Asia News: Sentencing In Ticket Forgery; ‘Buddha Handsome’ Gets Ugly; Aespa’s Cross-Cultural Backlash

Java Jazz Festival 2024
JAZZY JAVA: Indonesian guitarist Arya Novanda performs during Java Jazz Festival 2024 at JIExpo Kemayoran on May 26, 2024, in Jakarta, Indonesia.
(Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)


Man Gets 10 Weeks For Forging Bruno Mars Pass

A 23-year-old man from Cameroon was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail by a Singapore court for having forged a pass to get into an April 3 concert by Bruno Mars, according to the South China Morning News.

The man, whose name is Karl Phillippe Njiomo Tengueu was caught by police when he attempted to use the same ruse to enter a second Bruno Mars show after posting on social media the method he used to sneak into the first one.

According to prosecutors, Tengueu arrived in Singapore April 2 for the purpose of seeing Mars in concert, even though he did not have a ticket. Prosecutors said that while walking around the Singapore Sports Hub, where the concerts were to take place, Tengueu saw staff members using work passes to enter the National Stadium. Tengueu then approached some of these workers and engaged them in conversation, taking videos of their passes as they talked with his cell phone.

Later, using a photo processing app, he used screenshots of the passes he had recorded to create fake staff passes on his laptop and then affixed his own likeness along with his name to the passes. He then took the files to a printing shop to produce the fake pass, as well as a forged VIP ticket for the concert. That night he entered the National Stadium posing as a staff member.

Tengueu would have gotten away with the scheme had he not subsequently posted on his Instagram account a video of himself with text explaining that he was trying to get into the Mars concert “without having any ticket.”

The video shows how he bypassed security checks and that no officers looked at his pass, which hung from a lanyard around his neck. However, Tengueu was unable to enter the VIP section with his fake ticket when a security officer checked his pass and took a picture of it. Nevertheless, Tengueu remained in the stadium for the entire show and left without incident.

Tengueu was arrested on April 5 when he tried to enter another Mars concert, after security had been alerted to his possible presence owing to the Instagram post and a heads-up from the security officer who had taken the photo of the pass at the VIP entrance.

In court, the prosecutor said that the crime was especially serious since he’d “spread his method of trespassing into the National Stadium on social media.”


‘Buddha Handsome’ Gets Ugly

A popular South Korean entertainer known as the Monk DJ has caused problems in Malaysia for his performance style, which, according to the China Press, is considered disrespectful to the Buddhist faith.

The entertainer is 47-year-old comedian Yoon Seong-ho who underwent a Buddhist initiation ceremony at a temple in South Korea last year where he was given the Dharma name New Jin by a Buddhist priest. He then promoted himself as an electronic music artist under the moniker DJ NewJeansNim using Buddhist elements and gestures in his performances.

Yoon says he wants to spread understanding of Buddhist doctrine to a wider audience in order to gain more sympathy for the religion, and one of his songs, “Buddha Handsome,” has garnered more than 88,000 followers on YouTube. During his live sets he dresses in monk’s robes and mixes music with rapping and prayers.

However, following a performance at a club in Kuala Lumpur May 3, he was condemned by local politicians and the Buddhist community, according to various local media.
One lawmaker said his show might misrepresent Buddhist values and teachings, and an association of young Buddhists received complaints from people who found his show offensive and disrespectful.

As a result, subsequent planned performances by Yoon in Malaysia were canceled. A number of fans, one of whom said that he was looking forward to “some spiritual cleansing,” expressed disappointment on social media for the cancellations.

In addition, Al Jazeera reports that the Singapore Buddhist Federation tried to get two shows set for June in the city canceled, claiming that he cannot wear monk’s robes because he has not been “ordained.”

Consequently, the two sold-out performances will be allowed to proceed, but only if Yoon does not wear monk’s robes while on stage or use Buddhist chanting in his music.
Obviously, Yoon’s form of spreading the good word means different things to different people.

In April, Korea’s largest Buddhist sect presented him with a pair of headphones with the message, “New Jin has played a crucial role in promoting new and youthful Buddhism to the younger generation.”

When asked about his sudden fame throughout Asia, Yoon told a TV reporter in Korea, “To be honest, I feel a significant sense of responsibility. I need to perform better and I don’t want to let people down.”

He is now studying Chinese and English to spread his message further, and on May 17 performed at a nightclub in Hong Kong.


Aespa’s Cross-Cultural Backlash

Both Korea and China have historical issues with Japan stemming from Korea’s status as a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945 and Japan’s occupation of China starting in the 1930s. Sometimes these issues themselves become issues, as in the case of a concert that the K-pop girl group aespa had scheduled for July in Japan at the Marine Messe convention hall in Fukuoka.

After aespa announced shows for July 6-7 at the venue, China Ningning Bar, the Chinese arm of the group’s fan club, protested loudly, pointing out that July 7 was an important date in China, as it marked a day of national mourning.

On July 7, 1937, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, a battle between the Imperial Japanese Army and China’s National Revolutionary Army, took place in Beijing, igniting the second Sino-Japanese war.

The fan club felt that aespa’s playing a concert in Japan on that date was “insensitive,” according to the K-pop fan site Koreaboo, and demanded that aespa’s management company, SM Entertainment, cancel or postpone the concert.

In the end, SM decided to remove the July 7 show in deference to aespa’s Chinese fans. The July 6 show remains in place, with no announced replacement date for the other one.