As you may have noticed, K-Pop fans in the UK can go a little crazy when a Korean idol visits. There are always two sets of people – the ones who will find the idol and support from up close, and the ones who stay behind in fear of disturbing the idol.
I’ve seen arguments where people are telling K-fans to ‘not follow the idol’ or ‘don’t ruin their trip by showing up’. I completely understand this.
There’s also the other end of the argument ‘they need our support’, ‘they need to know fans in the UK love them’. I completely understand this as well.

But if we look closely at the first argument, what harm is actually being done by simply showing your support? Surely, if the fans respect the idol enough and only approach when they see its okay, there shouldn’t be a problem.

According to results in psychology experiments, the people who worship idols are more likely to have low self esteem and by having an idol to look up to they are escaping everyday stressors, even boosting their self esteem. If anything, this is good isn’t it? Young people going through exams, home stress, relationship stress and more have something which helps them get through it all.
For K-Pop fans in the UK, this proves to be difficult. Our only connection to our idols is the internet, and as they rarely visit the UK, we want to make it special for us and for them when they do. The fans want to see, interact and be close to the person who may have changed their life for the better, the person that always cheers them up when they’re down and the person they’ve dedicated a lot of time and money to. They want this person to see how much support they have, in the hope the idol will visit again. These people have only good intentions, to create good memories and to see their idols smiling, but there are also the people who go too far.
I’m sure you’ve heard about Sasaeng fans, and as far as I know we don’t have any in the UK. Sasaeng’s are the fans who will go through any lengths just to see their idol, some even going as far as bodily harm, or sneaking into the celebrity’s home. This is where privacy becomes an issue, which brings us onto argument two.

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Fans that are willing to stay at home are those who feel it’s too much to go out and look for the idol specifically. These people feel that by doing this, you’re invading their privacy. If the idol wants to visit the UK, let them do so in peace. By following them you’re restricting them from doing what they want to do here. I can see this side of the story too, if I wanted to visit London’s tourist attractions I wouldn’t want to be stopped every 5 minutes for autographs. I wouldn’t want to be eating at a restaurant with about 10 people watching me. I can understand if the idols become uncomfortable with all of this, if they’re here on holiday they should be able to enjoy their break like everybody else. If they’re here to work, they should be able to work peacefully. Take G-Dragon for example. I’m sure it was stressful filming in London for his music video, with the strict time schedule and people on the inside revealing too much way too soon, and having VIP’s around every corner can just make him feel more anxious and stressed.

But, thinking about this, isn’t this what they’ve signed up for? Surely, by signing up to YG/SM/JYP these idols know the consequences. No one will have signed up and agreed to be a part of a big company if they can’t handle the attention and lack of privacy that comes along with it. They understand how their freedom will be restricted and how careful they have to be, they’ve accepted it and know that even on their worst days have to greet fans with a smile. The training probably covers it and these idols have been well prepared.

In my opinion, it’s not right to cross the line and become an obsessive stalker, but finding your idol should be alright. Celebrities can’t go to places and expect to do so freely, they already know that there are some restrictions and they wouldn’t be celebrities if they weren’t okay with it. As long as fans are aware of certain boundaries they can’t break, there shouldn’t be a problem.

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UKP writer and resident Blackjack.