Contact tracing for Covid, K-pop style, is efficiently done on social media

AH, the struggles of living with Covid-19 are enormous. As I write this, it’s been over three days since the 2022 K-Pop Masterz in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena and already, reports of people testing positive for Covid-19 are trickling in.

Luckily, none of those who tested positive were (so far) in or near my area but I still self-tested and the result was negative. I was seated in the front row of the VIP area and never once did I take off my mask. I normally don’t when I’m in a place with so many people. I’m not judging anyone for taking off their masks (they might have their reasons such as having difficulty breathing) but I did see so many people do it. I didn’t even use the restroom because it’s usually packed. I was with a colleague friend and not once did we take off our masks when we were together.

Anyway, reports about positive cases started coming in on Twitter on Monday and it was so good to see how people were responsible about testing and reporting if they were negative or positive.

Imagine if we had home testing kits at the start of this pandemic? Then people would have just done it themselves. We could have all tested ourselves when we had symptoms and told people we came in contact with. Then, maybe the spread of Covid wouldn’t have been as wide and as bad.

The kits are at P300+ at Watsons. I’m not sure if you still need a doctor’s prescription to buy an antigen testing kit but if you can afford it, it would be good if you had some at home for testing if you have symptoms.

Anyway, it’s not surprising that Covid spread very easily at the 2022 K-Pop Masterz in Manila despite all the precautions taken by the venue and promoter Pulp Live World Production Inc. Even the VIP standing area had room for physical distancing. It’s really inevitable if we’re living in the “new normal.” It’s also up to us to be responsible and test if we have symptoms. This is not an elitist thing to say because if you can spend for a general admission ticket to a concert, you can certainly spend for an antigen test kit.

Anyway, the concert was a huge success with one group (Treasure) and two solo artists (Bambam and Jackson Wang). The concertgoers got a big bonus with the surprise appearance of Sandara Park who was just supposed to go up the stage to support Bambam but ended up singing the 2NE1 song “I Don’t Care.”

I’m a fan of Bambam and I love how he prepared for his set and even sang a Tagalog song (“Ngiti”). One of the things I like about Bambam is his personality and he brought it to the 2022 K-Pop Masterz in Manila as he talked about his love for bangus and sisig, and his desire to go to a night market in the Philippines.

Bambam opened his set with his collaboration single “Wheels Up” (featuring Mayzin). He also performed “Ride or Die,” “Look So Fine,” “Who Are You” (featuring Seulgi of Red Velvet), and “Pandora.” He concluded his set with his debut title track “riBBon.” Bambam’s GOT7 groupmate Jackson Wang performed after him. What I enjoyed about Jackson’s performances was how aesthetically pleasing and dramatic they were. We were lucky to witness the first live performance of his newly released single “Cruel.” He also sang “Blow,” from his upcoming album Magic Man. Other songs that Jackson performed that night were “Blue,” “Drive It Like You Stole It” and “100 Ways.”

Like Bambam, Jackson also has a great personality. The GOT7 members are funny in different ways and they’re both great with fan service. For instance, Jackson shared an amusing scene from his Coachella performance last April, where he was the first K-pop solo artist to perform on the main stage. Because he was nervous, he forgot to spit out his chewing gum, which remained in his mouth throughout the set.

If I’ve only mentioned Treasure once, that’s because I’ve been saving the group for last. I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed their performance. The energy of a K-pop group is very different when you watch them perform live but Treasure’s energy, exuberance and playfulness are quite infectious.

Only 10 members of Treasure—Hyunsuk, Jihoon, Yoshi, Junkyu, Jaehyuk, Asahi, Doyoung, Haruto, Jeongwoo, and Junghwan—came to Manila to perform, as Mashiho and Yedam are currently in hiatus from group activities until the end of the year.

Treasure first took the stage with “Jikjin,” the title track from their latest mini-album The Second Step: Chapter One. This was followed by “I Love You.”

The other songs they performed, much to the crowd’s delight, were “My Treasure,” “MMM” and “Boy.” Of course, Treasure’s set would not be complete without the group performing its viral song “Darari.”

The day before, Bambam was at Ayala Malls Manila Bay for Bambam Fansign in Manila presented by CDM Entertainment. He also had a fansign event in Cebu before the one in Manila.

“I want to go to the beach and I also really wanted to go to the night market in the Philippines,” said Bambam about the places he wants to visit in the Philippines. n

Image credits: CDM Entertainment