Pre-event: Taking KE 641 with the Korean contingent and having Kim Dong Moon and Lee Dong Soo in the row right behind me. I had abandoned a two-week trip to Pusan following my immersion program in Seoul for the sake of the S-Open without realizing that I had booked myself on a flight with world champions. To the disgust of my friends, I did not ask for autographs or photographs, much less speak to the players - although I did steal more than my fair share of peeks at the row behind me and was forced to finally open my mouth when I accidentally ran my suitcase into Lee Hyo Jung at Changi Airport. During the event: Strange feeling of dejavu, this being my third live Open. Seemed just like yesterday when I saw the 2001 edition abt 2 weeks before leaving home for studies in the States. Lots of emotional ups and downs with Lee DS being kicked out in the 1st round (argh!), Kim/Ra beating Zhang/Gao almost effortlessly, the match bwt Peter-Gade and Lee Hyun-il, which was too painful to watch. Pity about PG - I was really hoping he would take it. Also Ronald Susilo gaining 9 points in the 1st game against Chen Hong before losing the second 1-15. Credit to RS though: I thought he improved quite a bit although CH is obviously a class above him. Plus the thought of the Singaporean BCers meeting up with JR. Did you guys manage to do so btw? At the entrance, it was weird to have my bags inspected on the QFs and body scans done on the SF and F. Thought you would only experience such things as the airport but understandably, there was such a need what with the recent JKT bombings and the arrest of SEA's favorite terrorist. And the distribution of all the different national flags. I was contemplating telling the person, "One of each please. I represent the UN". Strangely, this guy sitting in front of me really DID carry one of each and was waving them all at the same time. The most amusing part was this Singaporean ah-chek (I don't exactly know how to put this across to non-Singaporeans but the closest approximation would be a middle-aged man who speaks mostly Hokkien or Singlish with an unmistakable dress code) doing a live commentary to his son, who was blowing the cacophonic party horn (relic from National Day?) with such great effort, I swear he was spluttering towards the end. That reinforced my belief that badminton is great on its own but better with a laughter-inducing crowd. The evening after the SFs, a little bird told me about this gigantic crowd of screaming teenage girls running after the Korean players, one of whom had the audacity to RUN UP THE TEAM BUS bound for Pan-Pacific Hotel to ask for autographs. She was duly chased off by the security guard. According to the same source, the younger Korean players like Lee Hyun-il and Shon Seung-mo throughly enjoyed the attn and were waving and smiling like movie stars back at their adoring fans. A stark contrast to the scenario at the Inchon Airport in Seoul, when the Korean players were left on their own to watch TV without a single autograph or photograph hunter to disturb them. I asked a couple of native Koreans abt the popularity of badminton in their country and apparently, it wasn't much. On the other hand, it's "cool to be Korean" in Singapore at the mo, which probably explains the increasing no. of fans waving the Taegeuk-ki in the crowd. Not to discredit the Korean baddie players who are really of some standard though. Post-event: Had another good laugh watching another bunch of teenagers bombarding Kim/Ra and Lee Kyung Won for autographs. When Lee apparently turned down some request to pose for her millionth photoshot with the same crowd, this girl actually said in classic Singlish, "WHY YOU SO BAD ONE?". More hoo-har when they tried getting her to teach them how to pronounce her name and repeated word for word, "YI KYUNG WON". Darn, what wouldn't I give to be young again... Anyway, I had my own twenty seconds of blessedness taking a pic with Kim Dong Moon (thanks to someone on this forum who half-coerced and half-convinced me into doing it!) not juz coz he was Kim Dong Moon but coz I could actually request for a photoshot, say thanks and congratulations all in Korean. Okay, he didn't reply but sometimes, a smile is worth a thousand words and Kim Dong Moon has a really nice smile. Ah... to come home rain or shine every year for the Singapore Open... who needs a trip to Pusan? Btw JR, if you're reading this: Congrats on the 2nd place!