How K-Pop Fans Are Changing K-Politics
Stanning a politician like stanning an idol
안녕하세요, it’s Ari, your friendly Korean source and your weekend reminder🎉 I’m back from a 2-week-break! I thought I could be back last week but COVID symptoms lasted longer than I expected. I feel much better now! Thank you all for supporting messages 🙏
Today’s newsletter is about how Korean K-Pop fans became a major player in Korean politics, a new voicemail where you can send me your Korean ‘rap,’ and a spicy & sweet egg recipe. Let’s start!
💙 How K-Pop fans are changing K-Politics
Every Wednesday and Saturday, there’s a demonstration in front of the Democratic Party headquarter in Seoul. A few hundred protesters demand the reform of the prosecution and media laws. Demonstrations are nothing new in South Korea but there’s something different, something K-Pop in this regular protest 👇
In the above video which filmed one of the recent demonstrations, protesters are marching on the street singing an old K-Pop song, Into The New World by SNSD and a guy who’s filming the video says, “It feels like a dream! I never thought I would hear Into The New World while protesting for the reform of prosecution and media laws.”
It was possible because a lot of protesters were K-Pop fans. These young female K-Pop fans are changing Korean politics and it all started with the South Korean presidential election. About a week before the election, something strange happened on the Korean Internet. There are many community websites in the country which are about many different interests including K-Pop. They are often hostile to each other and never united before. But right before the election, they assembled (like the Avengers did) to endorse the liberal Democratic Party candidate, Lee Jae-myong.
One of the assembled websites was Theqoo which is the biggest Korean K-Pop fan community. The members of Theqoo are hardcore K-Pop fans who stream idols’ songs 24/7 to give them prizes at music awards, buy billboards to celebrate idols’ birthdays, and even make their favorite trainees debut (in a big-hit K-Pop idol audition TV program, Produce series). Most of them are young women in their 20s and 30s. They learned that Lee Jae-myong is the best ‘trainee’ who should ‘make a debut’ as the South Korean President after studying the candidates’ campaign promises and watching presidential debates. I’m a member of Theqoo as well so I remember the website was filled with posts like “Make a debut as the President, Lee!,” “All the trainees I supported made a debut so will you, Lee Jae-myong.” They shared how they persuaded their family members and friends to vote for the liberal candidate. They attended Lee’s campaign tours saying, “I’m going to Lee’s concert today.”
Although they were devastated when Lee lost the election to a conservative candidate by a thin margin of 0.7%, they quickly recovered and joined the Democratic Party to keep supporting Lee. Just two days after the election, over 120,000 new people became democrats and half of them are women in their 20s and 30s.
Members of Theqoo are still hardcore K-Pop fans but now they’re also hardcore democrats who send text messages to the party’s representatives about a floor leader election and take to the streets two days a week to pressure law makers to reform laws. They miss the times when they could only talk about their idols on the website and didn’t have to worry about the country or politics. But as the candidate who said workers have a right to work underpaid and over 120 hours a week, feminism is lowering the number of couples and birth rate in the country, and South Korea should attack North Korea got elected, they have no choice but to participate in politics. And they’re doing it in their own, K-Pop fan-like way.
🆕 Mic Drop- Rap your Korean!
Happy to present Mic Drop, my new voicemail where you can send me your Korean voice message 🎉 As an English learner myself, I always get super-excited whenever I succeed at singing along a fast English song. To be able to speak fast enough is, I believe, every language learner’s dream. So I thought it would be fun to practice fast Korean speaking. Every week, I’ll give you a K-Drama line or a K-Pop song lyrics, we’ll practice speaking it together with my podcast, after that send me your ‘rap’ to my voicemail. Your rap will be on the next week’s episode if you send your message by 11 pm Tuesday EST. Be brave and show off your Korean rap skills 🎤
The first Mic Drop line is from Business Proposal ☝, a romance K-Drama that is available on Netflix. It’s a cliche-but-super-funny rich man and poor girl romance. In the first episode, Young-seo (female lead) goes on a blind date taking her friend’s place. She planned to get rejected by her date but when she goes on the date, she finds out that her date is the CEO of the company she works for. She got panicked and she says the following line to herself,
호랑이 굴에 들어가도 정신만 차리면 된다고.
The line means, “I just need to stay calm and do what needs to be done.” But it literally means, “Even when you enter a cave full of tigers, you’ll be fine as long as you stay calm.” It’s from a Korean proverb, 호랑이 굴에 들어가도 정신만 차리면 산다 meaning, “No matter how bad your circumstances are, you can get through them if you stay calm.”
Words in this line,
굴 or 동굴 Cave
들어가다 V. To enter
정신 차리다 V. To stay calm/focused
Whenever I hunt a super-easy Korean food recipe for you, I always think about two things: Can you get most of the ingredients of the food easily? & Does this food taste Korea? Today’s food, dalgyal-bokki or gyeran-bokki says “Yes!” to these two questions (Dalgyal & gyeran both mean ‘egg’ in Korean). This food is basically boiled eggs in tteokbokki sauce which is spicy and sweet. Tteokbokki is a high-carb food which makes it the archenemy for anyone who’s on a diet. But with dalgyal-bokki, you don’t have to worry about gaining weight. Make sure to hard-boil the eggs when cooking. Watch the vid ☝ and give it a try!
Thanks for reading! If you liked my newsletter, ❤, share and leave a comment to make my day :D Virtual McDonald’s where you can practice how to order in Korean will be closed till this week. I feel much better but I still cough a little and I’m worried it could bother you during the audio chat 😷
📕 My second Korean exercise book, Not Studying Korean, Just Filling in the Blanks- K-Drama, K-Pop, and Relationships will drop next week. Below is the sneak peek of the book. Plz look forward to it!