(Content warning: It’s just me ranting and this will be extremely biased. I most likely won’t receive soon any hate or whatever because I am not Tumblr famous, and this won’t probably receive any notes and/or no one would even bother reading it. But I just really like to have my say regarding this issue. Moreover, if I actually do receive any hate message (soon or not), I would try to keep an open mind as much as possible. And one more thing: I didn’t bother editing this article so I apologize for possible grammatical errors and typos. Have a nice day.)

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 April) — The EXO fandom is divided into two right now: the ones who have heard and seen the “leaked” audio and video for Overdose, and the ones who have not. I belong to the former, and I personally think that it’s okay whichever you belong to. What’s not okay, however, is judging and bashing and other negative –ings the other fans right now just because their decision is not the same as yours. If you’ve heard and seen the leaked audio and video, okay. If you haven’t, okay. That’s your choice and you should be responsible for the possible repercussions your decisions may cause in the future. You have made your choice, and you must respect the choice of others as well, because that’s what they wanted.

I’m sorry, but I really think that the mentality “you are not a real fan because you listened to the leaked audio and video/because you illegally download their songs/etc.” is stupid. You are in no position whatsoever to dictate someone the genuineness of their being a fan just because their ideals aren’t the same as yours. At the end of the day, you’re just a fan too. In fact, we’re all just fans. And no one is superior to the other just because he/she didn’t watch and listen to the leaked media and/or he/she bought the album. The number of your merchandise doesn’t make you a “true fan,” so is your decision whether or not you should watch and see the leaked videos and songs. How to be a good and true fan? Like the artist. Support the artist in your own way. That’s it, congratulations! You are now a fan. Let’s celebrate that! HURRAH.

I am aware of the fact that me downloading songs and videos of EXO, or any other artist for that matter, is an act of piracy. Of course if I was the CEO or producer or the artist I would not be pleased because that song or video has a copyright, and for every song illegally downloaded on 4shared or any site, they earn nothing. That’s why they sell albums and organize concerts and sell other forms of merchandise—to earn. And although buying albums is not really my cup of tea, I personally think that buying it is a good thing. Not only are you supporting your idols, you are also paying them (and their company) for their hard work. Downloading illegally is not advisable, yes. But doing it doesn’t make you outright a bad person. Not all fans are as privileged compared to others. Do you really think that their budget’s priority, or their family’s for that matter, is their idol’s newly released album? Not all fans can afford albums, concert tickets and other merchandise distributed by a certain company. That’s why they download it from the internet instead.

Because of my savings and the pay I receive from my published articles, I can afford albums and other merchandise. Although I can actually afford, I don’t buy albums and merchandise that much. This doesn’t make me “not a true fan.” I just don’t feel like buying albums and other merchandise no matter how much I love those artists. See, this is one thing I’d like to point out too. Some of us already have plans and stuff for the money we’ve saved. And sometimes the album isn’t our priority. That doesn’t mean we like EXO or other groups/bands any less. We still love them as much, [although] the album is not just our priority at the moment. If I come to a decision that I will order EXO’s new album once it is available online, I will buy it not because I’m a “true fan” or to relieve myself from the guilt of watching and listening to the leaked song. I will buy it because I want to, because it’s my choice, [and] because I can [afford it]. I won’t buy it to satisfy the other judgmental fans. And admit it: even if you bought the album, you’ll still download the song from the internet. And that’s completely okay!

To the ones who didn’t watch or listen to what was leaked, I salute you. To the ones who watched and listened to it, ayo waddup mate yehet.

Some of the fans are so mad at SM for being “irresponsible” and whatnot. And in a way, I’m kind of disappointed with SM too. But I’ve been witnessing the douchebag mode of SM for too long that I actually wasn’t surprised when I found out days ago that the song and dance practice video was leaked. I’m not a businessman, but I strongly believe that this “leak” is not accidental. This is all part of SM’s marketing strategy to promote EXO’s comeback. Others are mad because it spoils the excitement, blah blah blah but if you plan to be a fan of EXO for a long time, then you should get used to SM entertainment and their occasional (or is it frequent) bullshit.

Leaks like this shouldn’t be a surprise. SMTown is not only an entertainment industry, it’s also a marketing industry. If it isn’t obvious already, entertainment is primarily business. EXO and other artists were made for the sole purpose of entertaining us, the fans, and for bringing in money to their company through their songs and live performances.

Songs from the album were leaked during [the] Wolf era too. But did that cause EXO’s comeback to be a failure? No. Rather than jeopardizing EXO’s popularity through their growing fan base, it has helped in making their comeback a success instead.

See, our choices are like food in a buffet. Do we like everything that’s served on the buffet? Most likely no. We choose the ones we like and we are pleased with it. Others choose the ones they like and they are pleased with it. If, say your friend, put a food on his/her plate that you don’t like, are you supposed to tell her to do otherwise? No. You’re supposed to leave him/her alone because it’s what he/she likes. And besides, you already have the food you like in your own plate, why fuss about the food that’s on the plate of others when you could just enjoy yours? It all comes down to preference. Some people preferred to wait patiently for April 15 and didn’t watch the leaked stuff. Some people preferred to watch it. Either is okay, because it’s their preference. And what’s good to you may not always be what’s good to others. But you must respect that, be civilized and remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you and sometimes we have to compromise and/or conform.

You are not superior, I am not superior, others are not superior. No one is. But we’re all fans. And we all love EXO. And we have different ways of showing them our love and support, and that’s okay. Just remember that not everybody is the same as you, and you have to accept that fact. (Alexandria M. Mordeno, 14, is an incoming senior science curriculum student at Bukidnon National High School. She prefers people to be left to decide on their own.)