Baey Yam Keng gives props to K-pop group BTS in speech to struggling businesses

At left, a screengrab of Baey Yam Keng during his speech yesterday. BTS in an August photo. Photos: CNA, BTS/Facebook
At left, a screengrab of Baey Yam Keng during his speech yesterday. BTS in an August photo. Photos: CNA, BTS/Facebook

Baey Yam Keng, 50, proves he is a boy with lots of “luv” for K-pop boy band BTS during his parliament speech largely aimed at struggling businesses yesterday.

The MP for Tampines took cues from the South Korean idols’ successful virtual concert held in June to urge more local businesses to be more innovative during the economic downturn and rely less on government handouts. 

The online concert was watched 750,000 times from 107 countries and earned about S$26 million (about US$19 million), Baey said, suggesting that businesses could still grow amid the pandemic if they are willing to think out of the box. The BTS concert took place amid restrictions to large-scale gatherings and major concerts in many countries. 

The Bang Bang Con: The Live show allowed viewers to switch between screens that showed different camera angles, from close up to full-frontal shots, as the group performed. 

“A virtual concert streamed by K-pop boy band BTS in June turned out to be the world’s largest paid online music event. The BTS concert’s paid viewership was equivalent of 15 shows and 50 thousand seat stadium but the concert was streamed from a much smaller venue — a studio in Seoul,” he said.

The Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Transport Ministry began his BTS analogy after citing weak business models in the local media industry. 

“As the world shut down and many people stayed at home in our battle against COVID-19, many people turned to the internet for information, services, and entertainment. Many of these online offerings tend to be available free of charge, or supported by public funds,” he said. 

“The same problem faced by many media companies for many years for weak business models for online content still exists today. The successful transformation from a conventional to an online concert calls for mind-set changes and innovation,” he added.

BTS, also known as Bulletproof Boy Scouts, became a worldwide sensation after performing at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards in the U.S. The group formed in 2010, is managed by Big Hit Entertainment, and is made up of seven members: Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, Jungkook. 

For businesses holding on solely due to government funds, Baey thinks it would not be sustainable. 

“I urge businesses to seriously think about their own future in a different world. If a business is surviving just because of [the] government’s help, it is probably not going to last very long,” he said. Singapore had announced five sets of COVID-19 financial aids worth nearly S$100 billion. 

Instead of turning to the government for handouts, he suggested looking into their own savings or turning to families for help. 

“Likewise, we should also tap into our own reserves. Our reserves are not just our personal savings, but our reservoirs of concern and care for our family and loved ones, compassion and empathy for others, especially the more vulnerable, and mental strength to overcome adversity,” he added.

Later at night, Baey posted about his speech to Instagram, saying: “Using K-pop band BTS analogy, I spoke about the approach that the government, business sector and people could adopt to address the challenges in a COVID-19 and hopefully soon to come, post-COVID-19 world.”

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