….and Hangin’ out with a Pro
Hi Guys – I can now say I’ve been to a BL Event. This one was with the cast from Why RU, in what could be their last get together. The person who talked me into this is none other that Jenhg-ZaintSee, the best authority I’ve met on ZaintSee. There are probably better authorities, but she and I are both in the States. (Below, Jen is talking in the grey boxes w/italics)
—Edited by TheFNGee
I can say now with conviction that I have labeled myself as part of the “Fandom.” Using such a word is somewhat odd for me since, as an editor, I’d sworn it would never pass my desk in a written piece intact. This morning (September 6th), yep morning – you can’t get much more “morning” than 4:30 AM CDT, my alarm woke me, and I had it silenced after two loud beeps as not to wake the husband. You wonder why so “early?” I won’t bother you with the mundane details like my distance from the venue. It’s easier if I use time zones – there were twelve of them. The event I was going to watch starts on a hot, humid, late afternoon @ 5 PM in Bangkok, Thailand, the epicenter of world BL production.
I awoke to (wait for it….) watch a BL Fandom event called “Across the Galaxy” featuring the boys from the Thai BL Series Why RU. I learned later that most of this slew of delicious eye-candy is from ‘Boyz de Domundi,’ with the addition of Seng Wichai Saefant, and one attractive and very hot Saint Suppapong Udomkaewkanjana. Yeah, I wanted to use his full name just to prove I could type it all, no copy n’ paste here. However, I could possibly do irreparable damage to my mouth if I attempted to pronounce it. Baby Steps.
- Note: It’s embarrassing at times to be an American. This lament isn’t non-patriotic; it’s just a fact. Compared to most Asian countries, our citizens only speak one language of “Meruhkin” (some folks very badly at that), as compared to the 3 or 4 languages we commonly see spoken by members of the BL world.
You may ask why are YOU getting up at this ungodly hour, and I’ll just say I’m a fan. Plus, the fact that the Queen of ZaintSee Fandom here in the States, Jenhg-ZaintSee, threatened me with withholding any additional pics of Saint and Zee if I didn’t.
The event was accessible through an encrypted connection over the Web, and I started the connection process @ 4:45 AM. With no success, I started disabling some of the security protections on my network: first thing, killed the anti-virus, nothing. Reduced restrictions on old or obsolete encryption protocols – nope. I actually disabled the Intrusion Detection System on my edge router, still nothing.
It turns out that the showrunners hadn’t even enabled the static “Welcome” banner page at the URL until well after 5:00 AM CDT. And somehow, like magic, the start time of 1700 Bangkok time somehow transmogrified into 1800 Bangkok time. I quickly reenabled all the Security on my network. The connection would drop in and out repeatedly, and my monitoring of the website showed the problem was on their end, not ours.
Unfortunately, we missed the show’s introduction of the cast and sorta joined the show ‘in progress.’
I love that I have been elevated to Queen (with no Coronation to speak of,) though there are more dedicated fans than me. I will accept my Crown with a flourish as long as it has a 🐰🐨❤️💙 on it. I’m down with that. And of course, you had to join me. Why else have I been sending you all these Zee and Saint pictures and videos, spending long hours telling you about their story? To indoctrinate you to the ZaintSee family, why else? 😁 I’m glad to know that I convinced you to buy a ticket. I couldn’t have you miss out on the🔥🔥🔥 dance moves promised to us by Saint and Zee, could I? At least you didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to see them. I would have done it for them. Last weekend I was up at 2:00 AM for the Domundi Family Party Live.
The things we Western fans do to participate in these events are quite insane. When I want to catch Zee’s Workout Live’s, I’m up by 7 AM. (Does that mean I’m working out with him at 7 AM? Well, that’s a judgment for the reader to make as I’ll never tell. 😁) Some Lives happen at 1 or 2 AM my time (EDT), and I may be crazy enough to get up for them as well. However, I have a wonderful friend on the West Coast who’s up all hours of the night, so she records and drops them for me, so I wake up to a wonderful array of Saint and Zee goodies.
Oh, and by the by, Domundi boys at the fan meeting were Zee Pruk Panich, Max Saran Rujeerattanavorapan (these two were in DomundiTV from the early days), Park Parnupat Anomakiti, Nat Natasitt Uareksit, Tommy Sittichok Pueakpoolpol, and Jimmy Karn Kritsanaphan.
The other two artists on the stage were Seng Wichai Saefant and Saint Suppapong Udomkaewkanjana. They are managed by Idol Factory – Chen Kachen Sodfo. And talent from DomundiTV is managed by AoftionZ – Aof Aoftion Kittipat (who was also the producer of Why RU).
Now back to our discussion. I was hoping to watch on my nice large screen TV in my bedroom with a soundbar since it worked for the live last weekend. However, DomundiTV used WorldY platform and Why RU used the Eventpop platform, so it wasn’t quite so easy this time. I had to switch to the computer and still had the spinning circle. The show started half an hour late, but they had a previous fan meeting earlier in the day, so they may have needed extra time between the shows to get ready. As you said, we missed part of the intro, but thankfully a wonderful longtime MingEr (Saint’s fandom name – which means ‘people of Saint’ in Chinese) fan @daralin13 posted the opening song on her YouTube channel so we can watch it later, and you can see it if you missed it.
When it finally started, I was thrilled to see everyone again. My favorite couples from the show were singing together, smiling happily at the audience. After the opening, they all sat down for a chat with our Emcee’s, and it was, of course, all in Thai. I am trying to learn, but it’s a bit tricky as it’s a tonal language, so not only do you need to know the words, but different pitches have different meanings. However, I’ve watched enough BL to pick on bits and pieces of the conversation. And when I didn’t understand, our fandom came to the rescue when someone would translate what they said and post it in English. Not everything, of course, but enough that you got the gist of conversations. It’s always good to follow translator accounts and turn on notifications for them during a Live. Tip from an inter fan (international fan).
When we finally got our connection to the event up and running, all of the lithe, good-looking young men were lip-synching and dancing up a frenzy, thrilling the local audience who showed their appreciation with ear-piercing screams and exclamations of rapture (or sounding like it).
Being a fan of BL shows and stars, most of the time I must contend with the fact that none of them speak the same language I do, so I’m constantly at the mercy of subtitles for good or when they’re poorly executed, or ill whether they be Thai (ไทย), Burmese (ဗမာ), Chinese (中文), Japanese (日本人), Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt), or Korean (한국어). In the Philippines, it’s slightly different as most natives use a language that includes partial bits of English called Tagalog, which helps. All that to simply inform our readers here that without subtitles, I don’t know what’s going on in the story. I have watched enough Thai BL to pick up a few words phrases, but for the most part, I’m lost without subtitles.
Thai, also being a “tonal” language as well, may be one of the reasons that you don’t see a slew of “learn a language quick” programs like Babbel or Rosetta Stone. My loss.
In this “Across the Galaxy” special event, there were no subs at all. However, I could still pick up a few moods, and in some cases, could get the general gist of events on stage by gauging audience reaction. In some of the songs, the feelings of affection and love were very apparent.
I must say, however, that you don’t really need to understand a language when listening to the singing of a song. I’ve been listening to Classical Vocal Music for years, enjoying it in German, Italian, French, or even Russian, and the language barrier never affected my reaction to the music.
Some of the songs in “Across the Galaxy,” especially the cover of “Meteor Rain” by F4, sung by Zee, Saint, Tommy, and Jimmy as a quartet, stunned me by causing emotions to well up inside me that I wasn’t expecting at all. If a man can swoon, then that’s exactly what I did during this song, especially the higher-pitched counterpoint, sung by Saint and Tommy, against the baritone of Zee and Jimmy in the song’s middle. That’s just one example that really caught my attention. My only wish there was that the singing had been live. However, I think I understand why the singing wasn’t live as the vocal range required to sing some Thai melodies isn’t easy to achieve while moving quickly around the stage, without sounding stilted and uneven. They pre-record some songs for this reason so that the onstage performance can proceed more smoothly. It is what it is. It doesn’t mean that I can’t love it.
The singing in a different language didn’t bother me. I have a whole playlist of Thai songs on my phone that are related to BL boys or shows. I love the songs and can sing along to most of them, even if I don’t get all the meaning. There are great videos on youtube where fans not only put English subtitles but the romanization of the Thai lyrics so you can sing along. I love those because they help me feel more connected to the music. So let’s talk about the musical numbers in the show. Jimmy and Tommy kicked off the first couple’s performance with Lost Star. Tommy covered this song last year. When I watched him sing it in this video, I was amazed at how well he sang.
Here is his duet with Jimmy. It’s so well done, and I’m saying this because Jimmy isn’t a singer. I felt the emotions coming from both of them, conveying the song’s lyrics through movement and expression. It was heartfelt, heartwarming, and impressive. Kudos to the pair of them. Once again, @daralin13 to the rescue with her video of the performance.
Then we have this adorable performance of Max and Nat. It’s a perfect song of sugary sweetness, which fits their relationship perfectly. They have pastel outfits that remind me a bit of Hansel and Gretel but in a far more mature way. It ends with a giant lollipop, which is perfect since Nat’s character Blue had a fondness for lollipops.
Next up, we had Park and Seng with a duet. Theirs is a playful song that fits their characters perfectly. Quick side note, Seng is stunning as a blonde as the color works for him. They dance around the stage with big smiles, and I couldn’t help but smile in return. I missed them. Even though I loved Saifah and Zon I’m especially fond of Japan and Thai. I need more of them. If Aof ever gives us a season 2, I want to see their storyline continue.
Then we have the highlight of the show for me…….the moment I waited for, Saint and Zee’s couples performance. The theme was fire, and yes, it was 🔥🔥🔥🔥.
I screamed in excitement, which woke my husband up from downstairs because I kicked him out of the bedroom to sleep on the couch at 5:00 AM to have the room to myself for fangirling. 😂😂 That’s how you know your marriage is solid when your husband is willing to listen to you talk ad nauseum about Saint and Zee, only laughing at you a little when you buy a pillow for your bedroom, which has the necklace kiss scene from Why RU Episode 13 that you had made. Yes, that’s oddly specific, but I can’t be the only one, right? 😁
Back to the performance. Let me preface this by saying that Zee is no dancer. I adore him, but dancing and Zee are two things that normally don’t belong in the same sentence. Watch this clip to know what I mean.
But he knocked it out of the ballpark for this performance. He practiced very hard, and it shows. He matched Saint, even though he was tired, you could tell. He put everything he had into that dance – it was so spicy. Their chemistry is off the charts, and the ripping open their shirts at the end of their performance was just gravy on top. Then we had an amazing moment. The Wedding March (yeah, that one) comes on over the speakers as the dancers disappear. Saint smiles and tells them it’s the wrong music, it’s supposed to be this one, and starts to sing happy birthday to Zee. He walks offstage and comes back with a birthday cake for Zee. It’s very clear that Zee is surprised. His birthday is next week. Then you can watch what happens here. I love the little tidbit where someone shouts they want to be Zee’s wife, and Saint goes and lists the qualifications for being his wife – you have to remind him because he’s forgetful, etc. I laugh at the shy look on Zee’s face. These two are adorable, and their moments together always warm my heart. No matter the occasion, they both together can make me smile.
More talking, interacting, and a performance by all of them singing this Chinese song. They have a strong connection with their Chinese fans. Saint’s heritage is both Thai and Chinese, and all the Chinese fans adore him. There are quite a few of them who adore Zee as well. Saint’s Chinese name, given by his grandfather, is Huang MingMing. Saint gave Zee a Chinese name Li HaiHai which means “Sea.” They have regular Lives on the platform Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. And Saint’s business sells his popcorn not only in Thailand in the Shoppee shop but now has a shop in TaoBao, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon. Also, in quite a few of Saint’s Lives, he has a Chinese translator working on translating in real-time the content to Chinese. Saint’s translator also teaches Zee and Saint Chinese words and phrases. I have to admit those are a little hard to watch as I hear both Chinese and Thai overlapping, and I only know a smidge of Thai. I say all this to explain their connection to Chinese fans, and why I am not surprised that they sang a song specifically in this language to those fans.
I cried at this song. It’s such a beautiful song filled with emotions that all of them capture perfectly. It’s a goodbye song. This fan event, “Across the Galaxy,” is the last hoorah for this crew together. I’m filled with love for this show, these boys, and all the people who made this event happen. I’m not ready to say goodbye, but time stops for no one. There are new opportunities for everyone, modeling, sponsor deals, acting lessons, movies, tv shows, songs to be recorded, and business to run. I know that I will follow their careers with love, encouragement, and support. I feel like part of them will always have a place in my heart. ZaintSee is still going strong, so I’m saying goodbye to Tutor and Fighter, not Saint and Zee. Saint, Zee, Park, Seng, Jimmy, Tommy, Max, and Nat will always have a fan in me. I’m going to send my support in whatever ways I can. But I will miss Saifah, Zon, Dew, Blue, Japan, TanThai, and Fighter/Tutor most of all. They are a part of my story, but it’s time for the next chapter to start.
The show lasted a good 2 hours. The one we watched was last in the series of four over this weekend. As hard as they tried, the guys really looked tired after they finished songs with dance, and I don’t blame them. While they weren’t under the physical stress of singing “live” with all that dancing, the dancing itself was a thorough workout. After going through Jen’s narrative, it looks like I can’t really add much more value.
Would I get up @ dawn’s crack again to watch an event like this? Sure. It’s a lot of fun, especially when you have an expert on the performers on the other end of a chat.
Hope you enjoyed the read.