I’m in a hospital room but I’m not the one on the sick bed. I’m bleary-eyed from reading, so I’ll try to write about something that has been bothering me for some time.
China Fan Meeting in Shanghai’s Oriental Art Center 2015.02.13
At the recent China Fan Meeting in Shanghai, Chinese fans posted photos and videos of the show in progress. When H and I saw these, we were not really surprised because this was not the first time it happened. We debated for a few minutes and unanimously decided to publish them on our blog.
Now some people took issue with this. This was of course blatant infringement of copyright, no respect for intellectual property. Photo-taking and videotaping are not allowed in any concert or show. Even though announcements were made before the start of the FM, and in spite of the efforts of the security guards to stop them, Chinese fans found a way to flout these rules.
We would not do anything of the sort, of course, and we do not condone such actions. But once these photos and videos were all over the internet (on Chinese sites), why should we deprive our members of the right to see them? Our members are from all over the world and most do not have access to Weibo and the like. They would attend a PSH fan meeting if they could, but most would never have the chance in a lifetime.
We can understand people who forked out a couple of thousand to attend would feel upset that others who didn’t pay a cent got to “watch” the CFM almost LIVE. But surely soaking in the atmosphere on site is something that mere photos and videos cannot compare. And seeing PSH in the flesh is a dream come true, far superior to just seeing pixels on a screen.
Some people said PSH was angry and disappointed with his fans for doing what they did. If he was, I’m really surprised. For one thing, it has happened before — at the 2011 Shanghai Fan Meeting. At that time, the most (and best) photos and videos were posted not by the Chinese but by a Singaporean fan who made a name for herself in the PSH world. For another thing, PSH is not a boy ingénue but a man of the world. He will not be fazed by such behavior from his Chinese fans. He knows the pop culture in China is different from that in Japan, and that no DVD will be issued of the China Fan Meeting.
I do not like people who put words into PSH’s mouth. I especially do not agree with the speculation that PSH did not leave a Chinese New Year greeting on Weibo because he was upset by what the Chinese fans did. If PSH is really so 小器, he is not the PSH that I know and love. How to translate 小器 in English? Small-minded? Intolerant? Vindictive? Unforgiving? Not quite. The two Chinese words literally mean “small vessel”, namely, can’t hold much. The opposite of 小器 is 大量 (big volume, meaning “magnanimous”), so maybe that would give you a better idea. I do not believe he would bear a grudge against his fans. If he did not have a heart big enough to forgive and a mind broad enough to forget, he would not have survived February to May 2013.
I am not defending what the Chinese fans did, but I would not condemn them either. I think the more they know about the ways of the civilized world, the more they will learn. Give them a few more years and I am sure they will respect intellectual property in time. I remember what Giorgio Armani said when he went to Shanghai for the grand opening of his flagship store in 2004. Someone showed him a fake Emporio Armani watch and he said (not his exact words, I’m just recalling from memory): “Hey! This is pretty good! As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The Chinese may buy fakes now, but when they have more money later on, they will go for the genuine articles.” I remember being so impressed by the wisdom of the man (as well as by the elegance of his creations.) At a time when the other brand names were suing left, right, and center for copyright infringement in China, he had the grace to accept the reality of the present and the foresight to see the possibilities in the future. And his prophecy has come true. So many Chinese tourists now go to Paris and Milan to buy French and Italian brand name products that these august houses have to train their staff in Putonghua! (no, not just hiring Chinese staff but actually having their native staff learn Putonghua because that’s the way the big spenders like it.)
Since his comeback in Korea is still very much in the air, still so full of uncertainty, it looks like PSH’s immediate future lies in other parts of Asia, and in particular, China. I just read in a Hong Kong newspaper a few days ago about the emerging Hallyu stars — actors who are expected to dominate the Korean entertainment scene once Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Min Ho, JYJ, etc. enter military service this year (can’t postpone any longer) — none of whom I know, since I have not watched a single Korean drama since CDDA. From their looks (and I am of course biased), I can say none of them can hold a candle to PSH. But they are all at least 10 years younger and time is on their side.
I was not at the CFM but I’ve read and heard a lot about all the imperfections of the event. My favorite comments are from Baidu:
I have seen too many concerts; I know a lot about other stars’ fan meetings; I understand the effects of Japan FM. So I did not have any expectations of the Shanghai Fan Meeting, but the effects on scene surprisingly exceeded my expectations and I was moved and satisfied. Although the opening was delayed, although the process was not smooth, although the interpreter was rather stiff, although the MC was not too familiar with the sequence, although the staff was not too professional, although the organizers’ standards were low, but what did these matter? There were the shouts and screams from PSH fans, there’s Sihoo’s give-it-his-all performance, there’s the MC’s craziness, there were the two encores at the end. For me, I came to support Sihoo. As long as there’s Sihoo, as long as I could hear his voice, as long as I could see his efforts, as long as I could feel his gratitude to his fans, I was already so satisfied I could not ask for more! This was a performance that unexpectedly offered too much, that let me see the overflowing love between Sihoo and his fans.
As long as there are Chinese fans like this, all can be forgiven. The transgressions of the minority should not earn the majority blanket censure and condemnation. I for one am grateful to Chinese fans for always making PSH welcome in China. They may be too effusive sometimes, they may be overbearing, even offensive (without meaning to), they may overstep some boundaries, they may be overwhelmingly passionate, but their love is pure and genuine. And it has stood the test of time (at least for the last two years.) At a time when PSH’s own country people are ostracizing him at worst and ignoring him at best, I am sure he appreciates the warmth and welcomeness (my computer spellcheck tells me there is no such word^^) of his Chinese fans.
Chinese fans, thank you for sharing, but please don’t do it again, OK?
(Credits: CFM photo from Weibo. Thanks!)