Grieving fans throng Hong Lim Park to mourn K-pop star Jonghyun
More than 1,000 turn up to honour Jonghyun, who died on Monday
In an unprecedented outpouring of grief for a pop star, more than 1,000 fans descended on Hong Lim Park yesterday evening to attend a memorial for Jonghyun, the lead singer of K-pop boy band Shinee, who died on Monday.
Organised by a team of fans here, the event was announced on Twitter on Tuesday and widely shared on social media.
Half an hour before the start at 7.30pm, sombre-faced attendees in black and white - mostly teen girls - had already formed a long line to pay respects to the 27-year-old whose death has been ruled a suicide.
Jonghyun, whose full name is Kim Jong Hyun, struggled with depression, according to a note he left behind.
He was discovered unconscious in an apartment in Gangnam district, at around 6.10pm (5.10pm, Singapore time) on Monday, after he sent his sister text messages alluding to a "final farewell".
His sister then called emergency and ambulance services, saying she thought he might be attempting suicide. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Shinee, which debuted in 2008, had performed at a concert in Singapore last month. The band's hit songs include Ring Ding Dong and Juliette.
Jonghyun released his first solo album in 2015.
Fans told The New Paper that they had not seen a memorial on such a scale here before.
Samaritans Of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
Singapore Association For Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Institute Of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
Shan You Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 6741-0078
Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928
Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788
To attend, they had to fill up a lengthy registration form online or on-site.
The form required them to fill in their IC number, indicate the objects they were taking to the event and to agree to several conditions, including behaving respectfully and to call helplines instead of attending the event if they were thinking of harming themselves.
Participants above the age of 16 had to give consent to the collection of their personal information and those younger had to declare that a guardian had acknowledged the collection of personal information. The registration form was closed temporarily at 3pm yesterday "due to overwhelming response".
Despite the large turnout at Hong Lim Park, organisers kept everything orderly.
They cordoned off much of the park and allowed fans to enter in a controlled manner, conducted bag checks and ensured participants were registered.
They declined to comment for this report but were overheard telling attendees that they were expecting more than 1,000 people to show up.
Upon entering the park, fans, many holding roses and light sticks, were directed to a makeshift shrine with photographs of the star. Many left Post-it notes, messages and flowers before sitting in groups on the grass quietly. Some sang songs and others were openly sobbing.
A student who wanted to be known only as Eluuka, 22, said she felt Jonghyun deserved a proper memorial beyond Internet tributes.
"I never thought that a favourite celebrity of mine would die when I am still so young," she said, adding that she wished mental health was taken more seriously in the region.
Singapore Polytechnic student Kay Lim, 18, had encouraged fans to share their feelings with her on Twitter. She said 10 fans reached out to her.
"Most just needed a listening ear. They expressed how they felt empty and helpless after Jonghyun's passing," she said.
Since Jonghyun's death, memorials have been held all over the world, including cities in the US and Chile. Fans in Sydney and Melbourne are planning memorials later this week.
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