In a now-deleted Facebook post, TV host Korina Sanchez spoke of the Wanna One concert held at Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on September 1. She commented, "The kids went gaga over Wanna One tonight, and imagine P13,000 tickets and kids get their parents to spend for songs the lyrics of which hindi naman naiintindihan ng Pinoy!" Korina continued, "The phenom is worldwide. It's the look, I think! All [of the] K-pop concerts I've been to are filled with screaming kids na nilalagnat ! Basta, malaki ang contribution ng Pilipinas sa ekonomoniya ng Korea."
So why did K-pop fans in the Philippines get mad? It's because when you ask K-pop fans to describe the artists they stan, rarely do they ever start with a description of the idol's physical features. It's the music and the dedication—how well they sing, the way they move, and how much they love their fans. But that's if you ask.
We asked some K-pop fans for their honest reactions:
"Everyone has the right give his/her own opinion, however, she should at least be knowledgeable about the topic before siya nagbigay ng opinion...you know, to not sound so ignorant." —Karen, 23
"May specifics ba para sumaya? Kung fan ako at doon ako masaya, parang wala namang mali doon. Don't judge. Ang masama is if ninakaw ko yung pambili ng concert ticket." —Krisel, 26
"I think what went wrong is that Korina—like some media people—was trying so hard to relate to the K-pop phenomenon without actually researching and immersing herself. She's "trying to be in" for the numbers. I admit that looks do help in making someone interested IN THE BEGINNING, but what made me become a real fan and fall so deeply in this black hole is their passion, each member's personalities, the humility, genuine love and care for fans, and their music in general—lyrics included. Hindi naman mahirap mag-Google. To be honest, the way I connected with their music was on another level. You won't understand this unless you're a fan yourself." —Trina, 24
"I've gotten a lot of responses like this from titas of mine who don't understand why I love K-pop. I know that Korina's comment was meant to be light-hearted, but it's pretty offensive given that she implied that K-pop fans don't have good reasons for supporting our idols. Most, if not all of us, actually take the time to read translations of songs and even speak to other Korean fans to understand the songs on a deeper level. K-pop is a global phenomenon not just because fans find idols attractive, but because we truly appreciate the artistry involved in K-pop songwriting, choreography, and overall performance." —Erika, 23
"K-pop fans aren't blind followers, madam. Nor are they spending money for things they can't understand. They might not all speak Korean but there's this cute little technology called English subtitles. If you actually do your research, some K-pop groups' lyrics and melodies can be so powerful—enough to save lives of kids and young adults with depression," —Gin, 26
"It takes A LOT of dedication and passion to be a K-pop fan so I really don't appreciate it when people judge us based on how much we spend or how 'loud' we seem to be. Madame Korina, let me just remind you that music is a language everyone understands. And even if Hangul isn't a language we naturally speak, we do our best to educate ourselves about their culture and the meanings behind their songs. We're above and beyond what your small mind can comprehend. International fans, like us, even garner respect from Korean fans because we actually TRY to understand them, respect them and support them as artists. Besides, I can guarantee, Ms. Sanchez, that majority of the crowd that night were adults and though some of them are parents, most of them are working adults who spent their hard-earned money on a ONCE IN A LIFETIME experience. Had she known that THAT was Wanna One's last concert in the Philippines before they disbanded, she would have understood the passion and the emotions she felt around her that night. Had she known how difficult it is to score K-pop concert tickets, in general, she would have appreciated the fact that she was there when hundreds of Pinoy fans would have gladly taken her place." —Twila, 27
And here's how the internet responded: