Boy-band singer’s fans splash out $1m in birthday love fest

Fans of boy-band singer Anson Lo Hon-ting paid more than HK$1 million to celebrate his 26th birthday yesterday, including flashing LED birthday lights on a cruise ship, a giant billboard display at Tsim Sha Tsui pier and a four-day special exhibition.

Lo is a member of the 12-strong boy band Mirror, which has led a revival of Cantopop in the past few years.

Fans of his fellow member Keung To spent a fortune to celebrate his 22nd birthday in April, buying time on giant TV screens at malls, including Times Square. Citizens joked that Causeway Bay turned into “Keung To Bay.”

Yesterday Lo’s fans took the “idol chasing” culture to new heights.

Sailing near Siu Sai Wan last night, cruise ship Genting Dream showed the celebratory message “7 Jul Anson Lo” with LED lights – an unprecedented display that comes with a six-digit price tag and was visible from miles away.

Hundreds of fans also headed to the Star Ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, where a giant billboard congratulating Lo is on display until today. Lo himself took a photo in front of the billboard – paid for by 800 fans – yesterday morning.

A route 1A bus covered in pink with photos of Lo will travel between Sau Mau Ping and Tsim Sha Tsui until August 24. Lo’s face also appears on dozens of LED advertising boards at bus stops across Hong Kong.

An exhibition “Stand by you” was held at a dancing studio that Lo frequents from Sunday to yesterday.

The exhibition was for fan club members only and all 900 spots were booked within an hour.

“We have spent a six-digit figure [more than HK$100,000] on the billboard, another six-digit number to help Anson promote his new song, and a five-digit number for an exhibition,” Lo’s fan club organizer, Annie said.

Annie said she spent a month with six other club members creating the birthday billboard and exhibition from scratch, including design and promotion. “I only slept three to four hours a day,” she said.

Annie said she has been following Lo’s career since he appeared on ViuTV’s talent show Good Night Show: King Maker.

“My husband initially did not understand why I like someone who I do not know so well,” she said. “But he is quite supportive now as he sometimes offers to help me with chores of the fan club.”

While idol chasing has been going on for years, the rise of K-Pop has given rise to new elements such as elaborate birthday celebrations visible to more than the inner circle of fans.

She said the idol-chasing culture has changed to become more positive: “In the past, fangirling was seen as something negative, something that people do when they do not study or work, but I think it is viewed as something more positive now.”

Among Lo’s fans were young girls as well as mothers.

A mother-and-daughter, 45-year-old Joyce and 13-year-old Tonton, visited the exhibition together yesterday, saying they usually buy two sets of idol souvenirs every time.

The pair planned to spend around HK$2,000 to buy all the merchandise sold at the exhibition, including umbrellas, bucket hats, A1 posters and earrings.

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