The K-Pop merch collection featured on KMJS might have done more bad than good
“Difficult” is an understatement when describing how the past few days have been for the Filipino K-pop community. In the March 6 episode of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (KMJS), a K-pop merch collector was featured—but it’s not the kind of feature that makes the community rejoice and celebrate. Actually quite the opposite, it has led to a series of unfortunate events that we’re still trying to unfold.
The K-pop stan, “Bea,” has a collection worthy of envy. From albums to photocards or PCs—23 binders containing 3,000 PCs to be exact—she seems to have it all. The rare NCT Special Yearbook Photocard is part of her collection, too. But where did this Senior High School student get the funds to build said collection? KMJS says that it came from her grandma, “Agnes,” who manages a stall of plastic bags in the local market.
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“Gipit na gipit ako tapos ganun-ganun ang ginawa niya! (I already struggle with finances and she spends it all just like that!),” Agnes says. Since she’s still a student, Bea works at the cashier of the plastic shop as a side hustle. According to KMJS, this made it easy for her to access the money. The story started with Bea’s aunt, “Jasmine,” finding PCs hidden in the closet. Jasmine recalls how the number of PCs she saw made her wonder how Bea is sustaining her merch. With this, Agnes did some accounting, which led to her claim of Bea stealing around two million pesos from the small shop.
That, alone, would be an unfortunate case, but K-pop stans decided to do more research. Their findings show that the family might not be struggling as much as they claimed. With the photos on KMJS matching those posted on the accounts that K-pop fans found, there’s a possibility of these findings holding some truth. The K-pop community also speculates that the family has a connection with GMA, the network that handles KMJS. Information suggests that the segment might be scripted, but until the family speaks up or the network confirms it, we can’t be so sure.
❗️red flags on this whole kpop & bea’s issue❗️
a whole a$$ thread👇🏻 [tw// opinion]
— 캐시디 🎀 (@cassidy_1130) March 7, 2023
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While the community appreciates the reminder to fangirl responsibly, they would like to see more objective reporting, too. In KMJS, they indicated that Bea’s PCs cost around P50,000 individually. One detail they missed? Not all PCs cost the same.
PCs, also referred to as photocards or pocas, are printed photos of K-pop idols—comparable to NBA cards. These photos are special because you only see them on a PC; companies never post clear digital copies of the images. They’re commonly inserted in K-pop albums and merchandise in a random order, making it much more difficult to get your desired piece. This is why fans trade, buy and sell or—as K-pop stan term it, BNS.
The value of each PC depends on numerous factors, including group popularity, quantity released, the number of versions the album has, the number of cards printed and the iconic-ness of the idol’s pose.
Unfortunately, KMJS watchers who are not knowledgeable about the PC pricing system seem to have assumed that all PCs are worth the same. But in reality, photocards can vary from official to unofficial, still in print or ultra rare. In a short span of time (less than 24 hours), members of the K-pop community claimed to have experienced being robbed after the KMJS episode was aired. Couriers have also made fans uncomfortable by asking them if they stole the K-pop merch that they were about to ship.
okay sana kmjs ur raising awareness but this is the effect for every kpop pc collectors. napagalitan na nga ang bawat isa, nanakawan pa ang iba. since nag-price reveal, aakalain ng mga kawatan na every pc worth 50k so pagdidiskitahan na nila ang mga pc na nakikita nila. ingat po! pic.twitter.com/xWMpeGs1au
— nate; ebbg (real) (@i4_127) March 6, 2023
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Should these be true, the Filipino K-pop community is facing a great amount of danger. K-pop stans would know that it’s part of the culture to bring your PCs with you as you eat out or display them behind your phone, on your bag through a keychain or anywhere else you please. Now, it’s become a little more difficult. Sellers and collectors have become a lot more cautious after such incidents, and only display photocards in the comforts of their own homes.
In response to the calls and criticisms, KMJS released a statement on the evening of March 7. They mentioned coordinating with the MRT station where a K-pop fan claimed to have had her PC stolen. However, the police in the area said they have received zero reports. But fans raise the question: how could you possibly report to authorities that, “A man stole my PC. It’s a small paper with a face printed on it,” and not sound crazy? Apart from this, KMJS also asked the public to stop harassing Bea, her family and the staff behind the episode.
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This series of unfortunate events has given us much to ponder on. One, it’s important to be responsible fans, for sure. Support your favorite K-pop artists within your means. But setting this reminder aside, the community is now questioning the truth about the show’s credibility. Finally, if the reports are true, then the fact that grown men are walking around to steal photos of idols printed on paper, just to make a living, reveals our country’s desperate need to survive. Underneath it all, there just might be a much bigger picture we need to focus on.
Words Kyla Villena
Art Macky Arquilla