Welcome to another Comments of the Week!
This week, in music and idol news, we talked about T-ara‘s “Bunny Style” in Japan, K-hip-hop, Gummy, Davichi‘s “Turtle”, 100%‘s cover of 2PM, D-Unit‘s new album, and our annual spring cleaning of our K-pop closets.
As for socio-cultural topics, our writers addressed life after plastic, G-Dragon‘s sasaeng fans, SuPearls‘ disbandment, and Yoo Seung-ho‘s quiet entry into the Korean military service.
Here are three comments or conversations that caught my eye this week:
Conversation on SB Bite: Sasaeng Fans, Please Stay Out Of G-Dragon’s House:
I think in part it has to do with cultural and linguistic politeness, but I think it is also part and parcel of being an idol in the Korean system. Just last year when JYJ members (who have some of the worst sasaeng fans out there) got verbal and physical with a saesang fan, they ended up embroiled in lawsuits, and a giant scandal (now I’m not condoning physical abuse or anything), but sasaeng fans need help. They need counseling and professional help. It is not healthy or appropriate to leave messages written in menstrual blood (a common saesang fan thing to do), or to lie in wait by someone’s house, or call them incessantly, or try and kiss them in their sleep, or tailgate them (causing accidents), and all the other crazy things that sasaeng’s do to their idols.
In many other countries, they could go to jail, or have serious legal action taken against them. In some countries, where violence is prevalent, and people are armed, it is likely they could end up getting shot (I most definitely do not condone that), but what they are doing breaks articles of human rights. Under UN law, if the idols wanted to, they could quite legitimately take legal action against them. Maybe this response might seem hyperbolic, but I think that sasaeng fans sully the name of K-pop fans, but most of all, they need serious psychological help. It’s an issue of public safety.
I immediately thought of the JYJ saesang scandal also…and by scandal, I mean JYJ was criticized for a very human response to saesang fans as opposed to people not recognizing how saesang behavior needs to be controlled and laws passed to protect the idols personal privacy/property. It seems the general attitude is you would not be famous without fans thus must be considerate of any fans including saesangs. I have no idea why saesang behavior seems to be excused because they are young or public feel this is what an idol signed up for to be rich and famous….no one signs up for their families home to be invaded by stalkers.
Saesangs are not fans but an aberration of a fan in my opinion. The saesang invasive behavior similar to paparazzi in the states where celebrities feel forced to get physical. Celebrities feel forced to get physical because of some of the dangers they expose celebrities to in the name of getting some cheap shot: paparazzi has caused terrible accidents and even the death of a famous celebrity…how can anyone forget the death of Princess Diana.
However, celebrities reacting against adults isn’t looked down upon like young girls…except as you stated, these girls are not behaving like young girls. If a young person commits a crime they should still face responsibility…maybe not as harsh as an adult but often the parents are fined or children have to serve community service sentences in other countries. There definitely needs to be an attitude check towards saesangs….it seems to be an issue discussed in Korea but the government/law enforcement is making no moves to combat it as far as I know.
severely on SuPearls — One Step Forward, Two Steps Back:
I remember when Kpop Star ended, and people were annoyed with SM for not signing any of the artists. But really, in comparison, it was a kindness to not sign someone they had no intention of debuting than it was to keep them tied down to the company and then let them go. Companies now would likely be looking at this season’s round of successes, rather than worrying about old acts that have been out of the spotlight for too long.
I’m not really a huge fan of Lee Hi (dead personality on stage), but when I saw SuPearls perform, they had a lot of life. I had been really excited about them, and really, there are quite a few successful solo artists, but there aren’t really many purely vocal groups with a ton of popularity. SuPearls could have helped fill that niche.
At this point, though, it’s just like, “YG lied? Of course he did.” There are so many albums, solos, debuts, etc. that we were promised last year that didn’t come about or have been pushed back.
Black_Plague on SB Bite: Yoo Seung-ho Enters Military Service:
It’s better to get it done sooner than later when it comes to service. Yoo Seungho entered at an age in which during most Korean men typically get drafted or enlist on their own will, which gives him a further bonus in the long run in his public image.
As the author says about men in their late 20s to early 30s having it difficult to take orders from NCOs and junior officers younger than them, that is definitely true. In the ROK military (or just about every armed forces around the world, broadly speaking), rank plays a far more important role in hierarchy than the typical age-based seniority system of sunbae/hoobae in the civilian society – naturally, it’d be quite awkward for those who enter their service much later than others.
Heck, I’m the same age as him and going to start basic training next month but this guy’s going down the path of every other average Joe in Korea as an active duty soldier despite having a very promising and successful career. Gets my respect for doing so, unlike those such as Leeteuk, Boom, Rain etc. The fact that his agency also said there shouldn’t be any special treatment for celebrities also gets my attention as well – is this the first time an agency ever said this? Prior, most celebs’ agencies never seem to have said such words at all.
With that said, does anyone know which branch he’s enlisted to? Army? Marines? Air Force? Navy? From what I remember a while back, he supposedly said he wanted to join the ROK Marine Corps, which is widely-known to be extremely difficult, if not brutal in training both mentally and physically – which even earned the respect of their US counterparts (although infamously, the ROKMC has a high rate of hospitalized troops than any other branch, seemingly)
Anyways, I wish him the best of luck and hope he completes his service with honesty. It’s a highly valuable experience to mature from.
Thanks for being great readers! Feel free to leave additional comments below.
(Images via Vogue, Vogue Girl, YG Entertainment, CJ E&M Entertainment)