More accurately classified as brain dump than ‘report’. Rambling and image heavy. You have been warned.
Can I possibly write in coherent sentences right now? I’m TRYING really hard to minus (the majority of) fangirling in this post. I say try, not sure if it will be successful.
So last (long-ish) weekend I took a whirlwind trip to Taipei on a whim. I know I’ve done some crazy stuff in my life, it may not be the furthest travelled but looking at other factors such as duration of fan-ness / distance to travel / prior notice period… this is probably ranking quite highly on that scale of crazy.
In early July there was a competition on his FB page announcing this party. Turning 30 this year, I thought it would be a great opportunity to send him a birthday message. Even though I haven’t been a fan of his for that long at all, and of course like a lot of other people only truly took notice because of “In Time with You”. Whilst I never thought Li Da Ren was as ‘perfect’ as he appears, after watching his interviews I was finding Chen Bo Lin the person rather intriguing. I guess I can go on about this, but alas, this is not the purpose of this post so I might save that for later, or never.
Somehow, when they announced the 2nd lot of winners on 7/26, I was on the list. I remember jumping up and down when I saw it! Until it hit me that I never actually contemplated the possibility of winning an invite. A lot of times it seemed easier to just let it go since I was really worried my boss wouldn’t give me the time off work. (month ends are not a good time for accountants!) But I bit the bullet and it was actually not as dramatic as I thought it would be. At the end of day I just didn’t want to let this chance pass by, I know I will regret it if I didn’t go!
The party was held at the Riverside Live House in Ximending, a place where smaller scale live shows are held. It was originally going to be from 2pm to 4pm, but it was extended from 1pm to 4pm instead. (I am so glad they did!) There were no seats, so the earlybirds get the better views. Doors were supposed to open at 12:40pm. Since the place I was staying at was like a 2 minute walk away, I went on a coffee run at around noon and as I walked past the building, I heard a snippet of a band playing “I will not love you”. I think that was the moment which felt real for me plus there were about 10 or so people there already. That was ok, I thought – I’m too caffeine addicted to have a choice anyway. My attempt at locating a Starbucks turned out longer than expected and by the time I got back (like half an hour later?) I went to collect my ticket and they gave me a number – it was 81. Honestly, the weather was so hot and after walking around in the sun I was sweating too much to think. I knew I should’ve brought water! (Coffee dehydrates you remember?!)
Two things I’ve learnt over the years – fangirling is all about PREPARATION and ENDURANCE. Preparation is my weakness I think.
In the beginning, there wasn’t much queuing going on. Everyone was just scattered around the entrance hiding from the sun. Eventually a queue did form based on the numbers we were given and after waiting for a while longer (I didn’t look at my watch but I’m fairly certain we started late, possibly around 1:30pm?) we were finally allowed inside!
Everyone were given a cute gift bag – with an autograph photo inside. He had to sign this many! OMG.
I may not have the best view, but really I came into this feeling like an observer. Having been in another fandom for a few years I’m curious about other fandoms lol. Anyway, I digress… the party began with the host Louis Liu / Xiao Lu (who was on MFBBT for those who know) welcoming everyone and along with his band S.E.C Super Energy Child they played two songs. One was of course “I will not love you” (VIDEO) and the other, I think it’s called ‘Ghost’ (VIDEO) but I probably liked the second song better.
So finally… Mr Chen arrives in a blazer / three-quarter pants / no socks / loafers (?) combo with a suspiciously low cutting white t shirt (?) hiding inside. Although I didn’t actually realise he was wearing three-quarter pants until much much later on because all I could see was like his top half LOL. After some talking, welcoming everyone again and saying hello to fans from different countries it was game time! Bolin introduces his manager to the stage, as “the best looking manager you’ve ever seen” (LOL I tend to agree!) since Li Ge (aka ‘brother’) will be the host for the games segment. (VIDEO)
First game – 3 Questions
First Li Ge, or Bolin selects someone from the audience. How? By simply raising your hand the fastest! Once on stage, the fan has to answer three questions about Bolin, and they get one chance to ask for help from him if they don’t know the answer. If they get the three questions correct the prize is a polaroid with Bolin where he signs it straight away, and a cute Taipei keyring.
The first few questions were relatively easy, (eg. What is the name of the song Bolin sang in “In Time with You”?) but eventually there were definitely some curveballs in there only the long-time / very observant fans will know. (eg. What is the name of the place Bolin first went to in the Sony microfilm ‘Play or not’? or What is the name of the steak Bolin ordered in the movie ‘McDull, the Alumni’?) Yes of course the point was that everyone wins – and they did lol.
After the first few fans selected were from Taiwan, he also picked fans from Mainland China (VIDEO), Korea (VIDEO) and Japan (VIDEO). Then it was fan number 9. (There were 10 in total if I remember correctly.) Suddenly I realised Li Ge picked me, “the one with the glasses!” and from that point onwards, my brain had stopped working. As I walked up that’s when I actually saw the whole ensemble of what he was wearing, but then I didn’t have time to process anything.
When Li Ge asked me where I came from, I think that was the only time I was able to say anything in Mandarin properly. Everything after this point is a blur, but I remember Li Ge then asked why did you decide to come here? And I may have attempted to say I didn’t expect to win an invite etc etc which probably turned out into some nonsensical mix of Cantonese and Mandarin or whatever. (In my mind I was probably thinking OMG I am panicking so much my Mandarin had dissipated. I can barely think and now I’m required to answer three questions SO FUCKED.) You get the drift.
My three questions were:
1. What is the thing that often troubles him during night time?
2. Which TV show / film is this scene from?
3. Which one of these has Bolin not appeared in? (Options were: 關於愛 About Love , 愛到底 Love, 愛得起 Give Love or 愛∞無限 Endless Love)
I may have looked at the first question and said some rude words (internally). The crowd was like… silent. I misunderstood the question to mean – what causes him insomnia at night, and I was thinking WTF I don’t know this! I said doing the laundry?!?!?!? LOL. For which Bolin replied something I don’t remember… then I continued to stare at the screen rather blankly until I realised Bolin was hinting to me (in Cantonese) ‘失眠 / insomnia ah!’. I could barely hear him amongst all the noise so I repeated to him ‘失眠’?!? (Yes, what was I thinking? He should know the answer right?) *mentally screaming*
Credit: Baidu Tieba
Second question – it was this scene below with Ariel and Bolin. Before I could even process it was Ariel and Bolin the crowd was screaming 戀愛恐慌症 Lovesick. Except of course I said something I don’t even remember – it was XX恐慌症. ARGH. WTF. My mind was like – LOVESICK! In moments of panic not just my Mandarin, it seems like all my Chinese language knowledge has left me and all I thought of was Lovesick. >< This is so embarrassing.
Third question – HA. Funnily enough I was the most certain on this answer (愛∞無限 Endless Love). When they asked me, why are you so sure and Bolin said something on the lines of… have you seen these? AND this time the WTF moment was my answer which was something like – I’ve seen Endless Love so I know you weren’t in it. OMG. Verbal diarrhoea. It just fucking came out someone please kill me.
Second game – Rock, Paper, Scissors
Yep, it was a giant rock paper scissors game involving everyone! (Here’s a short video of it) Bolin was playing with his Mickey Mouse glove so everyone could see which was hilarious. If you lose or draw against Bolin you can’t continue. It goes on until there’re three or so people left they will go on stage for the final rounds. The prize has been upped an ante this time, winner will still get a polaroid with Bolin signed, plus a necklace made especially for the party where he will personally put it on you. I think there may have been five necklaces in total??? Or six?
Credit: Baidu Tieba
I was the fourth person who won but got the number 3 necklace because the person before me chose number 4 instead? (I think it was because it was her lucky number or something…) Don’t hate on me >< I guess there was a lot of beginner’s luck there!!! Not to mention (as per the video evidence here) the moment he said “哇, 又系你” (Oh, it’s you again!) I wanted to run away and hide in a corner. So embarrassing… as he was signing the Polaroid he said something like you’re so lucky today and asked for my name so he could write on it as well. ARGH. IZ DEAD.
Special Guest Time
After the games segment a special guest was introduced and it was the Mayor of Taipei Hau Lung Pin! Why does he sound like a Bolin fan? LOL. He explained that after “In Time with You” a lot of people had called asking about the filming locations, finding their own “Li Da Rens” so Bolin became sort of a tourism ambassador for Taipei. The “Fun Taipei” campaign was launched earlier this year to boost the city’s profile, targeting the Korean, Chinese and South East Asian (Malaysia & Singapore) markets.
They exchanged gifts, and Bolin gave him one of the necklaces. 🙂
Cutting the cake
The cake looks spectacular!!! His birthday wishes were – everyone at his company ‘Invincible Plan’ can be healthy, he can keep filming good productions as a way to reward his supporters… and the third wish as per the tradition he keeps for himself…
Giving gifts / photo taking / signing autographs / chatting
The last part of the party was a chance for everyone to go on stage and take a photo with him, give him birthday gifts etc. The ‘etc’ could be asking him to sign something, or just have a short chat with him. It feels kinda awkward going up again but I had something for him so my intention was just give it and go~ Most of what happened is of course a bit of a blur now, (I admire anyone who can remember exact conversations in these kind of situations because my memory just turn into fragments every time…) but after the official photographer took our photo, I just explained what was inside and was ready to leave. I didn’t expect him to actually ask about details of what it was! After I replied I started walking away but he was like… “握手 ah!” (handshake!) Of course afterwards I was thinking WHATTTT we already shaked before when he gave me the gifts!
A group of Korean fans also went to take a photo with him – so cute!
So that was the final part of the day was Bolin thanking everyone for coming, how he would like to have more of these gatherings in the future. That was it! It ended at around 4:30pm?
At the exit there was a board where fans can write their messages to him… and they gave out some of the cake for everyone! (It tasted rather good! It’s not too sweet for me.)
THOUGHTS / MORE BRAIN DUMP
I know in this quasi-report I’m describing such tiny, seemingly insignificant little things, but details are important to me. There’s no obligation on artistes to be nice to fans. I’ve seen some artistes treat their fans (I wouldn’t say ‘badly’ per se) but just… it’s ‘work’ for them. I guess that goes back to one of the reasons why I went. To see what Bolin was like as a person (at least his persona when in front of his fans). A lot of times you read fan reports online but they’re often shaped by lots of other factors. I don’t want to make it sound like it was some sort of big, dramatic decision making process but since I live rather far away, only certain situations would motivate me to do something like this. But I also want to make a point that I’m NOT saying I’m like the biggest fan or whatever, I know others who fly from US/Canada to HK, China and even all the way to Australia to see their favourite artiste. So in comparison, I don’t consider what I do as super special. It’s just a little hobby we have, an activity we enjoy and consider worthwhile. You only live once right?
But I also want to make the point I really resent the term ‘idol’. Not because I’m a particularly religious person, but the word ‘idol’ in my view has a derogatory meaning behind it. It’s like saying if XXX is your idol, that implies a certain degree of ‘blindness’ and ignorance. It means you’re willing to defend whatever your idol does. Even when my mother used this term before I always corrected her because if I like someone’s acting, singing or whatever, I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do. Not to mention there’re certain aspects of their private lives I never want to know about.
I maybe thinking too much tonight but after all my brain dumping, it made me feel calmer about everything. It’s kinda like I’m trying to rationally justify my irrational fangirling. But at the end of the day it’s irrational because it’s dealing with emotions, I can’t explain the science behind why I want to watch someone’s movies / series etc. There’re a lot of actors out there who are good looking AND can act. But that doesn’t mean I want to watch everyone of them. Each has their own magnetism that draws the audience in. I’ve been trying to put into words why Bolin is becoming my favourite actor. It could be I can’t quite reconcile this dichotomy of his more boyish qualities and somehow behind it, there’s a guy who has a lot of his own thoughts and philosophies. Someone for the lack of a better description, jock and nerd at the same time. That is why I want to watch his movies, follow his news etc. This aspect of him is intriguing to me.
Before I drag this post down further with my non-coherent thoughts it goes without saying I had a blast! Sadly I don’t know when I’ll get another chance to see him but I hope it will be soon. Expect him to pop up in this blog a lot more in the future. 😛
The two blurry and shaky videos I embedded in this post are mine, there’re some others here if anyone is interested.
And finally… 😀 Thank you so so much Bolin, everyone at Invincible Plan and all the fans who helped out on the day!