By Seungwon Kim
In South Korea, every man is required to serve in the military for two years unless they have physical issues. Because military service is one of the most important duties for Korean men, avoiding the military service has been a sensitive problem for several celebrities. Nowadays, many Koreans are discussing whether celebrities should be exempt from the military requirement.
Steve Yoo, a Korean American singer was one of the most popular stars in Korea from 1997 to 2002. Although he was a permanent resident in America, he stated that as a Korean, he would like to fulfill his military service in Korea.
Since military service is mandatory for every man, he knew he could be an outcast in Korean society and lose his reputation if he avoided it. However, despite that, he flew back to America right after he acquired American citizenship in 2002 to escape military service.
A lot of his fans were disappointed because he broke his promise and left Korea. Recently, he apologized on Twitter for his behavior and expressed his feelings that he wanted to come back to Korea and work as an entertainer again. However, few people in Korea accepted his apology.
There were a few other Korean entertainers who got into similar troubles. Another Korean rapper, MC Mong, pulled out his raw teeth so he did not have to attend the military. If a person does not have enough teeth, he will be considered as a person with health issues. He was released from military service by the court because there was no proof he pulled his teeth on purpose to avoid military service. Many Koreans, however, did not believe him. MC Mong has not been on TV since 2009.
I think it is too harsh for people to reject these entertainers just because of these incidents. Although both entertainers are criticized for their misbehavior, I still listen to their songs because I enjoy them. I am not saying it is okay to avoid the military, but I can still accept them as entertainers.
I would be judgmental toward corrupted politicians or lawyers since their jobs are relevant to ethics and the law, but Steve Yoo and MC Mong are entertainers who sing and rap. There is nothing wrong with listening to their music even though they made an ethical mistake. I believe people should be more judgmental about unethical politicians or lawyers rather than singers or rappers.