One of the biggest downsides to being a kpop fan (and avid kdrama-watcher) is that eventually your faves are going to have to enlist in the military, which is mandatory for Korean men regardless of celebrity status. Being American, this was maybe one of the biggest culture shocks when I started really deep-diving into all things Korea and while it’s a HUGE reminder that the Koreas are still technically at war with each other, it’s also refreshing to see that at the end of the day, make celebrities are still Korean citizens who are required to serve their country.
4/5 of BIGBANG have been in the military since 2018, but TOP was the first to enlist in 2017 so he actually was just discharged yesterday and friends, what a big fucking sigh of relief.
TOP is better than entire rap-lines of other groups put together and his talent transcends kpop and Korea entirely. FIGHT ME.
The Korean media is always seemingly routing against BIGBANG and loves to drag their name through the mud. And TOP had a big drug controversy shortly after enlisting. Allegedly, he had smoked pot at his home with a kpop trainee a few months before enlisting and “someone” narc’d on him later on, causing him to have to leave the military and go to court (marijuana is a big deal in Korea) and then he ended up in the hospital after taking too many pills so this is how stressful and high-pressure it is to be a celebrity in Korea. In America, no one would give a shit if they found out their fave was smoking! But it’s a different culture and as an American, who the fuck am I to judge.
Thankfully, TOP recovered and the military accepted him back as a civil servant, but his discharge date was pushed way back to make up for the time he missed. It was really sad and scary, not knowing what was going to happen to him and I was so afraid he was going to try and commit suicide.
Because of this, the korean media has been rabid about his discharge and a huge crowd of them surrounded the facility he had been assigned to, waiting for him to come out. What they didn’t know was that one of the BIGBANG fansites has arranged a secret meetup between VIPs and TOP, who snuck out through a back door, totally ditching the media, and arrived at the secret location where he greeted the special group of fans who were privy to this! I watched a bunch of videos of it and it was so fucking heartwarming!
My favorite Kpop group’s fandom did this. They came together in an intimate, organized manner, gave the man his space while showing him support and love at the same time. VIPs are so amazing.
Now that TOP is back, I hope he takes as much time for himself as he needs, plus some. And then when G-Dragon is discharged this fall, I hope the two of them pair up and deliver the biggest clapback that Kpop has ever seen.