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Korea: Three Singers and Military Service

How much can military service change your life?

There were three singers in Korea. The first singer, Yoo Seung Joon, who grew up in the U.S., but still kept the Korean citizenship, debuted in Korea in 1997. With a sweet voice and fit body, he got attention instantly and has been popular as a good dancing singer. Another strong image of his was as an honest and sincere man who emphasized his Christianity. The second singer, Psy, who has an American education background and is famous for his musical talent and having unique stage manner, has been popular with his creative and bold singing life. Even though he doesn’t have a specific handsome character, his uniqueness led to huge popularity. Contrary to these two singers, the third singer, Moon Hui Joon has a pure Korean background and is famous for having the most haters in Korea. Even though he was one of the members of a famous singing group, H.O.T., his change to a rock singer and whatever he speaks in media became major mockery. Netizens mocked him with ridiculous graphics.

However, those three men’s lives have dramatically changed recently. One reason is military service. Even though Yoo Seung Joon stated that he would serve his military obligation for the nation in public and went through the physical examination for military service, he went back to the U.S. and obtained U.S. citizenship instead. After that, he attempted to return, but he was denied entry at Incheon International Airport upon his return to Korea, as he was on a blacklist. Incheon Airport did so by the requestof the Korean Military Manpower Administration, an organization under the Ministry of National Defense. Since 2001, he has been not allowed to return to Korea.
The second singer, Psy decided to go through military service. But his physical examination results made it so he should serve part-time military obligation and he worked as a professional technician in a company. Recently he was sentenced to go back to military service again after he neglected his duty and used authority to evade the duty.

The third singer, Moon Hui Joon just finished his military service and showed his first look in a popuar TV program. His first appearance in public after military duty has different reactions from netizens. It’s interesting to see how much his completion of military service has changed his image on the internet.

안티 10만의 문희준…이젠 미워하지 맙시다…ㅠㅠ

문희준은 구설수가 무서운 듯 털어넣은 고민은 “저는 말하는게 무서워요.”였다. 문희준은 “제대를 하다니 이게 꿈이냐 생시냐. 군대 다시 가는 꿈을 계속 꾼다”고 고백했다.

그러면서 문희준은 “군대에 다시 가는 꿈을 7번이나 꿨는데 가장 악몽은 동명이인으로 다른 사람의 군복무를 대신한 걸로 처리돼 다시 군대에 가는 꿈이었다”고 말했다.

Moon Hui Joon, with 100,000 haters… Let’s not hate him anymore…ㅠㅠ

What he confessed was “I’m afraid of speaking” because he’s scared of gossip. He also said, “I’m still confused about being dismissed from military service. I still have dreams to go back to military service.”

He continued, “I had dreams to go back to military service seven times. The most hideous nightmare was what I served before was for another guy who had the same name and therefore I had to go back to military service.”

Direct apology to him was not hard to find in the internet.

문희준 미안해요.

헌데 어느 순간 군입대 소식이 들리면서 아 군대 면제라는 루머는 말 그대로 루머였구나 싶었고 문희준에 대해 다시 새로운 눈으로 보게 됬고 제대 한 후에 무릎팍도사에 출현한 걸 본 오늘부터는 문희준 정말 괜찮은 사람이다. 이렇게 까일만한 사람이 아니다 라는걸 제대로 느꼈습니다.

I’m sorry, Moon Hui Joon.

Listening to the news of his entrance to military service from some moment, I realized a rumor I got about him before was just a rumor and looked at him with different opinions. After I saw him on the TV program, mooreuppak dosa, I felt that he’s a good person and he didn’t have to be criticized so much.

A netizen compares two singers’ issues and other entertainers.

문희준 유승준 – 군입대문제로 희비가 엇갈리다…

유승준 군입대문제

문희준 유승준의 군입대문제. 아니 연얘인의 총체적인 병역문제가 사회적이슈거리가 되었던 시기는 언제일까요? 시기는 약 6년전으로 거슬러 올라가봅니다. 2001년 당시 가수 유승준이 입대 3달을 앞두고 돌연 미국으로 귀국해 시민권을 획득. 국내 병역을 회피했다는 의혹을 낳기 시작했습니다. 2001년 병무청 신체검사후 4급판정을 받은 유승준이 공익판정이 억울하며 군징집에 우호적인 입장을 밝혀왔고 꾸준히 방송을 통해서도 연얘인 군입대문제에 긍정적인 입장을 가져왔기에 2003년 귀국한 유승준의 문제가 사회문제로 커지게 된 큰 이유중에 하나입니다. 또다른 사건으로는 2004년 운동선수 병역비리사건이 크게 한건 터졌습니다. 이후로부터 연얘인들에게 있어 병역은 커다란 문제로 가시화됐습니다.

당시 병무청에서 이 일을 계기로 가수 유승준의 입국을 거부하는 일이 일어나자 또 한번 큰 이슈가 됩니다. 이 문제를 가지고 TV에서는 토론도 벌어지고 미국시민권에 대한 사람들의 관심도 크게 일어났죠. 이것은 어제 오늘의 일이 아니였고 많은 특권층의 자제도 이러한 방법으로 군입대문제를 회피하는 일이 비일비재했다는 점에서 사회적 충격으로 다가오지 않았나 생각됩니다. 결국 그후로 유승준은 한국땅을 밟지 못하게 됩니다.

사건의 시간이 흘렀음에도 불구하고 2005년에 실시한 조사에 따르면 아직도 그의 귀국을 반대한다는 여론의 목소리가 크다는 것을 알 수 있습니다. 군입대문제가 아직도 사회적으로 민감한 부분이기에 당시의 방향과 현재의 방향이 비슷하다고 생각이 듭니다….

문희준 군입대문제

이러한 사건들이 다른 연예인들에게도 크게 영향을 끼쳤고 많은 가수나 연예인들이 자진해서 입대하거나 입장을 밝혔습니다. 그중에서도 가장 관심을 가지게 됐던 가수가 바로 문희준이 아니였나 생각됩니다.문희준 유승준 두명의 가수에는 앞서 얘기했던 것과 같이 일부 공통점이 존재하였고 특히 문희준은 많은 안티팬을 보유하고 있었기에 문희준 군입대문제가 조용하지 않을 수 없었습니다….

안티팬들은 문희준 군입대문제로도 많은 비난적인 공격을 쏟아냈습니다. 안티까페과 팬까페를 재미삼아 자주 구경간 저로서도 이런 점이 많이 기억에 남네요. 문희준이 병역면제라는 루머가 한동안 돌면서 많은 일들이 있었습니다.

이러한 문제를 한번에 해결하는 사건이 2005년말 육군에 입대한 문희준의 군입대사건입니다. (사건이라기에 조금 우습네요^^;) 연예사병이 입대시 특기를 처음으로 부여받는 방식이 아닌 일반병으로 6개월간 군생활을 마치기에 문희준도 운전병으로 자대배치를 받고 군생활을 시작했습니다. 이당시 저도 군대에 있어 군인들의 시선으로 문희준을 바라봤는데 따가왔던 시선이 긍정적으로 변해감을 느낄 수 있었습니다….

Moon Hui Joon and Yoo Seung Joon – due to military service, the joy and sorrow have alternated between them….

Military Service Issue with Yoo Seung Joon
The issue of military service of Moon Hui Joon and Yoo Seung Joon. From when has entertainers’ military service become a social issue? It might be from six years before. In 2001, waiting for starting military service for three months, Yoo Seung Joon suddenly went back to the U.S.A. and obtained American citizenship. He has been suspected that he intended to evade military service. In 2001, he finished the physical examination and received the fourth grade. He himself said that he didn’t want to serve for the public good and expressed himself that he would like to go to the regular military service in media. Therefore his final decision and return to Korea in 2003 turned into a social issue. In 2004, athletes’ scandals to evade military service shook Korean society up again. After that, military service of entertainers has become a big issue.

When the Office of Military Manpower Administration turned his entrance into Korea down, it became a big issue again. There have been panels about this topic in TV and people got to be interested in Koreans who have American citizenship. This has not been a recent topic like yesterday or today. Because not a few children from the priviledged class have avoided military service, it must have become a social shock. In the end, since the scandal, Yoo Seung Joon even couldn’t step in Korea.

Even though it was long time ago, more people are still opposed to his return according to the poll of 2005. The military service issue is still socially sensitive and therefore the opinions have not changed so much at that time and at present….

Military Service Issue with Moon Hui Joon

His scandal influenced other entertainers, and other singers and entertainers expressed that they will go to military service. Among them, the singer who got the most attention must be Moon Hui Joon. Both Moon Hui Joon and Yoo Seung Joon had the similarities. In particular, Moon Hui Joon had so many haters and therefore whether he goes to military service or not has been a popular topic….

Haters especially criticized the delay of his military service. I remember all those because I checked his fans and haters’ webpages. There have been a lot of things going on while there has been a rumor that Moon Hui Joon was exempted from military service.

An incident that solved all these problems was his entrance to military service in late 2005… As a general soldier, not as an entertainment soldier, he started his military service as a driving soldier after tbe 6 week training course. At that time I was in the military and looked at him as a soldier. I started having a positive perspective on him.

Another netizen categorizes male entertainers by how they deal with their military service.

▶ 군대에 대처하는 남자 연예인들의 자세

① 파렴치형

병역 면제나 근무 태만 등 각종 병역 비리를 통해 복무를 회피하려는 이들을 지칭한다. 얼마 전 결과적으로 현역 생활을 통해 제대했지만, 입대 전 병역 비리를 저지른 송승헌과 장혁이 전자의 대표적인 예다. 그리고 며칠 전 재입대한 싸이는 후자의 경우다.

② 해외도피형

언급하기도 부끄럽다. 외국시민권을 통해 군입대를 면제받거나 아예 대한민국 국적을 포기하는 경우다. 대표적인 예는 현재까지 약 7년째 입국조차 금지된 유승준을 들 수 있다. 유승준은 가수 활동을 통해 팬들의 사랑을 받아왔지만, 군문제로 대한민국 국적마저 포기하면서 한국 사회에서 완전히 매장당하고 말았다.

③ 미루자형

말 그대로 무조건 미루고 보자는 연예인들이다. 입대하는 톱스타들의 연령을 보면 대부분 20대 후반에서 30세 정도. 대학원 등의 이유로 입대를 미루다가 더 이상 연기가 허용되지 않을 때 입대를 하는 연예인들을 지칭한다. 현재 30세인 연정훈이 대표적이며 대부분의 남자 연예인들이 밟는 과정이다.

④ 구청형

마포구청에는 소지섭(현재는 소집해제 상태), 광진구청에는 이정진(현재는 소집해제 상태), 용산구청에는 김종국, 강남구청에는 고수, 고양시청에는 남궁민, 구리시청에는 조성모가 있다. 또 서울고등법원에는 김종민, 강남 연금관리공단에는 장우혁이 공익근무요원으로 근무 중이다.

요즘 구청은 연예 기획사(?)로 거듭나고 있다. 언급한 이들을 살펴보면, ‘출발 드림팀’ 선수 출신이 2명(김종국, 조성모), 가요계 Top 춤꾼이 2명(김종민, 장우혁), 몸짱 스타가 절반에 이르는 4명(소지섭, 이정진, 김종국, 고수)에 이른다.

⑤ 사나이형

당당하게 현역에 입대하는 경우다. 연예인들 중에는 드문 만큼 제대하면 많은 팬들의 환영을 받는다. 대표적인 스타는 아역 출신 이민우가 있으며, 최근에는 김태우가 연예사병이 아닌 휴전선 수색대에서 복무하고 있어 팬들의 사랑을 받고 있다…

요즘 시대는 입대를 앞둔 연예인들에게 축복받은 시대임이 틀림없다. 남자 연예인들은 정정당당한 현역 입대를 통해 진정한 사내의 모습을 보여주는 것이 팬들이 바라는 바임을 잊지 말아야 할 것이다. 장기적인 측면에서 군생활은 자신을 더 단련시켜줄 뿐만 아니라, 팬들의 기억 속에 떳떳한 연예인으로 기억되게 해준다. 군복무는 인기의 보증수표라는 사실을 명심하자.

Male entertainers’ attitudes toward military service
1. Impudent style
People who try to evade military service by means of exemption or negligence of duty. Song Seung Heon and Chang Hyuk are representatives who committeed this irrationality before entrance into military service, but had to finish regular military service. And Ssai who re-entered into military service several days ago is a case of neglect on duty.

2. Fugitive style
It’s even shameful to mention. Through foreign citizenship, they exempt military service or give up the citizenship of their mother land. The most representative example is Yoo Seung Joon who was prohibited from coming back to Korea seven years ago. Yoo Seung Joon was loved by his fans a lot, but was buried in Korea after giving up citizenship in order to evade military service.

3. Delaying style
Literally, it indicates entertainers who delay on and on. Checking entertainers’ ages, they are the late 20s or 30s. They delay it under the pretext of graduate school or when their popularity declines, they go to military service. Youn Jung Hun who is 30 now is a representative of this style.

4. District official style
Mapo district office has So Ji Seop, Kwangjin district office has Lee Jung Jin, Yongsan district office has Kom Jong Kook, Kangnam district office has Go Soo, Koyang district office has Nam Koong Min, and Kuri district office has Cho Sung Mo. In addition, Seoul high court of justice has Kim Jong Min and Kangnam National Pension Service has Chang Woo Hyuk as part time soldiers.

5. Macho style
This is the guys who bravely go to military service on the regular track. It is a rare case for entertainers and therefore they get warm welcome after dismissal. The representatives are Lee Min Woo and Kim Taewoo who serve in the Demilitarized Zone….

These days, it is a blessed period for male entertainers who are waiting for military service. Through fair military service, they can be shown as truthful men and fans are also expecting it. In the long term, military lives will train them and will help to implant the image as honorable entertainers. Bear in mind that military service is as good as the bond to be popular.

How can male entertainers get popularity among young men in particular in Korea?

그런데 스포츠서울 조사에서도 드러나듯, H.O.T., 젝스키스, G.O.D. 등 한때 인기를 끌던 댄스그룹 남성중 현역에 입대한 사람이 12% 밖에 안됩니다. 그리도 이들 중 대부분이 문희준군이 입대한 후에 입대하였죠. 그렇게 볼 때 문희준이 솔선수범해 군대에 입대했다는 사실은 젊은 남성들에게 잔잔한 감동을 안겨줄 수 밖에 없는 일이었죠. 이제 그가 군복무를 성실하게 마치고 제대하는 모습을 본 많은 네티즌은 그가 입대하기 전에 가졌던 악감정을 버리고, 그를 “우리처럼 군생활 한 사람”으로 환영하는 분위기입니다.

Like we can see in the poll from a magazine, Sport Seoul, 12 percent of the dancing group members who were popular, such as H.O.T. Jackskiss, and G.O.D., went to regular military service. And most of them went after Moon Hui Joon. Therefore, the fact that Moon Hui Joon finished military service sincerely made a deep impression on young men. Netizens who see him after the two year military service give up the bad impression of him before and welcome him as a ‘person who had military service like us.’

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