Seventeen’s ‘Ima’ made me reflect on my fanboying journey
With my headset on, I listened to Seventeen’s latest Japanese track “Ima (Even if the world ends tomorrow)” for the very first time–and for some reason, it reminded me of my early days as a fanboy.
Seventeen’s “Ima” feels like a warm embrace after a long and tiring day.
It is reminiscent of Seventeen’s older songs like “Together,” with a sound that’s straight out of an anime soundtrack and a message that’s oddly hopeful and comforting despite the dark setting of the music video.
The song is about choosing to spend the last days of your life with the people you love. The song is about choosing to live life without any regrets and holding onto the good memories, even if the world ends tomorrow.
A line in the song (translated into English) sums up the message the best: ‘If the last night of the world were to come, I just want to cherish what it is we have now.’
I can go on talking about what I think the message of the song is; but I’d rather share my musings anchored in my personal experience as a K-pop fanboy for more than a decade.
For context, I’ve been a fan of Korean music–or a K-pop stan as we call it today–since 2009. With my slow, slow internet connection then, I was scouring through YouTube when I stumbled upon Girls Generation’s “Genie.” It was my introduction to Korean pop music.
It may have been by accident that I came across “Genie,” but I’d rather call it fate.
Why? Fourteen years later–and with multiple groups being formed, multiple groups disbanding and multiple heartbreaks from the groups I supported announcing the end of their run–here I am still… fighting for concert tickets and buying albums.
But the thing that a lot of people do not understand is that fanboying/fangirling isn’t simply about spending money, it’s about creating memories—memories that we hold on to when the world is becoming a place that’s too difficult to survive.
I remember writing in a past article: It’s human nature to seek comfort. It’s human nature to desire for understanding—and for some, emotions are difficult to understand, so we turn to music, literature and art.
In the process, we find comfort. In a world that’s too loud and cluttered, we value that comfort. In a world where merely surviving becomes a chore, we cherish the little things that make us want to stay alive.
I’m not saying that my personal experience is true for everyone. But I have been a K-pop stan for too long to finally come to accept that this life isn’t forever.
The thing is: Groups will come and go, and that’s just how the world works.
One day, the idols we support will choose to leave the spotlight and go on with their private lives. And that’s alright.
One day, some groups will make the decision that the best thing to do is to part ways and disband. And that’s alright.
Or perhaps, one day, we will decide to move on with our lives and leave the K-pop stan life behind because we have other priorities we need to cater to. And that, too, is alright.
Regardless of what happens in the future, we still have the good memories to bring with us–that feeling of being alive, that feeling of being heard and seen, that feeling of being a part of something. These memories are something that we will always have and we can hold onto.
A line from a movie I watched in the past titled “One Day” goes like this: “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today.”
So to the groups that I supported, but have disbanded, thank you for the memories. I still carry them with me and store them in a very special place in my heart and mind.
To the active groups I support, thank you for today. I will hold onto them tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and for as long as I can. Thank you for making the dark days a bit more bearable.
And so, if the world ends tomorrow, I’m thankful for the fanboying journey that taught me things about myself.
When one day this journey ends, know that it’s alright. For now, let’s create more good memories…. together. /ra