SINGAPORE - It was vacation time for them but some 400 Singapore Polytechnic students went back to school on Oct 1 to attend a South Korean-themed career talk at the institution’s auditorium.
Little did many of them know that they would end up filming a show with K-pop idol Gary Kang instead.
The 37-year-old chart-topping rapper, dancer and star of popular television variety series Running Man had chosen the polytechnic to be part of an upcoming South Korean television show School’s Out, which sees him visiting different schools throughout the region.
Besides singing a couple of his songs and playing games with the students in the auditorium, the four-hour filming session also saw him having a meal with them as well as touring a perfume-making laboratory in the school.
Kang was clearly a hit with the audience - every little thing that he did, from taking off his sunglasses to his attempts at speaking Mandarin were greeted with cheers and squeals of delight. Singing his popular hits such as Girl Who Can’t Leave Boy Who Can’t Break Up, Kang had the backing of a guest singer and band made up of students from the school’s Diploma in Music and Audio Technology department.
When he went up close to the audience, many rushed out from their seats to mob and take selfies with him.
First-year electrical and electronic engineering student Kim Claveria, 18, was one of the unsuspecting students who were pleasantly surprised by his appearance.
"My seniors had asked me to come to support a Korean-themed event that was happening here and when he suddenly appeared I was so happy because I’m a really big fan of Running Man.”
In August, K-pop entertainment television channel Channel M invited fans here to join an online contest to write to Kang and persuade him to visit their schools.
One month later, they announced that Kang would make his first two school visits in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Speaking through an interpreter, he said that he chose Singapore Polytechnic because of the “convincing” entries by the students there, who wrote about how much they wanted him to come to Singapore Polytechnic.
He called out six of the students who had sent in the winning entries to join him in the games, as well as to have a meal of local dishes such as chicken rice and cheng tng at the school’s cafeteria.
One of them, Doreen Ting, 18, who is studying for a Diploma in Perfumery and Cosmetic Science, then took him to a laboratory where she created a personalised scent for him. “My heart was beating so fast,” she said of getting up close with the K-pop idol. “I thought about him when making the perfume. It has a woody and spicy scent, suitable for someone masculine like him.”
Fellow contest winner Nur Jamalina Abdul Jamal, 18, said that spending time with Kang was “like a dream”.
“I feel like I don’t want to wake up,” adds the Integrated Events & Project Management student with a laugh.
Kang is also set to do a meet-and-greet session with his fans at Orchard Road mall Wisma Atria on the afternoon of Oct 2.
School’s Out is set to make its debut on channel M (Singtel TV 518 and StarHub TV Channel 874) on Nov 14.