Chinese fans band together to promote S.Korean star Oh Se-hun

By Liu Zhongyin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/2 18:13:40

Two divers at the COEX Aquarium in Seoul hold a birthday banner for Oh Se-hun on April 12. T'way's Oh Se-hun-themed plane Photo: Courtesy of Ohsehunbar

T'way's Oh Se-hun-themed plane Photo: Courtesy of Ohsehunbar


Oh Se-hun Photo: IC

If you find yourself traveling on South Korean airline T'way this summer, there is a chance you may find yourself on a very special plane, one decorated inside and out with photos of K-pop star Oh Se-hun.

The plane has been decorated as part of a Chinese fan club's efforts to celebrate Oh's 26th birthday. While the theme plane was originally meant to debut before the star's April 12 birthday, the fan club's plans were delayed. Debuting on May 27, the belated birthday present will stay decorated with the star's image until August 27.

This is not the only event organized by the Chinese fan group Ohsehunbar. 

On April 12, visitors to the COEX Aquarium in Seoul had the opportunity to see two divers swimming through a tank while holding a banner wishing the star a happy birthday.

In addition to promotional activities, the club also carried out a bunch of charitable projects in the star's name. 

A member of K-pop giant SM Entertainment's successful boy band EXO-K, Oh debuted in 2012 as the band's lead dancer and secondary rapper on SBS TV's musical program The Music Trend. Immensely popular in China, Oh has 10.41 million followers on Sina Weibo. 

In China his fans are called xunqi. Xun is the Chinese pronunciation of the last part of Oh's name, while qi is used in the Chinese word for "knight," together it roughly translates to "Knights of Hun." 

Falling in love 

Mengmeng (pseudonym), Ohsehunbar's communication manager, told the Global Times that they hold all kinds of promotion activities because they wanted more people to know about Oh.

Apart from putting advertisements and posters on South Korean TV and transport hubs, Ohsehunbar once took out a full color page ad in the New York Times to celebrate his 25th birthday in 2018. According to Mengmeng, that was the first time the newspaper had published a fan-backed add for a K-pop star. 

Many fans are attracted by the star's good looks and charisma on stage, where he makes complicated dance moves look easy. Oh also frequently shows up on highly popular reality shows, such as Running Man and Star Show 360. He has also starred in several period dramas as well as Netflix's variety show Busted! and won the StarPay Popularity Award at the 2018 Asia Artist Awards.

"We were touched by him and began seeing him as a role model the more we saw how diligent he is on stage and how sincerely he treats his fans," Mengmeng said. 

Oh even learned how to speak and write some Chinese to interact with Chinese fans on Sina Weibo or during concerts. 

Another fan told the Global Times that she became a devoted Oh fan after she saw the idol's reaction to a stage accident. During a performance in 2015, Oh hit his head on a camera arm and had withdraw from the show. Feeling guilty, he shed tears as he returned the stage later to reassure his fans. 

"That was the first and the only time I saw Oh cry, which made me feel heartbroken and proud at the same time," the fan said. 

Sharing the love

Another facet of Oh's family is charitable work. 

While the star used to accept birthday gifts, in 2018 he wrote an open letter to fans, telling them that the best gift they could give is to help those in need.

"I have always been grateful for the love from my fans. If this great love can be shared by more people, will you and I be happier? Even if it's just a little bit, it will mean I contributed slightly," Oh wrote in the letter on EXO's official fan site.  

He has also led the way by putting his words into action. He took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 to bring attention to ALS. He also visits child welfare institutions to meet and give gifts to the children there. In 2015, he joined several  Chinese celebrities in recording a short video for director Xue Xiaolu's Action for Autism project. 

In response to the idol's call, Ohsehunbar has carried out many charitable projects, including sending medical and other supplies to disaster areas and welfare houses. In April 2018, a five-kilometer road was built in an impoverished village in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province to celebrate the star's birthday. A bridge is now under construction there as well. The fan club also donated money to build a dance practice room for children at a special education school in Dingzhou, North China's Hebei Province. 

Mengmeng told the Global Times that the club is not alone. Millions of fans support the star by buying their idol's albums and other merchandise and sometimes raise money through events. Within Ohsehunbar, there are different teams in charge of carrying out different tasks, such as a finance group, translation group and art group.

"We are all volunteers and take part in running Ohsehunbar during our leisure time," Mengmeng said.  

It certainly seems that Oh has achieved a bit more than just stardom in China. Besides his legacy as an entertainer, he also has inspired people to go that extra mile for others.
Newspaper headline: Flying high


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