Exotics (unofficial fan group name for EXO) have been known to be very…enthusiastic about their support. I am willing to to admit EXO is quite popular, so it is not unexpected that they have a lot of overzealous followers. These overzealous followers are know as ‘sasaeng fans’. These people are often called ‘stalkers’ or ‘creeps’ by some people because of their dedication to follow their idols at all costs. This can range from using taxis to follow their vans/cars to waiting outside their homes or the homes of their family members. In other words, being called a ‘sasaeng fan’ is not a good thing. These fans recently crossed the line at an event involving EXO members, which has a lot of people talking about what should be done concerning these ‘sasaengs’.
[Photo Credit: angrykpopfan] Link: http://tinyurl.com/mgke8um
The event in question was a wedding. Yeah, it was the K-pop version of ‘Wedding Crashers’. The only thing is it was not as funny, if the actual movie was funny at all. I wouldn’t know, since I did not watch it. Anyway, I digress with that talk. The wedding was for the brother of EXO’s Baekhyun. I don’t see any name for the bride, but that’s not too important. This wedding was supposed to be that bride’s special day and there are pictures of fans standing barefoot on tables to get pictures of EXO members for swarming them at any chance they could get. Apparently Baekhyun was not happy (who would be?) and a fan decided to punch him in the throat. Take a second to let that sink in. Yeah, apparently the sasaeng fan did not like being ignored by her precious oppa. According to a translation of a post by a sasaeng fan on their Daum account, these fans are clearly deranged and feel their idols should bend over backwards to please them. It went something like, “Baekhyun-ah, I told you…Stop messing around, or we really don’t know what we’ll do next…Why do you think we went all the way there and caused a fuss?…Our puppy is so cute when he’s mad…But it’s time to tone down that personality isn’t it? You’re a public figure hehe…Try treating us like we’re insects one more time, we really don’t what we’ll do next time…And send your brother our congratulations on his wedding~.” (Translation from http://tinyurl.com/nka6m9a) Am I the only one who sees the threats and derangement in that post. These sasaeng fans have no sense of decency and have even done things like injuring their idols in pursuit of them or from physically interacting with them. According to allkpop.com, one of the (invited) guests at the wedding posted photos with this following message. “The wedding was quiet before the EXO members appeared,” the person posted. “When three of them stood up to sing the congratulatory song, they rushed forward and stood on chairs to film videos. During the cake cutting, they ignored the couple since the idols were at the back, they tried to get autographs and pictures.” Do you notice how it starts? There is one specific part I want to draw attention to and that part is the “…before the EXO members appeared.” This makes me worried that some people might start to feel these idol groups are too much of a burden to include in family events. How much longer until someone in a family says “It would be easier for everyone if you didn’t show up” to their idol family member. I can only imagine how the bride must have felt, especially if she was not someone in the entertainment industry. I will guess that she was not, since I have not seen a name. This means that she might not have been prepared for such a rush of sasaeng fans, which an artist might have experienced before. That same invited guest also posted another comment to support that statement. “During the family photo, all of them mobbed together and took the picture. Thought it was a press event. Everyone else was getting angry and the couples’ faces were getting darker.“ Did you read the part about the couple and how their expressions were changing? The only reason I figure Baekhyun’s brother might have been hit a little less hard by the experience is because I figure he’s heard stories from his brother and knows about EXO’s sasaeng fans/problem. Either way, their faces getting darker translates to their moods growing foul. Basically, it means the their day was ruined. That means the wedding was ruined, so there goes the bride’s special day. I just hope the bride never shed any tears or whispered “I just want to go home”. I would feel horrible if I heard her say that or was there an saw her crying. Even if she did it later, there is no reason for her special day to get ruined. It’s not like Baekhyun invited these people, so it’s not really anyone’s fault (except the sasaengs). Baekhyun just wanted to show his support for his brother on his wedding day, but these deranged sasaengs decided they would crash the wedding to get more photos or be included in a photo with their idols. It was a family photo and they rushed into it. Their disrespect knows no bounds and something has to be done.
[Photo Credit: allkpop.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/kmlpa3v
Now, the problem is how do you deal with sasaeng fans? It’s not an easy problem to solve. Many people, myself included, do not consider ‘sasaeng fans’ actual fans. They are more like a shame on the fan group and people of a fan group often distance themselves from such people. These sasaengs are often of a young age and fall short of the age line for legal action to be taken. This incident was bad enough for some action to be taken, as a Facebook page for Baekhyun mentioned the police were called in find as many of the fans as they could. (http://tinyurl.com/n25chfq) I’ve posted about legal action being taken against such detriments to idols before, such as the rumor spreader of IU and there was also the Bae Suzy incident as well. However, waiting for something bad to happen is not enough. There have been incidents were an idol was hurt while a sasaeng fan was chasing them down on the streets and poisoning of idols by putting glue (or something bad) in a drink. K-pop is a vital part of the ‘Hallyu Wave’ and the ‘Hallyu Wave’ is a vital part of South Korea’s ‘soft power’. A country’s ‘soft power’ is their cultural appeal, which means it says “This is how life is over here. Don’t you know to be like us?” If this is how deranged/obsessed “fans” are handled, then the likely response will be a resounding “NO!” and some people will be turned away from that system.
Since this is so important to the ‘soft power’ of the nation, there needs to be some laws set forth to handle the ‘sasaengs’. They are so confident and brazen because of the lack of specific laws targeting these “fans”. Legislators have likely heard of these incidents and maybe thought of setting some specific “Anti-Sasaeng” laws into motion, but these thoughts have likely fallen short of even being mentioned to the law-making floor. I am not expert on law-making in South Korea, but they need to pay more attention to these incidents. According to an episode of EatYourKimchi, there are public wedding halls that people can get into by paying some sort of fee. These people don’t even have to be invited, but such people’s luck can run out if they clearly stick out from the crowd. This wedding did not appear to be in a wedding hall, but that is beside the point. The law makers need to realize just how important their idols are and do a better job of protecting them. It is true that the companies should be the first ones working to protect their idols, but there are a lot of idol groups. They pop up like daises and security can only be stretched so far. In the end, idols are very important people and need to be protected. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is a touchy one and I can understand if law makers feel they have much bigger things to handle, but these idols have a big effect on how others view the nation of South Korea. Many people I know suddenly pay attention to South Korea because of K-pop and K-dramas. K-pop brings a lot of attention and revenue to them, so it should be a big deal to make sure these idols are protected. Also, they are still people in the end and deserve their space. A public figure has less privacy than a private citizen, but they need basic privacy as well. Don’t rush their weddings, funerals or any events you are not invited to by them. Unless it is a public event, stay away at a reasonable distance. We love our idols and that means we need to respect their wishes. Do that and never become a “sasaeng”.
What do you think about ‘sasaengs’? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also, here is a recent “rant” on the issue of ‘sasaengs’.