Thoughts of a introverted Kpop fangirl..


Seob: “Early morning. Listening to a calm music and on my way to Ilsan. Suddenly I remembered the after party after the concert and broke into a smile so I took my smile off and started writing. That night Dongni and I drank till our heads were full and started discussing music to bits. Of course it wasn’t some kind of serious discussion. My memory’s a bit fuzzy but I clearly remember  something I said. I asked Dongni why we are putting in so much effort and practising so hard and the answer I got back was quite surprising and frankly it touched me. “Because every time when we do performances, I don’t want it to be that hyung (yoseob) would be the only one (of the two) to have a tough time.” (T/N: In other words, I believe Dongni wants to step up to the plate and take his share of the workload and work just as hard as his hyungs instead of sitting back as a maknae – which usually being youngest it’s understood they would be more kindly looked upon. Dongni shows he’s matured.) I was surprised. I thought it would be a more simplistic answer. This friend has deeper thoughts than I expected. Quietly in the background putting out his own equal share. MaknaeHe goes first and takes the furthest seat into the back of the van (where it’s prone to motion sickness), first one to volunteer to be the last when filming CFs or individual cuts or photoshoots, such is our reliable maknae. Even now taking the back seat, laying asleep oblivious to the world, quickly maturing and getting wiser, such is our maknae. Very soon he’ll wake up and get embarassed: “Hyung, why are you uploading this kind of things…, but hey thanks for giving me a great image” and he’d love that I wrote this ㅋㅋㅋ” (LOL)


yysbeast 이른 아침. 잔잔한 노래를 들으며 일산으로 가는 길. 문득 콘서트 끝나고 뒷풀이가 생각나서 피식했다가 진지해져서 글을 적고있음 머리끝까지 술을 마신 동니와 나는 그날 음악에 대해 백분토론을 했다. 물론 대단한 토론은 아녔다. 기억이 흐릿하지만 분명 기억나는 구절이 있다. 내가 동니에게 왜이렇게 열심히 연습하냐고 물었을때 대답은 꽤 놀라웠고 감동적이었다. “매번 활동 할 때마다 형만 힘들게 하고싶지가 않아서요” 놀랍다. 난 더 어린 대답이 있을거라 생각했는데. 생각보다 더 생각이 깊은 친구. 묵묵히 본인의 몫을 다해내는. 막내. 벤 제일 뒷자리(멀미가 심한자리)를 먼저 앉는, 광고 개인컷때 먼저 마지막에 찍겠다고 말하는 든든한 막내. 지금도 제일 뒷자리에서 세상 모르고자고있는 수염빨리자라는 막내. 조금이따 일어나서 “형, 이런거 왜 올렸어요 부끄럽게,근데 고마워요 이미지 좋아졌네요”라며 좋아하겠지ㅋㅋㅋ


Took a while to translate this beautiful piece of anecdote from yoseob. Chasing after kpop idols is hard work, it requires a flurry of skills that you’d never expect young kids in their early teens to have. I’m only in my mid twenties, but I already feel the heat of trying to keep up with the boys (perhaps it’s my introverted nature – doing these kinda things suck up an intense amount of energy.) Exhilarating but exhausting. At the same time, being a kpop idol is also a serious business. And I mean it from the business model. Getting a full team to market people to the masses, entertainers, and generating hype and desire, a commodity that is measured more in terms of experience (going to concerts, being part of a fandom, waiting, interacting) as opposed to purchasing an actual product (CD). Rather, there are lots of emotions tagged the CD you actually purchase. What a curious thing. To sell something that isn’t tangible, yet it exists!


Sometimes I break out and observe this fandom culture phenomenon as an outsider (I find myself doing that many times, even when I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone), What do I get out of being part of a subcultural fandom? Companionship? Being part of a virtual collective (I put virtual, because my involvement usually extends as far as being active online, but going to performances is still a personal experience for me). I don’t know. Perhaps it’s to do with fufiling an innate desire to connect with people, but doing it from a safe distance. Liking a public figure provides the fertile ground for just that. It allows me to feel connected and yet, it’s still external enough to handle. My personality is very much that of a cat. I’d like to feel included, but not directly involved. You can see 2 introverts hanging out, perfectly content, doing their own stuff near one another but not exactly engaging in a common activity or conversation. For us, it’s the proximity that gives us the assurance. I’m not sure if that sentiment conveyable to extroverts as well. An extroverted person would feel alive, engaged in a live concert, being in the moment, whereas the same experience would drain me out, and I find it next to impossible to absorb the senses and experiences in the moment, and I can only relive the experience post-occurrence.


There’s a difference between wanting personal fame and the glitz and wanting to pursue your dreams as a performer and sincerely serving the masses with your skills that you were blessed with. Regardless of one’s motivations for going into such a career that can be quite brutal (treating people as objects from the business end and reverent beings from the fandom end!) I can honestly vouch for the fact that in the entertainment industry, sleep is a rare commodity for these celebrities, that something most common people like us have. Yoseob had been kindly updating his instagram every few hours to let his fans know what they are doing, regardless of how tired he was. That’s dedication to fans. The connection between someone and the recipient. I feel a little admiration just looking at that. As a generally asocial introvert, reaching out to people isn’t something I’d typically do, easily or willingly. In fact, I often seek to avoid making connections, and so looking at someone doing it so earnestly touches me. Anyways.


I’ve read so much korean between yesterday and today, I can literally feel myself improving. Where it used to be that I needed to dump chunks of text into a translator to lay out the general template for me to begin translating with the help of dictionaries, I feel like it’s getting slightly better. Not that I can read everything (nah), and I’ve kinda stopped writing words I found in my notebook. (I’m sure that’s at a detriment to myself), but at least I’m better equipped now to know how to find the words I need to find,

Yesterday, I got a single fan mail (on b2stera), that I did a good job translating (well more accurately, always trying my best), but it feels good. When you work hard, it’s only natural to want to be acknowledged for that. Korean is a beautiful language that isn’t always easily conveyable, but it’s natural to want to share something beautiful when you find it.


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