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Date [ 2013-11-04, 09:03 ]
Korean entertainers run in for up-close encounters with fans.

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) by Benjamin Kim  = The Running Man team came to Singapore for a two-pronged programme – a press conference and a Meet-the-Fans session.

The first,  a media conference for 'Watsons RACE START! was held at W Singapore on October 18, 2013. This leg of the Running Man Fan Meeting Asia Tour featured just five of the seven hosts. These were Ha Donghoon, better known by his stage name Haha, Kim Jongkook, JeeSeokjin, Kang Gary and Song Jihyo. 

As the sole female cast member in Running Man, "Ace" Jihyo mentioned, "It definitely is different being the only female member in the cast but I don't think they treat me as just a female. It's just that I'm a part of the Running Man family." 

Jongkook jokingly added, "She's not a woman. Sometimes she is stronger than all of us." The other members agreed, indicating that Jihyo was truly a formidable force  to reckon with. In spite of being a lady, she was actually the ‘ace’ in the Running Man team.

Moving on to Running Man's "Sparta", Kim Jongkook, he had this to say -   "It's really hard, but I also really happy to be in Running Man.”  Gary’s reply on the other hand was,” I'm honored to work with and meet so many awesome people on the show, so I have a lot of fun and I get a lot of good energy from all of them." 

In a recent Running Man episode, Gary stumped everyone as he planted a kiss on Jihyo's cheek. "It's very simple. I think at that particular moment I was a little crazy", explained Gary. Known affectionately by fans as the "Monday Couple",  Jihyo too was ribbed on how she felt about the kiss. It took a moment before the answer came as "I guess it was good...", much to Gary's delight. 

This caused the other cast members to burst into a series of shouts that resonated with the words  "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" Getting into the mood, Gary himself  stood up to applaud together with the rest of his cast members. It certainly livened up the media conference.

Lately, the ripping of name tags has ceased on the show. Gary explained that, "Recently we have been trying a lot of new things on our show and we thus hope to take our name tag ripping game to a higher level of fun and laughter.”    

Haha revealed, "We meet up with our production team quite often to discuss what kind of new ideas we can bring to the show.  We're definitely looking into new ideas and you guys can expect more exciting stuff in the future." 

Seokjin then expressed his hope of filming an episode of Running Man in the country., "I noticed the Singapore Flyer. I hope one day we will get to film Running Man here with it as a backdrop."  

Next day’s fan meeting at the Singapore Expo Hall was a runway success what with over 3,000 fans in attendance.

This meeting took off on an usual note - a video montage of the cast being depicted as the handsome stars of 'Boys Over Flowers' was shown. After which the Running Man cast appeared. singing to T-Max's "Almost Paradise." That threw the fans into stitches. Who would not when you have Haha dressed up as GuJunpyo, complete with fur around his neck.  Jihyo was definitely GeumJandi. The meeting proper began after this spoof on ‘Boys Over Flowers.’

The show’s host congratulated Seokjin on his first solo win in one of the recent episodes. Seokjin then replied with a "Thank you very much! It was my first win in three years."True to himself, Seokjin then treated his fans to a comical dance of his with the crowd going  "Cha chachachacha! Cha chachachacha!”  This was followed with shouts of ‘You're still alive, JeeSeokjin!" in Korean.

When the host next touched on the somewhat continuous wins of Jongkook on the show, he graciously replied,  "I don't want to always win. I want to let them win. I am a generous person." But the fans’ banter with Jongkook clearly indicated that they did not believe him.

The Singapore event was the first leg of the Running Man Fan Meeting Asia Tour 2013. Another bit of news that emerged was that this was Jihyo’s first appearance on the show. Fans expected sparks to fly between Jihyo and Gary who did not disappoint the fans. During the 'gesture game,' a sort of  charade relay with selected lucky fans, Gary,  instead of following the actions of the person before him, made a sign of the heart to Jihyo. Is romance in the air?

It was real fun watching the Running Man cast and the fans play a series of games on stage. One game that was taken from a Running Man episode was 'Goal In.’ Cast members paired up with a fan and had to kick a slipper into a box with their names. There were penalty boxes forcing couples to do silly things but in the end, no one could kick the slipper into those boxes. Well, you cannot win every day!

For the third game, selected fans had to dance to Psy's "Gangnam Style" and impress the Running Man cast. Gary and Seokjin were called out to demonstrate the dance for the fans on stage. However, Gary made Jongkook and Haha do the dance as well, and to get back at Gary, the two danced up to Jihyo. Gary got jealous and confronted Jihyo by saying "sabo", a term used by Singaporeans to mean sabotage, but she quickly comforted him by saying "I love you". With that, Gary and Jihyo were then made to do a duet dance.

Other games that followed were "shake off post-its", with the last being the tug-of-war.  Pitted against the Running Man team, it took nine fans to beat the stars. The fans that participated took home bagful of goodies.

Next, a live singing performance by all the Running Man cast. Seokjin sang his rendition of the English song, "I Swear" and ended his performance with a corny speech. Gary, who is part of Leessang, rapped to the hip-hop duo's hits "You're The Answer To A Guy Like Me" and "Can't Breakup Girl, Can't Leave Boy" before Jihyo joined him on stage for "Turned Off the TV". The "Monday Couple" gave the hip-hop song a different vibe and it was a pleasure to watch the two share the same stage.

Tough-guy Haha performed a remix of "Story of A Little Kid", "You are My Fate" and "Rosa" along with "BusanVacance" and got the crowd to stand and jump along with him. As the last two solo acts, Jongkook serenaded with "One Man" and "Today More Than Yesterday" with his 'mosquito voice' as christened by fellow Running Man cast, YooJaesuk) 

For the finale, the whole cast got the audience wild and fans jumping crazily. But soon it was time for the 2 1/2 hour show to come to end. But not before an encore and Jongkook promising “With Kwangsoo and Jaesuk, we'll be back."


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