Last March 2, Filipino K-pop fans were treated to an exciting concert—One K Global Peace Concert brought an excellent lineup of artists such as PSY, SHINee, CNBLUE, B1A4, BAP, BTOB, and AOA to help promote the campaign to unify North and South Korea. Despite the fact that the concert was held on a weekday, SM Mall of Asia Arena was full of screaming fans who either took leave or went straight to the venue after school or work.
While the amazing performances of some of Korea’s best garnered endless appreciation in social media and even in the local and international news, there is one dedicated fanboy who also captured the attention of the concertgoers.
Amid the chaos of the concert all around him, this guy was spotted diligently doing his thesis. There had been many student fans who had to insert a little bit of school work during the concert day but this one particularly stood out from the rest, earning as much as 27,000 retweets and 43,300 likes as of writing time for this stolen picture of him working on his laptop. Fans call him “Thesis Guy.”
KStreet Manila was able to talk to the person in the viral photo posted by Twitter user @oddtokki. Peterson Nieto (@iampetersonieto), a third year BS Medical Technology student from Far Eastern University, shared with us the story behind the picture circulating all over Twitter.
From Twitter comments, many fans lauded his perseverance but still, some assume he was a non-fan boyfriend of a fan girlfriend who was somewhat forced into the concert despite the amount of school work he had to finish. Either that, or the photo was staged to intentionally make himself look like a hardworking student fanboy. Nieto was quick to deny such statements, saying that he went to the concert with his female cousin as they are really big fans of SHINee, him of member Minho particularly.
“I thought that the concert will happen on March 12, a Sunday. Turns out, I misread the announcement,” Nieto said. Back in 2013, he had just become a SHINee World or Shawol, so he attended K-Pop Republic Concert with SHINee, EXO-K, and Dal Shabet in the lineup. However, he only got disappointed to find out that his bias Minho wouldn’t be able to join SHINee at that time. “This is why as soon as I heard that SHINee will be coming back [to the Philippines for One K Global Peace Concert], I promised to myself that I will be going with the hope that they will be coming as OT5,” he said.
As he and his cousin, Allen, were supposed to claim their upper box seat tickets from SHINee World Philippines (SWPH) around noontime of the concert day, he decided to bring along his school things to make his waiting time useful. It was, according to him, hitting two birds with one stone: see his favorite group and complete his student tasks at the same time. “I asked [Allen] if we could stay in a coffee shop while waiting so I could do my school work. I had four pending quizzes the next day and a deadline for our research proposal so I had to be productive and efficient,” Thesis Guy shared.
During the concert, he typed away in his MacBook in between performances, stopping once in a while whenever emcees Minho and AOA’s Seolhyun come out. Admittedly not a very big fan of B1A4, he resumed his thesis work during the group’s set. That was when Angeline, the Twitter user behind handle @oddtokki, took a photo of him working intently on his laptop.
“My cousin was seated to my right. The girl beside her (Angeline) called my attention and said, ‘Kuya, I’ll make you famous,’” he imparted. In his confusion, Angeline only added, “You’ll see.”
When it was time for his most awaited performance from SHINee, that was also the time to pack his school things and scream for his idols at the top of his lungs. He and his cousin stayed until encore before heading home. As he remembered what the girl beside his cousin said about making him “famous,” he asked his cousin if she was able to get the Twitter handle of the girl. “I was really curious and blindsided so I just typed in ‘concert acads’ on Twitter’s search bar and was surprised to see the top tweet: it was me!” he said. “I was more surprised to see that it had already more than 4,000 retweets [as of the first night of posting]. I never expected that it would garner that amount of attention,” he added.
He briefly publicized his private Twitter account in order to introduce himself to Angeline. “[Angeline] said that she did not also expect her tweet will gain that much attention. I even taught her how to turn off notifications from people she doesn’t follow,” Nieto shared.
Despite having to work on his thesis during the concert, Nieto shared his delight in attending One K Global Peace Concert, especially since SHINee members acknowledged the local Shawols’ fan project spearheaded by SWPH. “I am happy that I finally got to see them as OT5 but also sad that I will not be seeing them again for an uncertain amount of time. Nevertheless, I made the right decision to go [to the concert] even with the amount of school work I had to do,” he said. “This concert experience will be staying with me for a very long time.”
While the photo sends a message of balanced perseverance as a student and dedication as a fan, Thesis Guy shared that being a fanboy doesn’t really affect his studies much. “I have a clear vision of my goals and the ways to achieve them. I still know what my priorities are and I full commit to them,” he stated. In fact, rather than a distraction, K-pop helps him a lot in his studies. “I cannot study if there is no music playing. Music helps me concentrate and focus on the task at hand, and it makes me more productive and efficient,” he shared.
Regarding the progress of his precious thesis, Nieto said: “We are still doing revisions of our first chapter and gathering related literature for the review. We will proceed with experimentation next semester if our research proposal passes the evaluation.” As the leader of his thesis group, he said he’s doing everything in his power to have their research proposal accepted by the panel. Lastly, he said, “I hope it all pays off in the end and everything works out. With our consolidated efforts, I am confident it will.”
Let’s all hope Thesis Guy’s group ace their research!
Written by Minnie Dela Cruz