Posted by: Tommy | April 29, 2011

Waiting on Beiber

Let me start this post by making it abundantly clear – I WAS NOT WAITING ON JUSTIN BEIBER.

But I was really enjoying the crowd of small Asian people who were.

We were met in Singapore by our friend Emily, a girl I’d met almost 10 years ago on my study-abroad semester in Prague.  She was my most frequent travel companion – we’ve been to Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Krakow and Istanbul together, among other places.  Emily left her job as manager of marketing and communications at the Sprint Center in Kansas City in December to travel in Australia and New Zealand for 6 months.  We’d talked about possibly meeting up at some point and she (and her bank account) decided that a month in Southeast Asia might be more fun than another month in Australia.  So she’ll be with us for the next month, covering Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and part of Laos.

Anyway, we’d been in Singapore for 4 days and Anna was finally getting over her jetlag, coming back from Texas.  We’d bought tickets for the hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing bus and had been out exploring all day.  We’d seen most of the major sights and decided to check out the “giant building that looks like it has a boat on the roof”.  You can see the building from anywhere in Singapore – it towers over the eastern skyline – so we just rode the bus as close as we could and then walked the rest of the way.

Singapore skyline

It turns out it’s the Marina Bay Sands, a state-of-the-art hotel, casino and shopping venue.  I want to see the casino and the girls want to see the view from the giant boat on the roof, so we go inside.  The casino has a no-flip flops policy, so I’m thwarted.  As we’re walking through the lobby, trying to find a way to get to the roof (we didn’t think we’d be allowed, but we were going to try anyway) we noticed a large crowd and a ton of security lining the lobby of the hotel.

Emily chatted up one of the ladies on the security detail and found out that everyone was waiting on Justin Beiber to arrive.  As we started looking around, the crowd is largely 12-15 year olds, each wearing a Beiber t-shirt and clutching a pen and a notebook, looking for autographs.  And they were hilarious.  Every 2-3 minutes, someone white would walk through the sliding doors that everyone was expecting Beiber to walk through and someone would let out a loud squeak – and all of the kids would start squeaking in anticipation.  There was a nice bar (serving $18 cocktails – Singapore pricing was a far cry from Nepal) and we were having a good time, so we decided to stick around and watch the mayhem when Beiber actually showed up.

I wanted Emily to press the security people for more information, but she wisely told me to wait.  She’s the professional, so I left it alone.  We sat at a table in the bar that offered a good view of the lobby and ordered drinks.  The waitress came back with drinks and a tray of wasabi peanuts (delicious) a few minutes later and Emily showed her expertise.  She casually talked to the waitress and found out – that Beiber had not arrived yet, that he should be arriving in the next 2 hours, that he was staying in the hotel and had a concert the following night.  Emily then explained to Anna and I that security people are tight-lipped and that any time they had issues at the Sprint Center (the largest concert venue in Kansas City) with people knowing information they shouldn’t know, it had come from food vendors or cleaning staff.  Some things transcend cultures.

At some point, 2 members of Beiber’s band came off of the escalator and caused a near-riot.  The large security force was quickly overwhelmed by the screaming, occasionally crying, mass of fans.  The bandmembers (who were definitely enjoying the attention) stopped in front of the elevators to take a few pictures with some admiring fans and the security basically stood back and watched the chaos.  The high-pitched shrieking that emitted from this gathering had me covering my ears.

My favorite part of the evening happened just after the bandmembers went back up the elevator.  A fair number of adults had been hanging out in the bar, also watching the madness.  When the real chaos started, everyone (Emily and I included) hopped out of our seats to get a picture (admit it, this post would be better with a Beiber photo).  Since Beiber wasn’t actually there, I didn’t get one.  But the Asian woman at the table next to ours was triumphantly displaying her Beiber photo to the guy at her table.  The look on her face when he told her that it wasn’t Beiber was priceless.  She was so excited about it – and had no idea who she was taking a picture of, just that a bunch of 12 year olds wanted the picture.  She turned to me, as if seeking confirmation.  Now, I couldn’t name a single song of his, but I know what the guy looks like and it definitely wasn’t Justin Beiber in the photo.  So I confirmed that it wasn’t him for the lady and she just looked dejected.

We ended up staying for 2 hours, mostly listening to Emily tell stories from her days at the Sprint Center (she’s seen some really crazy stuff, none of which I’m allowed to mention in the blog).  We drank sparingly ($18 for a cocktail!) but ate a ton (7 trays) of wasabi peanuts and barely made the last subway back to the hostel.  No good Beiber photos, but definitely a good time.

The crowd waiting for Beiber


  1. Great skyline pic. Sorry you didn’t see Beebs. I’m not sure I would recognize him if I bumped into him in an elevator but if I were in your shoes I would have been a little disappointed too.

  2. Bieber Fever 🙂

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