“Why do you like K-pop?” I get this question from people, directly and indirectly, some in a judging way, while some are genuinely curious. While most people would know what K-pop is by now as groups like BTS and Blackpink are greatly known worldwide, I’d still like to give you a brief introduction to K-pop.
K-pop started as far back as the 1990s when SeoTaiJi & Boys performed their music on tv. It struck a chord in Korean society and led to the formation of entertainment companies debuting idol groups like H.O.T, Turbo, S.E.S, and solo artists such as BoA and Rain. Some of these artists, which we now refer to as the first generation K-pop artists, are still active in the industry. They served as an inspiration for teenagers in South Korea and led to the debut of second, third, and now the fourth generation of idol groups and solo artists. Music genre, choreography, and fashion also played a big part in the evolution of K-pop and became popular when addictive hits like Nobody by Wonder Girls and Gangnam Style by PSY went viral worldwide.
Now back to the question, why? I admit that I got interested at first because of the visuals and music, but the longer I listened to K-pop, the more things I learn every day. Starting off with the language. Of course, people often say, “you don’t even understand what they’re singing about”, but there are translations out there on the internet and, because of that, I’d subconsciously learned a new language. Wanting to know what the artists are talking about, I went on to learn the basics of the language on my own.
Following that, I learned that it’s actually quite easy to make new friends with other K-pop fans, starting with social apps like Twitter and Facebook. Online friends are not as scary as what I was told. In fact, they’re actually better than I thought! It’s an incredible experience because you get to know people from different countries and professions. Having the same interest, the friendship develops deeper into our personal lives and boom! There are a whole bunch of people you can share your happiness and sorrow with. Knowing a person online, especially a fan account, helps you to know their personality first before how they look, which teaches you to not judge a book by its cover.
Not just that. K-pop artists are also my source of inspiration and support. They go through years of training in order to debut and continue to work hard for success in the competitive industry, setting a good example for fans to never give up and strive for their dreams. Music is a good stress reliever, but I’ve seen people saying K-pop does more than that, some even saying it helped them with depression. It’s the lyrics that have fans feeling like they’re not alone and that K-pop artists are ordinary human beings with emotions just like us.
Some lyrics that I really love:
“Be comfortable with the way you are. That’s right, it's okay to be okay…” - That's Okay, D.O.
“Stop for a while, hold your breath and breathe again. To be trapped for long in despair that repeats endlessly is a waste…” - Flow, Monsta X
“Not so perfect but so beautiful. I'm the one I should love…” - Epiphany, Jin
“It's okay to make mistakes sometimes. Because anyone can do so…” - Breathe, Lee Hi
Other than the music, it’s the comfort K-pop artists are able to give their fans. Taking my own favourite group, Monsta X as an example, these are the few things they’ve said, “Funny thing about human is that just a little thing can make us happy and give us a goal in life.”, “You have to feel the small happiness to be able to feel big happiness,” and “It’s natural to be upset or sad, so don’t blame yourself.”. Not only that, the group is also ambassadors for SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions with TogetherBand and the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).
I hope this answers the question “Why do I like K-pop?”, it’s more than just good looking people singing and dancing. K-pop has brought a lot of changes in my life in terms of my mentality, personality, and lifestyle. I hope you’ll give K-pop a listen, maybe start with those I’ve shared, I’m sure you’ll find a couple of them likeable!
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