Grieving fans flock to K-pop idol's memorial

The mood at Hong Lim Park was sombre as many fans hugged and cried. They waved light sticks and smartphones in the air as they sang in unison to the SHINee song Replay.
The mood at Hong Lim Park was sombre as many fans hugged and cried. They waved light sticks and smartphones in the air as they sang in unison to the SHINee song Replay.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Fans took balloons to the event in Hong Lim Park, while others offered flowers and stuffed toys.
Fans took balloons to the event in Hong Lim Park, while others offered flowers and stuffed toys.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Fans of South Korean pop group SHINee turned up in a sea of black and white at Hong Lim Park last night to pay their respects to the band's lead singer, Kim Jong Hyun, at a memorial service organised for him.

The mood was sombre as many fans were spotted hugging and crying. Some took balloons to the event, others offered flowers and stuffed toys.

Post-it notes were also passed around for fans to write on as they left behind heartfelt farewell messages for their beloved idol.

At one point, the fans waved light sticks and smartphones in the air as they sang in unison to the SHINee song Replay.

A young fan who looked to be in her early teens sobbed and repeatedly said: "I just cannot believe it."

Kim, 27, who is better known by his stage name Jonghyun, was found dead in a rented apartment on Monday evening. According to a note he left behind, he had been "consumed" by depression.

The memorial service here was organised by a group of local SHINee fans led by a Twitter user who goes by the handle @majidarou. When contacted, the Twitter user declined to be interviewed.

Thousands of Singaporean fans of South Korean pop group SHINee lined up in an orderly fashion to get into Hong Lim Park yesterday to pay their respects to the band's lead singer, Kim Jong Hyun, at a memorial service. Many offered flowers, balloons an
In line to pay last respects to K-pop idol: Thousands of Singaporean fans of South Korean pop group SHINee lined up in an orderly fashion to get into Hong Lim Park yesterday to pay their respects to the band's lead singer, Kim Jong Hyun, at a memorial service. Many offered flowers, balloons and message cards for their beloved idol, who was found dead in a rented apartment in Seoul on Monday evening. The memorial service here was organised by a group of local SHINee fans. 

Despite the large crowd at the event, the fans, made up mostly of young teenage girls, were quiet and orderly. They queued up patiently to get into the park despite the thorough identity checks against pre-registration forms.

According to a list of rules posted on @majidarou's Twitter feed, only 1,000 fans could be within the park at any one time, which meant that fans could enter only in batches. Those who could not get in during the first round waited in silence for their turn at the two-hour event.

Student Nur Laila, 16, who showed up at the service with a single white rose in hand, told The Straits Times that she hopes the recent passing of Jonghyun will help to shed some light on depression.

She said: "K-pop idols always look so happy and they put on big smiles for their fans, but many people don't know how much they have to go through to put on the best shows for us.

Her friend, student Siti Umairah, 16, said: "I hope this will stop fans from leaving behind unnecessary hate comments online too."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2017, with the headline 'Grieving fans flock to K-pop idol's memorial'. Print Edition | Subscribe