When it comes to the beginning of the month, we always pray, “[insert name of the month, please treat us well.]“. The result? We end up being either incredibly satisfied or incredibly miserable from what we’ve done in that particular month. Fortunately, November kicked off on a rather good note as 5 out of 7 cast members of South Korean variety show, “Running Man” were recently in town for “Hotlink Race Start Season 2 in Malaysia”!
“Hotlink Race Start Season 2 in Malaysia” is an exclusive fan meeting with the Running Man cast members, organised by our friends from ONE HD! We first made the event announcement on July 16, 2014, where only 4 out of 7 cast members will be meeting their Malaysian fans during the fan meeting. However, just a few days before the fan meeting, ONE HD announced that another cast member, Lee Kwang-soo aka “Girin” will be joining in as well!
And boy, oh boy! Did we mention how glad we were to have him over for the fan meeting? Sure, the press conference which was held earlier in the day will be filled with endless laughter if another 2 cast members, Yoo Jae-suk and Kang Gary could join the fan meeting as well!
Our day with the Running Man cast members started off with the media press conference that was held at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in the morning. Despite a slight delay, the cast was quickly greeted with a warm welcome from the members of the media. The cast earlier received a warm welcome from fans when they arrived at the Malaysian airport on the Halloween night.
As this is Ji-hyo’s and Suk-jin’s first visit to Malaysia, Ji-hyo said her first impression on Malaysia is that it is a beautiful country and she wished she had more time to visit. Suk-jin expressed that the first thing he saw was the swimming pool in the hotel but he didn’t have the chance to swim because he hates water. Jong-kook answered in fluent English and said that Malaysia feels like home to him because he came here often to meet his Malaysian fans.
Throughout the press conference, all the members showed their humble and down-to-earth side as they patiently answer the questions from the selected media. In fact, both HaHa (Ha Dong-hoon) and Lee Kwang-soo were being extremely playful by trying to irritate Jong-kook with “Me too!” while he was fielding the questions in perfect English. Both of them threw various unexpected heart signs to the media as well, which resulted in photographers triggering the shutter buttons.
When asked about how they stay committed to the show, Jong-kook also cheekily answered, “Because there’s gold.” As for Ji-hyo, she expressed that it was tough to be the only female cast member but the members always took good care of her. In fact, she proved her dominance countless time that earned her the “Ace” status in the show.
Right after the press conference, the Running Man cast rushed to a public fan meeting held in Paradigm Mall and saw over 4,000 Malaysian fans gathered for the autograph session. Coming from all across Malaysia, some fans arrived at the mall as early as 6am to queue up and get a good look of their favourite Running Man members during the autograph session! However, the autograph session was exclusively held for only the VIP ticket holders and winners of sponsors’ contests.
Some fans were lucky enough to get selfies with as well as hugs from the cast members. HaHa and Kwang-soo couldn’t withhold their gag instincts as they continuously display their comedic sides to the fans. Suk-jin even updated his Weibo by posting 2 pictures he took with Kwang-soo and HaHa during the autograph session in Malaysia!
The cast members continued to infect us with fun and laughter later at night, kicked off the “Hotlink Race Start Season 2 in Malaysia”, attended by over 2,500 fans at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur. Borrowing the concept from the popular South Korean TV series “My Love from the Star“, the cast members charmed the fans with the performance of the drama OST, “You’re My Destiny“. It was, of course, a parody, as HaHa sang rather dramatically for the performance.
After the performance, the members adapted to the local culture by greeting fans and introducing themselves in Bahasa Malaysia. The emcee of the fan meeting also did a quick Q&A session with the members, where we saw Kwang-soo doing “aegyo” to Ji-hyo and showing off his sexy model pose to the fans.
The real deal finally arrived as the members later changed their outfits and went back on stage for the game session with 23 lucky Malaysian fans. From a game of chain charades to a butt-pushing game to “Pepero” game, there were 5 entertaining and interactive games in total for their game session. Armed with their variety of skills and entertainer abilities, the members were able to make the crowd burst out laughing at their dramatic actions!
Fans screamed in jealousy whenever the members hugged their fans, especially the part where Kwang-soo had to hug his team member to pop the balloons between them. In fact, some hilarity ensued when Kwang-soo was chosen for the “Pepero” game with fellow member, Kim Jong-kook! What exactly happened? Let’s just say HaHa is the culprit behind their kissing incident as he pushed Kwang-soo’s head from behind! :D
After a break, the cast members returned on stage to deliver their solo performances. Suk-jin was the first to come on stage to perform one of his favourite songs, “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. His performance was later followed by an unexpectedly charming performance from Kwang-soo. Fans were surprised by his spontaneous action as he went down from the stage to shake hands and send flowers to the enthusiastic fans.
Jong-kook later performed some of his songs from his album and made fans swoon with his cover version of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning”. Haha effectively brought the house down with his high-energy performance as well. However, the highlight of the evening definitely went to the parody performances of Gary “Turned Off the TV” by Ji-hyo and “Trouble Maker” by Kwang-soo and Suk-jin aka the “Easy Brothers”. Ji-hyo’s performance even had the crowd shouting for “Monday Couple”, referring to her on-screen relationship with fellow cast member, Gary.
The two-hour long fan meet extravaganza closed on a high note with 2 encore performances by all the cast members. Regarding the successful fan meeting, Virginia Lim, the Vice President of Asian Content at Sony Pictures Television said:
This is ONE HD’s first and successful ticketed event in Malaysia. We are glad that through the channel, fans and viewers are able to interact with their favourite South Korean television stars in close proximity. We are definitely looking forward to bringing more top-notch entertainment content to our audiences in Malaysia on screen and beyond.
The massive success and fantastic reception of the event reflected the popularity of the series. Running Man is the No.1 rated show in its timeslot across all pay-TV channels in Malaysia among pay-TV audiences 4+ in the year to date. In Malaysia, the ratings are higher than all the other channels, including the free-to-air channels.
“Hotlink Race Start Season 2 in Malaysia Running Man Fan Meeting” may be over but the race with Running Man continues on ONE HD with new episodes premiering every Friday at 11.45pm.
For the latest information on the Running Man show, stay tuned to ONE HD on Astro Ch 393; log on to the ONE website or follow the ONE Facebook page and Twitter account. More photos can be found on our Facebook album too.