[article][Soldier check] Rain, Hyun Bin, and South Korea the day after the news.

Cloud cover by: Stephe, Managing Editor ^@@^

Historian Colin Pattinson was in attendance at Rain’s final concert, the Last of the Best free street event that ended Gangnam-gu’s Hanryu festival on October 9, 2011, and it sounds like he had a nice time. It’s really terrific to run into an article of this caliber by a writer of Mr. Pattinson’s background, an article that actually marries two subjects that one wouldn’t usually find together—the world of entertainment and the death of a dictator who has had the world on alert.

I appreciated the read!

* NOTE: It’s NOT that likely that any of the celeb-soldiers are watching the movements of NK troops across the DMZ right now. To my knowledge, none of them are in that position.

— Stephe @ CloudUSA.org

°

The Huffington Post U.K / HuffPost News 12/20/2011 — by Colin Pattinson: Historian, International Politics enthusiast and correspondent

South Korea : The Day After the News

Thousands of screaming fans, adoring eyes fixated at me. First class flights, Hollywood movie sets, beautiful women, exquisite outfits. A not too distant memory for a small minority in the South Korean army that will have woke up this morning in the bitter winter cold. Likely to be up one of the many mountains that line the DMZ, watching the movements of the North Korean troops opposite. They awake today with a sense of heightened tension and with greater responsibility on their shoulders.

South Korea is a nation that still has conscription. It’s a military duty that all fit and able males must serve. The rich, the poor and even, dare I say, the famous. There are a number of celebrities actively serving right now and their dedicated fans will be wishing for their safety as all troops were placed on red alert after yesterdays unveiling of Kim Jong Il’s death. It perhaps is odd to think of popstars and actors defending the nation but it’s a national duty that all must serve. By all reports it’s not a pleasant experience and although thoroughly disliked it’s a task you must suffer for the good of the nation. For those who avoid the service it is seen as shameful and treasonous and would be a PR disaster for the stars. Avoidance of the duty would result in at best heavy fines & public shame or could even warrant imprisonment. The only exception I’ve seen in my time here being Park Ji-Sung of Manchester United, absolved duty due continuous contributions to Korea. The South Korean public expects their male celebrities to entertain and protect.

Perhaps the biggest name currently serving in the South Korean armed forces is the pop sensation and movie star Rain (born 정지훈 : Jeong Ji-Hoon). He’s a phenomenon throughout Asia to the extent that recently in the Korean news it stated that many Filipino mothers are naming their children Rain due to their adulation of the man himself. Rain also has a back story worthy of any X factor audition and is famed for his hard work and determination. He is likely to be best known in the Western world as a star in the recent ‘Ninja Assassin’ movie or a role in ‘Speed Racer’. He recently performed a free concert in the up market district of Seoul, Gangnam-gu, to say goodbye to his fans before enlisting to the army. I was in attendance and saw an excellent entertainer that left all the women panting for more. He seems to have an aversion for clothing on his chest however as in the past, along with his signature gyrating dance move, he likes to rip off his shirt or at least tease the audience with the possibility. Rain is an idol and his fans often dress up in rain clouds and cheer his name, for many today they will be thinking of him again. Wishing him well and to do his nation proud.

Another notable star is Hyeon Bin. Famed for being in the incredibly popular Korean drama ‘Secret Garden’. On the day of enlistment his fans went to the army barracks and wept as their star, with his freshly shaven head, waved his final goodbye before entering his compulsory 21+month service (length of service is dependent on your branch within the military). Korean celebrities enjoy greater adulation than their US or UK counterparts so it’s not simply saying imagine a scenario where Robbie Williams and David Tennant were to be signed up to the Royal Marines. Perhaps a greater example would be if Mr. Darcy departed to serve during WW1 and left his fawning fans to deal with the worry until he could return home safely. The soldiers here face a very real danger, only heightened by recent events.

It’s not only the celebrities that will be longed for and thought about but a whole generation. Mothers, fathers, girlfriends will all share worry and sorrow at the predicament the young soldiers are facing in the coming months. The public displays great sympathy for those serving and those who are yet to serve (including Arsenal FC’s South Korean forward Park Chu-Young [박주영]). For every one celebrity there are multiple more fearful sons of worried mothers. For many Koreans today it is those that are sacrificing themselves in the armed forces that they are thinking of as the dust begins to settle on the shocking news yesterday.

© 2011 AOL (UK) Limited / HuffPost News / Colin Pattinson 

~ by Cloud USA on December 21, 2011.

19 Responses to “[article][Soldier check] Rain, Hyun Bin, and South Korea the day after the news.”

  1. THank you for bringing the article to our attention.

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  2. Since I started this jorney of knowing Korea there are a lot of things that I like. First there’s still a sense of respect to the elderly, to your body, to your family, country, etc. We’ve lost that. In the US and Puerto Rico we care about ourselves mostly. In Korea people still value their music, arts, traditions, etc and they protect them. We don’t value those things anymore so we don’t protect them either. Korean performers are soo humble. They value their fans cuz they are grateful for their support. I still can’t believe the relationship they have with their fans. Is amazing how they share their lives, their sorrows, their joy with us and that’s why you love them. In this side of the ocean, performers are idols, they live with a high wall surrounding them and most of them don’t care about their fans. To them, fans are annoying people they have to give an authograph from time to time. This is somewhat changing with Twitter but still there’s a very long way between them and their fans. That’s why I don’t follow most of them. I don’t see any of those reality tv shows either like the Kardashians, Jersey Shore or whatever. These programs don’t show anything positive, these people have no talent whatsoever and they live for the next gossip. My Korean teacher told me that after the war, South Korea was devastated so they made a plan to improve their lives. They took care of each other, they grew rice for every neighbor and in this way together they made a new country. I wish we could learn from that lesson.

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    • Well said, Mari.^^

      Stephe ^@@^

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    • @marisara
      I agree with what you wrote. I just wanted to add a few things. I wish America were like that again (caring for one another ect) but we have unfortunately really drifted away from that. Yes the Koreans have a ton of respect for themselves and the elderly and their history. But from what I have experienced living here, that respect a lot of times does not include people of non korean origin. Having rights, or say so as a foreigner is almost non exist. And that’s fine because the country can do what it wants but its just very drastic from America. It seems every country is doing something better than our own with the way the American economy is right now.

      In america everyone even if your not american has rights, a right to an attorney, or at least a say so in whats going on. Never more in my life have I been proud to be an American. I can make whatever choices I choose and my opportunities are endless. I sometimes am looked down upon for being a woman out here single living on my own when the Korean society is still about the woman being at home taking care of the children.

      Now I love korea and want to be here for a long time DONT get me WRONG! Its such a wonderful country but in truth every place has its pros and cons. Now OF COURSE the Korean entertainment industry is 10x’s better than America thats no dout. But anywho GO JIHOON!!! AHAHA

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      • Thanks for that, pink. I too am proud to be an American for the freedoms I have here. We have our problems, but some people act like this is Hell and they would have you think that 300 years of American history even compares to the several thousand years of horrors that other countries have (and still are) visiting on their citizens and neighbors. I’ve noticed that they’re not making any moves to leave, though. I say a vacation in Beirut or the Congo or Libya or parts of Columbia or even NK would redefine their definition of Hell.

        Stephe ^@@^

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      • Hey, I hope I didn’t come off as being anti-American. I too am a proud American. I just get frustrated with how things have come to be. As a person of color and a female, America is the best place to be (as far as I’m concerned). There IS a freedom here that you don’t necessarily have or get in other parts of the world and for that I’m grateful. I want to visit a lot of places, but my hat is off to those who uproot and live in countries other than the place of their birth. Many kudos…..don’t know if I could do it. Visit…but live??? (SMILES) Anyway, Pinkfashionninja I agree with your assessment about those of color or foreign birth in Korea. I am not studying the Korean language like many here, but I do try my best to “soak up” as much information as I can when I’m interested in a particular culture. You’re right there’s good and bad in All cultures. No place in the world is perfect, but if one remains open minded there is much that can be learned from one culture to another. (IMHO)

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        • Hey, BiA. 🙂

          You didn’t come off anti to me. My lovely rant was about folks that I’ve personally known for some years, and other people I’ve run into at events and online. I find them simply incredible. :/ (pardon me for elbowing into y’all’s conversation^^)

          Stephe ^@@^

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  3. I liked reading this, thanks. This guy was at the concert cool! haha

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  4. Wow so true because now when I think of it im like “dang has Chris Brown or Justin Beiber or _____ (insert name here) ever had a fan meets / appreciations?

    We might get a

    “And last but not least I love my fans”

    on an album thank you write up but it ends there.

    Also in Korea if you have a scandal you’re usually done for or must fight hard for the respect of the people again. In America 90% of people “famous” are from scandals. What happened to people being discovered because of talent and not because they were in the newest sex tape? This is why I’m so over the American entertainment industry. When they decide to stop putting out crap material and actually take time to craft artists, then I MIGHT decide to listen.

    Korean artists do appreciate their fans more. Just look at the quality of their CD’s! I mean yes I know they can get it produced in Korea for cheap and with no international shipping costs but still the CD cases are masterpieces!

    One of my first Kpop CD’s I ever bought (of course Rain’s was first lol) waa Taeyang and 2ne1’s Cd in Koreatown in LA. I’ll tell you those things are artwork. Both have a 20 paged booklet, postcards, and things that make you feel even closer to the artist. The lyrics from the 2ne1’s Cd were handwritten by the girls themselves on each page. Heck look at the God Bless America pictures that Rain included in the Back to the Basic CD!
    Whew, I was TOO grateful for a young man born into the world named Jung Jihoon who now has abs of steal!

    Thanks for catching that. I didn’t even realize that was what the author was referring to. It makes a lot of sense.

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  5. @Stephe,

    I agree 100%. Set aside the irrational “fangirls”, Korean celebs fans love them because that love is reciprocated by the celeb toward their fans. Celebs in the U.S. see their fans as a concert ticket, a movie ticket or record sales. U.S. celebs only see their fans as “numbers” and “dollar signs” and to be honest as unpopular as this idea may be AND as unlikely, the idea that “all males must serve” doesn’t sound too bad to me right now, celebrities included. Looking at what “maledom” has become in the U.S. in general…….it’s really quite pathetic. I’ve been blessed (as a wife) in that regard, but I feel so awful for women who have yet to find a suitable/compatible mate. Men these days especially those in the U.S., don’t have the urgency to build a house/home/legacy anymore and they sure as hell don’t want to take responsibility for anything judging by the “baby mama/baby daddy” situations too numerous to count. When my dad was a boy, there was a open field next to my grandparents home back then. My father and/or his brother (my uncle) had to mow that field AFTER they mowed the family lawn, when the grass got high. This was a part of their regular chores. “Chores” remember that word? Parents (some not all) today (in the U.S.) don’t require that kind of responsibility of their children. Then the “state” (taxpayers) end up having to “take care of” someone else’s kid. So sad. Sorry about the rant.

    Yes, Korean culture is different, yet refreshing in a lot of ways. U.S. celebs could learn a lot from how Korean celebs value their fans, then maybe the need to shave your head bald and jump in the ocean in your bra and panties might not seem like a thing you feel compelled to do.

    Apologies if my words offend, it’s never my intent.

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    • The “chore” thing — agreed. I had chores, my kid had chores… these days, who the heck gets chores? They do get brand new cars and designer stuff and whole gaming systems without earning them, though.

      ROFL @ …then maybe the need to shave your head bald and jump in the ocean in your bra and panties might not seem like a thing you feel compelled to do.

      hehehehe I know, right??

      Stephe ^@@^

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      • I know I went from celebs to regular peeps, all in one rant. I guess my issue is just in the fact that these days there is just a general LACK of just about everything. Anything that is worth something people pretty much get for free. You don’t have to really struggle to get these days, especially if you don’t mind what your family and friends think. Nothing is shameful anymore, just get on TV and show your behind……make millions. I agree with Pinkfashionninja about the becoming famous or “infamous” BECAUSE of scandals (*cough, cough….Kardashians…cough*) rather than trying to keep scandal out of your life. Also, don’t get me wrong, I had my share of getting what I wanted as a kid, BUT the one time I thought I was grown enough (15 years old) to sass my father (notice I said the ONE time), in the words of the late James Brown……..*Pappa Don’t Take No Mess*…………………….

        Well, l’ll stop here. Anyway, this was a great article. Always happy to see Bi recognized. (SMILES)

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    • Yeah, I remember those. I still have them when I go home sort of. Actually it is just something I do. I wash dishes when they are dirty (when I get around to it) and I clean my Mom’s room ever so often (I won’t clean mine though still she says something).

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  6. I live in Korea also and I have not heard anything or any reaction at all in my area. They are just going about their business, like “Yeah, uh-huh.”

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    • I believe you, DN. Sure do!

      The wave of hysterics that has “gripped the world” is just rolling along all by itself without NK even lifting a finger.

      Stephe ^@@^

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  7. I agree with you there, pink. Powerful indeed.

    I also must say I agree with him when it comes to us not celebrating our celebrities as much as Korea celebrates theirs (at first I thought he meant celebs in the military, but upon a re-read it appears that he’s simply talking in general). And the reason for that is, in my opinion, our celebs in the U.S. don’t celebrate us, either. They hardly ever acknowledge or pay any attention to fans over here, in fact it’s like we don’t even exist and they just happened to get famous.

    Korean celebrities acknowledge and celebrate their fans constantly with fan meets, back to back projects, and other kinds of inventive things. Ain’t no fan service in the U.S… just a bunch of bad behavior and sitting around belly-aching. And putting on airs. Hmph.

    Stephe ^@@^

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    • I guess it’s our fault for paying attention or buying mag about people who really has not done anything to become just appeared on tv. For example Paris Hilton and The Kardeshians. They are already millionaires but if it wasn’t for all the media attention I wouldn’t even know who they are and not that I care. Of course they could care less about us. Normal, working class people.

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  8. Wow this was a very powerful read. With the current event it made everything a bit more real for me out here since im actually in the vacinity of all of it. Though wats surprising to me is how most of the koreans im around have been quite calm over the past days. But i think it stems from them just naturally having to be on alert at all times. I pray for korea, the soliders and our dear jihoon.

    Like

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