DISCLAIMER: This is going to be long…
This is like a more in-depth ‘about me’ so I will divide this post into Pre-Nobody and Post-Nobody era. Every K-Pop fan/K-Drama fan/Filipino knows that damn song.
I can still remember how I loathed anything K-Pop related way back. Though Jewel in the Palace (대장금, 2004 | 2005-2006 in the Philippines) made a very huge impact in my life, other Korean-related things outside the drama has been very foreign and strange to me. Being a strange and weird person myself, I just didn’t like the thought of repetitiveness. Monotonous chorus, same-looking people in a group, yeah, I guess you understand. You also struggled memorizing Girls’ Generation’s names, right? [Well actually I didn’t, ㅎㅎ]
As I see it, there are two major reasons why people start learning the language, it’s either they were into Korean drama, or Korean music. Unfortunately, though I loved Jewel in the Palace so much (up till now), it was not my reason for learning.
I was also a heavy player of Dance Battle Audition. It’s basically a rhythm-music game, and there are A LOT of old Korean songs in there, from 1TYM, Wheesung, MC Mong to Park Ji-yoon, Jewelry and Baby V.O.X. Basically, Philippines is being infested by Korean stuff gradually. I love a lot of songs from the game but it was just like that. I never ventured out or researched for their other songs.
I heard Girls’ Generation’s ‘Kissing You’ from my cousin/niece (don’t ask why cousin or niece), an ELF/K-Pop fan. Those were the days when SNSD’s still into cutesy concepts. We love the song so much, but I didn’t paid much attention. To put it simply, It didn’t trigger anything in me, I just liked it. My cousin/niece… let’s just use cousin, shall we?
Going back, my cousin has been a fan of Super Junior since, I’m not sure if it’s 2007 or 2008. We were busy with our own lives back then so we don’t talk a lot. By the way, I am also serving God through Youth for Christ and at times they would listen to K-Pop while we’re on the road or something. I would be like, “Wag na yan, di nyo naman yan naiintindihan.” Let’s not listen to those things, you don’t even understand them.
I hated K-Pop more since then. For me it was *insert negative adjectives here*.
I don’t know if it’s only me, or in the Philippines, Nobody opened up Hallyu in a larger sense. Of course we wouldn’t remove the fact that Jewel in the Palace, or Full House, or Endless Love, or another drama marked the start of Hallyu in the Philippines, but that particular Wonder Girls’ song ‘Nobody’ is the one to blame.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t start being a K-Pop fan or learning Korean because of Nobody. THAT SONG WAS ANNOYING (though I honestly know most of the steps ;). Then came Super Junior’s Sorry Sorry, SNSD’s Gee, 2NE1’s Fire and I Don’t Care, U-KISS’ Bingeul Bingeul and others. Those were the songs that I’ve hated so much since they became ‘kantang pang-kalye‘, or songs that you will frequently hear on the streets. Not just on the streets but basically everywhere, radio, TV broadcasts, etc.
I was anti-K-Pop for almost three years when…
Everything started within me. There were a lot of factors that could’ve influenced me, but I triggered it myself.
It was a boring night, I downloaded Audition again (check Pre-Nobody era) and played. Before, I used to play in computer shops so I haven’t had any time to be more productive. This time, I was ready. From the first time I heard Jewelry’s ‘Again’ up till now, I have considered it as one of my all-time favorite songs. Thanks to the power of internet, I’ve downloaded Jewelry’s ‘Again’ album, together with SNSD’s ‘Genie’, ‘Oh!/Run Devil Run’ and ‘Hoot’.
From then on, I became one of them, the thing that I most hated… A K-POP FAN.
Now, after that long blah-blah… WHY LEARN KOREAN?
I honestly don’t have a particular reason why I want to learn the language. Not because I want to work or study there, or anything. I just want to. K-Pop has opened a lot of possibilities and happiness that I never thought would come. It was just magical. Right now, my burning passion in learning the language is at its peak. And thinking about it, K-Pop is not a reason why I’m studying the language anymore. Not so I could understand songs or variety shows, or watch dramas without subtitles. Maybe my love for the language has grown over time, and when you love something, it’s beyond reason.
I plan to study as far as fluency goes. I may not have a concrete reason, or at least a motivation for me to study further, I just know that this is not one of my childhood goals anymore. I will strive hard every day so my passion for this learning will soon take me somewhere, and I will do well and study hard.