THE STRUGGLE FOR SANITY – A FAN’S PERSPECTIVE ON A KPOP BOYBAND’S DISBANDMENT (DBSK/TVXQ/TOHOSHINKI)

BY RUBY GEGE

Ruby Gege is going to rant today and she’s going to rant HARD! If you are not really into the topic of Kpop boybands and their disbandment issue, I suggest you skip reading the post. But if you are, come on in and join me in the festival of a fan’s heartache and suppressed memories.

1. THE EXO THING (WHICH IS NOT GOING TO BE THE MAIN POINT OF THIS POST)

Me and my fellow chingu, Maertai Fatma have been quite upset for the past few days concerning the EXO problem – Kris, their M leader is leaving the group. Fatma is affected by it more severely that I am. To say that I’m not upset is an understatement – indeed, I am. I love Kris, I love EXO, I think they have great dynamics. Therefore, if he is leaving EXO for real, I will never look at EXO the same again and most probably I will leave the fandom as well. Not because I don’t love the other 11, but because I will always have this intense attachment towards the original structure of any Kpop groups I love.

However, at the same time, I feel happy for Kris (or should I say, Wu Yifan?). If the rumours about SM abusing his rights are true, then to be free is the only way to live. I heard of rumours about him being sick and all. So, for him to try and get out of the mess is the only humane way he could think of. To be free of that mess and perhaps, if all goes well, he can start again and live the life that he wants to have. I pray that for him and hope that like Hangeng, he can be successful in any fields of his choosing in the future.

2. THAT JUNSU PERFORMANCE OF TOHOSHINKI MEDLEY

BUT that is not what I came to talk about today. No. Today, I am going to rant about an issue – or shall I say, heartache (cue for an over-dramatic obsessive fan) – that has been residing very silently in my heart for years… or more specific, since 2009.

It all began when my little sister showed me a video this morning of a certain South Korea singer named Junsu singing a medley of songs from a boyband he used to be a part of – DBSK/TVXQ/TOHOSHINKI.

Crazy rant start……………. NOW!!

Oppaaaa!!!! Junsu oppaaaaa!!!!!!!! Arghhhh, I’ve missed you like hell!!!!! It has been 4 years since I last heard your voice. Oppa, sorry that I ignored you after the breakup! Oppa, you sing so well! Oppa, your voice never change!!! Now I miss DB5K!!

3. THE START OF DBSK AND A FAN’S PROCESS OF BEING CONSUMED BY KPOP DEVOTION

Okay, so, background story – when I was fifteen years old and really, Kpop in Malaysia was literally unknown at all, I fell in love with a South Korean boyband named Dong Bang Shin Ki, literally Gods of the East. They were basically the HUGEST BOYBAND in Asia, full stop. They were young – around 20 years old – dancing and singing their hearts away, capturing thousands of hearts belonging to innocent young girls like me. (Yup, I was innocent once!)

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From left: Junsu, Jaejoong, Changmin, Yunho, Yoochun

Like any other crazy DBSK fans (or officially known as Cassiopeia or Cassie), my teenage years were dedicated to them. I listened to their songs, watched their videos ALL THE TIME, put up their posters all over my room, had DBSK songs as my ringtones and alarms They became my oppas (or older brother) and my bias, Yunho was my imaginary boyfried/husband/lover/myenergyboost. Simply put, to the sixteen years old me, they were my everything.

These five men – Jaejoong, Yunho, Yoochun, Junsu and Changmin. Five most important men in my life. Aside from my family, of course. I was consumed by them, wholeheartedly. They became super successful, both in South Korea and Japan. They were the reigning kings – no other boybands could come close to their success. It seemed like they had everything they could ever wish for – legions of loyal and super devoted fans, fame, great songs, opportunities to perform in big stages, going international and traveling.

4. THE BREAK-UP OF DBSK – THE BATTLE, THE UGLY DOWNFALL, THE FANDOM’S HUGE MELTDOWN

Therefore, when three of them – Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu chose to leave SM (the company that managed and basically controlled DBSK’s lives), all fans were taken aback. Surprised. Yet not so much. We were sad. We went crazy and my heart broke. The news killed me. They were DBSK – my oppas. The closest things I’ve had to boyfriends (yes, people, a Kpop fan can be that delusional!). They were my obsession and my happiness.

They were DBSK. “There’s no way they can ever break-up!” was my first reaction. Then, I began questioning myself – “what the fuck am I supposed to do now? How can my life be without DBSK?”

Truthfully, though, some of us kind of expected it – boybands and their 5 year curse. After many great albums and memories together, the fact remains that Jaejoong, Junsu and Yoochun decided to leave, Yunho and Changmin decided to stay with SM. I blamed no one, for I did not have the right to. I was sad. I felt so helpless. After all those emotional investments, I had to deal with the repercussions all by myself.

“Damn you, Ruby! Who told you to be so obsessed?!!” I scolded myself. But then, I never regretted being a Cassiopeia. Despite the break-up, the DBSK boys did give me four of the happiest years of my life – all the excitement and pride I had over their success was unforgettable.

The legal battle between SM the company against JYJ (Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu) was painful, bitter, ugly, complicated and took three years to settle. That was the legal part. Most importantly, the boys – 3 versus 2 – never rekindle their relationship, or at least to the public eyes. It is of utmost probability that the boys have cut contact from each other. To find their own ways in life by leaving or staying, the friendship between my five oppas was severed. To see them not being on the same stage again, or to hang out together again, to attend variety shows again… just the simple thought of them being friends was also being made impossible.

“How could that be?” was the question all Cassiopeias were asking for many years. But that was it. The end of DBSK with 5 members. The real end of an era.

5. A FAN’S REACTION TO THE DISAPPOINTMENT

I tend to be very violently in self-denial when things like this happens. So what I did was – or the 19 years old me – was to leave the DBSK fandom completely. I deleted that part of my life, moving on pretending that I was never their fans. I deleted all traces of DBSK in my computer – gazillions of photos, videos, interviews. I just could not continue loving them as they were if they were together. It was hard, it was difficult.

And I could NOT listen to any of their songs (as DB5K) for the next four years. Why? Because their songs are so good when they were together. Their voices as five matched perfectly! The high tones of Junsu, Jaejoong and Changmin and the low tones of Yoochun and Yunho. As if heaven arranged them to be in a group (though I am aware that that was all SM’s work). So each time when I listen to their songs, I’d remember why I loved them so much and why my heart ached so bad when they went their separate ways.

I could not handle that. So yeap, I left the fandom. To stay sane (again, I am being over-dramatic so bear with me).

Even Fatma and Palah, though they are not DBSK fans, sang their song once in the karaoke sometime around last years. It was Mirotic, I think. Three years had passed since the break-up and I still could not handle listening to DBSK songs without experiencing mental seizure. I literally screamed and covered my ears and avoided looking at the screen like a crazy woman. Then, I realized… it was to that extent… Damn it, boys!!

6. THE RECOVERY AND THE BITTERSWEET MEMORIES OF THE PAST

As of now, DBSK (as two, Yunho and Changmin or we fans call them HoMin) and JYJ(Jaejoong, Yoochun, Junsu) are two separate entities. The public have accepted the fact that they are two different groups. The fact that there used to be five of them now is a matter of the past. People remember, people know but people have started to let it go.

So did I. Slowly. I began to listen to HoMin songs. When they debuted as a duo, still using the DBSK/TVXQ name, I have to say, they are still, if not more, talented. Same goes to JYJ. They still have a lot more to offer to the public. They are genuine artists who had been well-trained in their crafts. Therefore, it is not surprising their fame survives past the ugly separation and trauma. Both groups are famous in their own right and for that, I respect them. Truthfully, I also enjoy their performances. JYJ or HoMin, they know how to dominate the stage like mad!

homin342
The new TVXQ/DBSK
JYJ
JYJ

But, still, I avoid updating myself about their news. They became a thing of my past. I love them, still, but I will forever prefer them as five. I would come across their news once in a while. I know they are coming out with albums and all, dramas, whatever projects etc etc and I wish them all the best. But it is safe to say that I am no longer the devoted Cassiopeia I used to be. I am finally at peace with the separation. I stopped caring about them. Which is sad. But, DBSK will always remain special in my heart. They were the first boyband I loved. Their fandom was the first fandom I joined. Their careers were so intertwined with my formative years. How can I ever forget them, to be honest?

BUT that Junsu video happened. That medley happened. And I watched it this morning. And somehow I realized I miss his voice so much. Amongst the DB5K, he has the best voice for me. Intense, beautiful and passionate. I was wailing and screaming… “Oppa!!!” to my sister’s handphone like a crazy woman. But not out of anger or sadness or trauma but out of the beauty of his Tohoshinki medley. I am now reminded again of the reasons why I loved DBSK and to my surprise, I realized my heart does not ache anymore.

Junsu oppa in tears after the medley... Which reduced me to tears as well.. Damn TT
Junsu oppa in tears after the medley… Which reduced me to tears as well.. Damn TT

I am brought back to the sweet memories of my younger days when I was a Cassiopeia, remembering the moments when the sixteen years old me would sit in front of the computer, completely awed by the beauty of that Kpop boyband named DBSK. How proud I was… How happy I was… And how great and legendary DBSK was as the reigning boyband in Kpop history. I am happy that I used to be a part of that. There was a reason why they were so successful and there is a reason why even after the separation, the success remains.

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The happier days… like yearssss back.

Yes, DBSK now is in my past. Which is weird. I never thought I could come to this stage. The Cassiopeia inside me thought I would mourn forever, denying myself of their talents. But this morning, I surprised myself. Seeing Junsu’s medley performance, I did truly enjoy it (though I cried my eyes out!) He was great. His voice was AMAZING and I have never been prouder. Seeing JYJ and HoMin does not really pain me anymore. It makes me miss the younger days, yes, but not in a negative way. 

DBSK with its five original members may never be again… but they will never die. They are still there, in the fans’ heart, mind and soul. We remember them, we miss them and we preserve them in our memories. At the same time, life moves on. The original five have moved on and I have to say, they moved on quite well, successful in their own endeavours. I may no longer be in the fandom but inside me, there is always a Cassiopeia, loving the colour red, who would always deem the five as her Oppas.

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DBSK’s equally legendary Cassiopeia, forming the Red Ocean

My rant is officially OVER!

*Fuuhhh!! Can somebody tell me why writing this is suddenly so therapeutic? Hahaha!! Notes to

the fans who are currently experiencing this whole separation thing – you will survive!!*

 

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5 thoughts on “THE STRUGGLE FOR SANITY – A FAN’S PERSPECTIVE ON A KPOP BOYBAND’S DISBANDMENT (DBSK/TVXQ/TOHOSHINKI)

  1. I cried reading this. I’m also a Cassie and I discovered them after the law suit. They were already separated at that time but I chose to support the five of them. I know I’ve never felt the hurt and disappointment you’ve had during the lawsuit period but it also hurts me that there’s no possibility for them to be together again on stage. But call me a delulu or what, I’m still keeping my faith for the boys and for my precious fandom.

    I also cried watching the fancam of Junsu singing OT5 songs… So I dared myself to just listen to it instead. As I was listening, I felt his loneliness and the longing for the five of them to sing once again together. I would like to put this as a tiny piece of hope that they can be back together as TVXQ.

    Oh I love this rant of yours by the way :’)

    1. Thank you for your comment and for loving my rants, Cecile. If they are to perform together again, that will be the most precious thing ever and I’m sure many Cassies would jump of happiness. Yes, keep the faith! We do need some in our lives. Hopefully, one day, the dream will come true!

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