I believe these are quite familiar words for some of us. Such ordinary words, turned into malicious sounding terms inside the fandom. Some of us have only seen this pop up in their feed quite a few times. But some of us were even asked that dreaded question:
“Ano na ba'ng ambag mo?”
Time and time again, I hear and see these words pop up in my Twitter feed, with people infuriated. “Bakit mo ba kailangang tanungin kung ano ang ambag namin?” I share the same question. Why? Is there any reason why you ask such question? Is it a good reason? Or is it just your self-justified ideals?
For a bit of context, let us set a scene. Imagine there are two people conversing. Person A is rich and Person B, not so much. Person A has already invested a lot of money on a certain girl group, while Person B is just a normal fan, sitting at home, watching their variety shows. Person A then asks what Person B has contributed to the fandom. Person B is now dumbfounded because he doesn’t know why Person A is asking such question.
As we tackle this issue, let us also talk about how one defines the term “fan”. There would obviously be so many angles and perspectives on this. This is also a very common issue that is felt on different fandoms. For now, we will talk about this issue on the context of the MNL48 fandom. Disclaimer, though: everything said here is only my thoughts and opinions on the issue.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a fan (in the context of a person) is an enthusiastic devotee, an ardent admirer or enthusiast. Simply put, a fan is someone who admires, adores, and is enthusiastic about a certain art. I think this is already common knowledge so let us move on.
Some people on Twitter had problems regarding these ambag issues. In my observation, the people who asked for ambag were regarded as elitists in a way. That is because most of these people are people who already spent money on their idols. Thus, some of them may think that
they have a sort of position in the fandom as the spending fans.
What I don’t quite get is why they asked for ambag.
Is not spending money makes you less of a wota? Is not being able to go to event and concerts not make you a big fan? What makes someone a better fan than another? Let’s talk about this for a bit.
I, myself, have not gone into any MNL48 related event, nor have I spent money on any of their merchandise. All I have done since my first moments of being a fan was to support them in any way I can, with only what I have. During this quarantine, I have made articles, song remixes, and of course, memes about the girls. I did all of this with passion and love for the group that I am supporting.
So does that mean that I’m not a good fan because I can’t spend money on them? Does money outweigh pure passion, love, and support for a certain group? I think not.
I admit that I think that there is a certain point where actually spending money is a better support for the group. However, making fanarts and spending money does not really differ much from each other since both of these give the same thing to the girls; that thing being: support. Because I think that is what a real fan does.
Now that the group is slowly gaining attention, this is the time where we need to best support the girls in any way we can. Yes, it’s good to support them by buying their merchandise and voting tickets. But if you can’t, you shouldn’t feel bad. The girls said it themselves: having you supporting them makes them happy already.
Not having the ability to spend money for the ones that you idolize does not make you less of a fan. Every person has different capacities and not everybody can do what others can. Everybody should respect that.
At the end of the day, everything still just boils down to one simple word: respect. We are all fans here, no matter how much or how little money you spend. Always remember that support does not just come in numbers. It also comes from simple words, pictures, and videos. We are all in this together, as fans, so let’s not just support the girls. Let’s support each other, too.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect the views held by the entirety of PAKSA MNL and fellow MNLoves.