The Philippine K-Pop community is a vibrant group of people, young and young-at-heart, who express their passion for Korean music, drama, food, pop culture and all things K-Pop.
To recognize and celebrate this energetic subculture of fan clubs, talents, and personalities, Yahoo! Philippines OMG! is featuring "Fanday Mondays." Yahoo! Philippines OMG!, through its "oK Pop" blog, will feature one local K-Pop fan club or personality. The goal of this series is to increase awareness and foster camaraderie among local K-Pop fan clubs and K-Pop fanatics.
Today's feature is on Super Junior United, arguably the biggest K-Pop fan club in the Philippines.
Club Name: Super Junior United
Related K-Pop Star(s): Super Junior, Leeteuk, Heechul, Donghae, Yesung, Sungmin, Kangin, Kyuhyun, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum, Hangeng, Henry, and Zhoumi
Year Established: 2008
Date of Artist Debut: 2005
Number of Members: 6,000+
Super Junior United or SJUPH is a unique fan club in that it is a unification of four separate Super Junior fan clubs in the Philippines. These four fan clubs include Super Junior Philippines, SuJu Pinas, Super Junior Sahoe, and Super Junior Fanatext Philippines Only. The four individual fan clubs, mostly borne out of forums, did not close down to form SJUPH. SJUPH serves as their united face. Moving forward, Super Junior United has since partnered with 11 more fan clubs to further strengthen the Super Junior fandom in the country.
It is clear from the "confederation model" of SJUPH that the act of formally uniting several fan clubs result in turning all individual clubs into major players in the fandom. Since its inception, SJUPH has become an influential player in the K-Pop fandom having been tapped by producers and record labels for official album launches, concerts, and special events.
According to Cris, a representative of the SJUPH core team, "Our main objective will always be about supporting Super Junior in every way we can. May it be through albums, concerts and shows. We also aim to unite all Filipino Super Junior fans and to promote camaraderie to live up to our name as Everlasting Friends."
SJUPH, being one of the largest K-Pop fan clubs in the Philippines, has had its share of trials in managing a huge group. Internal politics and disagreements are common in any fandom and these are tests of the strength and unity of the club. SJUPH does not deny that they too face these challenges.
Asked about some of the challenges they face, the SJUPH (Link: http://sjuph.org) core team expressed that: "Challenges include keeping order may it be in a gathering, an event or even in our pages. Some fans tend to fight and we need to be in the middle to stop it. It really helps that we have members who help us keep the peace and quiet but it's really a challenge whenever something big breaks out. As for our part, we try our best to be reasonable and talk to them like how a big sister would reprimand and like a friend comforting and cheering them up. We are a family and we may have some squabbles but at the end of the day, we are each others' haven."
United Fun and Social Influence
What's a fan club without fun club activities? With a huge number of passionate Super Junior fans, SJUPH is not one to scrimp on their gatherings and club activities. Among their many club activities, SJUPH is proudest of the Super Junior Race (SJR, 1st Gathering), the SJ: Premiere, and the SJPX2: Reloaded (2nd Anniversary).
In SJR, 15 groups completed tasks in selected corners of the SM Mall of Asia. Just imagine 15 groups of energetic Everlasting Friends (ELF), the official name of Super Junior fans, running around the iconic mall to complete tasks related to their idols. I am sure it was a hectic day. The SJ Premiere was memorable due to the difficulties it posed (which were thankfully resolved on time) while SJPX2, which took the leaders ten months to prepare, transformed the SMX Convention Center into the ultimate "Pajama Party".
For the upcoming 3rd Philippine K-Pop Convention (December 30, The Megatent Ortigas), SJUPH promises fans of another memorable booth experience. They are keeping mum on their plans but expect that Super Junior will definitely not be missed since there will be five booths filled with Super Junior goodness which SJUPH are calling the "ELF Zone".
SJUPH is not all fun and games, however, since the club has also brought joy to the community through various socio-civic activities. Similar to other fan clubs, SJUPH has also completed their own set of community projects including typhoon assistance through the Red Cross, donating relief packs, and an orphanage birthday project for Heechul where they participated in the "29 Gifts of Hope" organized by other international ELFs. SJUPH is also a founding member of the Philippine K-Pop Committee which helps the Gawad Kalinga movement.
SJUPH has shown how being united sure has its perks. Aside from being able to have a stronger voice, unity also allows for the fandom to be noticed and felt by their idols. SJUPH was able to express their love and support to Super Junior in a BIG way through various projects including food support, a cannot-be-missed welcome banner, the "Marry U" project, and love letter collections.
Through this united spirit, it is my hope that what SJUPH wishes for their idols will also be fulfilled in their fandom. What did they wish for? Here they are: "Good Health, Happiness and Peace of Mind". This is not hard to achieve if the fandom stays true to the meaning of ELF as Super Junior leader Leeteuk said: "We will stand and last with them until the end of time like how a friend should be."
Catherine Deen blogs for Yahoo! Philippines OMG! She lives, eats and breathes Korean music, cuisine, telenovelas, and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter @cathsdeen.