First girlfriend was a schoolmate

Singer and TV star Gary Kang, who was in town to film an episode of variety show School's Out, talks about his schooldays

Way with words: Gary Kang's friends used to ask him to write love letters to their girlfriends for them.
Way with words: Gary Kang's friends used to ask him to write love letters to their girlfriends for them.PHOTO: LIM YONG TECK FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Since Korean TV star Gary Kang was in Singapore to film an episode of his upcoming school-themed variety show School's Out, memories of his own school days were naturally on his mind.

But school was only an excuse for him to talk about what was probably the most important thing to him then - girls.

His fondest memory of his high school years is of his first girlfriend.

"I had my first girlfriend when I was in high school," says Kang, 37, a singer who became most famous for being a cast member of the popular game show Running Man.

"There was a playground right in front of my girlfriend's house, so we used to hang out there where we kissed," he adds, explaining that it was common for South Korean high school students to have dates at playgrounds.

The relationship did not end well, though. He later found out that she was two-timing him with one of his friends.

"It was really painful," he recalls.

Kang, 37, was speaking through an interpreter at a group interview with local press last Friday.

The day before, he made a surprise visit to Singapore Polytechnic to film an episode of School's Out.

He performed some of his hits to 400 students, played games and dined with several winners of an online contest.

Kang, a rapper and lyricist who entered show business as part of hip-hip duo Leessang, revealed at the interview that he already had a way with words back when he was in school.

His friends used to ask him to write love letters to their girlfriends for them.

"But when my friends' girlfriends found out that the letters were actually written by me, they liked me instead," he says jokingly.

Asked about how he fared academically, he admitted that he hated mathematics and preferred Chinese, a subject in which he said he "always scored over 90 per cent".

"But I've forgotten most of it," he adds.

During his visit to Singapore Polytechnic, he visited the school's perfume laboratory, where 18- year-old student Doreen Ting made a new scent specially for him.

"I really like it," he says of the woody and masculine scent.

While his hip-hop duo Leessang had chart-topping hits, he became way more popular with Running Man.

He admitted that in terms of popularity, his television work has eclipsed his music career, but he says he is fine with that.

"It's not really important how the fans know me, whether it's through the variety show or as a singer. I still appreciate the fact that they know me and support me," he says.

Sometimes, he longs for the days when he could go out in public unnoticed, which is not something he can do now.

"I miss it time to time. After I got more famous, my face is more recognised by people. But now I get to do interviews in Singapore and I get to meet students here, it's a good thing for me and I appreciate it."

School's Out will debut on Channel M (StarHub TV Channel 874, Singtel TV 518) on Nov 14.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2015, with the headline 'First girlfriend was a schoolmate'. Subscribe