Being a Second Gen K-Pop Fan Experience

I started being a K-pop fan after I watched Super Junior’s Sorry Sorry (2009). It started as me watching the music video then watching their variety shows then moving on to watching other groups’ music videos. It was the golden era of K-pop and I’m glad that I was part of it, both in the good and bad parts.

The best part about being a fan in that era was watching a lot of second generation groups debut and grow. Second generation groups are those that had debuted around mid-2000’s (~2004) to late 2000’s (or maybe until 2011). There were many groups that had debuted around these time that are already considered legends in their own rights including Super Junior, Big Bang, TVXQ, 2ne1, SS501. Wonder Girls, Kara, T-Ara and SNSD. APink was probably the last of the second gen groups that had debuted.

It was a fun time since it was the start of the globalization of K-Pop. I was an admin of many Super Junior fanpage and was part of the countdown towards their fourth album, Bonamana. There were a lot of experimentation and a lot of excitement going on around that time. We looked forward to the groups that were debuting and this was the start of streaming wars towards music videos. It wasn’t as bad as today but all fans were definitely encouraged to stream the music videos (we had guidelines on the proper way of streaming). Some of the things that I have here were my own experience.

1. Downloading Videos and the 240p Quality

When I first got into K-pop, I wanted to watch a lot of things concerning Super Junior. Two of their most popular shows at that time was Intimate Note and Explorations of the Human Body. One episode of Intimate Note had 11 parts and each episode of Explorations of the Human Body had four parts. Imagine watching those shows and realize that part 3 is missing. Ouch.

Youtube was still starting to get popular at that time and not a lot of people uploaded on the site. There were a couple websites though that handled the streaming of some subbed shows. If you stan a popular group, there was a higher chance that the video you want is gonna get uploaded as soon as possible (like atleast two weeks) or if they’re the ones with the smaller fan base, good luck getting a subbed video. But why download though? Because the internet at that time was shit and it was faster to watch one part of the episode while the other parts are getting downloaded. By the time you’re done watching one part, just hope the next part is done.

Also, 360p was a rare find. Most videos are usually 240p quality or less. I suffered through this. I can’t even identify who is who here.

2. Hard Sub vs Soft Sub (in K-Pop terms)

This is not much of a problem anymore since there are already a lot of translators who are doing an amazing job immediately translating a show the moment they are released. Also, most of the major stations are now uploading the full episodes with English subs.

Ten years ago, if you wanted to watch a video, you have to check first if it was hard or soft subbed. A hard subbed video was what you wanted. It meant that the whole video was 100% subbed and was embed on the video. The translation was also top notch and if there were some references that international fans may not understand, there is always that trusty ‘t/n’ at the top of the video to explain what it was. Soft subbed videos were those that were partially subbed and the translations are not always embed on the video. The translations can be quite sketchy as some even includes ‘<I can’t hear what they’re saying>’. Many of the early variety shows from second generation idols were on soft-subs when I first got into K-pop and it was a pain trying to understand what the subs even meant.

3. International Fans Who?

This was the time when Facebook was only started gaining its fame all around the world and the best quality we can get from Youtube was 360p. There was not a chance for idols and their international fans to interact unlike now where you can tweet them and there’s a chance that they will reply to you. I remember trying to get into Cyworld just so I can follow my faves. It was all in Korean so I had to follow a tutorial from a website that basically just tells me to click this and that. I would try and read the ‘minihompy’ (all in Korean but I can’t even understand Korean) so I wait for translation teams to do their thing.

Presently, many social media have translation capabilities. You can go to Instagram and translate your fave’s tweet from Korean to your language in an instant.

4. FAN WARS

This was a thing and I remember being part of one against the SONES (I AM SO SORRY I LOVE SNSD NOW AND I WAS HELLA IMMATURE BACK THEN). I am an ELF and back then, for some reason, it was ELFs against the Sones. It was a part of my K-pop journey that I did not want to remember because I was cringy and I am disgusted of my past self.

The fanwars became more prominent during music shows and the Dream Concert. SNSD’s black ocean was the worst one since multiple fandoms literally turned off their lights so you can only see the pink lights clustered together against the black ocean. Of course, SNSD managed to shut their haters up as they rose to be the top girl group.

There were a lot of black propaganda against many groups in order to pit fans against fans. It was the time when whatever on the internet was supposed to be the truth and many people had decided to spread lies in order to fan the flames.

5. Collabs between groups

Although the fans were too busy fighting against each other, their faves are hanging out with each other. There were a lot of stage specials wherein a girl group and boy group would team up and do a performance. The most popular were WonderBang (Wonder Girls and Big Bang) and Super Generation (Super Junior and Girls’ Generation).

K-Pop is bigger now more than it ever was. It had reached many parts of the world already. There had been a lot of gatekeeping when it came to who to stan or how to stan or when to stan. I see a lot of ‘Well, you’re not a true K-pop fan because you only listen to BTS” or “You should know who this and this to become a true fan”. If you only listen to BTS, go for it. If you doesn’t know who U-Kiss or SS501 is, that’s okay. There’s always gonna be toxic people around here so why not just ignore them and enjoy yourself. A lot of 1st and 2nd Gen fans are unbothered by the ongoing negativity that new gen fans are experiencing because we’ve all been there. Just enjoy K-Pop. We have kimchi and bibimbap.

Hospital Playlist: My Ships that Sailed

Contains finale episode spoilers.
Hospital Playlist is by far one of my favorite Korean dramas so far. It’s nice to see a drama with power struggle or amnesia or kidnapping going on. It’s a feel good story that you feel can happen in real life. It did not give us the ending we wanted (just snipped of it) and I guess that’s life too. Not all love lines has to end up together and some loose ends doesn’t have to be tied up. I guess it helps that the season 2 is already confirmed for next year so whatever loose ends we have here may be addressed by next season.

Contains finale episode spoilers.

Hospital Playlist just wrapped up its first season which means I have to wait until next year for the next season. I’m glad that the second season is actually confirmed and not just hearsay (I’m still waiting for Signal Season 2). Anyway, the ending left a lot of cliffhangers, especially when it came to the many love lines that this drama had started (and ended?).


Ik Jun x Song Hwa x Ahn Chi Hong (a very calm love triangle)

Ik Jun just told Song Hwa how he felt and we got no response from Song Hwa (she just looked shocked). I’m a big Song Hwa x Chi Hong fan but it started being obvious that Song Hwa did not like Chi Hong like that during the truth or dare (drink) during their get together dinner. Sun Bin asked Ik Jun if at some point he liked Song Hwa and he just tried his best to avoid to answer that while Song Hwa looked really curious and Chi Hong just jealous.

Jun Wan x Ik Sun

Kim Joon Wan had a great run with Ik Sun. They managed to hide their relationship from Ik Jun and looks like they have a healthy relationship. However, I really think Ik Jun had started to take a hint after Jun Wan went to Ik Jun’s house when Ik Sun came to visit. I had high hopes for this pair but Ik Sun had to leave to pursue her doctorate outside the country. She’s not the marrying type and dislikes gifts like ring but Jun Wan really wanted to give her one but he thought she wouldn’t like it. So he asked Jae Hak for some advice and he literally just said, “Just ask her”. That he did and it seems like Ik Sun was as excited as he was about the ring, even asking him to check and check again the address on the package so it won’t get lost. I was really happy about this since I can already hear some wedding bells when suddenly we get a punch to the gut since the package did get returned for some reason. Ouch.


The next three pairs are the ones that I actually looked forward for this whole time. I wasn’t even sure if any of these pairs were gonna end up with each other but I still rooted for them until the end.

Yong Seuk-Min x Heo Sun Bin

I don’t remember when I first started to ship them. It could be when they had that lunch Dr. Chae and Dr. Ahn Chi Hong. Nevertheless, it made me sad that they did not have a lot of scenes together. It so obvious that Dr. Yong likes Dr. Heo but does she? I waited until the very end to know whether or not Sun Bin took him up for that offer but OMG they had to end this loveline on a cliffhanger.

Chae Song Hwa for sure had a hand in Seuk Min gathering up his courage to confess to her and ask her out. Remember that time when he had that talk with Chae Song Hwa and when he came out, he told Ik Jun she knows a lot especially about love. And the fact that Chae Song Hwa had specifically left Seuk Min and Sun Bin out of the dinner plans she will have with Yoon Bok and Chi Hong, That girl is cupid.

And the fact that we are all Yoon Bok during this scene.

Ahn Jung-Won x Jang Gyeo-Wool

The only ship that had officially sailed. I was so happy and so relieved that these two finally got together. It was so frustrating seeing Gyeo Wool have a one-sided crush towards Jung Won. She even had to pretend that she had a boyfriend (with Ik Jun’s help) in order to gauge if Jung Won would actually care (he did) or get jealous. Throughout the season, Jung Won was so adamant about becoming a priest and his mom was like, “Nah, all of you’re siblings are either priest or nun so you’re the one that’s giving me a grandchild”.

Midway through the series, we started seeing glimpse of Ahn Jung-Won stealing some glances or showing concern towards Dr. Jang. But both of them are really stubborn or unconcerned, or both. We started to see the obvious hint that he likes her after they had that conversation after Gyeo Wool’s first lead surgery. The moment she left, Jung Won still had a bright smile as she looked at her leaving. Jung Won’s mom saw this and she really doesn’t want his son to be a priest asked Dr. Jang to try and ask him one last time to give up his plans to be a priest. She was obviously very nervous when she came to talk to him and Jung Won was just silent the whole time. Then he did the kiss. THE KISS.

I was screaming the whole time this scene was on. Finally, they got together. And the fact that Jung Won already decided to not be a priest before all of this confession thing made it so much more special. We get that cut scene where he talked to Song Hwa and hinted that he decided not to pursue to become a priest. And the fact that the first person he wanted to tell (aside from Song Hwa) is not even his closest friends or his mom but it Gyeo Wool. Dude’s a romantic.

Yang Seok Hyung x Chu Min Ha

Min Ha started out as a resident that just disliked Seok Hyung. He was quiet and very passive towards other people that were not his closest friends. He preferred eating alone and not with other doctors (unless it’s his best friends… even then he eats at the office). But then she started seeing his other side which was compassionate and empathetic. He showed great concern towards his patients and supported them well. Min Ha started being curious about him and maybe getting a little crush.

Seok Hyung is kind-hearted but he carries a lot of weight around. He looks very recluse and seems to only open up to his best friends. He showed his caring side to Min Ha when she had to shoulder another resident’s job (that resident ran away). She was stressed out and over worked. Seok Hyung asked the head nurse to give the food to Min Ha (food that he ordered to go when he had dinner with the group) as he can see how hard she worked even though it was so obvious that she looked tired already. Min Ha eventually learned who gave the food to her and talked to Seok Hyung about it. Seok Hyung knew what was going on the whole time but can’t step in since residents have their own rules. I bet you this was when Min Ha really started liking him… hard.

I really wanted them to get together but it was obvious that Seok Hyung is not ready. He is a divorcee and for him, it’s a big deal. It also doesn’t help that his dad had left him some problems to sort out before he died and that’s enough on his plate.

And did you catch that part where his ex-wife called him?


Hospital Playlist is by far one of my favorite Korean dramas so far. It’s nice to see a drama with power struggle or amnesia or kidnapping going on. It’s a feel good story that you feel can happen in real life. It did not give us the ending we wanted (just snipped of it) and I guess that’s life too. Not all love lines has to end up together and some loose ends doesn’t have to be tied up. I guess it helps that the season 2 is already confirmed for next year so whatever loose ends we have here may be addressed by next season.