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It’s back to the military for Psy

This is a bit of a controversial topic, since the issue of Korea’s mandatory military service always ruffles feathers, including those of people who are wholly unaffected by the law just as much as those who are. Like myself; I’m not a Korean male citizen, so I feel a need to be careful with my opinion, not out of fear of reprisal but out of respect for people who actually have to fulfill their “civic obligation.”

Back in 2003, singer Psy had qualified for special exemption, meaning he still had to perform his military service but in a different capacity, in a program that allowed him to stay out of regular active service. [Insert requisite outrage at celebrity special treatment here.] But after he had “served” 35 months and nearly completed his program by November 2005, it was discovered that he hadn’t quite actually done much participating in the program, which provoked massive public outrage. He’d already been given special status in a less-rigorous program (working a desk job), and on top of that, he hadn’t even done THAT properly?

His exemption was stripped and he had to face re-enlistment, this time to complete nearly two more years of regular active duty. Psy appealed, and lost his suit last week when it was judged that he “does not have sufficient grounds to qualify for exemption from service.” Today (the 17th), Psy re-enters service.

SONG OF THE DAY

Clazziquai – “Why.” Clazziquai’s just released their 3.5 album (the half being that it’s an album containing remixes of previously released tracks, like “Love Mode” and “Lover Boy,” as well as a few new ones). The album’s a little too poppy dancetronica for me — I prefer their mellower, trip-hoppy groove stuff — but it’s Clazziquai, so I can’t complain. [ zShare download ]

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A number of stars have attempted to skirt their required service by claiming medical exemptions, and although a few are legitimate (Bae Yong Joon, I believe, is one example), many are just last-ditch attempts to dodge enlistment. Song Seung Heon, Han Jae Seok, and Jang Hyuk garnered widespread criticism and disgust with their attempts to get out of service (forging medical excuses), but eventually came back into public favor by fulfilling their military service.

Jang Hyuk had a great year with the hit drama Thank You, Han Jae Seok is in the current high-budget Lobbyist, and Song Seung Heon’s battered image has made a rather springy recovery as his next project comes highly anticipated. On the other hand, let’s not get into the ugly details of how pop singer Yoo Seung Jun killed his career. (Personally I think the guy kinda got the shaft, but people loves thems their scapegoats, and the irrefutable fact is that his career, once hot stuff, is now dead in the water.)

 


Song Seung Heon, Han Jae Seok, Jang Hyuk

 
PUTTING ASIDE the argument of whether the mandatory military service is a problematic institution (many wouldn’t have a problem arguing the system needs radical change), the outrage this issue sparks isn’t so much about whether military service is valid. It’s about celebrities thinking they’re above the law and somehow not being subject to the same requirements of normal citizens. It’s flawed rhetoric to argue that “the system’s stupid so cut the guy some slack for trying to get out of it” (which is an opinion I’ve seen quite a bit of, surprisingly). A lot of people WISH they could pull off what Psy attempted, had they the right connections or sufficient cachet. And even though many Korean males are resentful of the obligation, particularly since there’s no female equivalent, they’re even more resentful when other fellow men shirk. Whatever the politics of the situation, the fact is, Psy tried to cheat and now he’s got to pay for it.

What remains to be seen is whether his reputation will be as resilient as other draft-dodgers like Song Seung Heon and Jang Hyuk. Despite the amount of hate engendered by such incidents, the public tends to be rather forgiving once the service has been completed. Maybe they figure two years of active duty is punishment enough.

Via Edaily, Hankyung. English-language article at Chosun Ilbo.

 
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Ahh, man. Now you've got me interested in this Yoo Seung Jun person. You tease. ;) Interesting article as always... you seem to find really random stuff that still manages to interest me. Thank you. ^_^

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Yeah well. Problem is you've got to admit two years is certainly long. I mean I think it would be easier if it was "only" six months or so... but Two Years! My that's long!
Well in France, the service has been completely suppressed so no big deal. The only "obligation" is to spend a whole day ( your meal and transportation fee is paid by the State and If you've got there by car, they pay you 15€. Lol I remember 6 or 5 Years ago when I did it, I almost forced my father to get me there just to get the pocket money ^^) listening to some stuffs about the army. Basically they also ask you to answer a questionnaire as a statistic data for the level of culture of 18 years old. You get some really stupid questions such as "What's the date of the National Day" and the likes...
By the way I'm pretty curious: Let's say you're a Korean male born in the States or in whatever other country and your nationality is American. You marry a Korean woman, both your parents are Korean and you want to change Nationality. If you're granted the Korean nationality, do you still have to do the military service?

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Yes, it is rather distasteful when celebs do act as if they are above the law. Obviously the should be punished for this! However, I must say, the 2 years mandatory military service is reasonable considering South Korea is technically speaking still at war with North Korea. Hopefully, there will be an armistice in the future and the mandatory military obligation will be suppressed. But I believe that if you are citizen of a country you should support it and being in the military service could be viewed as "doing your part for society". I have to admit though, it is unfair that women are exempt from this.

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Lol Jane. I had forgotten the problem of the armistice. However I must disagree with the "it is unfair that women are exempt from this."
I mean well you know how Asian Societies are always Men above Women in terms of status ( I must say there's lots of things to improve in the West as well but still they're much more progressives than Asians on the whole ) so to be entirely fair if you ask women to take the military service than you must be fairer on the whole in terms of treatment in everyday life, especially when it comes to work. Even my female Korean teachers who go frequently to Korea told us that though women status has improved there's still LOTS to do to attain the status they have in Europe.

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quote: "I have to admit though, it is unfair that women are exempt from this."
yeah and i think women being the one's that carry and birth a child is unfair but what can one do rigth... :S

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"yeah and i think women being the one’s that carry and birth a child is unfair but what can one do rigth"
^LMAO!

mandatory enlistment in general just blows. But unfortunately the Korean war has not technically ended yet so it makes sense that the government takes such measures...however, how come in the US we have so far been able to avoid a draft and yet in South Korea they have to force people to join the military?..why is it that we have more people in the US who are willing to voluntarily join the military? ...am i asking a stupid question? probably ...

in any case...it is definitely unfair for celebrities to get special treatment while the rest of the country's young men have to join active duty..i am sure if they could, they would try to avoid it too...so just because celebrities have the connections doesnt mean they should be able to avoid it while the rest who aren't so lucky to be rich and famous have to go through it...

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mandatory military service is actually not only in korea. i know other asian countries have it as well. here, we have something similar called ROTC or CAT. but its more of training and such. hehehe

its hard on these people im sure as well. but i guess its also a rigtheous honorable citizen's duty that need get over with. like those who gave up citizenships for it.
im sad really sad. but if their life is must be done, get it over with dignity and pride rather than look like a person running away from it. among the recent batch, jang woo hyuk seemed so pissed about going rather than kim jong min (they went it same time). next year will be though. im sure.

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"Despite the amount of hate engendered by such incidents, the public tends to be rather forgiving once the service has been completed. Maybe they figure two years of active duty is punishment enough."
Its not that we are forgiving, its just because we forget them after two years. There are alot of actors you know....hee

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But they do get to go home every weekend or holiday right? That's how it is in Singapore anyway. But so far, we don't have any crazy outrage like that regarding a male celebrity(not that ANY Singapore celebrities are known much anywhere. Maybe just Fann Wong or one or two more.. Hm), so this is definitely a new one.

I didnt know about Song Seung Heon, but I'm glad he's back on track, I've always loved him in movies :)

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One of my Korean friends told me that he and his brother didn't served the mandatory army duty because his dad bribed some officials so they could get out of it although when asked by his fellow Koreans what he did in the army he would tell some lie about being assigned in driving the army tank or something like that.

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"One of my Korean friends told me that he and his brother didn’t served the mandatory army duty because his dad bribed some officials so they could get out of it although when asked by his fellow Koreans what he did in the army he would tell some lie about being assigned in driving the army tank or something like that."
y did he tell u then? just wondering. it isn't not so honorable to tell ur buddy's secret, which i think is unfair btw.

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doa2, he isn't my buddy, he was a passing tourist who we got acquainted and invited for a couple of dinner.
my guess would be that he was trying to impress my friend on how his family is so
wealthy that his dad managed to put out such a large amount of money for him and his brother to get out of military duty.
i don't go around telling secrets but all the people whom he went out knew about it.
i guess my point would be that other Korean men have dodge military service through other means (my other friend studied in a different country because he didn't want to serve his military duty).
we actually weren't impressed by what we told us since we had gotten the impression that there was no tolerance for corruption in Korea.

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actually, korea has a horrrrrible reputation and track record for rampant corruption. :( sad but true.

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hi javabeans,
that's sad to know, i hope that, that would change and would not lead to the ruin of Korea.
i really have a great admiration for Korea and its people and will always have^^

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I agree with the corruption in Korea, it is pretty bad...which is why I was surprised to see this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7130529.stm

O_o

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what medical reason did bae young jun have for not serving in the army? I was very curious. He seems so healthy.

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Please don't kill me for saying this but Jang Hyuk looked way better after military service then before he went in. I always thought he looked like a drowned rat before. He looked healthier when he came out. Just personal observation.

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