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:


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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.

  • I support Ukraine and applaud their resilience against Russia...but let's be real the only reason they're able to get into a stalemate with Russia is because NATO has been feeding them an endless supply of advanced weaponry to neutralize Russian tanks and planes (and also the fact that they have weather on their side...mud season is forcing Russian tanks and trucks to use the main roads which make them easy open targets).

  • Foreign media and kmedia love this story so much! They have been recycling this since 2018. It means comeback is near and it’s gonna be huge. The nearer the comeback, the crazier it will get so hold on to your horses guys. There will be more expose that will make koreans feel hatred for BTS (especially linked to their responsibility as koreans - late paying insurance is just a start). They need to discredit BTS and get koreans to feel like BTS is using their fame and fortune selfishly. That way, more public will want them to enlist soon. And if BTS get exemption, the public will hate them. It’s all orchestrated.

    Amazingly Snickers with BTS’ inspirational song titles taste more delicious than usual

  • Will they though? Because it seems that they're waiting/anticipating for the exemption to pass.

    No, they are waiting for a decision to be made, so that they can plan for their future accordingly.


    That's what grown people do... make plans for their future. Not obsessively invested in others', unlike some.


    They will serve if and when called upon or you think they would run away from Korea? Are you fine?

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

  • No, they are waiting for a decision to be made, so that they can plan for their future accordingly.


    That's what grown people do... make plans for their future. Not obsessively invested in others', unlike some.


    They will serve if and when called upon or you think they would run away from Korea? Are you fine?

    They don't understand the conditional nature of the phrase "if and when" . They repeat, "Didn't they say they wanted to go?" No, they said they'd go IF AND WHEN called. They haven't been called to go by the government, so the condition has not been met.

    STEP Stan BTS STEP ::PROOF:: STEP Visit bulletproof

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  • They don't understand the conditional nature of the phrase "if and when" . They repeat, "Didn't they say they wanted to go?" No, they said they'd go IF AND WHEN called. They haven't been called to go by the government, so the condition has not been met.

    I can't believe adult human beings including the OP, user kimmer and certain knetz are going through life without understanding simple language. :wellr:

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

  • There is also compulsory military service in my country, but you can also do alternative mercenary military service by paying a certain amount money. You only get 3 months of basic training, that's all. And the money is used to improve the resources of the army and soldiers. A useful alternative for everyone. I think it is surprising that South Korea has not even brought such an alternative so far.

    "Don’t judge a book by its cover. Everybody has a reason and everybody has a story. I hope people don’t judge a person based on what they see." Kim Taehyung


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  • 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.

    Wouldn't that sound like they bought their exemption? And if they do allow that, the elites will just protest to pay for their exemption and wouldn't that just create another unfair advantage of the rich

    ARMY Today, ARMY Tomorrow

  • Wouldn't that sound like they bought their exemption? And if they do allow that, the elites will just protest to pay for their exemption and wouldn't that just create another unfair advantage of the rich

    Nah when knetz suggest it, it sounds more like an additional public service tax almost and it wouldn't be available to everyone. It's not my idea. Paying an extra fee is something I've seen knetz talk about.

  • 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.

    This is true here in Korea the overwhelming sentiment is make no excuses for something. Unless it's legitimate like medical etc

  • [+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

    This does have a point and points out the flaws in our system and the proposed law, because if the requirement is economic influence then yes every scientist and engineer in Korea should be exempt period. The Samsung group has made far more impact and economic influence on Korea and the world far more than BTS ever could. These people have literally invented thing's that has changed the course of history and our species. The very phones tablets batteries and screens they make save lives daily, and countless other important things. The contribution from these devices are in medical equipment, hospitals, pacemakers etc cars, ambulance helicopters. Construction equipment etc. So if anyone those type of people should have been exempted and damn near worshipped if this is the bar for exemption. Every scientist and engineer should get exempt as their work often changes the world.

  • I can't believe adult human beings including the OP, user kimmer and certain knetz are going through life without understanding simple language. :wellr:

    Its not about understanding its about doing it. Here we have mandatory service. You don't have to wait until you are third and the MMA drafts you, you can choose to enlist earlier.

    The only time the MMA here in Korea turns you away is when the army is full🤣🤣🤣🤣 and the day you get turned away for applying early is when hell freezes over 🤡

  • Wouldn't that sound like they bought their exemption? And if they do allow that, the elites will just protest to pay for their exemption and wouldn't that just create another unfair advantage of the rich


    They do it anyway, i'm sure countless thousands of kids of Chaebol execs or other wealthy or powerful families find ways to avoid military service using their "resources".


    By making it legal to buy your way out of service, at least hopefully the men that are drafted can actually get something small out of it, a few extra bucks or better living conditions.

  • They do it anyway, i'm sure countless thousands of kids of Chaebol execs or other wealthy or powerful families find ways to avoid military service using their "resources".


    By making it legal to buy your way out of service, at least hopefully the men that are drafted can actually get something small out of it, a few extra bucks or better living conditions.

    Surprisingly it's not that much higher than the national average. 29.3% of Korean men are exempted from military service due to several factors which include health condition (pre-existing illnesses, obesity, poor eye sight, etc.), citizenship, etc. Chaebol heirs in their 30's and 40s were exempted at a 35.1% rate. 40 of 114 were exempted. Of the 40, 11 were exempted due to illness, 9 due to foreign citizenship, 4 due to obesity, 3 due to poor vision, and 2 were studying abroad during their enlistment window.

  • it ain’t happening anytime soon. The whole of Europe might get dragged into the Russia v Ukraine war. China is getting sus. Will SK get rid of the draft now that things might get messy? I don’t think so

    Exactly people ignore the real world. We had the draft here in Korea because of our situation of being surrounded by enemies we refuse to be another south Vietnam or more recently Afghanistan after the Taliban or Ukraine after Russia. Anyone here will take this land and our freedom from our cold dead hands and they will pay for evey cm of land. If we had world peace and North Korea on the oath to reunification. Then yes we would get rid of the draft overnight

    But since we literally have two known and proven enemies right oj our borders and things keep getting worse not better, we are going to keep the draft hell because of What's happening we upped our defense spending and is buying more anti ballistic missiles and for the first time along with Japan requested USA strategic resources. Which means we requested to have nuclear armed missiles deployed on our territory as an immediate deterrent. This has also promoted the government to consider the construction of our own nuclear arsenals. People who think the mandatory service will go away soon need to get off the drugs

  • Surprisingly it's not that much higher than the national average. 29.3% of Korean men are exempted from military service due to several factors which include health condition (pre-existing illnesses, obesity, poor eye sight, etc.), citizenship, etc. Chaebol heirs in their 30's and 40s were exempted at a 35.1% rate. 40 of 114 were exempted. Of the 40, 11 were exempted due to illness, 9 due to foreign citizenship, 4 due to obesity, 3 due to poor vision, and 2 were studying abroad during their enlistment window.

    If they were exempted due to studying abroad, isn't that more unfair than BTS being exempted due to their contribution to music and culture?

    ARMY Today, ARMY Tomorrow

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