Kang Gary is no stranger to Singapore. After all, he has dropped by not only as a solo singer, but also as one-half of hip-hop duo Leessang and a part of the Running Man cast.
However, this time round, he came here with a different agenda – to surprise students.
Gary, who was in town to film a variety show School’s OUT, turned up unannounced and held a guerilla concert at Singapore Polytechnic. Were the students surprised? Not really, according to Gary. He reckoned word could have spread around before his official appearance because fans turned up armed with placards and Leessang caps.
“We rehearsed with the school band, so they probably told their friends. You know what we usually did in high school? They probably sent messages to their friends, ‘Don’t tell anyone but Gary is here.’ And those friends told other friend, ‘Don’t tell anyone!’ But I understand their actions.”
Gary relived his student days by paying a visit to a lab at the Perfumery and Cosmetic Science Centre, where he attempted to concoct a bottle of perfume. We wonder if he was stressed about that because during our interview, he revealed that he wasn’t into studying. “I just wished I had a vacation of three months – that was all I was thinking about,” he said.
We caught up with him to find out more about his school days, which Running Man members he wants as a teacher and student, and a rather interesting – and surprising – fan encounter.
What kind of student were you, and what was the worst thing you did as a student?
In middle school, I hit my class president, so I got scolded a lot by my teacher, and I was slapped more than 30 times. We don’t really practise it now in Korea, but back then, it was called “punishment of love”.
Is there anything you would redo from your school years if you could go back in time?
I regret that I didn’t really studied English. If I had studied English, I could probably crack jokes now. If I went back to school, I would study English.
When you in school, who did you wish would surprise you in school?
When I was in high school, there were school festivals, and stars and singers would come to visit and perform. When the female singers came, the male students would go crazy.
Who was your favourite?
It was a singer named Kang Suji. … Back then, I also liked Hong Kong stars. I really liked Joey Wong. If she came, I might have fainted. I printed her photos and laminated them, and brought them around.
If you were to visit your own school now, what would you say to your teachers, and what do you think your teachers would say to you?
“Why did you hit me so much?” That’s all I want to ask them. They would probably say, “You became successful because I hit you.”
What kind of girls did you like back then and has it changed?
My ideal type of girl is still the same. The first girl I liked was an older girl. She looks like Gwei Lun-mei, from the movie Secret, where she acted alongside Jay Chou. I like that kind of image.
What did you do to court her?
I couldn’t say a single word. I think she probably noticed that I liked her. I hadn’t seen her for quite some time after a graduated. After a few years, I managed to find her social network site. She was holding a baby. Oh my God!
What kind of teacher do you think you’d be?
if I didn’t do music, I would probably have become a Physical Education teacher because I went to a sports school. That was my ambition at one point of time. I have memories of being beaten by my teachers, so I would want to be good friends with my students.
If you were a student, which celeb would you like as a teacher and what kind of teacher do you reckon he/she would be like?
If Yoo Jaesuk were my Moral Education teacher, I would have paid attention in class. It would be really fun and enjoyable. From what I see, someone who can teach Moral Education because he’s a morally upright person and that’s how he lives.
If you were a teacher, which of the Running Man cast member would you want as a student, and who would you not want as a student?
Lee Kwang Soo for both. Lee Kwang Soo’s character on Running Man is that of a traitor, so I want to make him a better person. But in real life, he’s a really nice person.
Which school transition affected you the most?
I think it’s probably from high school to university. I was into sports, so I went to an athletic school. But my passion was music and dancing, so at that time, I was a little confused. Back then, reggae perm was in trend, but my school didn’t allow us to have that hairstyle. So during my school vacation, I went to enrol and tried hiding it under a hoodie. But I got caught and was scolded a lot.
Was there a trend that you regretted following when you were younger?
It’s not really a regret, but when I was in high school, all the male students pierced their ears during the school vacation. So I also got one. I was afraid my mom would get angry so when I slept, I pulled the blanket to my ear to hide it. But when I was asleep, it went down, so my mom found out and scolded me. Back then, ear piercings and hair colouring were some of the things we did, but nowadays, the younger people like to express themselves further by getting tattoos.
Leessang is a veteran in the industry, and Gil had taken up the role of a coach in both seasons of The Voice Korea. Do you have any plans to be a mentor or a producer on shows like Show Me The Money?
Personally, I don’t think I’m in a position to teach music to someone, so I think that person has to find out his own colour and style. Even if I’m not the mentor, they’re already really good. Sometimes, I learn from them instead.
When was the last time someone sprung a surprise on you?
When I was performing in China, I took a plane to another city. On the plane, I was practising my rap with my earphones on and my eyes closed. I felt strange so I opened my eyes and there was a Chinese fan beside me who was filming everything. I was really embarrassed so I asked her to delete the footage.
School’s OUT will premiere on channel M in 10 Asian countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar and Australia on November 14, 2015, at 8:30pm.
Images: channel M