My feature on Jay Park began the Sunday I arrived in Malaysia. I was to attend a party in his honor that night at the legendary Zouk, the Asian institution that plays host to the annual ZoukOut. I got to my hotel after shopping to rest and freshen up. I was staying at the Mandarin Oriental, with a spectacular view of the Petronas Towers, so I tried to make the most out of it. After a nice long nap and a nicer and even longer hot shower, I met my fellow journalists (a mix of Singaporeans and Indonesians) and headed to Zouk.
I wasn’t really expecting much because it was a Sunday evening. The outside of Zouk was also bare so I thought it was going to be an intimate party for press and friends. But the club was packed, filled to the brim with Malaysia’s elite and what looked like teenagers. I had a bit of wine as the opening acts performed and when Jay finally came on stage, everybody went wild. I only know Jay Park as the Korean who sang with B.O.B. for Nothin’ On You and for being the guy who was kicked out of KPOP group 2PM, but I was impressed. He sang and danced well. I think there was a point when I was singing along with the crowd (more like mumbling because the songs were in Korean).
I stayed for a bit after his performance but I left ahead of the press group. I walked back to the hotel, took some selfies with the Petronas Towers, and checked out some stuff at H&M (a more detailed writeup can be found here).
The following morning was the press conference for Jay’s E! News Special Asia Special. They did a short preview of the episode (it looked promising), and Jay answered some questions. I think I asked what it was like having all those cameras following you around. As much as fame is tempting, I still believe that anonymity is the best luxury, where you can throw a bitch fit and not have everyone remember it was you (granted that no one recorded your outburst.).
While I waited for my turn for the private interview, I gorged on this wonderful citrus dessert at the buffet. I also took the liberty of stuffing my pockets with Twining’s Classic Earl Grey tea. In between mouthfuls of that dessert, I met a few executives of E!, including this one local who told me about her backpacking trip to the Philippines. She stayed at an inn somewhere in Makati, and her account of the city was accurate: on one side of the street you have a developed megalopolis and the other, you have ‘homeless people’ milling about. Of course, her description bothered me but I’m glad she enjoyed her stay. She loved Mang Inasal and had that for three days.
When it was time for the interview, I was joined by the two Indonesian writers who were with me at Zouk and for breakfast that morning. Their questions were geared towards the Indonesian fans while mine were random queries I cobbled on the plane ride to Kuala Lumpur. It was a smooth interview, Jay was enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and game for any question. There was this one time when I spaced out and upon landing back on Earth, he was talking about a piece of land a fan would like to give him?
After the interview, I had enough time to pack before I was whisked off to the airport and found myself back to real life: the stress of the daily grind.
My exclusive story can be accessed here.