These past few years, Korea has become such a big part of pop culture that it’s hard to think back to a time when it wasn’t this big of a phenomenon, widely known as Hallyu, which translates to Korean Wave. Like all trends, it’s something that people either accept and love, avoid, or actively dislike, but no one can deny its impact, even on us Filipinos. With its trending music, dramas, reality shows, beauty trends, and news, it’s almost impossible to escape at the very least dip your feet in this big of a wave. While most might say that it’s just a passing trend and that it’s not a big deal, it’s just entertainment anyway, some might realize just how much Hallyu has changed the current Filipino society.
For something controversial, it has certainly brought with it some pretty amazing things. Firstly, it has brought such good content for entertainment, history, and culture. As an effect, because of how much information Korea is putting about itself into said content, everyone everywhere is getting to know them so much more, and honestly, a chance at getting educated about a foreign country while still having fun? Sounds like a pro! And branching from that, what started out as fun entertainment has now become its own community in the Philippines, the community of people who are fans of some and all things Korean—and it’s a pretty big one. Fans of Korean music, artists, fashion, beauty, and shows all come together because of their common interest, and nowadays, any good chance we can get at uniting people is a plus.
Like all things in life, what has its positives also has its downsides. For one, imagine a light so bright and blinding that, even in its beauty, we don’t get to see much of anything else. Hallyu operates in a similar way here in our country. Everything Korea puts out as news or entertainment is taken in with such high interest that sometimes people miss the more important things going on. While there’s a lot (a lot, a lot) of things that people care about more than the real issues, the big old K-wave is definitely one of them. There might even be the sensitive topic of where the loyalty of a very hardcore K-fan lies, but thankfully, it happens so rarely that it’s better off to put the topic away (for now). For more, as uniting Hallyu is to an extent, it also causes its own divisions— fans versus haters, fans versus the indifferent, sometimes even fans versus fans.
In short, it’s always important to be sensitive and critical to any kind of content we consume, even if it’s something as seemingly innocent as a juicy trend, a new form of entertainment, or the Korean Wave. Hopefully, doing so will keep us more on the positive side of things than the opposite.