The Jakarta Post
The portrait of Kim Jong-Hyun, a 27-year-old lead singer of the massively popular K-pop boy band SHINee, is seen on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017. (AFP/Choi Hyuk)
An insensitive tweet, which has marred what was supposed to be the mourning period for K-pop fans following SHINee vocalist Kim Jong-hyun's apparent suicide at the age of 27, has been met with a "kindness campaign" in a charity that has gone viral.
When an idol dies it's not unusual to find an outpouring of condolences from fans on social media. A tweet from @MemeComicIndo (MCI), which has since been deleted, commented on the reaction to the singer's death and compared it to a reaction to the crisis in Palestine.
It subsequently ignited anger among Indonesian Shawols, the fandom of boy band SHINee, with a backlash pointing out a lack of empathy in the tweet.
Amid the rage, 20-year-old Wina Andana Putri started a campaign on Kitabisa.com, an online fundraising platform, with the aim of bringing people together in remembrance of Jonghyun and channeling funds to those in need.
Under the banner "From Jonghyun To Indonesia and Palestine," Wina said she had started a campaign on Dec. 20 and had sought to collect Rp 5 million (US$210) by year's end to help various charities in Indonesia and Palestine.
"I gathered the courage to create this to ask people to come together, instead of being discriminative," Wina told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Thursday.
The Sriwijaya University student said she focused on helping various campaigns in Indonesia that are on Kitabisa.com, including animal welfare charities and Aksi Cepat Tanggap Palestina (Quick Response Palestine).
The campaign caught the attention of K-pop fans and netizens who donated more than
Rp 140 million in less than 24 hours.
"I never imagined it would get this big this fast. There were other fandoms who also helped with donations and spreading the word," Wina said.
She had initially included several charities under consideration for the money, including Animal Defender and Hero For Cats Palembang.
In response to the overwhelming support, Wina said she would reconsider the charities and pick the best candidates. ACT Palestine, however, was still a priority, she added.
Vikra Ijas, Kitabisa.com’s co-founder and chief marketing officer, said the rapid growth of the campaign showed the strength of community power.
"This shows the strength of a community when united for a goal, which in this case was a way to remember their idol and channeling their grief for a good cause," Vikra said over the phone.
The online platform would continue to coordinate with Wina to distribute the funds, Vikra said, adding that the money would immediately go to her chosen charities.
As shown on the website, donations from individuals varied from Rp 20,000 to over Rp 2 million.
According to an update posted on the campaign page on Thursday, donator Siti Prihatianti had given Rp 500,155, accompanied by a note emphasizing the anti-bullying message behind the campaign.
"Trying to reach out to non-K-pop fans, especially in Indonesia, we are K-pop fans and we care. Bullying is not a solution. Let's embrace one another," Siti wrote. (kes)