I decided to write this one in English, the dominant foreign language that I have to mastered if I want to survive in this very competitive era. I learnt English self-taught by listening to New Kids On The Block and later on with Benedict Cumberbatch and all kind of Hollywood movies. I grew up embracing western culture through all kind of entertainment, although now and then, I also enjoy Chinese and Indian movies. I grew up with a strong patriarchy culture through movies and yet community around me. Fortunately, my family is embracing a rare culture where both of my parents are encouraging their daughters to pursue higher education. I was raise to be a rebel, questioning everything, to be able to speak up and being rational.
Being rare type of a woman is not easy when you are living in a strong patriarchy culture community. Just when my nieces born, I know I have a bigger challenge in life to raise them to be a person who is free from toxic masculinity, a gender biased and patriarchy one. We (mom and me, basically) want Zi, Septi and Azki to be able to decide what they want to be or do in this life as a person, not because they are girls. So here comes the story on how BTS comes along with me.
The eldest niece, Zi has been bullied since young age (she is 12 now) because of her tall and bigger body compare to other girls in her school. She is being called the ugly giant. It hurts us as an adult in the family, a lot!. No matter how hard we encourge her to care less about it, she is obviously being hurt. Nevertheless, one day she sent me a video of RM – the leader of BTS speech in UN event and encourge youth to “Love Yourself” and dare to speak up. She changed, she changed a lot. She more confident about her beautiful look and her amazing smart brain. She is RM herself, the nerd one. She starts dancing and make herself a video of singing and dancing a long with BTS song. She is happy.
I recognize BTS since then and being grateful for her. However, not until three weeks ago, I finally able to enjoy BTS songs and get drawn with them since then. I invest time to do research about them and their songs. I want to know more about them, and here are my findings so far.
Breaking language barrier
Not like in my era where my world was dominated by western music and movies, Zi is living where Korean Culture took over. It does not matter that the songs are singing in Korean language, music is crossing that barrier. Like Zi, I can enjoy their music, I sing a long with their song – yes, I try to sing a long in Korean as well, and moves my body following their beat.
BTS has been in Billboard chart many times these days, and got their first grammy nomination this year. They appeared in many western talkshow, concert in English speaking countries in US and Europe. They took over the black and white stage ala the Beatles. Enough for Time Magazine to put them on the cover and said that BTS is the K-Pop Band that conquered the world and as the future leader.
Breaking the toxic masculinity
I am working in around gender mainstreaming issue and I am a feminist. It is so delighful to see BTS breaking all the gender stereotyping where man must follow the mainstream ideal of masculinity. BTS breaks all the rules. They are using make up on stage, following by beautiful dresses in bright colors. They showed empathy, cry on stage is a natural as a human being and not afraid of being soft to each other and they do domestic works. Something that’s rarely being shown in public through media.
Zi following their Vlive, Bon Voyage and everything that related to BTS and she learnt that man and woman is no different in their preference of clothes, work, and visual. People can be whatever they want to be as a person.
Generation Z is living in the hardest era among all generations. They don’t have a bright future related to environment that being damaged by the older generations, they are living in debt while the opportunities become more limited. They are living in the wire where everything is connected virtually, less time to meet in person and making friends, especially during the pandemic. Youth is being shocked the hardest, yet, BTS has been encourage their fandom to stay positive and keep the positive attitude. Life Goes On as their latest song said.
I have been through most of their lyrics on the net and I am amazed on how deep their thoughts are. They wrote songs to stops being “love slave” aka bucin in Indonesia in Epiphany that said I am the one I should love or enough of “Fake Love”. They talked about the love of art in “Black Swan” that the first death of the artist is when they no longer feel any pulse toward their own art. The whole album “Love Yourself” is encourage youth to be themselves.
They make speech during the exam and graduation moment to remind youth to take a breath and find their own pace because following others can be breathless and trying to please others will make them lost themselves. Not to forget to cherish themselves – all these words are come from my biased Kim Seokjin
As an adult, I am like wow… being smashed many times. I do not mind learn from the youth and I am again being grateful that Zi idolized them.
By saying “speak yourself” they encourage youth to be a political being. Their fandom BTS Army has been doing lots of things related to political issues, you can do research on what they did during Trump campaign. The Army organized organically toward many social and environmental issues, exactly what we need these days, we need youth to make a movement to build their own better future. The members have been given an example on doing philanthropy act especially during the pandemic time.
Being persistence and hard worker
I am being biased toward Kim Seokjin. He is my ultimate biased. I can relate more to him for being funny and dorky outside but the introvert inside. He is trying to make everyone laugh and act as a mood booster. He learns singing, dancing, playing guitar and piano from nothing in the past 7 years while also graduating from college. I told Zi that Jin has shown that talent is nothing compare to hardwork and persistence, that everyone can achieve their dream through hardwork. At the same time, staying humble is a must.
For the past three weeks, my emotion is ups and downs and I know it is natural feeling through this hard times of pandemic. Being alive today is something that I must grateful because tomorrow is clueless. When I am down, I put BTS music and watching Jin’s strange humor and logic help me to survive and laugh out loud.
Since I can not say things personally to BTS members and especially to Jin, let me shout out loud through this blog. Happy birthday Kim Seokjin, may all the good things and peace come to you in these coming years. You deserve all the best things in life. Stay humble, stay funny and genius one. Thank you for saving my life in these hard times, thank you for making me laugh out loud.
Thank you BTS for saving Zi’s, you are all the Anpaman we need these days!