'Crazy fans' from viewpoint of S. Korean expert
Young people today have been going crazy over South Korean showbiz stars. I’m sure the above story does not only happen in Vietnam. For years, people’s huge interests in South Korean showbiz industry have created what some call Hallyu [the Korean cultural wave that’s making its way around the world].
This Hallyu trend not only gains popularity in Asian countries like Vietnam, Japan, China, and Thailand but also spreads to South America and Europe.
It’s natural for South Korean people to be proud of Hallyu’s popularity overseas. However, like other countries including Vietnam, we had got involved in heated discussions and arguments before reaching agreement in following the right policies to make Hallyu known to the rest of the world.
Approximately 20 years ago, we worried a lot about the potential effects of hip-hop music that came from Western countries on our teenagers as they tried to compete with one another in getting hair dyed or decorated themselves with weird jewelry pieces or clothes. We held a lot of seminars regarding this topic in which many questions were raised: Do young people deny tradition? Do they imitate western cultures? Are youngsters no longer patriotic?
However, last of all we realized the reason the youth became “crazy fans” of western artists was partly that South Korean showbiz at that time was not fascinating enough to appeal them. Hence, we developed the policies that helped encourage changes to this field.
Let me take an example from K-pop (the South Korean music industry) today. My generation and other older ones do not get accustomed to listening to this kind of music simply because western experts have been hired to teach local musicans, who are also encouraged to study music abroad in order to find a new trend for the K-pop development.
The local musicians studying abroad are required to compose songs as a mixture of traditionalism and mordernism. As I know, a number of South Korean musicians have hired foreigners to offer professional advice for their works to ensure that both locals and foreigners like them. Along with musicians, film producers, choreographers, singers, among others have made great efforts for changes. For these reasons, Hallyu is the result of the change efforts jointly by the government and showbiz artists.
All arguments about the topic “Crazy fans of western celebrities” ended after South Korean football team ranked fourth in the World Cup 2002. Millions of youngsters with red T-shirts stormed into the streets to shout clamorously the country’s name to express their support for the national football team. Greatly amazed by these patriotic images, local sociologists have concluded that dying hair or wearing bizarre hip-hop clothing like loose trousers or weird jewelry pieces among the youth is completely not a big deal. Most importantly, they still show deep patriotism and pride for the country.
From my story, I think Vietnamese people shouldn’t be too worried about “crazy fans”. That is a temporary phenomenon occurring in a period of life when people are too young and ebullient. But you should not ignore it. Adults need to ask themselves questions like “Why are't we able to make idols for the young?”. You should always raise such questions and try to answer them. If you could do so, the Vietnamese showbiz will keep up with its South Korean counterpart in the near future.
Did Vietnamese teen concert-goers overreact?
Why do a large number of Vietnamese teen fans dream about meeting South Korean showbiz stars, listen to their songs all the time, hang their pictures on their walls, follow their stories and news, and attend their concerts no matter how much it costs?
After several teen fangirls of South Korea’s Bing Bang boy group fainted during the 9-hour long Soundfest concert held at Phu Tho stadium on April 14, Tuoi Tre held a roundtable discussion on fan culture among local youths.
The discussion began with an idea from graduate student Pham Nguyen Bao Tram, who has received ironic comments after spending a large sum of money to buy a VIP ticket for the Soundfest concert.
“They do not really understand either the psychology of young people or the considerable efforts that South Korean music groups have made to gain success in their showbiz industry,” Tram said after listing several reasons for why she has fallen in love with Big Bang.
In agreeing with Tram, Ngo Thi Thuy Van, claimed that she adores South Korean artists for their true talent.
“Their [South Korean singers] music touches the audience’s hearts in a way that we hardly find in local showbiz,” Van explained.
Meanwhile Tran Truong Tri, of Nguyen An Ninh high school in HCMC, said he loves Suju, a South Korean boyband, because they often bow to greet their fans at a 90-degree angle before and after their performances, something that just a few Vietnamese artists do.
Most young women in the discussion said they prefer South Korean artists to ‘their colleagues’ in Vietnam because South Koreans rarely cause scandals to grab public attention in order to gain fame as some Vietnamese artists have done.
We aren't crazy fans
After being a fan of Suju for three years, Thuy Van knows how to balance her study time and the time she spends with her idols. Although Van regularly attends fanclubs and updates stories and news about her idols, she still gets good academic results at school and has gained much confidence from her parents.
“If you overindulge in showing passions for your idols and neglect other things, no parents feel satisfied,” Van said.
Tri also gives the highest priority in his life to studying at school. He does not spend as much time following Suju as other fans do.
At the Soundfest concert on April 14, Tram also went crazy as soon as she saw the five members of Big Bang. But she had trouble breathing after jostling with other fans to view their idols in person.
When asked about the “fan culture” among Vietnamese youths, Dr. Nguyen Thi Bich Hong, a psychologist, said: “The majority of young people nowadays often struggle to control their feelings and are highly influenced by crowd psychology. It’s normal to idolize someone, but it’s important to be appropriate in your approach toward your idols.”
According to Hong, fan clubs or Internet forums are good places for fans to discuss an ‘appropriate fan culture”.
However, Hong also warned that young people should not deify their idols because no one is perfect. “It’s inevitable that fans will feel depressed if they spot some ‘not nice images’ of their idols.”
“You should be in full possession of your common sense when you idolize someone. You could either learn from them or leave them behind if you find them inappropriate in your life,” Hong said.
What adults have to say about teens and their idols
Dam Thi Xuan Uyen
Young people these days are more fanatic than us
In the old days, I followed some friends and idolized some artists. I would collect their photos and articles about them. I would sing along to their songs. But that was all I could do for my idols. I did not receive much pocket money from my parents and could not go to school with an empty stomach. I felt it was not wrong for my friends to idolize some celebrities, for they dressed nicely, sang well and earned billions due to their gifted voices. Besides their endowed talent, they also spent a lot of time on vocal and dance training.
As time went by, I started to forget them. One time I looked back at some old newspapers, and I was amused by the period of time of my youth. Probably afraid of being judged ‘out of date’, I tried to find myself some idols to keep up with my friends.
I am now working in the education field and sometimes see my old self in the students. These young people have idols and are more fanatic than we used to be. They are ready to fight when someone talks bad about their idols. They do not hesitate to waste time, money and effort to go watch their idols. By talking to teenagers, I learned that they do not have navigation in life due to lack of soft skills. Meanwhile, they have more chances to approach their idols due to the widespread use of the internet in urban households. Family and school are to educate these young people so that they would not risk their life just for their idols.
Doan Ton Bao Phuc
Following idols, a waste of time
It is not wrong to like or admire an idol, but too much of anything is bad. Is it worth skipping meals and rest to wait at the airport to meet someone you call idols? When you do not see them, you start to cry, however, what is the meaning of those tears? It is not your job to carry banners, flags and photos around, screaming and fainting. What do you get for wasting too much time and energy?
As you cry and follow the band while they are headed to the airport to go back to their country, do they turn and glance at you once? Concert tickets are VND500,000-1 million (US$25-50). Have you ever thought about your parents, who worked hard to give you money to meet your idols? And while you were at the concert, did you understand what they sang?
I hope young people will take some time to reconsider themselves and not waste time following idols, either in reality or virtually. It is just a waste of time.
Who to idolize?
Having an idol is an individual right. It makes young people more positive in life and gives them a motivation to strive for. However, reality shows that some can easily idolize celebrities and become frenetic and deviated in their thinking.
Idols are individuals who are loved and admired due to their contribution to society or a specific group of people. They usually have a positive impact recognized by the public.
However, youngsters nowadays quickly pick someone to idolize. Most of their idols are in the entertainment industry and are famous for their appearance rather than talent. Meanwhile, people who are successful in other fields and have made contributions that greatly affect individual lives in either direct or indirect ways are hardly admired by young people.
I want to mention the role of parents to these young people. Are parents the young people’s idols? Have they ever looked up to and expressed their love strongly to their mom and dad?
Fans go wild, faint out of excitement at Soundfest
Several ecstatic Vietnamese fans fainted during the 9-hour-long concert Soundfest held at Phu Tho stadium based in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, that featured performances by South Korea's popular boy group Big Bang and other well-known foreign artists.
Although the show began at 2:00pm, approximately 30,000 teens had patiently waited in long lines to get into the concert hall as early as 11:00am to find a good spot.
Along with local popular artists, the concert attracted the participation of world-renowned artists like Tata Young from Thailand, Kimberly Cakdwell from the United States, Taio Cruz from the UK, and especially Big Bang, one of the most successful South Korean music groups both within and outside Asia.
From 2:00pm to 5:00pm, Vietnamese artists including rock bands Buc Tuong, Unlimited, and Microwave, hip-hop dancer Tien Dat, singers Ha Okio, Thao Trang, and Van Mai Huong produced dazzling performances that amazed audiences at the venue.
At 7:00pm, the organizers decided to halt the concert for 30 minutes to ask the concert-goers to keep order as many fans, who overly excited and jostled each other to catch a glimpse of their idols, fainted.
At 8:00pm, Vietnamese teen fans went crazy as five members of Big Bang were on stage and performed their hit songs Fantastic baby, Hands up, Lies, Bad boy, Tonight, and Last farewell. The fans cried and sang along to the songs and screamed their stars’ name.
Vietnamese teen fans jostled each other for a good post to view five members of South Korea's boy group Big Bang at the Soundfest concert held at Phu Tho stadium on April 14, 2012.
A bed room of a teen girl is covered in pictures of her South Korean stars.
Despite the scorching heat, many Vietnamese fans waited patiently in lines to see five members of Bing Bang in person.
A security guard takes a fangirl, who fainted during the Soundfest concert, to an ambulance waiting outside the venue for emergency care.
Two teen girls in this photo look extremely happy after buying a key chain, showing pictures of their South Korean idols.
Fans of South Korea's showbiz stars gather at an eatery shop situated on Su Van Hanh Street in Ho Chi Minh City.
Hanoian fans of popular South Korean actress Kim Tae Hee.
Look at the face of the teen boy in this photo, you can see who his idol is.
Five-member Big Bang boy group delivered wonderful performances at Soundfest held at Phu Tho stadium on April 14, 2012.
There are no empty seats at the Soundfest's venue.