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Fan Clubs Help the Community Updated: 2011-11-28 00:00:00 KST

Welcome back.
Let's begin this second half with fans and groupies of Korean stars. This topic may sound familiar to our female viewers as writing fan letters, sending gifts, covering a wall of your bedroom with fancy posters these things are something that you must have done at least once in your life..

I'm sure you've done it several times, Conn-young.
High profile celebrities cannot be complete without the hordes of screaming, passionate fans who, despite their busy schedules, find time to support and show unconditional love to their much adored stars .

And Arirang Today's producer Park Hee-ju joins us now in the studio to tell us a little bit more about these fans in Korea. Hello there.

[Reporter : ] Hi guys. I remember back in the day when I used to almost cry watching concerts of my favorite boy band at the time, fantasizing about the day I would finally meet them in person. Don't you guys have similar experience Yes/No/I don't remember

[Reporter : ] Right. Well, I think idolizing your favorite celebrity when you are young becomes a fond memory that you can cherish later on in your life.
However, in the past Korean fans' execessive devotion was often seen as a problem that caused social disorders. Visiting celebrities' homes late at night and interfering with their privacy It seemed almost impossible to control them.
And now fans are taking initiatives to show their love in a slightly different way. They decided to carry out philanthropic moves in the name of their stars in hopes of improving both their and their stars' image. Let's take a look.

Stars are beloved by their hundreds of thousands of fans.

[Interview : ] "We've been waiting!"

Fandom, and its love for the stars, is slowly changing.

We visited an office in Guro-gu early one morning.

It is lined with photos of celebrities.

[ SOV]
[Interview : PD] "What are you doing[Interview : ] "I'm cutting the signs to put on the rice wreaths."

The office is always busy on stars' birthdays or on days of important performances.

Fan clubs' orders of rice deliveries have become so popular that fans who send flowers are considered backward.

[Interview : Noh Seung-gu, CEO
Dreame] "These are rice wreathes sent by fans in Korea and abroad for the actors in the musical "Fame" in lieu of flowers. They total about 4.8 tons."

Flowers are enjoyed once and thrown away, but this rice is donated to those who need it most.

The rice arrives at a performance hall in Songpa-gu.

The fan clubs of Super Junior and Girls' Generation have chipped in to support Eunhyuk and Tiffany who are starring in today's musical, and the lobby is stacked with two hundred and fifty 20-kg bags of rice.

This has become a common sight in every performance venue and TV drama set.

The amount has doubled from last year.

[Interview : Noh Seung-gu, CEO
Dreame] "I think as fandom and celebrities communicate more with each other, fandom continues to move more towards a generous and giving culture."

Fans who had sent the rice are among the crowd of people waiting to get into the first performance.

[Interview : PD] "Hello. I heard that you donated some rice[Interview : ] "That way! Over here!"

[Interview : PD] "How much rice is this[Interview : ] "500 kg."

They take a photo to remember this day.

[Interview : Park Gyeong-mi, Member of a fan club] "Fan club members donate often. They donate school supplies to orphanages in their favorite pop idols' names. Since the donations are made in the artists' names, it reflects well on both fandom and stars."

However, not long ago, a less-evolved fandom had been a serious social problem.

Crowds of girls swarmed around like crazed cults and fans fainted at concerts. The image of fan clubs depicted in the media was a worrying one.

In addition, threats against stars and their significant others, and stalking behavior resulted in psychological and legal repercussions.

[Interview : Choi Gyu-seong, Popular culture critic] "As fandom started to be acknowledged as a social issue, the existence of fan clubs and fandom was not seen in a positive light. It was seen as a community problem, a phenomenon created by delinquent kids who ditch school."

Fandom slowly matured as adults began to join the communities, balancing out the passions of teenage fans.

Fans now do community service for the celebrities they love. They say volunteer work increases their sense of belonging to a fan club while helping the community.

[Interview : Choi Gyu-seong, Popular culture critic] "The development of IT and digital culture had a lot to do with the expansion of fandom. These fans want to show the world that their favorite star is a warm person who helps the community as well as being a great musician."

Hallyu stars are expanding their reach to the world.

Maintaining their image has become an even more important issue on the global stage.

Korean fan clubs are now moving in a more systematic manner to promote their beloved stars, as the number of Hallyu fans is increasing.

[Interview : Mes Nasir, Hallyu fan
Singapore] "I think Korean fans are more well-behaved, and they let us enjoy the concerts well, so instead of shouting and during ballads they just sit down and enjoy the whole concert."

[Interview : Annie Lin, Hallyu fan
China] "Organized. I think."

[Interview : PD] "In what way[Interview : Annie Lin, Hallyu fan
China] "Like, they will have a group leader to organize the event for the artist."

[Interview : Park Ji-hyeon, Fan club member] "They say that fans are a star's image. When a fan does something out of order, that stains the artist's reputation. We try to prevent that by being more careful."

It is a great thing that fans' love for celebrities have shifted from obsession, stalking, and showers of lavish gifts to community service and donations.

Kim Hyun-joong took the hearts of female fans all over the world with the TV drama "Boys Over Flowers."

One of his Korean fan clubs decided to create a scholarship fund in his name.

The fund is used for children in child care.

[Interview : Choi So-yeong, Manager
Beautiful Foundation] "About 230 fan club members have joined us for the donations, and we have collected about US$56,325. I think there is a positive ripple effect, in which people feel the power of giving through their favorite pop idols' names, and that becomes the motivation for them to give even more."

This must take a lot of time and devotion.

[Reporter : ] Definitely. Especially because donations don't come from just one fan. There's a group leader who collects money from other fans and organize the event. Apparently there's more than donating rice and money It is said that some fans prepare meal packages for the stars and the staffs who work with them whenever they have late schedules. And they also write messages on them, showing them support.

This is certainly shedding a positive light both on the fans and the stars.

[Reporter : ] Yes. It's a very promising start, but experts say fans must maintain this energy and not let it become competitive with rival fans and neglect the initial objectives of these philanthropic actions.

Alright, Hee-ju. Thank you for coming in today.

[Reporter : ] Pleasure.
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