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'Unpaid therapist': what Taylor Swift means to her fans

Published March 08,2024
About 300,000 Taylor Swift fans from Singapore and around the region were expected to flock to the city-state this week for the megastar's six sold-out concerts.

As the only stop in Southeast Asia for Swift's blockbuster Eras world tour, Swifties splashed out on flights and hotels to see their idol.

Ahead of the last gig on Saturday, AFP spoke to six diehard fans, known as "Swifties", about their favourite Taylor Swift song and what she means to them.

Searle Lira, 33, became a Taylor Swift fan in high school with the song "Teardrops on My Guitar".

It helped her to get over her own heartbreak from unrequited love.

"As a person, I feel she's the unpaid therapist of girls," said Lira, a freelance journalist from the Philippines.

"All the things that girls go through you can find a Taylor Swift song that you can relate with."

Lauren Fang, 23, first listened to Taylor Swift when she was in hospital receiving treatment for lupus.

Fang, a human resource specialist from Taiwan, was 18 at the time and said Swift's songs helped her recovery.

Her favourite song is "Back to December" which is about regret for leaving someone.

She tweaked the lyrics for herself to say: "If I can live again, I swear I will love myself right."

"The song taught me that if I can redo my life, I swear I will live my own life right," Fang said.

Sarah Lui, 21, began listening to Taylor Swift in primary school -- and never stopped.

"I will still be a Swiftie even if I become a lawyer," said Lui, who is about to graduate from a criminology programme in Hong Kong and embark on a law degree.

The thing about Swift she most admires is her kindness.

"She's been so good to her team, her fans and to everybody. She's humble and kind, that's what everybody in the world should do," Lui said.

"She's a superstar but she's never been arrogant because of her fame. She is making use of her fame to do good."

Men Ratiee, 23, a communications student from Bangkok, first heard about Swift on the news in 2014, when her concert in Thailand was cancelled following a coup.

His favourite song is "Shake It Off" because it makes him feel better.

"She is an inspiration. I learn English from her songs. I sing them," he said.

"As a woman she inspires me because she is a good person. Her life is so amazing."

Mona He got her first smartphone when she was 15 and the first song she downloaded was Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me".

Now, 24, He said attending Swift's concert was the fulfilment of a nine-year dream.

"I admire her because she is fearless," said He, who runs a business in China.

"Although she has haters she never, never gives up."

Renzo Gonzales, 26, said he liked Swift's message that people should be themselves.

"Regardless if you have a lot of insecurities, you just have to be who you are and be happy," said Gonzales, who is from the Philippines and works on an international oil tanker.

He said Swift became his role model because "you don't need to be like what everybody is telling you to become, you can be yourself".

Gonzales said his favourite song was "Daylight" because it taught him that "love can be a rainbow".