April 28, 2011

An Intelligent Post By An Intelligent KPOP fan on the current issue saying that KPOP fans has a tendency to commit suicide

Why so negative?

I STILL remember vividly the precise moment the stadium went dark and a sapphire blue sea of light emerged from the darkness, not to mention the thousands of screaming fans united and chanting in a foreign language that most would not have understood.
That was during the Korean boy band Super Junior’s concert in Kuala Lumpur, and I was there with thousands of other euphoric K-pop fans. Yes, we were screaming our lungs out, and we gushed over them. But we were just teenagers having some fun.
Precisely one month and five days after that memorable concert, the bubble burst when I came across an article in the vernacular newspaper on teenage K-pop fans who were described as fanatical.
The article outlined the negative influences of K-Pop, which also included fans committing suicide in extreme cases. If that wasn’t enough to enrage an entire congregation of fan girls, they labelled K-pop fans as spendthrifts who should be better educated on how to spend their money.
There were even quotes from local “experts” to support these stereotypes, and they clearly did not know much about Korean pop music.
South Korean group Super Junior has a huge fan base in Malaysia.
Reading all that gave me an insight on how K-pop fans are viewed through the eyes of outsiders.
Perhaps fans who squeal and scream at the sight or sound of our favourite idol entertainers are just too perplexing and even alarming to some, to the extent that the psychiatrist quoted in the article is warning parents that they should control their children’s obsession with pop stars.
I am an active K-pop fan. But being a fan is not an obsession, it is merely a hobby that I have to alleviate stress. It allows me to enter a whole new dimension of reality in which I play for a few hours in a day. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that we mimic everything our favourite stars do.
There have been news of Korean artistes committing suicide, but the reality is that K-pop fans do not have the “If you jump, I jump too”, mentality.
With more than three K-pop groups appearing in the music scene every month, fans simply move onto other younger and current groups rather than resort to extreme actions.
Among my wide circle of K-pop friends, I’d say that we have done some positive things. In the wake of the double tragedy in Japan, fans witnessed stars such as Kim Hyun Joong, a member of the popular South Korean boy band SS501, and major companies such as SM Entertainment donating money amounting up to almost RM2.7mil.
Not long after that, many fundraising activities were initiated by communities of K-pop fans to raise money for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
However, that wasn’t the first time that K-pop themed charity projects have been launched in Malaysia. Other projects such as the “1:59 Charity Show” by the Malaysian 2PM fans to raise money for the underprivileged have also been successful. But the K-pop effect is more than taking part in ocassional activities.
Walking into the world of K-pop means that you do not only enjoy the music, you also become naturally curious about it’s language and culture in the process.
Many K-pop fans in Malaysia are taking up Korean as a third language in order to enjoy song lyrics, and be able to watch the shows their favourite idols are on without having to rely on subtitles.
Through listening to K-pop and having friends around with the same passion, I have been able to pick up Korean rather easily. I am always motivated to learn Korean so I can understand what my favourite idol is saying. And of course all fan girls dream of meeting their favourite idols, and being able to speak to them in Korean.
For most K-pop fans, learning Korean initially was just so that they could understand Korean music and shows. But many of these K-pop fans move on to either continue their tertiary education in Korea or end up working for Korean companies based in Malaysia where the fluency in both English and Korean become highly valuable.
While many youngsters love K-pop bands like SS501, it is silly to think that every fan will do every single thing that their idol does.
So in the end, it’s a long-term investment that opens up so many other doors of opportunities for Malaysian youths.
Through learning the language, fans also learn about Korean culture. The emphasis of honorifics is emphasised from the first Korean lesson. The different levels of respect between younger people, friends of the same age, those that are older than you and you’re boss greatly differ, and it affects your behaviour among your peers.
Without realising it, most fans tend to carry that culture into their daily life and have become more cautious about the way they speak and how they behave in front of adults.
Being infatuated with K-pop also opens up a room for mutual understanding and a chance for Malaysians to understand a new culture.
Understanding the Korean culture has made me appreciate the diverse culture that we have here in Malaysia. I have never been more willing to take time out and understand other cultures found in my own home instead of just living parallel to it.
Although most people would say I am biased towards K-pop, I believe we need more measured and rational viewpoints of K-pop fans. What the media reports is what people read, and it’s misleading when these reports warn people to be suspicious of youths who love K-pop.
Most K-pop fans are just average teenagers having a little fun ... as the Sony PlayStation 2 campaign tagline goes, “live in your world, play in ours”.

Natsaha Iman is 16, and balances her studies with her duties as the administrator of a K-pop forum.

So proud!! Glad that I know her!! She is brilliant! Natasha!! You rock!!

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