Let us marvel at Bae Yong Joon waving to us in flesh & blood and not as a statue frozen in metal or stone

 

FANS are a demanding lot. The more of yourself you give to them, the more of you they want. This is especially true of us die-hard fans of Hallyu (Korean Wave) star Bae Yong Joon.     

– We see his films and dramas over and over again, and we analyse and drool over his every gesture, look, expression     

– We buy BYJ souvenirs – key chains, T-shirts, calendars, cards… – regardless of our age     

– We capture his handprints and treasure them on drinking mugs and on walls     

– We eat his o-bentos or lunchboxes and go to his restaurants     

– We happily buy products simply because he has endorsed them     

– We blog about him, and then we blog about those blogs     

– We even learn Korean because our hero speaks Korean     

– We travel to his motherland Korea, if we can     

 – We idolize him and see in him the embodiment of the ideal man (read the full paper on the topic – Junzi of Confucius and Archetypes of Carl Jung in Baeyongjoon – by Josephine Acosta-Pasricha here).     

 – We rush to see him in 3D so that we can savour the feeling of actually reaching out to him     

Clearly, we cannot seem to have enough of our precious idol. To some of us, indeed, a statue of our revered icon would be the next logical step (the original review of the BYJ 3D event here, in Japanese. Read the English version of the same here).     

But this is going a bit too far, even for an incurable fan like this one.     

We admire BYJ for his many qualities that inspire and motivate us, but mainly because he is generous and gracious and warmhearted and REAL. He is inspiring not because he is perfect, but because he is constantly striving for perfection. We are happy simply because he is there.     

So let us not deify him and invest him with superhuman virtues. Let us NOT try to capture and confine his likeness in metal or stone so that we can stand beside it and click a few photographs to carry home with us.     

Let him have the freedom not only to be kind, compassionate, forgiving… but also, like the rest of us, the liberty to make mistakes and to feel and express anger, disappointment, pain…     

Let us love him that he is, and LEAVE HIM BE.

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