2019/7/24 Arré 專欄翻譯：韓國男團如何拉近我與女兒的距離
How A K-Pop Band Brought Me Closer To My 14-Year-old Daughter
As parents we are so quick to judge our children’s behaviour and choices, often forgetting that they are also trying to deal with an overwhelming world in their own way. Maybe, that’s the part of parenting that we need to focus more on: where we listen to our kids and embrace their peculiar choices. I never imagined that listening to a K-pop band would strengthen my relationship with my daughter.
“Mom, do you think I’ll ever meet Jungkook?”
There was fervent hope in my 14-year-old daughter’s voice, as she unplugged the perennially inserted headphones from her ears long enough to ask me this question. It helped quell the flash of irritation I felt as I mumbled a half-hearted, “Of course you will.”
“Is this her ambition in life?” I complained to my husband later. “While her peers are setting career goals, this is what she aspires to do: meet that fellow from that Korean pop band, BTS or something.” My husband comforted me with his trademark optimism, reminding me that it was a teen phase at best; he told me not to get so worked up. “She’ll get over it,” he offered.
事後我向先生抱怨：「難道這是她一輩子唯一的期望嗎？她的朋友們都在設定工作上的目標，而這就是她想做的？見一個韓國男團的成員？叫做 BTS 什麼的團體。」我先生用他標準的樂觀安撫我，提醒我青少年時期才這樣，他讓我不要這麼激動。「她會走過去的」，他如此說道。
Except, she didn’t. Over the course of the coming year, her obsession with BTS showed no signs of waning. Instead, it intensified. She would come home from school, looking sullen, and confine herself to her room. In would go those infernal headphones, as she shut herself once again from us and the world at large. My annoyance with her K-pop band gradually gave way to concern. Something wasn’t right and I needed to find out what that was.
但是，她沒有。在接下來的一年，她對 BTS 癡迷絲毫沒有緩解，甚至更著迷了。她從學校回來的時候滿臉憂鬱，然後把自己關在房裡，躲進那該死的耳機裡，把自己跟我們隔絕，甚至可以說與世隔絕。我對韓樂的惱怒逐漸變得不容忽視，有什麼地方不對勁，我必須要找出原因。
My initial attempts at probing didn’t yield much. She’d keep telling me she was fine and brushing off my requests. Then one day, the dam broke. That day she came home looking more distraught than usual. As it turns out, she was being bullied at school. It had been going on for quite a while, and centered around her being “too thin.” And given how important body image is in one’s teens, it was proving devastating for my daughter. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” I gently asked her, pulling her close, my heart breaking at her obvious pain. “It would only have made it worse. I’d get called a wimp, in addition to everything else,” she sobbed. I understood her predicament. How could I not? I’d been there myself in my teens and I had told no one either.
When my daughter felt devalued by her bullies, she turned to this band for guidance and to realise that her true value was intrinsic.
The next few days saw me and my husband having several meetings with my daughter’s school principal. Before we knew it, my daughter’s bullies had already tendered their apologies to her. As it unsurprisingly turned out, they hadn’t even realised just how deeply their behaviour had been hurting her. But even then, it took time and counselling for my daughter to revert to her cheerful self. She’d been under stress for so long that even after the bullying stopped, she’d still suffer bouts of anxiety.
I still distinctly remember something my daughter told her therapist during her first counselling session that nearly knocked my socks off. While recounting her ordeal to the therapist, she let slip that the only thing that kept her functional during all the bullying was BTS, a South Korean boy band. In my head, I’d compartmentalised that band as little more than nonsense. But to my daughter, that very band was a lifeline. That day, I could see my daughter’s body language change and her eyes shine as she kept talking about the band and how their songs preach self-love and inclusivity, “The best part is, that they have been there themselves. They know what they’re talking about. Suga has had such a hard life. Did you know that he was once suicidal? He shares his journey so openly through his songs.”
我依然清楚記得她第一次接受諮商時說的話，差點嚇傻我。在她對諮商師講述自己的苦痛時，她說唯一讓她能繼續撐下去的力量是 BTS，那個韓國團體。在我的腦海中，我把這個團體歸類為莫名其妙的類別，但對我女兒來說，這個團體卻成為了她的浮木。那天，我可以看到我女兒肢體語言的變化，在她講到這個團體，講他們的歌宣揚愛自己與包容時，她的眼睛在發光，「最棒的是，他們也經歷過那些事，他們知道自己在說什麼。Suga 經歷過很困難的時期，你知道他曾自殺過嗎？他通過歌曲跟大家分享了這些事。」
When my daughter felt devalued by her bullies, she turned to this band for guidance and to realise that her true value was intrinsic. “That’s their constant message to the ARMY (that’s what BTS call their fans), that all of us — regardless of our skin colour, gender, identity, or sexual orientation — add value to the world, that all of our voices matter.”
I kept reflecting on her words long after the counselling session ended and couldn’t help but feel a smidgen of guilt. As parents we are so quick to judge our children’s behaviour and choices. When they oversleep, we label them “lazy”; when they shut out the world with their headphones, we label them “self-absorbed.” But that day I realised that what we often forget to understand — that our children are, after all, also trying to deal with an overwhelming world in their own way. Maybe, that’s the part of parenting that we need to focus more on: where we listen to our kids and embrace their peculiar choices, instead of being critical of them.
That’s what I did, after years of dismissing my daughter’s inexplicable obsession with a band as an indulgent distraction. I googled them and asked her questions about them. I can now tell you that BTS is short for Bangtan Boys and it has seven members. For my daughter, I’m taking the time to actually listen to their songs. I might not bob my head to their music, but what stands out to me about BTS is that they don’t talk down to their fans; they level with them. My daughter was even right about their songs: This is no vacuous fluff. Their lyrics speak of issues faced not only by millions of teens across the globe, but also by the band members themselves. Take for instance, their first single “No More Dream”, it’s about following one’s dreams in the face of societal opposition. “N.O” on the other hand talks about the hardships the members themselves have faced and “Dope” asks the number one question on most millennials’ minds: “Why are you killing us before we can even try?” The music is definitely not mindless, as I first assumed.
於是我那麼做了。消除了多年來無法理解我女兒對男團的迷戀，還以為她是無心課業，我上網查了他們的資訊，問我女兒關於他們的事。我現在知道 BTS 是防彈少年團的簡稱，他們總共有七個人。為了我女兒，我花時間聽他們的歌，或許我的腦海還沒有辦法有他們的音樂回響，但讓我印象深刻的，是 BTS 不會高高在上地對他們的粉絲講話，他們與粉絲保持平視。我女兒對他們歌的闡釋更是正確：他們的歌詞一點也不空洞，而是講述了不只是全球的年輕人都會遇到的議題，也是 BTS 的成員自己遇到的問題。舉例來說，他們的出道曲 No More Dream 就說了不顧社會反對追尋自己的夢想，而 N.O. 則是談到了成員們自身遇到的艱難，Dope 問了千禧世代心中都有的疑問：「為什麼要在我們去做之前就扼殺我們？」他們的音樂完全不像我當初預設的沒腦。
My new-found interest in BTS has had another unexpected fallout: It has helped bring my daughter and me closer. She’s thrilled that I’m showing interest in something that she holds so dear. And, it’s nothing but a learning experience for me. As parents, we’re trained to obsess over the differences between our children and us; we scrutinise their flaws, and stand in judgement of their choices — from the clothes they wear, to the friends they hang out with, and movies and music they fanboy over. It took an obscure K-pop band, who I had instantly labelled as trash, whose existence I would have never otherwise cared about, to teach me about the joys of taking an active interest in my daughter’s likes. It took a band of boys with pink and blue hair to give me a chance to peek into my daughter’s inner world. Who would have thunk?
我新發展的 BTS 興趣有另外一個令人意外的發現：它拉近了我跟女兒的距離，我對她珍愛的事物也感興趣這件事讓她很興奮。而這對我來說是個學習的過程，身為父母，我們對孩子與我們之間的距離有股執念，我們挑剔他們的缺點，批評他們的選擇，不管是他們穿的衣服、他們交的朋友或是他們迷上的音樂和電影。這個韓團，這個一開始我以為是垃圾的團體，如果不是我女兒我根本不會在意他們的存在，他們教會了我投資在女兒有興趣的事物上所帶來的快樂。是這群染了五顏六色頭髮的男孩們，給了我這個機會窺見女兒的內在世界，有誰能想到呢？
That said, we have our differences. And we have a lifetime to argue over them. Perhaps, we’ll now do it over a BTS song.
即便如此，我們還是不一樣，我們可能會一輩子因此不停爭執，或許，以後我們能用 BTS 的歌來化解。
How A K-Pop Band Brought Me Closer To My 14-Year-old Daughter
As parents we are so quick to judge our children's behaviour and choices, often forgetting that they are also trying to…
日期：2019 年 7 月 24 日