My Brief Encounter with Kim Dongwan

Before you start reading this, I should warn you that I like to write chronologically to record my memory so you might be bored by some of the non-relevant stuffs. I wasn’t going to write this at first but I figure that I might want to read this back some day and besides maybe other Shinhwa fans might also want to read this. So, please bear with me or you can just scroll down to the end of the page.


While some Myanmar kpop fans have already known about Shinhwa’s Kim Dongwan visit to Myanmar for the Korean Film Festival since last Friday, I only found that out on Wednesday, thanks to ToMMYGiRL.

At first, I wasn’t sure the news was true so I tried to confirm it by browsing Shinhwa fan groups on Facebook. I saw an event made public by local kpop fans to support Dongwan at Thamada Cinema at 6:30 pm on Thursday (yesterday) and I was finally sure that he was coming. When I looked at the list of the attending list, I was surprised to see that over 80 people said they would come to the event. I’ve been a Shinhwa Changjo since 2002 but I have only met very few numbers of people who liked Shinhwa 😦

I posted in Facebook requesting for movie tickets because I thought I might not be able to get them from the Korean Embassy anymore. My sister called the embassy for me and told me that I could get the tickets from Thamada Cinema before the movie starts. Ma Red told me she will accompany me to the see the movie so I was really happy that I didn’t have to go alone.

Later that night, I saw some people posting pictures of Dongwan at the airport. One fan said about 15 people came to greet him. Fifteen is small but it was late at night and I’m glad they still came. I think the last Korean celeb be greeted by fans at the airport was Jung II Woo.

The next day, I found it quite difficult to concentrate at work while I kept thinking about seeing Dongwan for the first time in 11 years. I kept checking my phone every half hour for updates about the event as the internet connection was again too slow at my office. My former classmate from my MA class told me that she had tickets for the 6:30 pm show. That was unexpected but I’m so glad that I have such good friends like her. I made an arrangement to pick up the tickets because I didn’t want to refuse her kind offer even though I knew that I could get the tickets from Thamada.

In the afternoon, some fans posted that Dongwan might not be coming to cinema so I was disappointed. Another girl confirmed that he would only be attending the opening ceremony of the film festival at the Traders Hotel at 6:30 pm. I had to cancel my plan to pick up the tickets and meet with Ma Red at the cinema.

I left work an hour early and arrived at the hotel around 5:20 pm, which was quite early. I went around the block to buy some things and came back to the hotel around 5:50 pm. I regretted that I left because there were already about 20 people lining up along the barriers, holding cameras and mobile phones in their hands. Some of them were wearing orange shirts and some were holding signs written in Korean and English.

Dongwan was staying at the hotel and was already in the room. I think he was being interviewed by local television channels, probably MRTV-4. I caught my first glimpse of him when the door opened and he was standing there in a suit with a bow tie and smiling. Some girls started even started chanting Saranghaeyo Kim Dongwan. I thought he was coming to see us, but he and his bodyguard rushed to the left corner of the hall. Most of the fans were running to take pictures, but they all stopped when they realized that he was going in the direction of the bathroom. I heard a girl shouted ‘moya’ lolz. While the girls were talking about their disappointments, I was laughing inside. The camera was rolling in front of us so I had to calm myself down not to appear like a goofball on the TV.

The fans remained in the hall and allowed him his privacy. When he came out, he went back inside the room and we had to wait for him to come out again. While waiting for him to come out again, I heard some people saying that they didn’t know who Dongwan was so they had to Google him. Ouch! Another girl said she only knew Venus and This Love and other songs didn’t go through her ears. Double ouch!

I didn’t say anything to them because I didn’t know any of them. Most of them seemed to be familiar with each other, going around calling each other by names and unnies, etc while I seem to the only one who didn’t know a single person at the event. I noticed that most of them were in their early twenties and there was a generation gap between me and them.

Later, I realized that they have come to support Dongwan even though they weren’t very familiar with Shinhwa. Still, I got to give them credit for wearing orange shirts and holding along orange balloons. (There were only a few balloons because the guy who brought them had a hard time finding them).

To cut my writings short, Dongwan came out again and passed along the barriers and took a U-turn to the opposite direction to go to the bathroom again. I heard a girl said it was his third time going to the bathroom because she had been waiting since 5:30 pm. Again, I had to calm myself down from laughing out loud.

After he came out, he didn’t go back inside the room but into a reception hall. A staff from the hotel said he was going to have dinner there and won’t be coming out for some time. Darn, that’s why I saw guests and some celebrities going inside the reception hall, including Thet Mon Myint and some of the guests kept looking in our directions because they were wondering what we were doing there.

The girls started chanting Saranghaeyo Kim Dongwan and were immediately told to be quiet by the staff. This was the second time they were told to be quiet. The first time was when he was inside the room and doing the interviews. Well, what do they expect when there’s a Kpop idol in the hotel?

I wasn’t going to wait around for him anymore so I left the hotel with a girl who was going to South Okkalapa. We took a taxi together and talked about Dongwan, who kept calling Ahjusshi, and other kpop matters. She said she was initially waiting for Dongwan at the cinema along with other fans. She complained that it wasn’t fair that there wasn’t any fan meeting or signing event while there were only about 50 fans. She also said a Korean fan was allowed to stand on the other side of the room while the local fans were kept on the other side. I think I also saw her but I assumed that she was from the media. That’s not fair 😦

Overall, I only caught a glimpse of him for only a couple of seconds but I’m still happy as I never thought that I will ever get the chance to see him in Myanmar. I want to give my thanks to respective agencies for inviting him to Myanmar and I wish we could have gotten a chance to talk to him or hear him say a few words to the fans. I also like to thank the fans for showing up even though they were not a huge fan of Shinhwa.
Although I was a little hurt when they said they didn’t know him at first, I can understand them because I also won’t be able to recognize members of the latest popular groups like EXO. It took me several years to recognize members of Super Junior and Girl Generation and I admit that I’m getting tired of some of the kpop bands. (But I like EXO)

Perhaps it’s the generation gap. I didn’t shout nor scream when I saw Dongwan like others did. I didn’t even take any photos of him because I was not good at taking photographs especially in a tight crowd. I am satisfied with just seeing his face.

Who know, maybe other members of Shinwa or the whole group will visit Myanmar one day. I’ll keep my fingers crossed πŸ™‚

I found these pictures online. Photo credit to @myshcj, @foodgyu, and @enyanee.




2 thoughts on “My Brief Encounter with Kim Dongwan

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