SHINee Jonghyun's Passing Sparks Conversation On Mental Health

19 Dec 2017 by Johanna Teo

Kim Jonghyun, SHINee’s lead vocalist has passed away. According to the police, Jonghyun was found unconscious in a residential hotel in Seoul on Monday afternoon and rushed to the hospital. He had inhaled carbon monoxide from burning coal briquettes in a pan. His sister had alerted the authorities after Jonghyun sent her a series of suicidal texts saying, “It’s been hard”, “Let me go. Tell me I’ve worked hard. This is my farewell.” His death was made official on Monday evening. He was only 27.

Jonghyun’s sudden passing came as a shock to the entire K-pop world. There seemed to be little to no warning signs of his suicidal tendencies, but the heartbreaking truth is, Jonghyun had long shown signs of depression. In the short time since news of his death broke, many revelations have come to light. Shawols and media outlets recalled the times where Jonghyun spoke openly of his personal struggles, be it in interviews embedding it in his song lyrics – he often spoke of sadness and his depression back when he was a radio show DJ on Blue Night.


A post shared by @jonghyun.948 on

Even his last Instagram post, which was a screen grab of Dear Cloud’s ‘Beside You’, bore poignant lyrics that hinted of his heavy mind. Jonghyun captioned it, “I pray you aren’t hurting”. Posted on 20 November, his upload didn’t seem out of the ordinary in a year filled with constant publicity.

Apart from his two solo concerts in early December, Jonghyun was also working hard for his comeback. The singer had even filmed an MV and participated in album jacket filming three days prior to his death. “His new song had a bright vibe. He seemed the same as usual on the MV set. I couldn’t feel at all that he was struggling all this time.” For those who watched the teaser of JTBC’s Night Goblin where Jonghyun makes what’s possibly his last TV appearance, his cheerful façade belies his inner turmoil. The short clip of the upcoming Sunday episode has since been taken off JTBC’s YouTube channel.

Especially in Korea, where mental health topics are still regarded as taboo, Jonghyun’s acknowledgement and continuous outspokenness on his depression was not only a brave gesture, but one that had helped many fans through their own dark times.

The release of Jonghyun’s farewell letter, which he had entrusted to Dear Cloud’s Nine9, is a heartbreaking read. And along with its release onto social media came even stronger waves of support advocating for mental health awareness. Perhaps the most painful realisation is that you truly never know who may be suffering. As one of K-pop’s brightest stars, Jonghyun always kept smiling. As a result of his playful personality, he was given quirky, affectionate nicknames by fans – he lived up to each one. Jonghyun never seemed to stop shining.

*Warning, the contents of this letter may be triggering* 

Offstage, nobody knew the extent of his dark thoughts. According to reports by Dispatch, Jonghyun often struggled when it came to music – his personal expectations troubled him greatly and he spoke about “getting bumped down as he gets older”. With the cutthroat culture of the entertainment industry, it is often forgotten that K-pop idols aren’t hit-churning machines. Just like their fans, they are human too.

You will never stop shining. Rest in peace, Jonghyun.

If you are thinking about suicide or know someone with suicidal thoughts, please call Samaritans of Singapore at 1800-221 4444 (24-hour hotline), or email them at [email protected].

Featured image: SM Entertainment

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Hailing all Fall Out Boy fans – the rock band returns to Singapore on 30 April 2018 as part of their M A N I A tour! Who’s up for it?

Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated, and one of rock music’s biggest-selling bands, Fall Out Boy is coming back to Singapore for their world tour after releasing their new single “Champion” and “The Last Of The Real Ones” off of their forthcoming album, M A  N  I  A, due on Jan. 19. Known for their many epic hits like ‘Centuries’, ‘Uma Tharman’, ‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down’, This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’ and of course, ‘Thnks fr th Mmrs’ (the list is endless), the band remains a staple in playlists around the globe. 

Fall Out Boy (SG)

Brought to you by LAMC Productions, fans are in for a special treat as the band will perform songs from their highly anticipated latest album, Mania, including their lead single, ‘Young And Menace’ and all highly-anticipated hits from their impressive career.

Fall Out Boy 2018 Mania Tour in Singapore

Date: 30 April 2018 (Monday)
Venue: Zepp @ Big Box
Standard: $148 
Group package: $138 per ticket (min. 3 tickets) 
Priority entry + mystery gift add-on: $20 per ticket *Prices exclude SISTIC booking fees 

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Dec 18, 2017, via the official ticketing agent SISTIC. For more info, head to www.lamcproductions.com/falloutboy2018

In the meantime, listen to Fall Out Boy’s ‘Champion’ remix with BTS’s RM below!

Will you be going for M A N I A? Let us know in the comments!

More related stories: Shawn Mendes Prefers Riverdale’s ‘Varchie’ Over ‘Bughead’, These K-Pop Stars Hit The Streets Without Anyone Noticing, Here’s How You Can Access Your Spotify 2017 Listening History

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Could Joshua Tan Be Singapore's Next Big Action Star?

13 Dec 2017 by Johanna Teo

From ah boy to heroic warrior, Joshua Tan is well on his way to becoming a bonafide action star by taking on the most physically demanding role of his career. 

It’s no secret that Joshua Tan, who rose to fame as spoilt recruit Ken Chow in the Ah Boys To Men (ABTM) series, is always game for action. In fact, the actor has a solid martial arts background in Muay Thai and hits the gym regularly – he even showed up to our interview clad in an Evolve MMA T-shirt! And save for his return to the latest instalment of the ABTM film franchise where he put on a whopping 20kg for the role, we’re betting Joshua has never been out of shape in his life.


A post shared by Joshua Tan 陈伟恩 (@joshuatwe13) on

“It has always been a goal [of mine] to be in a full-fledged martial arts film,” reveals Joshua, who cites Jackie Chan as an influential figure. Which was why he didn’t hesitate when approached for Flying Through Time, a live-action production that required extensive training as soon as filming for ABTM wrapped up. While it wasn’t quite the martial arts flick Joshua dreamt of, its sheer physical intensity is right up his alley.


A post shared by Joshua Tan 陈伟恩 (@joshuatwe13) on

Diving deep into preparations for his role as Tiger, a heroic warrior who travels to modern day Singapore to stop an evil villain from his dastardly plans, Joshua found himself shuttling back and forth Korea for intensive 12-hour trainings. “Our schedule is mainly, eat, train, sleep and repeat,” Joshua revealed, “They work us hard, but it is also necessary. For new actors who are trained in acrobatics or gymnastics, they need at least three months to be familiar with this performance. But I have zero background and only a month and a half. Due to the difference in timeline, they have no choice but to compress [the training] and really ‘squeeze’ me.”

Admittedly, the acrobatic stunts weren’t the only challenges for Joshua. Even though the production is a non-verbal one (which meant that the actor didn’t have to memorise lines), that ironically made it even more daunting. “Acting on stage is different as compared to on film or TV. Everything has to be really big and expressive – which some people who are used to the camera may find over-the-top. But when you put it into the context of a stage, it makes sense!” He continues, “The use of the body is crucial, because without body language, you can’t get your point across. I’m quite tall compared to the rest of the cast, so I found it quite awkward to position myself. We have to be very in tune with each other because there are no lines. So if I move, you react. It [becomes] a flow – everyone has to flow together.”

Cast and Director - Flying Through Time (Pose)
Photo: Resorts World Sentosa

Considering the production comprised crew and cast of diverse nationalities, we can imagine it was extra tough trying to ‘flow’ with his co-workers. “There’s not a day that goes by where [things get lost in translation],” Joshua laughs as he shares a hilarious incident involving an intense wire-work setup. “They were teaching me how to do somersaults using the wire – [I was told] to complete my oscillation, but for some reason I didn’t. I was suspended in the air (legs up!), with the harness attached to my waist. I think I was stuck there for five seconds and I couldn’t get myself up. The harness started getting higher and higher… and I fell [out] without my pants.”

Thankfully, most of the training passed without a hitch, and Joshua has since managed to pick up loose Korean phrases, like “ppalli ppalli” (which means faster) or “cheoncheonhi” (slowly), amongst other everyday terms. He has even bonded with the Korean crew, bringing them to eat local delicacies such as roti prata.

So what’s next in the pipeline for this action star in-the-making? “The thing I need the most now is a break! I’ve been going at it non-stop since July, so I can’t wait for a good rest. A holiday is due.” He continues, “As for projects, I’d say more action stuff. There are two films that are pending, but more action is coming in my direction [here on out].”

Featured image: Resorts World Sentosa

Flying Through Time runs from now till 21 January 2018. Tickets from $38 on Sistic

More related stories: 5 K-Reality Shows Where K-pop Stars Reveal Their True Selves2017’s Top Trending Videos In Singapore Include Night Owl Cinematics, Xiaxue And Butterworks!Here’s How You Can Access Your Spotify 2017 Listening History

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These K-pop Stars Hit The Streets Without Anyone Noticing

11 Dec 2017 by Johanna Teo

There are many trappings of fame – with the biggest one being the utter lack of privacy. But amazingly, these K-pop celebrities have occasionally remained unhindered by their popularity. Here are six instances where ultra famous K-idols hit the streets without being noticed.


In the third episode of Livin’ The Double Life, Taeyang headed to Busan with Kush (YG producer) and Jae Wook (YG staff). Many people recognised the BIGBANG vocalist during their visit to Bupyeong Market, but Taeyang had the opportunity to let loose when the trio came across a street dance battle. Seeing as Taeyang had his face completely covered up in a mask, cap and hoodie combo, it’s understandable why he wasn’t recognised despite his ultra smooth moves. 


Kicking back in Gold Coast, Australia earlier this year,  Momo and Sana of TWICE were enjoying their well-deserved break after filming a commercial for Pocari Sweat – while passersby looked understandably confused at their random dance “performance” on the street. While it’s kinda hilarious that they weren’t recognised as K-idols, it’s nice that the girls were able to behave casually even with their status as one of the biggest K-pop groups of the moment. 


The gorgeous Sandara Park is pretty well known, especially in the South East Asia region. But imagine our surprise when she was able to stroll into a Sephora outlet in Bangkok, Thailand without alerting local fans! As shown in episode 13 of Dara TV, she easily purchased a brown eyeliner with the help of a sales clerk, and a corn pie at McDonald’s sans any interruptions.

Fans might find this situation familiar; Dara shared photos of her shopping trip in Myeongdong back in 2010, where passersby mentioned that she “looked like someone” but left it at that. Thus, she was able to walk around comfortably, even while carrying a huge ass shopping bag with her own face on it. 

Jae Park (Day6)

Apart from his day gig as Day6’s guitarist and vocalist, the social media extraordinaire also runs his own YouTube channel, in which he posts random v-logs and other videos. Jae’s latest video sees him hitting the streets and getting random people to react to DAY6 – along the way, he bumps into actual K-pop/DAY6 fans who totally… don’t recognise him at all. Hilarious! 


There’s an interesting story behind BIGBANG’s ‘We Like 2 Party’ MV! The video featured the members taking public transport to the airport and naturally, all of them caught fans’ attention – except for Seungri. The maknae of the group had even insisted on taking the subway from a particularly busy station so that he could greet his fans… but nobody recognised him! As if it weren’t hilarious enough, Taeyang laughingly shared in the same interview that even BIGBANG has difficulty recognising him, and that there was even a time where they mistook him as an assistant director. Cheer up, Seungri! 

Seolhyun (AOA) 

AOA’s Seolhyun shocked fans when she held an Instagram Live broadcast while seated in a public bus – and completed it without any interruptions. This backed up her claims in an interview back in January that life after fame isn’t as different. She’s been able to stroll the streets unrecognised, using public transport and even heading to cafes without any trouble. 

 Would you recognise these celebs if you spotted them on the streets? 

More related stories: 5 K-Reality Shows Where K-pop Stars Reveal Their True SelvesHere’s How You Can Access Your Spotify 2017 Listening HistoryThis K-pop Idol Stalks His Fans Online And Writes His Own Fanfic

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Shawn Mendes Prefers Riverdale's 'Varchie' Over 'Bughead'

11 Dec 2017 by Bryan Yeong

Bringing a trail of frenzy and his guitar-licked jams to Singapore recently, our December cover star Shawn Mendes proved just why he’s the ultimate teen phenomenon of today.

Shawn Mendes is the “modern day rockstar” of our generation – a title he proudly relishes during a backstage interview with us before his sold-out maiden gig at The Star Theatre. And any reservations about his insurmountable success despite his age should be firmly chucked at the door. Granted, the Canadian superstar is only 19-years-old, but one look at his mettle as an artist and performer on stage will leave you convinced of his timeless talent. 

Which is why it was expected that upon setting foot into the 5000-strong venue, we were greeted with ear-deafening cheers and an overwhelmingly buzz from a surprisingly diverse crowd. From boyfriends accompanying their starstruck partners, to parents joining in the fun with their diehard offsprings, the Mendes Army was very much in full swing. Shawn took the stage and launched into the recognisable guitar intro of his most recent hit ‘There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back’, where the audience swiftly erupted into a mesmerised party. 

Photo: AEG Presents

Shawn was one with his arsenal of guitars, hitting pitch perfect notes through his catalogue of mostly mid-tempo hits like ‘Life of the Party’, ‘Three Empty Words’ and ‘A Little Too Much’. But it was deeper cuts like ‘Bad Reputation’ – a track he professed as “visually stunning” in our interview, and the pounding ‘Mercy’ that got the sea of awestruck fans even more immersed in his presence, aided by a swirling ring of background lights and video backdrops. 

Photo: AEG Presents

While Shawn kept his on-stage banter to a minimal – save for several shoutouts to the crowd – he knew just how to work his handsome charms to a T. Whether it’s running his hands through his curls, swooping down to the swarming front rows for a quick hi-five, or a simple beaming smile at the end of every song, he betrayed his mere three years of performing experience and worked the stage like a seasoned pro. With an array of awards collected, a devout fanbase, and now evidently a global touring force, is it any wonder that there’re greater things to come from Shawn Mendes in 2018 and beyond?

Read on for our full interview with Shawn Mendes where he talks about his love for Camila Cabello, utter detest for tomatoes, New Year resolutions and more.

This is your first full arena tour and first time in Singapore, how does it feel?

It feels great! There’s definitely a little bit more sense of urgency here in Singapore than there was in Australia and the fans seem really excited so I’m excited. 

What do you think of Singapore so far? Any local food that you’ve tried?

It’s great, I love it here. It’s super westernised. I feel like every person I’ve talked to speaks English. It feels like [I’m] not that far away from home, even though it is so it’s fun. I’ve honestly not tried much local food. I’ve been playing it safe ‘cos I’m scared. If things smell like, what’s that fruit from earlier?, [Durian] I’m never gonna eat it.

You’ve gotten words of wisdom from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. What’s one piece of advice that you would share with budding musicians that are trying to make it from social media as well?

I would say to do music that you truly believe in and to sing songs that you like to sing, because if you’re singing stuff just because you think that’s gonna make you famous, it’s not gonna work.

You’re now in your last year as a teenager. What’s something you would tell your 13-year-old self back?

I would say to calm down, because it’s going to work out. But I guess you don’t know that when you’re 13, you think everything’s scary.

The world is in love with your friendship with Camila Cabello. You guys aren’t together but do you think she’s girlfriend material?

Oh, absolutely! The next guy that finds her should just wife her up. But I love her, she’s one of my best friends. She has the best sense of humour, and she’s probably, other than me, the most determined person I’ve ever met.

What do you think about her new singles?

I love them! I think they’re amazing. I thought ‘I Have Questions’ and ‘Havana’ were awesome, and ‘Never Be The Same’ is incredible! I heard it a week before it came out and I can’t stop playing it.

Fans on the Internet initially mistook Camila Mendes [from Riverdale] as a ship name for Camila and yourself . Are you a fan of Riverdale? And do you ship Varchie (Veronica and Archie) or Bughead (Betty and Jughead) more?

I think I would ship… Varchie [Laughs] I saw that whole thing about Camila Mendes – it was pretty funny.

You’ve cited Ed Sheeran as one of your biggest music influences. Would you consider collaborating with him? Who else would you like to collab with?

Oh I would love to! We had talked about writing a lot, but he’s always in the opposite side of the world as me. There’s a ton of other artists [I’d love to work with] too. I think Khalid is awesome, and I’d love to work with Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars…

Can we expect a new album from you?

Yeah! That’s what I’m working on right now. I’m writing as many songs as I can write and there will be a third album sooner than later. But I can’t tell you much more about it. Hopefully there will be collaborations, but I can’t say just yet.

You’ve been outspoken before about your thoughts on holding back certain opinions on social media because it can become a negative space, but of course sometimes there’s also nothing holding you back. How do you find the balance and decide what needs to be said and what needs to be reined in and saved as drafts?

That’s a great question. I mean, I don’t think there’s a real method in finding the balance, but I believe that social media is a lot easier when it’s positive thoughts, and sending positive messages because when positivity is put on social media, it explodes to something amazing. But when negativity is on social media, it digs people into a hole and that’s not good. I’d much rather just spend my time putting positive stuff and keeping the negative to myself.  

It’s no secret that you aren’t a fan of tomatoes. Would you rather eat a whole tomato, or lose to an arm wrestling contest with Charlie Puth?

[Laughs] I’d probably rather lose in an arm wrestling contest with Charlie Puth, even though that would never happen.

You’re in your last stretch for your tour dates this year. What are your plans for New Year’s Eve and any 2018 resolutions?

I’m not exactly sure yet. My new year resolution is just to step up my music and release a better album than my last two. 

2017 was a huge year for you – topping music charts, winning awards, your tour… What’s your greatest personal highlight?

That’s a hard question. I think, the tour has been so much fun. Every time I get off stage and the show goes well, whether I’m in Europe, Toronto or in Singapore, it’s really the best feeling in the world. 

Featured image: AEG Presents

Stay tuned to find out how you can score yourself an AUTOGRAPHED Shawn Mendes poster! 

More related stories: Selena Gomez, Instagram’s Most Followed Celebrity Just Put Her Account On PrivateMØ On Being Both Mainstream And Alternative: “It’s Hard To Find The Balance”, Harry Styles Brings His Charm To First Solo Singapore Gig, Here’s Why Billie Eilish Is  2018’s Next Big Star

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