You may hate guyliner-ed boys, auto tune and synchronised anything with a passion, but there’s no denying that k-pop is by far the greatest cultural phenomenon to sweep the globe in the 20th century. At some point, you’ll probably have to maintain a conversation with someone who’s impressed it by it - this list will help keep that blank look off your face. (Picture: BIGBANG)
A for Allkpop
Diehard fans don’t fancy this entertainment news (read: tabloid) portal but hey, they’re comprehensive (you’ll find anything from blurry photos of stars with their pet dogs to the tiniest clue a star is dating on it) and they post in English.
B for Bias
A “bias” is a k-pop fan’s favourite member. The general rule is that you can’t have more than one bias per group, but you can easily combat that by switching your biases around. A person’s “bias” is usually conveyed in his or her Twitter profile photo. Ours—always and forever—is T.O.P, BIGBANG’s über sexy rapper.
C for Casuals
A concept similar to that of “fairweather friends”; basically meaning fans who don’t know their supposed choice band’s age, name in Hangul, underwear preference and so on. (Picture: These fans are the opposite of casuals)
D for Dong Bang Shin Ki
Possibly one of the earliest k-pop names to hit Singapore, the superstar group has since split to become DBSK and JYJ after members Kim Jae Joong, Xiah Junsu and Park Yoochun filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment in 2009.
E for Entertainment companies
The k-pop industry bigwigs are not your typical entertainment companies. Their CEOs are vocal personalities and get almost as much screen time as their artistes. The major players in the industry right now are SM Entertainment (Boa, Girl’s Generation, Super Junior), JYP (2AM, 2PM, Miss A) and YG Entertainment (2NE1, Big Bang, PSY).
F for Fanfic
Short for “fan fiction”, this term describes the writing talent deluded fan boys and girls never knew they had.
G for Girls’ Generation
“Why does this group have so many members?” “Why do they all look the same?” “Where did they find so many pretty girls?” If your friend’s watching TV and asking all these questions, he or she’s probably watching the nine-member Girl’s Generation. And the answer to that last one is “plastic surgery”. It always is.
H for Hyung
What male Koreans call their older brothers. “Oppa” is what female Koreans call their older brothers, or men they’re dating, both imaginary and real life. (Picture: Psy who is performing in Singapore for a special showcase on 1 Dec, is considered to be a hyung)
I for Inkigayo
One of the major music programmes that screen a k-pop act’s debut performance or live release of new music. This one airs every Sunday and gets streamed live around the world.
J for Jay Park
Once a member of 2PM and a victim of public scandal, this Korean-American has since come out stronger with an award-winning first Korean mini album Take a Deeper Look and a chart-topping full-length release New Breed.
K for K-dramas
Dramas are god’s gift to fans dying to see validation that their oppa is indeed, sexy-as-hell (see T.O.P’s performance in Iris) or a really funny, down-to-earth guy (see 2AM’s Im Seulong in Personal Taste).
L for Lightsticks
If you don’t buy the official lightstick (the one thing merchandise stands will never run out of unless they want to get struck by ahem, lightning) for a concert, be prepared to get stared down for being a “casual” (see C).
N for Naver/Nate
Both highly dependable sources of everything you need to know about oppa, including his home address and identification number... as long as you read Korean.
O for OTL
One of the many online jargons most commonly used by k-pop fans that look like an acronym, but isn’t - tilt your head to the left and you’ll see a person doing a traditional Korean 90-degree bow. It generally means, “I’m so sorry/impressed.”
P for Privates
Also known as sasaeng fans, privates hire taxis to take them round the city so they can stalk the stars, use stars’ IDs to register at computer shops and sometimes even break into a star’s home to watch him sleep. No, we’re not kidding.
Q for Queuing
If you don’t know anything else about k-pop, at least know this. If there’s an insane queue snaking in and out of a shopping mall in the wee hours of the morning or night, that’s probably the line to buy k-pop concert tickets... that are only going on sale 12 hours later.
R for Running Man
One of more famous Korean variety shows is Running Man, a concept similar to “hide and seek” that sends otherwise cool and aloof stars into a hilarious frenzy.
S for Super Junior
A regular fixture on the Singapore k-pop concert schedule, SM Entertainment’s most coveted male group now is temporarily missing leader Leeteuk and the provocative Heechul, both of whom are serving the army.
T for Taeyang
One of the vocalists for YG Entertainment group Big Bang, Taeyang is largely perceived as a “bad boy” since he sports the most tattoos and ventures in R’n’B as a solo artiste.
U for U-Kiss
A seven-member group led by Shin Soohyun, who trained under JYP Entertainment and is known for being the “king of fan service”.
W for Wonder Girls
Before PSY’s “Gangnam Style”, there was the Wonder Girls’ “Nobody” and you best remember that.
Y for YouTube
While k-pop music videos have always ranked highly in terms of “views” and “likes”, they’ve usually had to compete with Justin Bieber and One Direction. Until “Gangnam Style”, that is.
An extremely promising nine-member group that practically fell off the face of the Earth after an explosive debut in 2010 with lead song, "Mazeltov". Z:ea was supposed to make a comeback this year but it was postponed indefinitely due to a member injury