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A special Youthopia selfie with Raymond.

Photo credit: YOUTHOPIA/AMANDA TAN

Everyone loves Raymond on TikTok, and this is why he dances

Dear Raymond, thanks for meeting. Be happy.

Amanda Tan
Amanda Tan

Skills include buying the same jeans in different colours.


Published: 5 May 2022, 9:58 AM

Do you ever look at someone and wonder, what is going on inside their head?

Well, that was me when I first saw TikTok sensation @raymondl88 on my For You Page.

Why the man shows up at random bus stops and MRT stations to dance to the same song, in the same shirt, with the same moves, I do not know – that is until I met the legend himself in the flesh on Wednesday (May 4).

For the past week, Raymond has been gracing various MRT stations in Singapore with his presence. Similar to how a K-pop idol does fanmeets, he invites his fellow supporters in the vicinity to come down and dance with him.

When Youthopia found out that he was visiting Toa Payoh on Wednesday evening, we weren’t going to pass up on the chance to speak to him. And, of course, film a TikTok with him.

By 5.40pm, we were already scouring the premises, on the lookout for the TikTok star.

You would think that with his 1.8m stature, iconic red polo shirt and shiny bald head, it would be hard to miss him. However, searching for him was like trying to catch a rare Pokemon. We even split up to stand watch at the different exits at the MRT station.

In all honesty, a huge part of me was hoping we would miss him, mainly because I was afraid. Afraid he would be a strange man or that he would be unreceptive towards us approaching him. 

But alas, all hopes were dashed because minutes later, my phone buzzed and the screen lit up with a singular ominous text from my colleague – “he’s here”.

We set off in trepidation and headed towards Raymond, where he was setting up like a true professional.

Watching him carefully prop the phone on the tripod before angling it to fit all six of us in frame, it made me wonder just how many tries it took him to eventually settle on the perfect set up.

@youthopiasg Thanks for meeting. Be happy! @raymondl88 @lilys455 #MRT ♬ 原聲 - 183😜

The minute we wrapped up the TikTok, there was already another fan running up to him to request Raymond to dance with him. It felt like a conveyor belt almost, a never-ending stream of youthful fans vying for a chance with the legend himself.

A crowd had also formed around the open space. There were people from all ages and walks of life crowding at the fringes of the open-aired square, phones pointed towards Raymond, just to get a glimpse of the master in his element. 

However, it was easy to tell who his fans were from the crowds of curious on-lookers. They simply buzzed with excitement and were seen in fits of giggles, as they patiently waited their turn with him. 

I found it so surreal how there’s this unspoken agreement between Raymond and his legion of young fans.

There’s no introduction needed. They just simply show up, knowing what they have to do. All that’s left for Raymond to do is to set the timer before getting into position and bouncing into action.

 

Dancing like no one’s watching. GIF CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/AMANDA TAN

 

Something else that was equally surprising was that Raymond is very insistent on getting the perfect take that is satisfactory to both parties. He reviews the footage with them before double confirming that the video is good to go. We love a consent-seeking King.

He also seems like an expert at handling overzealous fans by politely shushing them. Seeing how aware he is of his surroundings, it feels like he’s been warned before for causing disturbance.

 

He even gives directions on where to stand. GIF CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/AMANDA TAN

 

If you’ve been following Raymond, you’d know that there’s a lady by the name of Lily (@lilys455) who follows him on his dancing adventures. He tags her in every single post even when she’s not featured.

However, he clarified that he and Lily are just friends who dance together – though not quite together actually, since there were two different gigs going on at once.

 

Lily dances with her cameraman while Raymond takes selfies with fans. GIF CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/AMANDA TAN

 

Unbothered dancing queen. GIF CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/AMANDA TAN

 

Once it looked like Raymond was done dancing for the day, Youthopia took the opportunity to ask Raymond the burning questions that are on everyone’s mind: When and how he started this dance trend, and why is he doing this exactly?

Raymond answered in Mandarin: “I started three months ago, out of boredom. But now with the mask mandate being lifted, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go out and dance to make people happy. I also wanted to make new friends.”

Later on the same day, Raymond shared in his TikTok live stream that he came to Singapore from China in 1998. He also said that he would like for more people to dance with him. 

“But (you) must be happy then dance. If (you’re) not happy, why dance together?” he added.

By the end of the day, whatever preconceived notions I had of Raymond pre-meet up had completely dissipated. If anything, I was heartened to know that everything he’s doing is all in good wholesome fun. 

Thanks for meeting, Raymond, and I hope you stay happy.


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