Since 2002 when Winter Sonata was aired on TV3, the Korean Wave started flooding into Malaysia and started the craze. Following in 2006, TVXQ, the first Korean band to perform in Malaysia opened the gates for other K-pop stars such as Rain, Super Junior and others. Based on a survey conducted by KTO (Korean Tourism Organization) in 2011, K-drama is the main provider of Hallyu (Korean Wave) in Malaysia and elsewhere. The term “hallyu” was coined in 1999 by Chinese journalists when Korean TV drama and pop music started in China, but was yet to be widespread. K-pop stands for Korean pop music, it usually contains a blend of Western and Asian elements but K-pop retains its own uniqueness that makes it stands on its own, thus enabling them to attract a global audience.
The widespread of the K-pop craze went across the world has influenced teenagers the most, especially Asians. In Malaysia, K-pop fans especially girls are fanatic over K-pop, and they usually describe K-pop as part of their life and they cannot live without it. Undeniably, K-pop has a huge influence on girls with some positive but many challenging elements.
When K-pop music is getting more popular, the learning of the Korean language is getting more common as well. Girls who like K-pop music may learn Korean language in order to understand the lyrics, mumble along or sing by memorizing the pronunciation of the lyrics. This had started the trend of learning Korean language and almost everyone knows “Anyeong-haseyo” (hello) and some other words. Learning foreign language can add value to a person and be an advantage for the person. Learning more languages will also help in developing better communication skills, thinking ability and gaining higher IQ. Being able to communicate in more languages will increase the chance to meet more people and widen one’s understanding of the world.
K-pop dance is also one of the major influences as the addictive songs with awesome dance moves are so attractive. Girls are interested in learning those dances and Korean pop dance classes are mushrooming in Malaysia. Girls of all racial background are interested in joining those dance classes to learn K-pop dance, this had proven that K-pop are not restricted by racial barriers. Dancing is a healthy recreational activity which improves physical strengths and flexibility and also boosts memory. However, the sexy moves performed by K-pop stars may give girls some false impressions of that they should behave sexy like the K-pop stars to be attractive. Is this the only way to be attractive? Why do we want to be attractive so badly? These are some questions we need to think about.
When we are discussing K-pop, we cannot leave out fashion. Korean fashion makes girls, like me, feels that being slim and tall is pretty and attractive, but is it? Also, the K-pop stars who have perfect eyes, perfect body shapes and long legs will makes people feel pressured to be like them. This might pressure girls to whiten their skin or undergo plastic surgery to look like them, but plastic surgery is very risky and costs an arm and a leg. Therefore, we need to challenge this idea of beauty portrayed by K-pop and promote the idea of being healthy is beautiful.
K-pop have some positive influences on girls, however, embracing it blindly will bring troubles as well. The social life of a person will be affected as they may perceive reality to be like what has been shown in Korean dramas. Learning about other cultures is good but we need to be critical about the influences. Most importantly, beauty is not just skin deep, we should not be obsessed about appearances and trying to behave like the stars. Being knowledgeable, confident and healthy is more important. We should go out and live life instead of just watching and imitating TV.
(This article is written by Ainaa, a Corporate Media student currently interning at WCC. This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of WCC. )
 Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) conducted a survey in May 2011 that included 12,085 non Korean respondents, from 102 countries. 90 percent of the respondents are female and result was released on KTO website. For further reading, refer to http://sup3rjunior.com/2011/06/19/k-pop-overtakes-dramas-as-main-purveyor-of-the-korean-wave/
 There were 12 benefits of learning a foreign language found to encourage learning foreign language. For further reading, refer to http://examinedexistence.com/12-benefits-of-learning-a-foreign-language-2/
 There were 9 health benefits of dance to prove that dancing is good for health. For further reading, refer to http://www.dance-teachers.org/dance-styles/the-benefits-of-dance.aspx
 This short animation explain what plastic surgery essentially means: http://ow.ly/I40Av The risk of plastic surgery and the ways to prevent it was written or reviewed by a board-certified physician, for detailed risk of plastic surgery can be found in http://surgery.about.com/od/beforesurgery/a/Plastic-Surgery-Risks.htm