[news] 10 Asia article about Jay + Korean Grand National Party member Jeon YeoOk speaks up

1st article:
Jaebeom, the leader of the idol group, 2PM, announced he would quit the group on Sept. 8th. In 2PM’s official fan café, he wrote that he was sorry for everyone and even much sorrier for the fans who have loved him, but he would leave 2PM from today. It’s been only four days since the news article started to distribute to the public the fact that Jaebeom wrote some insulting remarks about Korea in his private blog a few years ago. Beside Jaebeom, nobody knows whether he really hated Korea or just tried to grumble his gloomy future with such emotional expressions while thinking about the delayed debut as a singer, as shown in his official apology about this case..However, it is clear that this case has become very serious within four days, resulting in his withdrawal from the group.

On the portal site, Daum Agora, ‘Jaebum resigning’ petition and even ‘Jaebum suicide’ petition were on the way, and some of the press began to describe Jaebeom as the second Yoo Seung Joon. Because of a personal article that he wrote in the past, Jaebum became a person who can’t even step on Korea. Owing to some private comments between him and his friends, Jaebeom has become the one who is never allowed to live in Korea. Spreading “responses of netizens” by the press without any rules and any moral standards.
It only took four days for both the press and netizens to make Jaebeom leave Korea so immediately by driving him into a corner with their harsh criticisms. Of course you could be disappointed in him and his past mistake. If Jaebum continued being in activities, he and other 2PM members might have felt this burden all the time. Just a reminder that even he is neither an offender nor a public officier. If you don’t like him, you will exclude him among your favorite celebrities. The broadcasting companies can decide whether he keeps appearing on their show programs or not, depending on the public opinion. He had already quit the program, ‘Nodaji’ from MBC ..
However, no one does have the right to force him to quit his singing career because he doesn’t like Korea, which is totally different from the fact that Jaebeom is an idol who is able to have influence upon many people. Whatever he does for a living, no one does take from him his right that he can do his works wherever he want to be. If a society excludes a person because of his or her negative comments about it, this issue will expand into the one about human rights beyond the one related to an idol star.. Therefore, his case is one of bigger social issues rather than only the issue in the small celebrity world. If the fact he irritates the public is the only reason he’s kicked off from a society, how could we say this is a normal society? You could say Jaebum decided his quitting by himself, but the time that he could really have for his decision is only four days. He didn’t even have enough time, or chance to consider on how his fans and the others are really responding to his issue.
Even right after Jaebeom’s withdrawal, some of the press wrote the article saying “idol management companies should learn the power of the public once again via this case.” But they said nothing about who exactly the ‘public’ was, or that the public’s offense would lead to him leaving the group. It could have just been the opinion of a few. However the media holds the most responsibility for Jaebeom’s situation which turned out like this in just four days, especially due to their role in enlarging the case instead of analyzing. Petitions on Daum Agora for ‘Jaebum suicide’ or ‘Jaebum leaving’ also were headlined through media and was enlarged. During this process, thinking about how bad Jaebeom’s comments actually were, and what kind of problem requests and petitions like this bring, was lost altogether from the argument. Whether it was something to skip over with a few disapproving comments about personal things he said in the past, whether it was something to receive an apology for, whether it was seriously enough to ask for him to quit 2PM, those issues were not addressed at all.
Media was quick to feed fuel to the fire by picking up words such as ‘expulsion’ ‘secession’ ‘the 2nd Yoo SeungJoon’ ‘abasement’. The situation even got to the point where fellow members were bashed for saying they would walk this together on their minihompy. Jaebeom didn’t even commit a crime, so is the support of members, who have been beside him for many years, something to insult because of ‘the netizens’ reactions’? There are no judges, only the opinion of netizens and the dlivery of those opinions.In the process the act of Jaebeom, an young overseas Korean who hadn’t even debuted at the time, posting personal comments widened into a massive incident.
Numbers from a few hundred to a few thousand netizens post their request on Daum Agora, and if media decides to report on this a tsunami-like mechanism is activated, possible shaking the entire life of a celebrity. In this space there is no room to talk about the rights of a human, not celebrity. All that is left is whether ‘the public’ can get the celebrity to do what they want, and the wins and losses of that. This is because the start of the whole incident was about the ‘tenacity’ of an idol who has come from overseas. All general comments made toward him was done assuming that Jaebeom was working in Korea even though he didn’t like Korea, and that he was different on the inside to the outside. So he was mocked by being called ‘a foreign worker’, and some replied to articles about him ‘If you hate Korea so much, go make money in your own country’.
To repeat, celebrities in Korea must never think a negative thought towards Korea even in their childhood, they must be exactly the same person inside and out, and their personal life must also be perfect. If not, or if they were caught doing something wrong, media and the public may ‘request suicide’ to the one person, and can submit it as evidence to the ‘criticism’. How, and who could possibly have the right to bash a celebrity for their personal thoughts, and things written in a personal space many years ago.
Jaebeom’s incident shows that a celebrity’s personal life can be used as a way to express a part of the public and press’ intentions, rather than be known for the problem it actually holds.. In this mechanism, things like common sense that a celebrity, furthermore one person’s basic human rights is more important than ‘tenacity’ ‘etiquette’ and ‘patriotism’, is lost. The only important thing is the direction of the public opinion, which is called ‘national emotion’.
So this is not the end of the Jaebeom controversy, it is the start. Jaebeom left to go to America, but the things that happened to do with him over the last 4 days contains many issues about Korean society.. Also, between the personal freedom of a celebrity and the opinion of the public, what conclusions should the media come to. This is not just a problem to do with a celebrity. It holds both the issue of the system that Korean society uses to progress an argument about something, and how we will look at the occupation of ‘celebrity’.
글. 강명석 (two@10asia.co.kr)
사진. 채기원 (ten@10asia.co.kr)
편집. 이지혜 (seven@10asia.co.kr)

Second article:
A member Jeon YeoOk of political party HanNaRa Party/Grand National Party, conservative political party in South Korea, speaks up about the recent incident of 2PM JaeBum and criticisms against him about the posts he wrote on his MySpace page before debut.Jeon YeoOk spoke about it during her appearance on SBS ‘Current Affairs’ aired on 11th September.
She said, “Through globalisation, JaeBum’s recent MySpace incident arose but I thought isn’t it like closed nationalism with our own people casting him away like that? I thought that we should be cherishing instead of casting away a youth who wrote something in his own private space 4 years back when he was only 17~18 years old and when he is new to the culture that he was placed in. This is very heartbreaking.”
She added, “In my point of view, what JaeBum wrote on his MySpace page 4 years ago was something that he wrote in his private space when he was feeling lonely in this foreign land having to leave his home in the States. Isn’t it cruel to keep tracking and digging into this incident? To what extent should we protect the private life of entertainers? What he wrote was something private to him when he was still a trainee.”

SOURCE: for 1st article: 2pm-online,10.asiae.co.kr
for 2nd article: 2pm-online, sookyeong

8 Responses so far.

  1. koolau says:

    You are absolutely correct. This is a reflection of Korean society at its worse.

    Koreans think they have freedom of speech and are a progressive society, but this shows that freedom of speech is limited to praise of Korea. In truly free nations, tolerance of speech counter to one's opinion is the mark of freedom. As long as the speech does not to harm others or commit crimes, rational debate should be the response.

    Korean's feel that their accomplishments should negate any criticism. Even if the criticism is true, many Koreans refuse to accept it.

    Jay's comments are not to be taken as an absolute fact. It was his opinion that Korea was bad and he didn't like it. That is called culture shock and all travelers experience it. He may not have liked it then, but he allowed Korea to have a chance and grew to love it. Korea benefited from Jay, his presence in Korean entertainment was very much valued. He never caused any negative impact upon Korea's image to the world, in fact, his success spoke to the world that Korea is a land of opportunity.

    The negative reaction of Korea's netizens hurt Korea's image. It reveals that they are a petty and ultra-nationalistic people.

  2. Tk says:

    and YESSSSS.
    yes, i read that first article on daum yesterday, and i even wrote the reporter and the editor a very long letter thanking them and further fleshing out my take on the very issues he/she was stirring up regarding the media, the personal civil rights of entertainers and even threw in the korean vs korean american tensions and prejudice.

    i'm impressed by that politician who spoke out about how myopic nationalism is in korea. i couldn't agree more.

    thanks for posting these translations.

  3. Tk says:

    this is what i wrote to them (part 1):

    I'm a Korean American female who was born and raised in the U.S. I read your article online, and I wanted to thank you for writing a piece that is finally looking at the bigger and deeper issues involved in this whole scandal with 박재범. I have been disappointed, until today, in the media's response to this netizen crisis. I am writing to offer my response to your article and all that has been in the media about 박재범. It seems you are writing with a wider perspective- one that seems more important and relevant.

    Korean netizens can be so cruel at times, but i feel that the situation was unfortunately amplified because the media only repeated what was said on the internet instead of investigating further into what was really happening. Good journalism takes good facts, and I feel that journalists in Korea did not do a proper investigation into the matter before they reported "news." I was very upset that the "news" was one-sided instead of taking a more mature look into the matter-- bringing up very valid rationale, like culture shock and age/maturity, into the matter. His more recent positive comments about Korea on myspace were revealed too late because a proper investigation did not happen by reporters, I feel.

    I'm glad that you are bringing to light the issues of freedom of speech for celebrities. It's a huge issue that keeps celebrities from having simple human civil rights to be themselves. Their privacy is so limited already, and the stress of the limelight is pressure enough. They become prey for netizens, enough, but for the media outlets to do the same is a big shame. I would hope that the media would take a broader stance and perspective instead of echo netizen comments 재범 WAS using myspace to be free with his feelings with his close friends in the U.S. I, also, feel that the language translation (American Slang) was an issue. Cultural issues (Korean vs American) are also a large issue. YStar recently reported a corrected interpretation of his myspace comments, that was truer to his original meaning. I was very relieved to finally hear someone reporting the correct interpretation. But it's too late for 재범.

    I don't believe he was every being UNpatriotic. I firmly believe that it was his venting due to culture shock. I've experienced similar emotions and feelings when I've visited Korea- because it is different from American. My parents raised me in a very traditional Korean home-- more Korean than most Korean Americans. I grew up speaking only Korean at home. at Korean food everyday, and learned the culture, traditions and societal etiquette. However, despite growing up this way, I felt harsh culture shock in Korea and expressed similar emotions at times. But with time, they changed. All of this is normal.

  4. Tk says:

    part 2:

    But 재범 was also a child- a teenager with lots of difficulties. And we know all teenagers make very immature and emotional comments without understanding what it means. Unfortunately, the media did not bring this perspective into public view. Another issue to consider is the tension and frequent misunderstanding between Korean Americans and Koreans. I think that Korea has become much more progressive in the last 10 years- understanding the differences and accepting them. However, I do still feel this is a problem. Korean Americans try so hard to fit-in with and understand Korean culture and society, however, there is not understanding from Koreans of Korean Americans' culture and how difficult this is. I honestly do not understand why 1/2 Korean celebrities are more accepted and understood (like Daniel Henney, etc) than full Korean blooded Americans. it's a very stranger paradox.

    I feel for 재범, very deeply. I am not a celebrity, but I'm a 2.0 Korean American. I feel misunderstood and unaccepted a LOT by Koreans on a daily basis both in the U.S. and in Korea. I've been hurt deeply in the past, but have been working to reconciling these differences. I hope that this scandal will open that conversation between Koreans and Korean Americans (especially led by the media) to help make things better.

    This is a complicated political matter even with the entertainment industry. I cannot begin to understand that and those decisions, but I believe that our society can learn from these things instead of react and become defensive. I hope that reporters, like you, will continue to lead into these important discussions for all Koreans and Korean Americans to grow and love and embrace one another more fully. We are all Korean by blood. There should not be a rejection on either side. There should be more understanding given to Koreans than those without Korean blood, don't you think? Well, thank you for your article. I hope 재범's misunderstanding will become cleared for his sake, for his family, and for future celebrities. I truly believe that the media is responsible for helping shape the public, and can even educate about Korean and American cultural issues as well as civil rights issues for celebrities. Thank you for opening that discussion through your article. I hope to see more.

    best regards,

  5. Anonymous says:

    now.... he is really going to hate koreans for life. since some koreans became so cruel to him for critisizing him, dont you know that its kinda normal in american to speak like that, its kinda word expression! i hate all those people who pushed jaebeom to leave 2pm!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Support Jay forever!
    I have faith in you!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    thanks for posting this. like what TK have wronte, finally a thorough understanding of the situation has being reported eventhough the damaged has been done.

  8. Anonymous says:

    this whole thing have made me really understand what korea is like..
    was a little dissapointed as i thought it was a really nice country as there was alot of super star n idols made in korea..
    but in the end..
    korea was such a country!
    maybe because im a new korean fan so i did not really know about this whole culture thing..
    but i was really happy with the second article writen by a politician!
    at least a politician actually realised this prob with their country..
    and not go with the flow of the antis and netizens.. =)

Leave a Reply


blog comments powered by Disqus