For those of you who don’t know, I had a pretty major brain surgery at the beginning of December as a result of a rare genetic disease that I have. It was fine. I’m fine, I swear. Here is a link to my experience if you’re into that sort of thing. Anyway, this is not another post about my ordeal or my disease. This is a post about Ten. Chittaphon Leechaiyapornkul, to be exact. You may or may not know who he is, depending on what kind of music you listen to. If you’re at all familiar with K-pop like I am, then you probably know. If you don’t, you don’t.
Here’s a brief primer if you don’t: Chittaphon Leechaiyapornkul, better known as Ten, is a Thai K-pop/C-pop idol currently active in SuperM and WayV.
(Note: I’ve seen SuperM in Chicago. Ten, if you read this, I was the one at the front of the extended stage with a WayV lightstick I was literally staring at you really hard the entire time. Also, my brain was swollen and I didn’t know it.
Note #2: If WayV goes on tour I’M GOING TO BE FRONT AND CENTER.)
Anyway, Ten is a rapper, a singer, a choreographer, an artist, a dancer, and above all, an entertainer. At nearly 24 years old, he’s two years younger than me and already a powerhouse on every level. Seeing Ten perform live was one of the most mesmerizing experiences of my life and I’m not exaggerating when I say that.
Above all, and perhaps most importantly…
I follow Ten on Instagram.
This is important. I swear.
(Sorry for liking all your posts and commenting about how much I love your art, Ten.)
You see, when I was laid up in the hospital a few weeks ago, skull healing from my third major brain surgery, I would scroll listlessly through Twitter or play Pokemon Sword on my Nintendo Switch Lite or read The Poppy War by RF Kuang. I liked doing all of those things and I especially love The Poppy War, but there was something special about seeing a notification from Instagram show up at the top of my phone, because it usually meant Ten, one of my favorite people, was having a livestream.
Smiling to myself, I’d click on the notification, and there Ten was. Doing his stream, showing us his art, what have you. I really didn’t care. It just made me happy that this person I admired so much was doing a livestream.
It didn’t even feel like I was watching someone famous. It felt like I was watching a friend, because that’s just how Ten is. He’s not famous, untouchable. Not really. He’s just a person like everyone else. A person who loves art and anime and video games and dancing and singing. I understand. I’m a writer. I love art. And video games. And anime. I can’t sing, though. I definitely can’t dance.
There were times in the hospital where my people (my mother, mostly) had to leave for the night, or the day, and I’d be by myself in my room with my nurses and my phone to keep me company. And then Ten would post on Instagram or someone from WayV would post on Twitter and suddenly my world didn’t feel so small.
Everyone likes to mock K-pop fans on the internet for one reason or another. I get it, we’re intense sometimes.
But the fact remains that a Thai idol famous not just in the K-pop sphere, but in the Chinese pop sphere, too, helped me through one of the most confusing and chaotic times in my life. He was the best distraction I could have asked for and make my time in the hospital that much more bearable.
So thank you, Ten, for doing that for me.
I doubt you’ll ever read this, but if you do, know that I appreciate you. So very much.