My interest on KPOP music is usually misunderstood. I must admit that there are moments when all unsolicited criticisms of my preferences are getting into me and I just want to burst out and retaliate. Yet at the end of each day, I always realize that I need to be the bigger person and arguing against stereotypes overwhelmed by insecurity and envy will bring me nowhere.
But how long should I just take it all in?
Korean music is just like anything else. It's music. it has beats. It has tunes. It has lyrics. Yes, lyrics - which I believe is where everything roots. Some people are just crazy enough to assume that any other language aside from English and Filipino are not languages which are meant to be understood. They think that others aside from the two are of aliens. Okay, I'm exaggerating but I think you're getting the point.
That, for me, is just plain stupid. I can't understand why they generalize. Do they really think that just because THEY can't understand Korean means we can't as well? I don't know with you, but to me who is working hard on getting fluent with Hangugo, that's a complete insult. I refuse to associate myself with such definition of intelligence.
And granting that some fans really do not know the Korean language, we have translators who wholeheartedly translate everything into a language we will all understand. Now, isn't constant stereotyping an insult to their multi-lingual abilities, too?
Another thing that always gets to my nerve is when people tell me that liking KPOP is turning your back against OPM. WOW! JUST WOW! I've heard this accusation a lot of times already and it really never fails to irk me - especially when I heard it coming from a band who I looked up to in the past, a band who I think is just putting the blame on the KPOP industry for their failure to dominate the mainstream industry again.
There are two basic justifications why OPM is 'dying'. First, OPM stands for 'Original Pilipino Music'. Keyword is 'original'. But who wouldn't notice the influx of revivals? Most artists just pick up old solds, put their own renditions, and sell it to the market like it's theirs. They say they just want to pay tribute to older musicians but I think that's just a lame excuse for being lazy to produce their own.
Second, isn't it obvious that we're running around in circles here? The OPM industry obviously need fresh ideas, fresh concepts, and fresh treatments. And I don't limit it on music as well. KPOP is widely accepted because of how it's presented to the public. OPM should think of doing that too. I am now being particular with music shows in the Philippines. You see, the KPOP fans aren't stupid. We know when something is copied; and that is the reason why many lose interest in the local industry.
The thing about KPOP is that it always present new concepts to the public. It always satiates our cravings for something new. It always set trends - something which OPM barely manages to do now. To be honest, I really would prefer the days when Jolina Magdangal would still wear all those trinkets. At least, she represented an all-original craze.
I know I sound so defensive, but will it be convincing if I say that there are still lots of KPOP fans like me who still finds OPM as their home? At the end of each day, it is still where we're going home to. Because no matter how many times we say that we are KPOP fans, we are still Filipinos and OPM is still imbued in our very souls. But that doesn't mean we accept everything. You see, we still have preferences. We are still entitled to choices. Just because we don't like the music of one band doesn't mean we don't like everything else. Always bear that in mind.
Moving on, another ridiculous accusation about my interest in KPOP is that this makes me turn back against my nationality. This is just that same as the OPM thing but is certainly more insane and hypocritical. I mean it! People who are constantly saying this should at least try to get themselves involved, and they will see how much Filipino KPOP fans take pride on their being Filipinos - how they get flattered when their favorite artists mention Philippines, how they work hard to get the Philippines noticed, how they try to uplift the country just so international fans would come here for concerts (and eventually lead to more tourism for the government).
With this in mind, I suddenly remember an argument I had with an 'OPM fan' on Youtube years ago. He said KPOP fans are stupid because they live like Koreans when they don't understand a thing. With an insulted pride, I countered attack by telling him that it's just the same thing with American music fans who prefer living the 'American life' here in the Philippines when they don't really understand the meaning of their English songs as well. After some exchange of arguments, he eventually dropped his case and told me that I clearly know what he's saying - when in fact, I DON'T. He was merely trying to find the easiest way out of the conversation, I supposed.
Tell me, is there any modern person in the Philippines who doesn't listen to foreign music? I know fashioning ourselves like how Koreans do always sparks an issue among non-KPOP fans; but have they ever seen themselves in the mirror? Don't they look like their favorite western artists too? Geez. People should really know how to walk their talk!
Then, there's the issue of good looks too. I have been told a lot of times that I like KPOP because the artists are utterly good-looking. LIKE HELL WOULD I DENY THAT! OF COURSE, I LIKE THEM FOR THEIR LOOKS! But that doesn't end there. That never end there.
Sure, good looks are important but that is just the first step to popularity. In the KPOP industry, no one stays with good looks alone; because good looks - as well know - fades. But talent never ceases. If anything, it improves - and that's basically what makes us stick around.
What non-KPOP fans should understand is that artists go through rigid sets of training just to debut. If unlucky, the years they spent practicing will go to waste simply because they aren't good enough. Then, there is a high standard set in the Korean entertainment industry which artists should always meet. That is why they constantly strive for improvement, for perfection.
How can we not admire them for that?
KPOP music is basically an inspiration. Like I said, artists train hard to get to the spotlight. No one is given the chance to act like spoiled brat royalties. Well, okay, some of them could be; but never have I encountered anyone from the Korean industry who went past his/her limitations in front of the public. Korean artists uphold their reputations fairly well and I can say that they try their best to not ruin their names. They mind what they do - something which I honestly don't usually find on local artists (particularly band members who never hesitate to diss other artists on national TV, live performances, and SNS just to be tagged as 'cool').
I know the points I've raised here are way too ordinary already; but stating the truth in defense of an interest which stupid people use as basis to ridicule you will never get old. KPOP is music; and music aims to unite everyone. So I wish - and I pray - that people will just stop using it as an excuse to get divided.
There's just no point on that.