Events, Korea Pop Culture, Singapore, Variety

(x)clusive!: Race Start Season 2 in Singapore Press Conference

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Text By: Madel | Photos By: Germx

In light of Race Start Season 2 in Singapore, we met with the five Running Man cast members Ji Suk Jin, Kim Jong Kook, Song Ji Hyo, Lee Kwang Soo and HAHA at the pre-Race Start press conference held at Pan Pacific yesterday. In high spirits, all five of them shared their impressions of Singapore, memorable episodes and more while showing off their amazing chemistry, creating a light and fun atmosphere as laughter filled the ballroom. Read on to find out what the cast said!

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Right off the bat, HAHA’s enthusiastic greeting ‘Apa Kabar’ set off a series of remarks from his fellow cast mates, as Kim Jong Kook took the microphone to correct him, stating that Singapore is a English-speaking country. From then on, the Running Man team politely greeted each journalist with a chorus of ‘Hi’, ‘How are you’ and ‘Nice to meet you’ before they ask their questions, easily putting a smile in the audience.

As all members had been to Singapore before, they each took the chance to answer what they loved about our sunny island. Firstly, Ji Suk Jin showed off his love for local popular delicacy chili crab and pepper crab, as the others agreed readily. HAHA thinks that while the food is great, Singapore is also a beautiful country and he is happy to be here, before adding in English, “Very beautiful view, very clean streets!”. Kim Jong Kook too, spoke in English (and mainly in English throughout the whole press conference), and added that Singapore is like a huge, clean park, where the people are nice and “the weather is perfect!” Lee Kwang Soo can’t seem to forget the enthusiasm from the fans from his last visit, and thanked them for the warm welcome. Last to answer the question, Song Ji Hyo started off by saying that the members have stated all the main points, before going off to mention her sightseeing trip – the actress arrived a day early and managed to take some time off exploring the S.E.A Aquarium which she enjoyed. On that note, Lee Kwang Soo mentioned his last visit to the USS where he took the Transformer – which was so exciting that he really wants to visit it again.

On the happy news that Running Man is again ranked first across all paid cable TV channels, the members express their joyous surprise. Members Kim Jong Kook and Ji Suk Jin thanked the fans on behalf of the cast, stating that they’re really happy and honoured, and that they would try their best to let the fans enjoy the programme.

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With Singapore being the last stop of the Race Start Season 2 fanmeet tour, fans heading to the Race Start fanmeet can also expect a lot of things (such as Kim Jong Kook singing to his hit track ‘Sarang Surowo’ featuring the other cast members, as revealed earlier before the press conference by the MC). During the answer, members of the audience were momentarily distracted by the male cast members’ random photo-op, where they kindly made lots of poses (Lee Kwang Soo and HAHA’s combine hearts, anyone?) for the photographers present, much to the amusement of everyone.

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The first question from the floor was directed to all the members except Lee Kwang Soo (cue gasps of disbelief  the resident Betrayer), as the other Running Man members were asked if anything changed after the actor won an award for his stellar performance in ‘It’s Okay, It’s Love’. Almost immediately, the other members started to joke about how the tallest cast member had become more arrogant (“We can’t even eat at the same table as him.” “He now has fifteen people following him, probably like five more stylists and five make-up artists.”). Laughter arose from the seated guests as the fellow members crowded around Lee Kwang Soo, pretending to fix his make-up, fan him and even opened bottled water for him, while the actor in focus put on a straight face as he seemingly enjoyed the series of attention. Jokes aside, his cast mates emphasized on how Lee Kwang Soo hadn’t change, still sticking to his real and nice personality.

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On the topic of participating in the increasingly popular Chinese version of Running Man (titled ‘Hurry Up, Brother’), Kim Jong Kook states that while he was awkward at first, the fact that the staff were mostly Korean helped him to settle into the program comfortably. As one of the main cast, he felt the responsibility to help the Chinese version cast members to get used to Running Man’s game-play. Also known for his competitive spirit, Sparta-Kook (the singer’s nickname in the programme given by fans), the star can’t help but share his happiness at winning, before admitting sheepishly that it might be a little childish of him. To round the topic off, he congratulated Hurry Up, Brother for garnering positive responses.

For a four-year-plus programme, the cast’s members all share the sentiment that it is very difficult to pick a memorable episode. HAHA chose the first episode as his most memorable one in the end, explaining that the pilot episode marks their first step, with filming spanning over 30 hours. Lee Kwang Soo picked the overseas episode in Vietnam where he was given the nickname ‘The Asian Prince’ by Kim Jong Kook, recalling the loud cheers by Vietnamese fans. The only female cast member Song Ji Hyo picked the episodes where there were no guests, as she thinks that it’s the time where the team could bond together, be it in tears or in laughter. Kim Jong Kook choose the ones featuring a sports theme, but emphasized on how he couldn’t pick just one episode out of the 200-odd episodes. Lastly, the eldest member Ji Suk Jin picked the one featuring international super star Jackie Chen, stating that he’s an idol to the cast members, and expressed his gratitude to the star for spending time and bonding with the Running Man team.

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Fans of the program would have remembered the episode in Taiwan, where the losing team challenged the frightening 90-degree roller coaster ‘Screaming Condor’ as a punishment. Looking back at the episode, Ji Suk Jin couldn’t help but comment on how he himself was surprised by his own expression, and that it was the scariest thing after the experience at Macau Tower. On the other hand, Lee Kwang Soo and HAHA both agreed that while the ‘Screaming Condor’ was scary, it’s not as scary as Kim Jong Kook (HAHA: “Kim Jong Kook would probably even win the roller coaster”). Seems like nothing beats the rising panic and tension when Sparta-Kook’s hot on their trails especially at the end of the tag race!

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With that last question, the press conference came to an end with a group photo session. The short thirty-minute session with the cast was no doubt entertaining and filled with laughter, and we could not wait to meet them again tonight at Race Start Season 2 in Singapore. Stays tuned for our updates, and see you there!

Race Start Season 2 in Singapore is organized by ONE. Thank you ONE for extending the event invite!

Loving the action and laughter in Running Man? New episodes of Running Man premiere on Fridays at 2345h first and exclusively on ONE. Repeats of Running Man air on the following Friday at 1940h, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays at 2315h.

MORE PHOTOS!

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For the full set of photos of Race Start Season 2 in Singapore Press Conference, please head over to (x)clusive’s Facebook.

Do follow (x)clusive on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for your updates on all things Korean in Singapore.

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