“Do you want to go for JJ Lin’s concert?”
In honesty, I’m not even an avid follower of the Mandarin pop scene and my only acknowledgement of JJ Lin, is that he is some beady eyed Singaporean with good vocals nonetheless, that made it big in the Taiwanese market. So when Niner asked me, I weighed it against throwing peanuts at spastic school children on a Sunday night.
I immediately relayed this to LB, who met it with a lot more enthusiasm after I said the tickets were free. He gave the nod and suggested we each take a date for this. By the following day, Niner had given me the tickets and my Sunday night was booked for a night of serenading and screaming fans.
I was only half right at that.
The first sign.
When LB saw the tickets, he commented on the duration of the concert with stretched from 7pm to 11pm. This was, as I’ve been duly informed, highly unlikely, unless of cos the singer is doing 7 lines of Speed and a full bottle of steroids. Naturally, we threw skepticism out the window and attributed this to perhaps being a medley of other performing artistes, who would be thrown into this foray.
Sounded like a great bargain already. I proceeded to drive 5km/h faster.
The second sign.
When we actually got up to the convention hall, everything that was supposed to be at a concert was, along with everything that wasn’t.
Crowds? Check. Along with what I would expect to be young adoring female fans and probably some male gay ones, were adults. By that I mean mid 50’s, post-parental age, sequins clad evening gown with enough hair spray for the fire department to cordon up the area and classify it as hazardously flammable.
Cheering? Check. Before we even stepped in, the crowd was cheering so loudly with whistles and clappers, I actually thought we won the World Cup.
Posters? Check. There were people carrying cardboard posters of people whom I have never seen before and it wasn’t even JJ Lin. They were middle-aged women in power suits that looked like they were ripped off from some property agent’s name card.
Idiots? Check. The place was flooded with it.
5 mins on and it became perfectly clear that this wasn’t a concert. I had walked right into some company’s awards night and this wasn’t your run of the mill presentation. For one, almost everyone in the crowd were enthusiastic about something which I had no idea about. They were cheering and shouting cheers and what made it worse, was that they were actually genuinely excited. It’s as if everyone had shot up a full bottle of Prozac and did a two rounds of helium, because everything was a high pitched fervor of mindless screaming.
Like what the fuck are they screaming at? Who the fuck are these people on the banners they are carrying? Is this some election for Housewife of the Year?
Apparently, this was some awards presentation for some huge corporation that was raking enough moolahs to have Forbes sit up and award them with some recognition, which started with “Best” and lost me thereafter.
LB started flipping through the handbook which came in a goodie bag tucked under the seats. It was an introductory flip page of the company, it’s profile and multi-million dollar sales personnels.
LB giggled, then prompted brought to my attention a certain page, which had on one column, pictures of the top performers and in the next, directly adjacent to their respective pictures, their names and a brief write up.
These were pictures of women, largely middle aged that looked like your middling neighbourhood housewives who took the afternoon off from cleaning the house, to go down to the mini-mart for milk and maybe gossip about who’s husband got a promotion that came with a mistress.
The first picture was some Tan XXX, with some write-up, which I can summarize as, “housewife did good, husband now cleans the house”. The next was some Lim XXX, with equally good achievements that will keep her off the mini-mart for the next year. And the third was called,
I probably choked twice, but it was well worth it.
If I thought that was the highlight, I was wrong. The awards presentation was absolutely mind blowing. In tandem with this being a multi million dollar establishment, the ceremony was spared no expense, just that the grandeur was accompanied by hilarious (on my part) stage entrances.
You think they’ll just pop out from behind the stage, waltz down to receive their award right? No. They actually appear from UNDER the stage from one of those elevating platforms and they appeared amidst the smoke, waving to the crowd, with prompt music cueing.
This was absolutely hilarious to me. All they needed was a sash, a tiara and I swear this would qualify as a Miss Universe pageant.
The entire event felt like an extended motivational boot camp crossed bred with a charismatic church service. There were lead cheer-leaders, minus the pom-poms, skirts and sports bras, rallying the crowd to a two part reciprocal cheer, which begun with, “Best xxx” and to be responded with “Hip Hip Hooray, Hip Hip Go!”.
To not award them the best cheer of the month award, would have been a gross injustice. They were running around, half breaking out in skips, cheering for their respective directors in such fanaticism, I didn’t know if they were having muscle spasms of just putting Singapore Idol to shame.
As soon as the awards presentation ended, hordes of people actually ran up to hang garlands and present huge bouquets of flowers to the newly promoted directors, to a point where if you put them all together in a row, they looked like the Botanical Gardens.
To cap all this off was a cheer gone wrong. The emcee had prepped the crowd up and told them one of the founders would lead them in a cheer,
Emcee: “Dr XXX, will lead you in the cheer, she will say Best xxx and you will say..?”
Crowd: [In resounding harmonic enthusiam] “Hip hip Hooray! Hip hip Go!”
The moment Dr XXX got on the microphone, she shouted, “Hip hip Hooray! Hip hip Go!”. This entirely caught the emcee off guard and it mildly confused everyone else as to what to respond to it. I responded in the only way humanly possible.
When JJ eventually got up on stage, he wasn’t even half as entertaining to watch anymore.