How K-Pop Changed My Life (Part 4): The Military

South Korea and Its Culture

The things I have learned about SK came from a lot of research when I became interested in K-Pop. As an EXO-L, I was first introduced to many things and even tried to learn Korean. I wouldn’t make it in Korea. I watch a lot of K-dramas as well. I have always thought that the culture was one of beauty and even wanted to visit. I also went to YouTube and Reddit where people tell you about their experiences there, especially as people of color. They don’t really like us that much. And the people that say they do, well, I guess.

I won’t get controversial here, so let’s talk about why I have a picture of BTS up. Most of the ARMY (if not all) are shitting a brick because BTS, like the majority of other celebrities, have to do their mandatory military service.

Although they did get the age for K-Pop celebrities pushed back, they were unable to avoid the military altogether much to the chagrin of their fans. The age for service is usually 18 to 28 but the “BTS Law” introduced in 2020 due to their success got the age moved to 30. I will cite my sources at the end of this.

Welcome to Our Reality

First through third generation K-Pop groups have had to go. Most people acknowledge that this is a rite of passage in SK culture, but the ARMY wasn’t for that, and many were demanding that they be excluded because of what they did for K-Pop. Yes, they did a lot, but they didn’t pave the way for K-Pop as true fans were loving groups before them which means someone paved the way for them and they still had to enlist.

I like BTS a lot, their fans are a different story and are usually very young. They don’t understand music history and many of the ones in the U.S. weren’t even familiar with BTS until DNA. Many didn’t even know what the genre was hence my rants in Why I Am NOT Mad at NCT: Hollywood and How Kpop Changed My Life – Part TWO: Fan Wars. The bottom line is that it’s not fair for other celebrities to have to go but not them.

Feel Our Pain

At the present, many of our faves are away. Taemin is in the military but had to get his duties changed due to major anxiety. Everyone was worried about him regardless of the fandom. Taemin is a member of SHINee, a solo artist, and a member of SuperM. He started in K-Pop at about 14 years old. When his fellow members were in the military, he went solo and did a great job. He will be discharged next month per this story regarding his health and discharge date. The other members of the once five-member group are doing their solo projects and are doing a very well.

Before “idols” enlist, they get some projects done due to the fact that they can’t do outside projects while enlisted. SME found a way around that by pre-recording videos by our faves while they are gone.

Taemin and SHINee did some music before Taemin left.

Advice-Taemin
Don’t Call Me -SHINee
My Ult Biases

EXO-Ls already know the pain of their favorite third generation group going to the military and still being there. They go in waves, but they do things with the existing members and then a member or two leaves. The first to go was our fake maknae, Xiumin. Suho, the leader was next then our actor, D.O. Baekhyun and Kai stayed and did solo projects and SuperM along with Taemin and members of NCT.

Jopping with Taemin, Kai, and Baekhyun

Baekhyun and Chanyeol went out with a bang. BK left after making Bambi while Chanyeol starred in a movie with a great soundtrack called The Box.

Baekhyun in Bambi
Everyone but Chen before Chanyeol and Baekhyun left

Chanyeol got discharged this week and Baekhyun will be getting out soon. Chen, not in this video, was discharged as well but has been very quiet. Why? Because, before enlisting, he was married with a baby. When he got out, his wife had another child. People were mad and he literally had to write an apology letter. I will talk about this in part five along with scandals.

Who is Left and Who Doesn’t Have to Go?

Baekhyun should be out soon and then the two youngest ones have to go: Kai and Sehun. Kai has been doing a lot with his solo career and Sehun has been out and about and even did a movie called The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure. He barely talked but he was so cute. He also had a part in a quirky KDrama, both of which can be found on Netflix. Maybe Kai and Sehun will go together although Sehun has a tiny bit more time as the maknae of the group.

You’re wondering “Who doesn’t have to go?” In Don’t Fight the Feeling, there is a guy in red. That’s Lay. Lay was a part of the Chinese line of EXO (EXO-M). People lost their minds when they saw him in the vid although they had put him in digitally. Technically, his political affiliation puts him at risk if he were to come to SK. Also, he is not Korean so he doesn’t have to enlist. I will talk about this more in my next installment.

Our Next Batch to Go

NCT is a 21–23-member boy band group. it consists of people worldwide. A good number of their members won’t have to enlist as some are Korean American, Canadian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and German. The oldest in NCT is Taeil. He will have to go soon.

Taeil
In the End …

BTS is not the only group that has to go to the military. Real fans will back the other members as some go solo and others pursue other endeavors. No matter where your favorites go, you support them BUT (and I got told off for this), many people don’t have patience. Many fandoms have been doing this for years. We have patience and know that K-Pop is not all they are good for.

In my next blog in this series, I will talk about scandals and the thought that K-Pop “idols” don’t deserve to be loved. The stigma is slowly being broken but, at what cost. I will also discuss Lay’s situation and why he isn’t safe in SK.

Here are some sources about the miliary:

https://www.90daykorean.com/military-service-in-korea/#age-of-enlistment

As usual, thank you for reading. Maybe read an upbeat blog next like Jeepers CREEPERS!!!! Please like and comment as well.

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Published by tallgirl79

Blogging about life. Well, my life. As a black, bipolar, mom to a teenager with special needs, well, there is always a story to tell. From my aversion to having a man to my weird experiences while trying to avoid people, it's all there. Being me is.... different but it always makes for good blogs.

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