I wonder if someday, a few years from now, my heart’s going to break again – the same way it broke 2 years ago…
When Dong Bang Shin Ki announced the suspension of the group’s activities as 5.
I refuse to accept that history will repeat itself – because I never believed in that.
These are the things that I’ve been holding in inside of me ever since EXO’s pre-debut showcase.
When I first found out about Tao’s waist injury that apparently acted up after their showcase in Beijing, it brought about a birth of an emotion inside of me that I thought I’d never feel again – the feeling that something bad will definitely come in the future. The feeling that that you can never fight something that was destined to happen. As much as I hated to admit it, EXO will definitely share a fate if not exactly the same, alike to that of Dong Bang Shin Ki’s. And before people go badshit on me and accuse me of an EXO stan in disguise of a Cassiopeia, I’m not even talking about the achievements, fame, glory and talent here. I’m talking about the sufferings that these young men will eventually have to experience as expenses of being under SM Entertainment – as a highly-invested group.
23 pre-debut teasers, 2 prologue music videos, 1 title music video so far – all in quality; undeniably good and specially-picked songs; magnificent choreography for all dance tracks (even in slow songs like ‘Into Your World/Angel’) and the burden of being the forerunners of the revival of the SMP (SM Music Performance) genre of music. On top of that SME’s excessive promotions, mileage investments and guestings/appearances here and there (if you know SK Music Industry that well, you’ll know that broadcast appearances don’t come free). You don’t need to be an expert to be able to tell how much money SM Entertainment is basically spending to bring EXO to the top. And if you’re an SMTOWNer (even if you’re not, if you’re at least someone who’s very familiar with SME), you’ll know that it’s not a good thing at all – all the spending the said company is doing for a particular group. Because as the old song goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
SM artists, no, every South Korean artist has to pay for every single cent the company has invested unto them eventually as they rise into stardom. If the company spent billions to catapult the artist/s to the top, that artist/s will have to pay billions as well – it’s like paying off a debt. And no, it’s not yet over even if the debt has been paid, for 13 years (the standard years of contract for an SME artist) the company will have a percentage of the artist/s’ profits from album sales, concert ticket sales and even events like fansigning and fanmeeting.
Companies are impatient – aside from the fact that money keeps on going out of their hands when they promote a group, they also need funds to invest on the next group. Conclusion: whoever is on top right now, obviously the one they’re promoting so much at that moment, will have to work their asses off to earn as much money as they can, and only if humanly possible, double the amount so they can pay their debts, earn money for themselves, for the company and for the next to debut group’s future.
Injuries don’t occur just because of carelessness. Injuries occur too because of lack of rest. Very much like Tao’s, Kai’s and recently, Lay’s cases. Probably around 10 hours of practice a day, recording sessions and schedules like performances on music shows, variety shows and to top all of that, flying from one country to another just to live to that ‘Global Nation’ dream- I wouldn’t wonder if one of these days, one of them faints onstage. And to think that EXO’s average is just 19-20. Some of them still go to school.
So Tao with his injury, yet still asked to perform wushu every single time they perform ‘MAMA’ and whenever he’s asked to do so in a variety show – pirouettes, cartwheels and aerial moves here and there. Kai, having the burden of ‘dancing machine’ and of course, living up to his teasers (which he had a lot) always had to practice hard, too. The same goes for Lay, with the addition of having to fly back and forth from China to South Korea, South Korea to China, China to wherever and South Korea to wherever with Tao and the rest of EXO M.
So far, there are no news about Tao’s injuries, as well as Kai’s, but 3 days ago, news of Lay’s unfortunate conditions plagued the fandom. Apparently, the guy became too weak to even move, so he had to be helped by the staff. Photos of his weak state in the airport and fanaccounts of his refusal to use wheelchairs scattered online and broke the hearts of many. And even if he was in such condition, he still had to fly back to another country. A day passed and everyone thought that everything was well again, but the following day was horrendous. EXO M had to fly to Wuhan, China to attend an event. Lay still looked pale, however, he was at least able to walk by himself. Until the night came, and news of EXO M’s rehearsal for the event’s sudden halt due to Lay’s inability to even stand up scurried online. He was apparently rushed to the hospital – it was his injury acting up. It hasn’t healed – of course not yet, because if you’re an EXO fan, you’ll know that he has a blood coagulation disease so he couldn’t go under any form of surgery. Tied up everything together yet? There were also fanaccounts of Kai being rushed to the hospital that very same night because of a hand injury – never had the chance to confirm it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually true.
It was then my fear grew bigger. I know it hasn’t been even a year since EXO debuted, but I already found myself attached to them more than I thought I would be. I won’t talk about how much I care for EXO here, because I’ve already explained it in another entry. And since I’ve already admitted that EXO to me, means way more than just another group I like, I don’t want to see them fall/break apart, not now, not tomorrow, not the next day – no, never. But seeing all these little signs: exhaustion, pressure, sasaeng fans, invasions to their privacy, little hours of rest and the amount of ‘debt’ they’d have to pay eventually, what I see is another Dong Bang Shin Ki in the making. And before someone goes bitchy, like I said a while before, I’m not talking about achievements here but the sufferings.
Eventually, EXO will debut in Japan – simply because it’s how it is nowadays. Perhaps they’d even be thrown to the U.S., again, because that’s how it is nowadays. With another addition to the list of countries they promote in: China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, then Japan and U.S., one doesn’t even have to wonder if they’d still get rest. Injuries here and there, little to no sleep, perhaps even conflicts due to extreme pressure and fatigue, with a sprinkle of annoying stalker fans and close to death encounters with stalker taxis, plus depression of not seeing their families – a perfect recipe for a lawsuit, no, I refuse to jump to accept that yet. A perfect recipe for a group’s falling apart.
Dreams can only be achieved through pain and efforts, but it shouldn’t be as painful and as overly demanding anymore to maintain them. A person has limits, too and eventually, they will realize things and take steps to the betterment of their lives – an important lesson JYJ of Dong Bang Shin Ki has taught.
But no, I know my heart won’t be able to take another breakup. My heart won’t be able to withstand witnessing another group of very dear people to my heart fall apart. There’s just so much I can take. I have limits, too, even as a fan.
But no, I won’t let it come to that. This may sound really foolish as I am just a mere fan who lives miles apart from these idols, but there is something I want to say that I don’t care if anyone who’s reading this think of it as foolish: I will never, and won’t ever allow EXO to suffer what Jaejoong, Yunho, Yoochun, Junsu and Changmin suffered. Dong Bang Shin Ki didn’t deserve that pains and no one else deserves that kind of pain. It is already enough that one group of people suffered – it cannot happen again.
I am but a mere fan, but I want to do my best to protect this group of 12 young men who have become dear to me from any unfortunate situation. I want to do my best to do all the things I could have done but failed to do to save Dong Bang Shin Ki – to save this group called EXO.
I still have years to prepare for the battle.
Mending a broken heart by waiting for Dong Bang Shin Ki to come back and stick the pieces again, while preventing another shattering- sounds imperfectly perfect to me.
These anxieties will never leave me – not until Dong Bang Shin Ki wins the battle; not until EXO successfully avoids that battle.