Around 200 fans were waiting in the scorching midday heat on Wednesday to catch K-drama actor Song Joong-ki, who is in Singapore to promote his new drama Reborn Rich.
The 37-year-old actor had flown in for a press conference with local and regional media for the revenge-themed drama, available on streaming platform Viu. The news conference was held at outdoor theatre The Coliseum at Hard Rock Hotel where fans, gathered in a cordoned-off area, screamed as the actor showed up in a beige-yellow shirt and grey pants.
Shouts of “Saranghae!” – which means “I love you” in Korean – were heard as Song took the stage with a bright smile. This is his first trip to Singapore in five years since promoting his movie The Battleship Island (2017) here in 2017. And he has missed the tropical island state dearly.
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Speaking almost entirely in English throughout the press conference presented by Viu, he said: “I really love Singapore. This is maybe my eighth time here. It’s been such a long time since I could come because of the pandemic, and I’m so lucky to be back. Thank you for inviting me.”
One of his first activities back here had been hitting up the golf course and eating his favourite dish. “I played golf at Sentosa and, of course, I was very excited for black pepper and chilli crab. I had it last night and I finished it all.“
Beyond the many fans who gathered to welcome him, Song’s popularity is also seen in his drama’s strong ratings.
In Reborn Rich, he plays Yoon Hyun-woo, a loyal employee working in the present day for the ultra-rich family-run Soonyang Group. His character is murdered by someone in the family.
Instead of dying, Hyun-woo wakes up in 1987, reborn in the body of Jin Do-jun, the youngest grandson of the Soonyang family patriarch. Still retaining all the memories of Hyun-woo, he embarks on a thrilling journey to discover who murdered him and to take revenge on the family.
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The 16-parter has scored impressive ratings just halfway into its run. According to Nielsen Korea, it earned a nationwide rating of 19.4 per cent for its eighth episode, unseating Extraordinary Attorney Woo as the most watched miniseries in South Korea this year. It is also currently the most-watched drama on Viu.
“I didn’t expect such great ratings because this isn’t a romantic comedy. I heard that many Asian audiences love Korean romantic-comedies and this isn’t that, so I did not expect this response,“ Song said.
The actor was a gentleman throughout the press conference, praising reporters for their good pronunciation, including several who greeted him with “annyeonghaseyo” or “hello” in Korean.
After the event, he asked the crowd to applaud event host and model-presenter Hanli Hoefer and also walked up to the waiting fans. He signed autographs after bowing and shook their hands.
And he earned thumbs-up and cheers from fans for his answers too. When asked what he would do if he was reborn into a wealthy family, Song thought for a long time before saying: “Frankly, I don’t want to be born into such a family.
“After acting in this drama, I see the huge conflicts in a family that arise from money. I don’t want that. I think human beings like money, of course, but it’s not the most important thing. I don’t want to be reborn rich. I like myself.”
Reborn Rich is available on Viu, with new epsiodes every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
This article originally appeared on The Straits Times.