When Oppa Leaves for the Army

reply 1997 sung shiwonimage credit: dramabeans.com

We’ve all seen those fangirls—the ones who send their oppars away to the army, the ones carrying the fansigns and bawling their eyes out as they listen to their bias greet them goodbye. We’ve seen how they cry as if it’s their own brother they’re sending away.

I vowed not to be like them. I vowed not to hysterically cry for my oppars who would inevitably leave the entertainment world for their mandatory military service. And I stayed true to my vow. I didn’t fly to Korea just to send my oppa safely to the military. I didn’t stop them from leaving.

There’s just this gaping hole in my heart, knowing that there will be something amiss for the next two years.

As fans, we have the tendency to spazz and to overact. It’s in the nature of fangirls to blow things out of proportion. But as rational human beings, we try to control ourselves. Becoming inconsolable is out of the question. Nobody wants to be tagged as the crazy fangirl. We try to shrug it off, saying two years is nothing. We aren’t depressed over this petty thing. We’re just, really, really sad.

As international fans, of course, the only way to do that is online. We say that oppa must enter the army. It’s his responsibility, and he’ll come back manlier than ever. Yay!

But deep inside, we become passive-aggressive retweeters of every update, because it’s the least we can do when the only thing we want to do is see them for the last time. We incessantly praise their new buzzcut, but we sob a little inside because their new manly charm shows how much they’ve grown since you first saw them.

As a KPOP fan who has been in the fandom for more than a decade, I have seen numerous favorite actors and singers enter the army. But none affected me as much as the DBSK boys entering the army one by one. It’s the sign that the teenage boys who I grew up admiring are now in their late 30s, trying not to be too old to fulfill their duties as Korean citizens.

changmin enlistment

image credit: dbsknights.net

Since I entered this fandom, there’s always the drear of the army taking my oppars away from me. For years, it loomed over our shoulders, with constant news of enlistment popping in between every comeback. It didn’t fully sink in until JaeJoong posted a selfie showing his shaved head. It didn’t really materialize till YunHo followed, and then YooChun. And today, just when I thought I can handle it maturely, ChangMin showed up with his cheeky grin, his ears more prominent than ever after shaving his head. It still doesn’t feel real. Just one more and the military has completely stolen my first loves away from me (my computer screen, anyway).

A lot can happen in two years, that’s why it’s easy to understand why some fans are greatly affected by it. Two years with no social media update to like, no comeback to wait for, no project to support. Two years almost devoid of their little happiness. But there’s also the good stuff. For some miraculous reason, it’s the army that reunites two parties that no court nor entertainment channel can bring together.

It’s just two years. Fangirls have battled more vicious storms. The army isn’t the enemy. After 22 months, the army will return our oppars who are healthier, stronger, and manlier. We can only thank the army for honing them into fine young men that will break hearts left and right.

But alas, no nice words can console the hearts of the crying fangirls. Some will feel like they won’t be happy again till their oppars return; while some will need to go on a retreat for the next two months. It will be okay, though. The sadness will not last. They’re not really saying goodbye, because they’re definitely coming back.

As much as we want to stop them, we must not. They’re not ours to keep so we have to let them go.

kpop cryingimage credit: fycryingkpopidols.tumblr.com

In the meantime, how do we cope? I’m no expert at this, but I highly suggest the following:

  1. Drown yourself with work or homework. Keep yourself busy so you won’t think of oppa!
  2. Go to a noraebang with your closest fangirl friends and sing your heart out. Dedicate all the songs to him, of course.
  3. Have Korean RomCom movie marathon, and laugh-cry until you can no longer breath. Stop thinking that the lead is like your oppa.
  4. Finish an entire Korean drama over the weekend. This has the highest chance of happening.
  5. Listen to all his music videos, and try not to ugly cry.
  6. Find another bias! Make sure new bias has already finished his military service.
  7. Try to switch to JPOP. They don’t have mandatory service!
  8. Sleep away your days. God knows how much sleep you’ve lost since you’ve become a fan.
  9. Wait patiently like the loyal fangirl that you are.
  10. Live. Because he’s living his own life, and you must live your own, too.

Now, where’s my bottle of wine?


  • Diarcie Azores

    This is more than real. It is really sad for us to send them to that mandatory service. T_T
    But I am more sadder now when I have heard about Jung Il Woo’s aneurysm and still pushing for that enlistment. T_T

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