Thai fan with cerebral palsy had no tickets but flew here anyway
US singer Taylor Swift back in S'pore Thai teen fan with cerebral palsy had no concert tickets but flew to S'pore anyway to try his luck
Earlier this year, Taylor Swift donated US$50,000 (S$71,000) to New York City public schools.
She had pledged last year to donate all the proceeds from her single Welcome To New York to them. The track, off of her new album, had climbed to No. 1 on iTunes.
Over the years, the singer has supported organisations like United Nations children agency Unicef and also donated US$100,000 to the American Red Cross to help victims of a 2008 flood in Iowa.
Little surprise she was crowned the most charitable celebrity last year, the third year she had topped the Celebs Gone Good list of DoSomething.org, an advocacy group.
That is why Swifties like Thai national, Dechawat Phamonsea, 17, who was born with cerebral palsy, would do anything to meet her.
Dechawat, who moves around in a wheelchair, said his positive attitude towards life is thanks his pop idol's inspirational song lyrics.
On Friday, Dechawat arrived in Singapore with his mother from their hometown in Narathiwat, hoping to catch Swift at her first show of the Asian leg of her 1989 world tour yesterday.
But he and his mother, Madam Somsiri Phamonsea, had no tickets to the sold-out show.
They went to Singapore Indoor Stadium as early as 9am yesterday to try their luck.
The pair caught the attention of a member of Swift's team who said he would try to help although chances seemed slim.
But at 1pm, Dechawat's dream came true. He managed to buy two tickets at $250 each. His 49-year-old single mum, who is a nurse, earns about $1,600 a month.
She paid $1,320 for their return flights, accommodation and tickets.
With Dechawat acting as her translator, Madam Somsiri told The New Paper on Sunday in Thai: "He is my only son and I will do anything to make him happy. I don't want to disappoint him."
Minutes before doors opened at 7pm, shecrouched close to her son and was attentive to his needs. She had taken leave from work for this.
Dechawat shared his admiration for Swift: "She makes me think I can fight any of my problems, she makes me strong. She can do everything and I feel like I can, too."
Had he not been able to get a ticket yesterday, he was prepared to return to the Singapore Indoor Stadium tonight. Swift's second show tonight is also sold out.
Dechawat also said he was hoping to be picked by Swift's mother, Andrea, and her team for Loft 89.
That is an exclusive post-show meet-and-greet event where selected fans get up close and personal with the Grammy-winning singer.
To attract the crew's attention, fans have to dance enthusiastically throughout the show, clad in their wildest outfits.
So, it was only natural that many of them went yesterday in elaborate costumes inspired by Swift's music videos, song lyrics and even Swift herself.
There were cheerleaders straight out of her Shake It Off music video, feisty femme fatales from Bad Blood and even safari animals from Wildest Dreams.
Singapore-based Japanese beauty blogger Kiyoko Yasuda, who was inspired by Swift's Shake It Off video, wore a black and red hoodie while carrying a boom box made of cardboard and fairy lights.
She even sewed cats of felt to resemble Swift's own kitty pals, Meredith and Olivia, for herself and her friend.
"This took about a week and I had so much fun. It'd be great if we were picked for Loft 89 and get a chance to meet Taylor in person," said the 25-year-old, who calls Swift an inspiration.
FIRST ASIAN STOP
The pop star performed here last year as part of her Red tour.
Fresh off her US tour, Singapore is the first stop on the Asian leg of her 1989 world tour before she heads to Shanghai.
Many fans flew in from countries such as Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Miss Isabel Ang, whose outfit was inspired by Swift's at last year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, spent over $1,000 for her ticket, flight and accommodation in Singapore.
The Malaysian fan said: "I didn't mind making the trip as I really want to see her. Even if I don't get picked for Loft 89, it is fun to dress up with my friends and enjoy ourselves at the concert."
Fans started to stream into the venue from as early as 8am yesterday.
Hours before the show started at 8pm, some 40 local and Malaysian fans as part of fan clubs Taylor Nation SG and TSwiftMY banded together to work on a postcard project which they hoped to pass along to Swift.
Fans wrote personal messages on postcards addressed to Swift as part of the event named #1989TayDay.
These postcards were later compiled into albums which TSwiftMy head Joseph Bong, 22, handed to Swift's management.
"It is always fun to have Swift fans from anywhere coming together to get to know each other and show our love for her," he said.
No more girl-next-door
She is a global phenomenon but Taylor Swift managed to keep a low profile after she landed in Singapore on Thursday night.
She has maintained radio silence for the most of her visit here - no tweeting of clues as to what she might be up to and no sightings at Chinatown, unlike her visit here in 2011.
Last night, Swift kicked off her 90-minute show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium with Welcome To New York, appearing on stage in a green jacket, black bra top and skirt. And shades, which she tossed to the 9,000 screaming fans.
She then shed her jacket for New Romantics, shimmying her hips and strutting down the stage designed as runway to bring her closer to her fans.
A change from her girl-next-door appearance from her Red tour, Swift was mature, sexy and fiery hot as she sang hit after hit from her No. 1 album 1989 - Blank Space, Bad Blood, This Love and Wildest Dreams.
Her sets are nothing short of spell-binding, giving fans a chance to soak in the New York night skyline with her or sharing her trip to the enchanted woods.
She even busted some fight moves on a wooden scaffolding during Bad Blood.
The LED lights were out in full force during I Know Places, from Swift's tube top and skirt combo to the dancers' umbrellas.
Another surprise element was when the runway stage rose above the fans, from where Swift tinkled the keys of her keyboard for old hit Love Story, which she "wrote on her bedroom floor... about two teenagers who fell in love and couldn't be together".
Swift also took time to speak to her fans.
She offered inspirational advice: "It's important for us to remember, with so many ways that people can criticise us, you're not the opinion of someone who doesn't know you or care about you."
There was no special guest but her famous all-girl squad did make an appearance. On video, that is.
Clips featuring her besties Haim, Selena Gomez, Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge speaking of their friendship with Swift played in between songs.
They declare themselves "the epic squad", who stick around for each other and are painfully honest among themselves.
Her cats Olivia and Meredith also had guest appearances on the clips.
Swift's show was a spectacle from start to finish, closing with a bang with Shake It Off.
She rehearsed for meeting with Swift
She was among the handful of lucky fans who got to meet Taylor Swift yesterday.
Stephanie Halim Chandra, an 18-year-old undergraduate from James Cook University Singapore scored the chance to rub shoulders with her idol backstage before the show.
She told The New Paper on Sunday: "Swift was so tall and friendly, she had her signature red lipstick on and she smelled like flowers."
The Indonesian fan had won the Cornetto Shake It Off Battle finale last week, beating seven other finalists to win the golden opportunity.
Armed with a scrapbook and a collar for Swift's cats Meredith and Olivia, she met the star for all of two minutes.
"I rehearsed so much last night but I got to say only 20 per cent of what I rehearsed. I told her how I won this opportunity and how I have loved her since 2006," she said.
"Her songs have helped me through sleepless night and boy troubles. She's an idol who gets exactly how I'm feeling."