Passions and Obsessions

Moonbin: Friends send messages to the Moon that now shines in the sky

PH Arohas join the fandom in mourning the death of Astro member


Moonbin (CTTO)

Chances are, most of us never even met the guy, yet people the world over, young and old, including in the Philippines, are grieving over the sudden death of Moonbin of the global K-pop group Astro. He passed away April 19 at only 25 years old. (Authorities are reportedly looking into the cause of death.) And social media has heated up since. (#MOONBIN, #MoonBinWeLoveYou, #ASTRO)

The Philippines’ Aroha, as the huge fan base of Astro is known worldwide, has put up a memorial site at New Frontier Theater in Cubao, Quezon City. The Arohas continue to offer flowers, tribute posts, candles and other Aroha tokens at the site. Moonbin was just at New Frontier last month.


Memorial space for Moonbin at New Frontier


Arohas leave tribute notes at New Frontier (CTTO)


Memorial space at New Frontier

Moonbin and Astro’s youngest member Sanha just had a sold-out fan meet in Metro Manila last March 25, the Moonbin & Sanha Fan Con Diffusion, at New Frontier. This was followed by the duo’s (sub-unit) fan con in Bangkok. They were due to have another in Macau at this time but it has been cancelled.

Moonbin was not only an idol but also a model and actor (At Eighteen; as child actor, a guest role in Boys Over Flowers). As part of the six-member Astro, Moonbin debuted in 2016, and as Astro gained ground in the K-pop global industry, in fandom and in the music charts, Moonbin’s fanbase grew, enamored by his awesome dance skills, his winsome smile, his cool personality. His trademark was his smile.

Aroha PH members have their photo op with Moonbin and SanHa during FanCon Diffusion at New Frontier last March. (Contributed photo)


My little brother Bin. It makes sense that I still can’t believe it, right…? How much must you have been lonely and in pain alone… and how agonizing it must have been.. And you kept worrying about the team and worrying about the members until the end… You should have thought about yourself first… you idiot. I will try to keep drawing our picture that you wanted, and I’m so angry at myself for only being able to tell you that I’m sorry that I couldn’t protect you right by your side while leaving you alone when you were in pain… If I had know that my last stage together with you was the fan meeting right before my enlistment, I would have made even more eye contact with you on the stage, joked around with you more, and stayed only right by your side.. When you often called to tell me you will be coming to visit me [in the military], you don’t know how happy I felt and how much I look forward to those days… Your voice then is still so vivid… Do you remember? When I said we should live together after I get discharged during our phone call? You laughed after hearing that and said you would think about it and let me know.. I didn’t hear your answer in the end^^ I want to hear it even in my dreams, so please visit and tell me. You must have worked so passionately and kindly for you to have so many people on your side. I’m so proud of you, my little brother^^ Let’s make one promise! Don’t be in pain there, and be happier than anyone else there. And please be building that house we will live in together when we meet again later>< You’ve worked so hard. Thank you for having been a singer. I love you my little brother Bin.


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ASTRO’s JinJin

Hi Bin, are you doing well?

Maybe it’s because I see you every time I look at my photo albums, but I still can’t believe it. I will just think that I can’t contact you because you are busy doing all the things you wanted to do, eating what you wanted to eat, and doing what you weren’t able to do, and I will think that you are by our side.

You always said that you would laugh whenever you looked at me, and I miss how you were the one who liked it the most no matter what I said and how you joked around with me the most. I think about how I should have reciprocated more and laughed more, and whenever I think about that, I’m reminded of your smiling face, and I end up smiling along. Your smile was really pretty—you also knew that, right? If you didn’t know, I hope that you definitely know there.

The people around me keep talking about their dreams so much, but why aren’t you appearing in my dreams? Anything is fine—I just want to see you once, Bin. I don’t think the words, “I miss you,” were ever so desperate, but I wish that we could spend at least one day happily together amongst ourselves.

I returned to practice for my musical right away, and I’m diligently and energetically moving forward. I think I made a good decision to do the musical. It’s good that I can spend time busily and focus without thinking about this or that. My [musical actor] seniors and peers here treat me so well and take such good care of me that I feel as if I’m being loved. A lot of people who worked with you have come to me to tell me how well you did on set and how everyone really loved you because you only did lovable things, which made me feel proud for some reason. Bin, you were someone who fully deserved to be loved. Everyone was sincere to you, and everyone sincerely cherished and loved you. You have to know that for sure there, okay?
To my little brother whom I love so much, Bin, let’s smile a lot. Let’s smile a lot while fully enjoying happy thoughts and happy things, and let’s be happy and not be hurt. I love you, my little brother. Rest well.


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Astro is composed of JinJin, MJ, Cha Eun Woo, Rocky (who resigned recently), Moonbin and SanHa. Cha Eun Woo is now one of the most popular Korean actors (True Beauty, My ID is Gangnam Beauty, Island) and one of the most sought-after luxury brand endorsers. Cha Eun Woo cut his US trip short to fly back to Seoul upon learning of Moonbin’s death.

The Arohas is one of the biggest fandoms in the Philippines. It is known as the “happy fandom” because of how it shuns toxic comments on its sites and prefers to dwell on the positive. Many of them now are noting Moonbin’s last IG post on “dandelion”—a poignant and rather ominous line about the beautiful blossom being blown in the wind spreading far and wide.

Moonbin’s IG post

The news of his death was initially met by disbelief, with some Arohas preferring to await confirmation.

As the idol’s death became certain, the Arohas dwell only on the good moments captured of their idol, like the last time Moonbin went live and consoled a fan. He said, “It’s ok. You can calm down after a good cry.”

In their period of mourning, the K-pop industry has put off some events.

In the meantime, Arohas are finding consolation in the thought that Moonbin, the Moon now shines brightly in the sky. The Moon has met its star.



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