To post or not to post

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!)

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7 thoughts on “To post or not to post

  1. Dear Ashley,雖然我們從网上看到許多視頻關於厚厚在上海FM的演出,但是碎片的,不完全的。厚厚當日還有許多精彩的表現,不是偷拍的就可以全面見到的。其實不少中粉並不滿足於這些,不少人羨慕日粉有官网為她們錄制DVD。她們也希望擁有一只上海FM的DVD。似乎沒有這個消息。

  2. Dear Ashley, Mentor has arranged for the selling of DVD at the JFM at Yokohama before the show because they know that fans would not videotape the show. But there is no announcement or arrangement of such kind at the Shanghai FM. It tells us that PSH, HF and the organizer do not have such a plan. Thus, fans should not speculate that PSH was angry and disappointed with the fans who did that act.
    I am sure PSH could see fans holding iPad and smartphones filming the show. But I can only see a happy PSH performing on the stage especially near the end of the show.
    If we go to Youku video and type 朴施厚, we can still watch the videos of the CFM. Thus, I agree with HA on posting the the videos of the show to let the international fans to take a glimpse of the show.
    I agree with chuenask that the videos and photos that appeared in the internet are only bits and pieces of the show. Furthermore, the quality of the video is poor in both visual and audio effects.
    I appreciate most Chinese fans who make an effort to attend the FM and did not take videos and photos.
    I do not agree with fans filming the show without permission from the organizer. But I understand the present culture in China. I do hope that they can improve further in the future.

  3. Ashley, good to see you writing again. China is going through a transitional stage, and PSH’s Chinese fans, as you said, are in a learning process. As long as their hearts are in the right place, they’ll do the right thing sooner or later. I appreciate the photos and videos you posted.

  4. Dear Ashley,
    Firstly thanks for your article, written in hospital, that proves once more your tenacity, will-power, courage and also concern for PSH4U. You are an example for many of us, trying to surpass any hardship and remain strong.
    Your article is raising a delicate, but legal issue, that of “the intellectual property”,as it can be understood from both sides: that of the owner, PSH, and that of his Chinese fans.
    At the recent CFM, awaited for such a long time by his fans, this legal right was broken by many Chinese fans by posting photos and videos from the show in progress. For those who couldn’t attend his show, all these photos and videos were like “hot cakes”, enjoying them .
    Although this is an infringement of the law in many countries, my country too, in China being admitted, we can’t blame PSH’s fans who posted photos and videos from his show. May be in the future this law will function properly, and there will be no more illegal postings on Websites.
    On the other hand, from PSH’s point of view, he should be upset having in mind “the intellectual property”, but with China this is an exception for him too. He has so many fans there, he is so supported with such a fervor and warmth by Chinese fans,more than in his county, that it’s for his benefit too.And I’m sure he accepts their enthusiasm, their behavior.
    I do strongly reject and don’t believe the wicked rumors that PSH was against a Chinese New Year greeting to be posted on Weibo, because I don’t see PSH as a mean person. On the contrary , he is a warm, open -hearted person, who respects his Chinese fans, who love him so much. As one of the Chinese participants mentioned in her comment , after PSH’s show at SFM
    “This was a performance that unexpectedly offered too much, that let me see the overflowing love between Sihoo and the fans.”
    Yes, PSH’s immense support from Chinese fans must no be neglected, either in present or the future, and everything they do is a token of their love for PSH.

    Chinese fans, please support PSH as fervently and as faithfully you do, because PSH needs you!

  5. Im one of those International fans who rely only what i saw from the internet. In a show like this, fans are beyond control. Not everyone will follow the rules and regulation for some reason:
    -To have a souvenir
    -To Share other fans
    As long as they do not used the said videos for their own good, then i think its forgiven.

    As for PSH, I think he will not do such kind of behavior getting mad because fans disobeyed the rules. He has lot of fandoms who never see him once and maybe dont really have the chance to meet him,but they work eagerly spreading News and Activities to each and everyOne without asking in return. A single glimpse of him thru this video, i guess is not a mortal sin afterall.

    Chinese fans thanks for your generosity because you share us your wonderful experience during CFM. Dont do it again next time if it is really prohibited, okay? 😉 We will understand. Wish you all well.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us @Ashley. I agree with you that neither any photo nor video of the fan meeting can meet with the live experience. Attending a show, a concert or whatever theater program in person gives a feeling you can only imagine from the outside.

    So I’m grateful to the Chinese fans and Hillary and you for showing us a bit part of PSH’s magic during the fan meeting. It has come from good hearts and I’m sure PSH knows that best of all.

  7. I beg to differ from the majority opinion here. I don’t care about how much I spent to watch PSH live or that the next person got to see him literally live via the internet. I don’t profess to know PSH’s thinking or how he feels, no one knows but him.

    But put yourself in his shoes, and think how you would feel:
    – You put your heart and soul, blood and sweat, hundreds, if not thousands of sleepless hours to create a show from scratch. As you are performing your heart out, many someones are airing this over practically live over the web. Where is your creative license?
    – You may know that the Chinese are the world’s biggest producer of pirated DVDs and you have experienced this previously and you don’t expect that after 4 years, even with the government’s starting to enforce, there will be much improvement. Would you feel great to see every 2nd person in the audience holding cameras, camera phones filming the whole show even when there are signs everywhere, repeated announcements, and security guards going round every 10 mins to stop these, only to see these devices whipped up again seconds later?
    – Family protects family, and with your professed family members blatantly infringing your copyrights, who can you trust?

    I may not know how PSH felt that day, but I certainly felt indignant and angry for him, even up to this day. Whether he has or does not have a recording crew to film the show or not or whether he has plans to distribute DVDs or not, that his his right, and if chose not to do this, it does not give anyone license to infringe on his right!

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