This has been a rough week, y’all. Just . . . rough.
A few years ago, I lived in a city where roughly a third of the population was Polynesian. I gained a few Polynesian friends and while I was never immersed in the culture, I definitely got to experience some of it — the luaus and dancing, the strong spirituality, and the enormous sense of community.
The thing that struck me the most was how my Polynesian friends reacted when tragedy struck. It didn’t just strike one family — the entire community pulled together, grieving with those who were grieving, extending food and love and comfort. The bonds among them were so tight, from my perspective. The words “ofa atu” (I love you) flowed freely, and tributes to the ones taken too soon were always accompanied by the words “rest in love.”
How fitting. How absolutely fitting.
MinHo was my introduction to kpop, but Jonghyun was my introduction to Korean celebrities. He was one of the first I found and followed on Instagram, with adorable pictures of his dog and head-scratching pictures of Hangul banners and mic packs with his name on them, surrounded by hearts. Because of these pictures, I became determined to learn Hangul and figure out what in the heck they said. (One of them says “love”. I don’t get the others, still. Learning Korean has been slow going for me.) The labels on the mic packs were an inside joke between Jonghyun and the sound crew — whomever was labeling the packs kept adding more hearts around his name, and he used Instagram to show the fans and to ask the sound crew what was up. Now that I get the joke, it’s pretty hilarious.
I won’t rehash what we already know. The details surrounding his death, the note he left behind, his struggle with depression — all of that is easily searchable and I just can’t read any more. I will just say this — Jjong had a gorgeous, very individual voice. He danced well. He laughed hard with his SHINee brothers, and that laughter was contagious. His Ring Ding Dong hair is absolutely iconic. And I pray with all my heart that he will, indeed, rest in love.
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi