Foreign media report BTS military exemptions are "tearing Korea apart" + public criticisms continue to grow

  • Foreign media report BTS military exemptions are "tearing Korea apart" + public criticisms continue to grow


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    Article: BTS "military service exemptions" causing anger among 20s and 30s...foreign media are also taking notice


    Source: Seoul Newspaper


    Foreign media are taking notice over BTS military exemption controversy.

    On the 23rd, foreign British newspaper, 'The Guardian' published an article titled "Korea torn apart by BTS military service controversy" and wrote, "Korea is divided over whether to send BTS members, who are in their 20s, to the military for 2 years or recognize them for their outstanding contributions. BTS' economic effect is more than 4.35 trillion won (~$3.5 billion), and with less than 3 weeks left until the inauguration of the new president Yoon Seok-yeol, the country is caught up in a debate on whether they should be exempted from mandatory service. Although Koreans acknowledge BTS' contributions have created billions in economic value and made Korea a cultural superpower, there are strong arguments against military exemptions that include potential clashes with their 'volatile neighbor' North Korea."

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    The article mentioned "alternative military service benefits" given to Son Heung-min, a Tottenham national soccer player as well as pianist Jo Seong-jin. Under current law, Olympic and Asian Games medalists and classical musicians who have won awards in world-renowned competitions are granted exemptions from military service or allowed to perform alternative service.

    'The Guardian' also mentioned singer Yoo Seung-jun (Steve Yoo) and wrote, "Strictly speaking, South Korea is still at war with North Korea and looks down on celebrities who try to avoid military service."

    They also included a poll where South Koreans were in support of alternative service for BTS but also share concerns that amendments to the law could be misused by unqualified celebrities since there are no "clear" guidelines.

    Following controversy over BTS military exemption talks, a netizen A filed a petition with the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) asking for official clarification into the issue and posted the complaint on an online community. The MMA responded, "We will conduct a careful review with relevant ministries in consideration of objective standards. We ask for your understanding that we're unable to respond to results over public opinion polls."

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    In a press conference held during Las Vegas concert on the 9th, HYBE revealed, "The members are having difficulties with planning for the future since the bills are constantly changing."

    Meanwhile, voices of criticism from men in their 20s and 30s saying exemptions are against "fairness" and "common sense" are continuing to grow.


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    1. [+10,168, -2,501] First of all, claiming this as them raising national prestige is hilarious. Yes, they worked hard and sang well but how does that directly correlate with them raising national prestige? Did 1 or 10 won of that money go into our pockets? If that's the case, make them pay 2-3 billion won a piece as a pre-condition for legally obtaining military exemptions. That money alone will provide enough welfare benefits for conscripted soldiers.
    2. [+6,086, -592] I think BTS should go to the army, athletes and artists should too. Back then when we didn't have Olympic Games or national competitions, the govt gave individual rewards or benefits to boost morale. So why are we rewarding them with military exemptions right when our country just got rid of the tag of a developing country? It's not like arts and sports contribute much to our economy.
    3. [+3,672, -1,596] Honestly though, who deserves getting military exemptions then, someone that takes first place in a music contest or someone that actually raises Korea's status around the world and adds 4.3 billion won to our economy?
    4. [+2,855, -134] They'll end up exiled from the industry. They're better off going and coming back.
    5. [+2,315, -273] Get 10 billion won a piece from each of them for exemptions. There's no reason for us to pay for the rich to get exemptions.
    6. [+709, -74] They were loved because of their dance and music and became a global syndrome because of the members luck and talents. The economic value was just an unintentional perk. If they're going to exempt them just because they brought in "economic value" then shouldn't the semiconductor and cellphone development teams at Samsung also receive exemptions? Do you realize just how much economic value the Galaxy team alone has generated for our country? If you want to go then go. Stop waiting around for a bill that will tell you whether to enlist or not.
    7. [+551, -25] How is any of this in the nation's interest if those that are required to go the army are getting exempted from going?
    8. [+547, -42] They have enough members in the group to take turns going to the army. I don't think it'll affect their promotions. Nowadays, idols serve less than 2 years anyway. Honestly, BTS achieved so much fame and wealth at such a young age so imagine how miserable it would be for other young men that have to go and they get exempted. It'd be more cool of them to just go on their own and serve.
    9. [+413, -29] No one in their 20s wants to go either. There's a truce in place between the two Koreas but men in their 20s are still mandated to serve. BTS should serve in the military like everyone else. HYBE and BTS have collected enough profits already. It's just that some didn't want to serve so they ran away to the U.S and got permanent residency.
    10. [+296, -18] The BTS members themselves promised they'd go. They should keep their promise.
    11. [+257, -29] They're better off voluntarily going to the army. It's going to get noisy if they don't.
  • hypothetically


    let's say there is 28 year old actor

    who would play in such hits as "Squid Game", "Start-Up", "All of Us are Dead", "Kingdom", "Crash Landing on You"

    he would be in main cast of all those shows, in 3 of them as main male lead

    will he get exemption then?

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  • From 2015-2019, almost 73 thousand men have done alternate service due to different reasons. 73,000 in five years, do with the information what you will, the following thread is an interesting read:


    Screenshot_20220428-001219_Twitter.jpg

    Screenshot_20220428-001242_Twitter.jpg

    Screenshot_20220428-001312_Twitter.jpg


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    "Overspending on my pens, that are more in number... than your fans" - Suga.

  • The majority of Korean males will probably always be against exemptions of any kind aside from medical reasons because they feel that it is unfair. I don't live in Korea but my country also has compulsory military service so I can understand the sentiment.

  • I like the idea of each member paying a certain amount to improve the welfare of soldiers in exchange for alternate service or exemption. Maybe they can start with providing a bit of funding for proper mental healthcare in the military and perhaps something to help LGBTQ service members who suffer horrible abuse if anybody finds out they're gay. That would align with the group's values.

  • I like the idea of each member paying a certain amount to improve the welfare of soldiers in exchange for alternate service or exemption. Maybe they can start with providing a bit of funding for proper mental healthcare in the military and perhaps something to help LGBTQ service members who suffer horrible abuse if anybody finds out they're gay. That would align with the group's values.

    That’s what they pay taxes for

  • That’s what they pay taxes for

    Well yeah but if they're looking for a compromise, I've seen this idea- donating a one-time sum of money- mentioned multiple times in the comments of these articles so I could see that being acceptable on some level if, for whatever reason, the members were exempted and accepted the exemption.

  • Everytime this comes up, imma rant the same old thing.


    Get rid of the draft the way it is now.


    Make the military a volunteer force, much smaller in size, and use the cost savings to put out a much more professional force with men and women who get paid real money with real government benefits to defend the country. The Ukrainian war is telling us all we need to know, that larger conscripted armies dont mean shit unless you invest in them with proper training and properly maintained, advanced equipment.


    If necessary, enforce a limited draft to fill out support and reserve positions only in the military. The professional soldiers operate tanks and fighters, the reserve draftees operate trucks and coffee machines.

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