While this year has already seen a high profile scandal involving a celebrity in uniform, an investigation during the last days of June lead Koreans to seriously question the system of special service for famous conscripts. Two “entertainment soldiers”, alleged to be Sangchu or Seven, were spotted leaving massage parlors near their base. The contrast between the open violation of military regulations by the two celebrities and their light punishment by the Ministry of Defense outraged netizens, who questioned why they were being treated differently from ordinary soldiers.
Article from SBS:
“Entertainment Soldier” scandal leads to disappointment, frustration
One of the longest running television shows in Korea, now entering its 50th year, is “The Entertainment Express”. The audience consists almost entirely of active members of the military, as the purpose of the show is to entertain and bring comfort to brave Korean soldiers in training and at the front. The show is currently in the midst of an shocking scandal.
The main actors at the show are so called “entertainment soldiers”, who hold an official rank just like rank and file soldiers and who are attached to the Defense Media Agency, which is a part of the Ministry of Defense. The show was designed to raise morale among Korean soldiers and encourage a sense of camaraderie.
Up until yesterday, (June 25th), that was all anyone thought about entertainment soldiers and the program. However, due to “Hyeonjang 21”, an SBS investigative TV program, the public has now learned about a disappointing lack of discipline among the entertainment soldiers. It was really shocking to see the image of entertainment soldiers, on June 21st, on their way to a motel in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province after participating in a special episode commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Korean War (It broke out on June 25, 1950).
On that day, the entertainment soldiers wore civilian clothes rather than military uniforms and were holding cell phones instead of rifles or shovels. They enjoyed drinking like college fraternity brothers at a party instead of abiding by military discipline in a chilly barracks. They were wandering around Chuncheon city like a hyena prowling after its prey at dawn.
At 2 a.m., two singer soldiers were spotted visiting two massage parlors in the city of Chuncheon. It was unbelievable. When a reporter approached the soldiers as they left the massage parlor, they responded shockingly by twisting his arm and trying to grab his camera.
It would be a mistake to jump to conclusions, but it is necessary to ask the question “How could entertainment soldiers do such a thing and who gave them these privileges?”
The Ministry of Defense and the Defense Media Agency authorities gave an absurd explanation for some entertainment soldiers going to massage parlors. They said, “the truth is that the two soldiers involved had pain in their knees. The reason they were looking for massage parlors was just for physical therapy.” Meaning, they wanted to go massage parlors, not a hospital emergency room. It sounds more like a “shield” (a Korean term when fans defend their idol in an absurd way)”. It is obvious that the source of entertainers’ inappropriate privileges is their commanding officers and the military itself.
The soliders have now been placed under investigation according to the Military Criminal Act’s article 79 concerning absence without leave, the Military Personnel Management Act’s article 47 of obligation duty, and article 56 of cause for disciplinary action.
At the end of the “Hyeonjang 21” program, the reporter reminded viewers that the broadcast date was June 25, when our soldiers began their sacrifice in 1950. It is necessary to judge the facts clearly and punish the relevant entertainment soldiers according to military law. They will not be given special privileges. Entertaining is a job, not a special status.
But where can other soldiers, wounded by this scandal involving entertainment soldiers, receive massage for their distress?
There were many online parodies of the entertainment soldiers’ behavior. Pictures of lettuce [sangchu], the number seven, and rain, obvious allusions to the names of the celebrities, allowed critics to bypass search engine filters.
Comments from Nate:
They hit the reporter = assault, They destroyed a camera = vandalism, They were wandering off base at night=desertion from the army, They went to massage parlors = illegal prostitution, They wore civilian clothes= a violation of maintaining the dignity of a soldier.. If you were a common soldier, you would have to go to the stockade (As above, the “Yeongchang”)
They are not common soldiers.. Seriously, all entertainment soldiers including those who already left the army should rejoin.
Steve Yoo (Note: Yoo Seung-jun, a Korean singer who got American citizenship in order to avoid going to army):I should have gone there.. if I had known that the army was so flexible.
Exodontia Mong (Note: MC mong, a Korean singer who took his teeth out intentionally for the same reason above): I didn’t know the army was like that. Oh, my poor teeth.. give my teeth back to me.
Asthma Yoocheon(Note: a Korean singer and actor who, giving asthma as a reason, served in the public affairs office instead of going to the reguler army): I still don’t want to go there. “Cough! Cough!”
Do you know who will go through men-boong the most? Other entertainers who were supposed to become entertainment soldiers! Even if the system of entertainment soldiers is maintained, it will be different from now on. Needless to say, if it is abolished, they could not go to massage parlors any more. Good luck, ke ke ke
Entertainment soldiers should be abolished as soon as possible!!!
The relevant authorities who didn’t manage and control entertainment soldiers should be punished.. Does being an entertainer mean you are an almighty god? I don’t understand why they were afraid of them. The Ministry of Defense should punish them according to military law. Entertainment soldiers should report back to their original units and go through life as common soldiers. The obligation of defending the country applies to you without exception. I am speechless..
What a lousy military!
I think the entertainment soldiers who already received their discharge from military service should be under investigation, or rejoin the army and serve again, like Psy.
Meanwhile, I can’t understand those who support massage parlors. The reason they got criticized was that they went there “as a active duty soldier”. I am not a man but I feel anger. In my brother’s case, after he went to the army, my mother was crying all day and even my expressionless father felt sad when he got a call from my brother. Whenever he said he couldn’t endure any more, we felt worried if he would decide to kill himself. Even my brother, who was weak, skinny and had hepatitis type B, had to be assigned to a reconnaissance division. But you muscular pigs just played at the military life. There was no difference between when you were out of uniform and now that you are photographed in one. I can’t contain my anger.
If necessary, it is inevitable..
Do you remember Rain‘s scandal with Kim Tae-hee? At that time, he wrote a book report as a disciplinary measure. I already knew there was something we don’t know.. What a great spirit of mutual help! How can it occur frequently in the Korean army?
Just one female entertainer would improve our military fighting power more than tens of millions of male entertainment soldiers.
Kim Tae-hee (Note: the Korean actress who was singer Rain’s girlfriend) doesn’t have a good eye for men.
Park Han-byeol( a Korean actress who was singer Seven’s girlfriend) is going to be shocked when she sees this. Heol..
Who can believe this absurd explanation for treatment?? You idiots, ke ke ke Who is really looking for physical therapy in a massage parlor?
Wow.. All comments including the entertainment soldiers‘ names were being deleted.. Lane(it refers to the singer Rain) , Number (it refers to the singer Seven), a sesame leaf(it referred to the singer Sangchu).