This is a sad week to start my editorial series on K-Pop.
As the resident Soompi Noona, I had planned for months now to start a (hopefully) regular series with lots of Noona thoughts on Korean entertainment. I waited patiently until I felt like the circumstances were ready for me to speak out on what matters to Soompi. Towards the end of August, I thought September 12 would be a good day to make my start.
Then, on September 3 there was a car crash.
What came next was a pattern of sad and dimly hopeful news as we learned of EunB‘s passing, Sojung and RiSe‘s serious injuries, Ashley and Zuny‘s trauma, and then it ended in the worst possible way with RiSe’s death on September 6.
I remember on September 5 I wrote an article on how RiSe was still unconscious after her long and incomplete surgery and spent the rest of the day refreshing the Korean news page, knowing but denying that I was just waiting for the bad news.
The news of RiSe’s death came to me when I was out of my desk, at a friend’s place. I had a bit too much to drink because my work that week had been about car crashes that kill idols, pretty boys who beat their girlfriends, actors who drink with younger girls, and nobodies who blackmail A-listers. I wasn’t quite sober when someone told me that RiSe had passed away. I stumbled home not much long after.
I didn’t remember any of this until the morning when I realized that in my drunken state I had posted the word “No” on my Twitter, Facebook, and some other social networking sites to express my grief. Then I fully realized that what I had expected and dreaded had happened: two Ladies’ Code members have died.
This is not a tribute post because there is no need of one. One of our writers timmydee had already penned two very heartfelt tribute articles for EunB and RiSe, and I don’t think it would be possible to add on to it. EunB and RiSe were two bright young women who left us tragically and far too early. They were beautiful and talented, and Ladies’ Code had been a (frustratingly) underrated group from their debut.
From their first member teasers, Ladies’ Code set themselves apart from other girl groups (machine guns! flame throwers!). “Hate You” was an amazing song from its sound to the creative music video. When they became more popular with “Pretty Pretty,” I felt happy for them that they were being recognized for their talents. I was there in the audience when they first performed “So Wonderful” and I felt proud that they had come so far.
That’s the thing about K-Pop. Although Soompi has worked with Ladies’ Code and Polaris Entertainment, I never personally met Ladies’ Code. Is it weird that I felt proud of them, despite really only writing articles about them? In our world, it’s not weird. K-Pop can emotionally connect someone staring at a screen to the idol sweating on stage.
That is why K-Pop fans, despite fandoms and alliances, were united in their grieving over the incident. It didn’t matter if you were a fan or not, or even if you ever liked their songs. As K-Pop fans, we followed them from their debut to each of their songs. We watched them work hard and perform with bright smiles. We watched their interviews where they carefully but always brightly talked about themselves and the dreams they had for their group. We acknowledge that the life of an idol is not easy, but that is must be rewarding to live out the dream of performing for and receiving love from millions.
It all mattered because despite what people will tell you, idols and fans have a relationship. They perform and we watch. They work hard, and we enjoy the fruit of their labors. We express our gratitude and adoration, and they receive it.
We had a relationship with Ladies’ Code, and with EunB and RiSe. This is why we grieved and this is why we worry about the other members. They gave us happiness, so we want happiness for them.
September started off in a way no one wanted and I dearly hope that this year finishes without any more of such sad news. We will move on, and I will continue to write about man-liner, aegyo, and other frivolous delights of Korean entertainment. But we won’t forget, and we will have what they left behind – all the performances, videos, photos, and interviews – to remind us what lovely girls EunB and RiSe were and what great talents and music Ladies’ Code brought to the world.
*The opinions expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author.