The Jolin Tsai Yi Ling Kuching Showcase (mini concert cum autograph session) was held at the outdoor carpark of the International Times Building at 7:30 PM on the 11th of June 2004. This is Jolin’s It’s Love Promo Tour Malaysia 2004 to promote her new album Castle.
I believe this is the first time Sarawak was included into the tour
venues. Jolin is a Taiwanese performer who has a string of albums and
serial dramas in her portfolio. I didn’t know she was coming to Kuching
until the night before. I made a couple of phone calls to ascertain
where to get the tickets and the venue of the concert – it’s a good
thing I managed to attend the event, given the short notice.
I also noticed that there are three photos which captured me in the
frame during the Jolin concert in the papers today – one in
International Times and two in Berita Petang Sarawak.
Bring me to the Jolin concert writeup!
(a.k.a. “I’m not interested in hearing other details”)
This jumps to the concert start paragraph – it’s for readers who just
want to know about the concert and not any other personal experience
details relating to the event)
I must admit though…I’m not a fan of Jolin per se – my exposure to
her work is limited to watching the Working Girl (2003) serial and I
was SDS all through it. I liked her character in that series though,
and I thought her song (the intro) was pretty good too. Thus, I have
been anticipating to see her perform live (though I haven’t listened to
much of her songs) and I wanted to see what she looks like in real
life. She isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, to say the least. 😉
/me wipes off drool
The venue proved to be a challenge to locate though…I had vague
instructions – something along the lines of “turn up before 7:30, door
sale available, it’s held at the International Times Building car
park”. I understand that the place is in Pending, which is relatively
near, so I left late. The fact that I did not know where “The
International Times Building carpark” is did not even cross my mind
until I was making the turn into Pending.
I must extend my thanks to the guy at 082-482 215 for his real-time
cell phone relay directions. I’m not familiar with the area, so I
called out building names as I passed them by and he told me where I
should turn. That’s the number of The International Times (it’s a
newspaper), cheers to Mr. Anonymous Employee for the directions. He
also mentioned that I would not miss it – there will be a lot of people
The large caption reads: Ah Beng and Ah Lians of Kuching, Unite!
Source: Berita Petang Sarawak, Front Page.
He did not exaggerate. Every Ah Beng and Ah Lian in Kuching was in
full attendance, with a strong showing from the Ah Seng and even Ah Pek
(totally serious) congregation. In other words, everyone and their
grandma and her poodle was there. Cars lined the side of the road and
thousands of people milled around outside. I knew I had to resort to my
DICC portfolio to get a good spot for photos when I had to park right
ON the left lane of the road…300 meters from the place.
I started at the tickets counter. The tickets were RM 10 – I got
two, one to keep and one for entry. I struck up a conversation her,
asking if I could get a press pass, claiming to represent The Star.
Unfortunately, they don’t have press passes, so I decided to go to the
top and asked who the organizers were. I was pointed to one of them and
I walked up to him and casually steered the conversation to the fund
raising aspects of the concert – proceeds go to a under funded private
I told him in no subtle terms that I was interested in making a
“special donation” to get access to the front. That didn’t work though,
coz he said he can’t ensure I won’t be ejected from the cordoned off
front area if the other organizers did their rounds. My next target was
the staff – they had passes hung around their necks. I appealed to the
capitalism of no less than three people (profiling was done, to no
avail) to engage in commerce, but failed.
I finally knew the reason – the third and last guy told me everyone
knew each other, it won’t work for me to just wear the pass and go in.
By that time, the stage front was already 20 deep by the time I
arrived. That’s 20 early birds I have to Red Sea through. Oh well, if
that’s how it’s going to be, that’s how it’s going to be. I choose a
spot in the middle of the barricaded front and V formation myself
I exhaust my repertoire just to see you up close…
A V formation is the crowd access method emergency personnel use to
get to someone who needs medical attention in the middle of a large
congregation of people. I only needed to get myself in, so I don’t need
the wings of the V, only the spearhead. I begin my assault with just
“excuse me”, as if I were going back to my (non-existent) vacated
The “Jello barrier” (ask anyone who’s done this before) was reached
when I was about 10 deep. I replaced my phrase with “Reporter coming
through, excuse me, I’m from The Star” to get pass that, and I shit you
not; a couple of girls propagated that and got me through 6 people
entities before I hit the “Playdoh barrier”. I used intimidation to get
through two guys (one person unit) and charm to get through another
Now I was the 3rd wave from the front – 3 deep, in other words.
That’s usually where the real barrier is – the ones who came in the
afternoon (overheard in a conversation) just to be first in line, all
carrying digicams. They were all teenage girls. I asked the person in
front of me if she came with the people in front and she replied in the
affirmative. That means it’s a virtual 2 unit, there’s only one more
person unit to go to.
These are the girls – the papers mentioned they were already there in the afternoon!
Source: International Times, Page 30.
I gave it a bit of a thought…how much was I willing to spend? I
could just squeeze through but I did not want to do that to teenage
girls who spent hours waiting in line. I decided I wanted the front
spot badly enough I was willing to pay RM 50 for it. I took out my
wallet and got a RM 50 note out and tried the, er…plus sized girl
(think that is the PC term nowadays) on my right. She’s the fifth
person from the left in the picture above, the one in the black t-shirt.
“Hello, would you mind letting me go in front, exchange places basically? Here’s something for your trouble.”
She did not even look at what I was offering before saying “No.”
(I have something funny that I would like to share later, but let’s not digress now.)
I picked the one on my left (closer to center stage, she’s two more
down from Miss Plus Size, wearing red, the seventh from the left in the
picture above) and said:
“Hello, I really want that front spot to take photos, are you willing to part with it for this?”
Berita Petang Sawarak carries two photos which has me inside.
She looked at me uncertainly. I could see she wanted it. She’s about
15 or so, by my estimate; and excuse my profiling, but she looks like
someone who would think RM 50 is a huge amount to exchange for
something with no tangible value (her current slice in space/time). So
did the first girl I asked, and I’ll get to that soon. 🙂
“Where would I be standing then?”, she asked tentatively.
“You’ll be standing behind me, we’re basically trading places,
you’ll just move a little bit down, and you can still take photos over
(I later realized that it was unwise to say that, coz she took it literally and used my shoulder as a tripod three times…)
“Er…”, she went uncertainly, looking to her friends for guidance.
“Take it”, whispered one of her friends, possibly thinking about her cut.
“Er…”, she went again, but this time with a hand half raised, still uncertain and looking at the reaction of the crowd.
I did not wait for her to make the decision. I just passed her the RM 50 note, smiled, and slid right to the front.
There were a few indignant “Hey’s” from other people, but those were
quickly replaced by incredulous variations of “He paid RM 50 to switch
places? Wow, he’s crazy!”.
This is where I was standing.
This brings us back to the plus sized girl. 🙂 She suddenly turned
to me as I was switching and asked me with interest, “How much again?”
I did not reply. I do not take kindly to people who say “No” to me.
Her friends took the liberty of answering for me though. I heard “You
should have taken it.” many times from my right while she looked
miffed. She received a second round of disappointment when the pre-show
warm up people started giving away Ang Pows for answering correct
questions. She got one and at the urging of her friends, opened it to
The obligatory “VIP” speach
Her friends made another round of digs about not accepting the
larger first offer and she retorted back that she did not know how much
I was offering since it was dark.
Heh! That was a generous offer since the second line can take photos
through the gap of the first line anyway. I was actually prepared to go
up to RM 100.
On another note, I wonder why these people say things within my obvious hearing range.
On yet another note, if you’re wondering if I enjoyed the environment
where various appendages, including but not limited to, breasts,
buttocks, and thighs, were pushed against me, the answer is a resolute
no. It’s very uncomfortable to be squeezed around and I had to bend
myself in ways the human anatomy was never meant to be positioned while
waiting for the concert to start.
Jolin’s autograph on Castle MV.
Anyway, the pre-show people announced that only CDs, VCDs and
cassettes will be signed and I didn’t want to lose my position so I got
one of the staff to come over and gave him a RM 100 note and asked him
to get the newest one for me. This also resulted in various
exclamations around me. Obviously, these people find my behavior odd.
Personally, it’s not about trust, but rather an issue of keeping my
prime position and wanting to get an autograph, so it’s nothing unusual
to me. In case you were wondering, yes, he did come back, with my
change and the VCD. I was set. The place I was in is just slightly off
center in the very front (metal barrier cordon in front of me), about 5
meters from the stage. Success!
I was a permanent fixture here during the night.
Source: International Times, Page 32 (back cover).
Oh, and the girl I gave the money to wanted to give it back, saying
that it’s too much for her to accept, and that she’ll just let me have
the place for free, but I told her to keep it, it’s hers and I didn’t
There are two reasons why I did that. The first is to compensate her
for her time spent in securing that prime spot and I felt sorry about
displacing her like that (but not sorry enough to move ;)). The second
reason is to ensure that the place is rightfully mine in the crowd’s
mind. I had bought the place and to everyone, I was entitled to it. It
would not be so if I took the money back.
I would never do something like that anyway. I’m very against taking
back money, it’s a disgusting thing to do in my beliefs. If you intend
to offer someone something, you’re satisfied to part with that thing in
exchange for something else. End of story. I told her that I find I
would find it insulting if she insists, and she didn’t.
The caption says something about enthusiastic photographers (translated by the girl who works at the grocery shop downstairs).
This is actually one of my most demure positions…I get most of my
shots by propping myself up so that my knee rests against the top of
the barrier while my legs leverage the bars to keep myself up that way.
It sounds unwieldy, but one you get the hang of it (no pun intended),
it’s actually very stable, and there’s no “crowd jostle” to blur your
photos. You’re above the mere mortals! I actually stepped on the head
of the Boy Scout several times but he was always very nice about it.
Source: Berita Petang Sarawak, Page 12 (Back Cover).
I’ll tell you something – it’s the best RM 50 I ever spent!
Jolin finally decided to grace us with her presence at 8:30 PM. One
hour after the scheduled concert start. I had taken several alprazolam
(Xanax) tablets before that – I had to ignore the physical discomfort
and dismiss the fact that I was in the paradoxical situation of being
severely dehydrated at the very same time I was likely to suffer a
ruptured bladder. It’s an unfortunate situation to be in – I can’t
drink water to quench my thirst coz I’ll have to pee even more, and I
can’t do that without sacrificing my prime spot.
However, all that was forgotten when Jolin showed up in a pink
dress. Come to think of it, the whole place was pink – the banners, the
silk canopy above the stage etc etc. Stop me from digressing again.
Anyway, Jolin fielded several cliched questions from the MC’s, form
questions like “How do you find the weather in Kuching?” and groaningly
predictable responses like “It’s very, very hot.” She has a really nice
voice though. And yes, she’s gorgeous in real life too! 🙂
The short Q&A was segued into a fast song – Pirates
(cross checked the videos I took with the track list). She had an
entourage of dancers dressed in white, synchronized sets. This is her
intro song – the very first one:
Download: Jolin – Pirates, Kuching 2004 [sixthseal.com]
All videos require DivX 5.11
It’s a good choice for a crowd warmer – this track gets a lot of
radio play (if you listen to Chinese radio stations, or so I’m told)
and even I could recognize the familiar tune.
There was a solo number after that – I didn’t know the title of the
song too. However, I did shout her name and stood up on the barrier
during a particularly quiet time, just to make her look at the camera
while I was filming. Heh! That video is for my personal collection
though, sorry, but it’s a classic, especially with the responses from
the people around me, genuinely shocked at my “appalling” behavior. I
wager they haven’t been to many concerts. 😉
Anyway, in the break after the song, Jolin started answering
questions again and what do you know, they’re having a contest! Despite
being sedated by said alprazolam, I was standing on top of the metal
barrier (which makes me pretty damned obvious, and stands me out from
the crowd) and shouting “Jolin! Here! Me! Me!” while waving crazily to
catch her attention BEFORE the words “We’ll be choosing five lucky
people, those who want to participate can come on stage, raise your
hands for Jolin to choose”.
Naturally, my enthusiasm went far beyond a subtle rising of hands,
so I was the first to get her attention. 😉 “Him”, she said, pointing
at me. One of the MC’s confirmed, “The guy in the red t-shirt?”, and
Jolin looked back and said “Yes, him.” I hardly needed that
confirmation, I was already in the process of climbing over the metal
barrier. It’s a little lower than my shoulder, but I just lifted myself
and vaulted over it before the staff came to help me. I wasn’t going to
pass up a chance like this. 😉
On stage with Jolin. I know, it’s an ugly shot, I’ll show you another later. 😉
Source: Berita Petang Sarawak, Page 12 (Back Cover).
I was on stage! I could see Jolin up close – and yes, she looks just
as good up close. 🙂 I’ll say something though, and please, no one sue
me for libel, this is just my speculation. I swear that she looks like
she’s a tweaker to me. I’ll even put my left testicle, nay, my testes
on the line…she has all the signs of meth or some other stimulant
use. It’s the little quirks that tweakers exhibit – you know what I
mean, fellow meth users, takes one to notice another, and you’re right
practically all the time!
Anyway, if you’re one of Sony Music’s lawyers, you did not read that
last paragraph. Well, I stood there for a while, watching Jolin pick
the others, with my digicam dangling beside me and I looked at the
crowd and saw that it was HUGE – there must be tens of thousand people
in attendance. I took a photo…and was immediately approached by one
of the female staff on stage who informed me that digicams are not
allowed on stage. I was engaged in vigorous dialogue with her and
another male staff came over, probably thinking I was going to start
trouble. The curses of keeping my hair long and messy and having
This is a shot I took of myself before the autograph session. I look
like I’ve been beaten hard with the Ugly Stick, nay, the Ugly Forest.
😉 The people around me has been filtered out to allow better image
composition. This, my friends, is the face of a tweaker who eats once
in four days and sleeps only one or two nights each week.
Well, I finally said that I would give the digicam to her to keep
until after the contest and that was that. It did cross my mind to do a
stunt like running over and hugging Jolin while I took a photo before
security escorted me off the stage, and I nearly did that. 😉 But nah,
I reckon I wanted to see what the contest was like more, so I
relinquished my digicam and told the staff to photograph me for me and
she said she couldn’t do that. I should have taken the stunt. :p
Anyway, if anyone has photos or videos of me on stage with Jolin, please email me
and I would pay you for it. Back to the contest, we were asked to think
of a good reason how much we like Jolin or something. I really couldn’t
understand what the MC said, he was using those damned intentionally
obscure hard Chinese words. Anyway, I think that’s what we’re supposed
to do, another MC attempted to translate it to English to me. I
thought, or at least I tried.
The Xanax effect was working overtime and I couldn’t come up with
anything. I was standing first in line, closest to Jolin, and when we
were asked who would go first, I saw that no one wanted to, so I looked
at Jolin and started and just said what I thought. I can’t remember
exactly what I said, but it’s very lame and the gist of it was this:
“Well…I don’t know much about you…have only seen that
Working Girl movie with you in it. I’m Huai Bin from sixthseal.com and
hmm…well, I came to take photos of you…and, yeah, I basically paid
RM 50 to get a good spot and well, you probably can see the way I take
photos from the stage…and yeah, er…I came up and, well, that’s how
much I wanted to see you.”
Note to self: Please avoid benzodiazepines unless you want to look and sound like an idiot.
I know, that’s really lame. Since I answered in a mix of Chinese and
English (some words come easier in English coz everyone talks in
English at work and I write in English when I blog), I was asked where
I come from. Well, to avoid having to explain everything, I just said
I’m from Sibu and I just came back from Australia. I didn’t want to
have to explain the whys and hows of my use of language.
Anyway, there was a little kid on stage, which automatically makes
him the winner, according to the Children Affirmative Action rights.
Every participant gets the same prize, except the winner gets an
additional poster of Jolin. I didn’t mind, I wasn’t here to win, I was
here to be on stage and look at Jolin. Oh, and I also intentionally
held her hand longer than a normal handshake would last when she gave
out our prizes, just to see how she’ll react. 😉
This is the prize.
Professionally, very experienced, probably been in far worse
situations by real fans. I didn’t release my hold, and she broke eye
contact and slid her hand away, not missing a beat. I was looking at
her the whole time. This is good on-stage recourse – by breaking eye
contact and stepping towards the next person in line, she effectively
gave me a psychological obligation to release my hand, since there are
several thousand spectators. Heh. Sorry, did it for fun, to see how
she’ll react. Her hand is very soft though. 😉
The insides contain five assorted Sony Music promo CD’s, none of which
are Jolin’s. Pffftttttt…should have gone for the stunt. 😉
Anyway, after it was over, I climbed back into my original spot, the
prime one. Naturally. There was another dancer supported number after
that – 36 Tricks Of Love. Here you go, the second video:
Download: Jolin Tsai set [sixthseal.com]
There was another solo after that and then it was the last song,
choreographed with dancers as well. The Kuching Jolin Showcase ends
with a total of five songs, two mini interviews and one contest.
Jolin came out again to present the charity check.
She then sat down for impersonal autographs, all done with a simple
signature, not looking at the person, just going through every CD cover
and signing it, over and over. The impersonal signing is
understandable; there were too many people to ask for personalized
ones. I did say “Hi” to make her look up when it was my turn though. 😉
What do I think of Jolin? Well, there’s nothing much to say, she’s
your typical young Taiwan pop star who became famous fast. She looks
mesmerizing and although I don’t listen to this genre of music, she’s
I’m glad I went. It was a great event – Jolin put up an awesome set. She looks good enough to eat too. 😉