This was an article I wrote when we were asked to make a magazine for our output. Our magazine was about Music and the Filipino Nation, so I decided to write an article that explains how a particular music can change a person’s life and at the same time, create communities within the people. For this one, I wrote about my own story- meeting TVXQ and becoming a Cassie. I designed/lay-outed the pages myself, too!
Finding “them” was a “TURNING POINT” in my life…
Music for me, isn’t just about listening and singing along to hip, popular and funky songs, nor having the most expensive music players and earphones plugged into one’s ears. It isn’t about notes and lyrics. It’s about life- its meanings, purposes and adventures. And when I say that my life changed when I encountered this particular type of music, then there goes music for me.
If it isn’t on your nature to be reading about stories on how artists can change the life of fans, then you’d probably find this dramatic. But if you are on the same boat as me, then let’s have a heart-to-heart talk. I found the music that touched my whole being: heart, mind and soul. And after I share you my story, I hope you go out and find yours, too.
I would be lying if I said that my first encounter with DONG BANG SHIN KI wasn’t EPIC. And before anything else, who exactly is this Dong Bang Shin Ki? It may sound new, so I would like to give a brief background. Dong Bang Shin Ki/ Dong Bang Shin Gi is a South Korean quintet of, of course, five male singers. They are known as Tong Vfang Xien Qi or TVXQ in China, Tohoshinki or THSK in Japan and all of these group names roughly translate to “Rising Gods Of The East”/ “Gods Rising From The East”. The different group names imply that they have made their music known to other countries aside from their very own homeland. The group composes of Kim Jaejoong (stage name: Youngwoong Jaejoong/HERO), Jung Yunho (stage name: U-KNOW Yunho), Park Yoochun (stage name: MICKY Yoochun), Kim Junsu (stage name: XIAH Junsu) and Shim Changmin (stage name: Choikang Changmin/ MAX). The group debuted 2003, as an A Cappella Group. If I would enumerate their whole discography, it would take much time so I would just give the most important ones. The group has broken not only records in South Korea, but also in Japan. In Japan, they are known for being a first foreign/ non- Japanese Asian male group to have strings of number one singles in the Oricon Charts – a music statistics and charting company in Japan. They have even broke the Oricon record Elton John held for 14 years and 8 months , for the release of their 29th Japanese single, which charted the highest sales for its first week of release. While in South Korea, the group is noted for reaping awards.
TVXQ isn’t only known for their music, but also for their fans. CASSIOPEIA, TVXQ’s fan club, is named after a Greek Mythology persona and a constellation of five stars. Five stars representing each member. CASSIOPEIA made it to the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 for having the most number of official members in a fan club, over 800,000 in South Korea alone. TVXQ made it into the Guinness Book of World Records the second time in 2009 for being the most photographed celebrities in the world; having been photographed an estimated 500 million times since the day of their debut up to the said year.
How was my discovery of them EPIC?
So, how was my encounter with TVXQ epic? It was my eighteenth birthday, and I decided not to do any parties and such. I just asked my mom several books that I really wanted to buy, dine in a favorite restaurant of mine and of course, spend quality time with my mother who hardly takes days-off from work. And so, nothing much special was happening. I wanted to watch a movie but couldn’t because it was a Sunday, the next day would be school day and work day for both of us. So we decided to just keep on moving around the malls, looking for things we might want to buy, to no avail. It just became a regular day after all. So, I asked God in a simple prayer, “Is there anything in store for me today?”. And then I was there, in that bridge that connected two places together, walking without knowing where to go next, when I passed by a Record Bar that had posters on its glass walls. An enormous tarpaulin caught my attention…
A picture of five men in suits. Asian, but not Filipinos. And a few Chinese/Korean/Japanese characters written that may have been their names. With that, I felt as if I was drawn to it, and wanted to keep staring.
So, that was actually the birthday gift I received.
And so, life goes on, but in a different direction…
I do not believe that I saw that poster during that very special day for no apparent reason at all. It was FATE. I had been very firm with my stand during the times I criticized my best friend when she first spoke to me about Korean Male Groups. I tried my best to reject, but all of a sudden, everything backfired, and I was caught instead. My feelings right now would be of thanks, because I got caught, and it was the sweetest capture ever.
I never once found my inability to understand Korean (but I could understand a little Japanese which was a plus because TVXQ sings Japanese, too) to be hindrance. Like I always said, “There are no such things as language or culture barriers, for as long as the heart desires, everything would be decoded…”
I am also enjoying my new family – CASSIOPEIA PHILIPPINES (CASSIOPEIA Philippines Chapter). Being in this family, I have learned so many things – those that I only heard in movies before. Things like, “Faith is all you need to get through uncertainty”, “Happiness is best served in millions”, “Love does not ask” and “Always Keep The Faith”. And for the sake of the music we all enjoy together, we would sing in front of many people, dance in front of many people who does not even have the full grasp of what it is that we are dancing. We would even hold large scale fan meetings to cry together, laugh together and sing. We even follow the example of TVXQ themselves – to never forget to give to others. CASSIOPEIA PHILIPPINES isn’t just about fangirling on the music we love, but also to share the love. We do charities, too. We donate computers and school supplies from the money the gatherings earn, to those who need them. Just as how TVXQ has taught us.
I have never let anyone penetrate my world before. What is about me remains sealed within me. But things are different now – I would go into large groups, with people who desire the same music with me, who have also changed like me, who love the same way I do and who feel this way, too. I am disclosing my full self. And I am not ashamed to say that I love this music I have found, that five people I haven’t even met personally has changed my being, has taught me what my dreams are once again, that I squeal at the thought of them, that I listen to music whose parts are somehow ambiguous to me but my heart feels- That I am a fangirl. This is how a certain music is life to me.