Are you a K-Pop idol in what may arguably be the peak of your career? Do you, like all other able-bodied male Korean citizens between the ages of 18 and 28 have to complete your government-mandated 18 months of military service at risk of working in a prison for three years? Is your 28th birthday lurking around the corner, making you wish you could maybe push back your service by approximately two years as you continue to capture the hearts of screaming girls around the globe? Well, my very specific, talented reader, you're in luck!
Last week, South Korea's parliament passed the so-called "BTS bill", permitting K-Pop stars to defer their compulsory military service until the age of 30, CBS News reported. In Korea, all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 are legally required to serve in the military for 18 months, with only a handful of exceptions for athletes, artists, and musicians (like the kind that win classical music competitions). Yet on Tuesday, some K-Pop stars have joined the ranks (or not) of these outliers, after the law was amended to allow individuals who "excel in popular culture and art," to postpone their service, according to the National Assembly.
As the bill's moniker implies, the legislature seems to be a direct reaction to Jin, BTS's oldest member, turning 28 on Friday. Had the revised law not passed, the pop idol would have been forced to enlist in the military by the end of the year, likely leading to many disappointed BTS fans and maybe even a K-Pop reimagining of 1963's, Bye Bye Birdie entitled Annyeong Annyeong Jin. Better title TBD.
Moral of the story? If you're looking to dodge the draft, try becoming a K-Pop Idol. It's a hell of a lot cooler than flat feet!