Yes, I am a Sone
Have you ever heard of a concert where tickets were sold out in 20 minutes? Not only that, the most expensive tickets were gone in the first five. This incredible feat occurred in Thailand and it was set by a K-pop girl group called Girls' Generation, who will be in town to wow their Thai fans on Sunday evening.
In case you're not familiar with Korean pop culture, here are a few tidbits to get you started.
The K-Pop music genre rules the charts; it has created its own separate YouTube channel and caused the Taiwanese government to set limits on its exposure on national television. Even Brazilians know how to "cover dance" to K-pop songs.
As you may know, I am one of the hardcore fans who had struggled for a Girls' Generation ticket. The band is known as SNSD (acronym of Korean name So Nyuh Shi Dae). SNSD fans are called Sone and, yes, I am a Sone.
The night before the tickets went on sale, I didn't get much sleep, and dragged myself out of bed as early as 7am to get in line three hours before the opening of ticket booth. Looking back, I am proud that I did all that. There was no other way to get a ticket _ my first time queuing for a concert ticket.
"Why did you do that?," asked a colleague, who could not hide his curiosity. "For that sum of money, you can see Madonna or U2."
True. Well, think about it. How much are you willing pay for a concert?
It depends, right? Is the band global or local? How famous is the band? Are you a groupie?
Being a groupie matters most. If you really are a groupie you can be there at 5am waiting in the line.
Even if you are not, you may still have to do it for your daughter or girlfriend. In this case, there is no other choice but to queue up.
One of my colleagues is in this group. He was to queue up for his daughter. With my help, he has secured a ticket for his girl.
In Thailand, we started to fully wake up to K-Pop with the Wonder Girls' Nobody: 'I want nobody nobody but you, I want nobody nobody but you...'.
At that time, I believe almost everyone could sing it (at least the chorus) and dance _ or cover dance on stage _ to it.
I certainly can. I can do a pretty cool version of the Nobody dance, though I prefer the cuter and more cheerful Girls' Generation.
Girls' Generation _ SNSD _ comprises nine girls and they are a global phenomenon with their looks and dancing prowess. Just how popular are they? They just did a sold-out concert in Singapore where tickets were gone in four hours and that prompted them to add a second show. Paris, Los Angeles, New York and the David Letterman Show _ they have been everywhere.
After the Nobody breakthrough in 2009, K-pop groups have occupied the pop scene, but for me, SNSD is among my top three.
Other bands or groups have their own unique style with dance routines (seen in local teen homes or at parties). Here are some of the song titles: Gee, Genie, The Boys, Sorry Sorry, Heartbeat, Bo Peep Bo Peep and Ma Boy.
They are all on YouTube, so to find out what your friends or your kids are up to, just type in the songs' name and add the word Korea.
Back to the concert. Okay, you've got your ticket, but you're still not ready for the concert.
Wherever the girls travel, die-hard Sone fans have something special for them. Organised by a fan club webmaster, a meeting was held to decide on what to do for the concert and how to make the atmosphere of the concert even more electric.
A friend of mine, a true Sone, was at the meeting and told me to YouTube the idea for the concert. (www. youtube.com/watch?v=tu7cDAbNYvc)
Pink Ocean (everyone waving a pink light), Fanchants (repeating lyrics), Birthday signs (sending special message by light stick) and Paper Planes are just some of the things that fans have prepared. And they do this everywhere the girls go _ international fan culture.
As I bought a ticket in a special seat, I have secured a position that requires the audience to hold a yellow light stick with a special message.
Now can you guess how much I paid to watch my favourite K-pop girl group?
I paid 4,500 baht, which amounts to 500 baht for each of them, because I will be watching a performance of nine girls. Well, worth it.
Sithikorn Wongwudthianun is a multimedia producer for the Bangkok Post.