresses.
Ta Hwan goes through a dramatic transformation. He started out as a hapless, cheeky young prince and towards the end of the series, he turns vicious, jealous and violent. Was it tough handling those emotions?
It was not an easy role to play... it was extremely challenging.
I believe it's the kind of role every actor would love to take on. I had to push myself very hard to depict a wide spectrum of emotions, from vulnerability to volatility.
Off set, I had several chats with our director to make sure that my emotions were measured to just the right amount.
You had a memorable scene in which you pretended to take a shower, when in fact you were hiding co-star Ha Ji Won's character in the bathtub from her captors. Was that hard - and embarrassing - to shoot?
That particular scene was followed by an underwater kiss (with Ha). To my surprise, both weren't as embarrassing as I had expected. (Laughs)
It was my first time doing such scenes and it was something new and exciting.
You had kissing scenes with two of Korea's hottest actresses, Ha in Empress Ki and Park Min Young in modern romance thriller Healer. Who is the better kisser?
I really can't compare, as these two TV dramas are so different. The scenario and ambience where we had to kiss were different too. However, I enjoyed acting with both women, they are amazing actresses. I had a lot of fun.
What are the ideal traits you look for in a girlfriend? Are you the kind of guy who will pamper his partner?
If you're talking about physical traits, there's nothing specific I look for in a girl. What's more important to me is if I can connect with her, if we can have a good conversation together and if we share great vibes together.
If we can connect, I think she's beautiful in every sense of the word.
If I have a girlfriend, yes, I will pamper her with sweet, warm words.
Do you have, to date, a favourite role?
That's a very difficult question to answer and I think it will always be the case. Whenever I watch (my) old shows, I always feel that I could have done some parts of my characters better.
I had to push myself very hard to depict a wide spectrum of emotions, from vulnerability to volatility.
- Korean actor Ji Chang Wook on portraying Mongolian emperor Ta Hwan