By Jun Ji-hye
Top star Rain was embroiled in controversy Wednesday for allegedly receiving preferential treatment during his ongoing military service, after his relationship with top actress Kim Tae-hee was revealed.
Criticism of Rain, who is currently serving as an “entertainment soldier,” has been blowing up after online media Dispatch revealed the relationship, Tuesday. According to Dispatch, they first met in October 2011 when filming a Coupang commercial together and have dated every weekend over the past four weeks.
“They have been dating for about a month and are currently getting to know more about each other,” said Kim’s agency in a statement following the report.
Many netizens raised questions about how a soldier on active duty could get leave every weekend to meet his girlfriend.
One netizen posted a petition on Internet portal Daum`s popular online forum Agora saying that “Rain received too much leave and vacation, while ordinary soldiers are confined to their barracks and given little free time.”
The petition has been signed by almost 4,000 people calling for an investigation.
Many online commentators also bombarded the defense ministry’s website with complaints, saying, “Rain flouted the terms of his mandatory two-year military service, so he should be disciplined.”
Another online comment said, “When I served the military, I received just six holidays. Although some soldiers got reward vacations for their good performance, the number of day offs they received was much less, compared to entertainers.”
Some netizens are calling for eliminating the entertainment soldier system.
However, the ministry insisted the singer’s holidays were in accordance with military rules.
“In the case of off-days, however, that leave is given for choreography practice or recording songs. If he used such times for his private dating, it might be a problem. We are working to ascertain whether this actually happened or not,” a ministry official told The Korea Times asking for anonymity.
But, the official added that entertainment soldiers work as hard as ordinary soldiers do.
“They are working to a tight schedule to perform concerts. They are not playing in the army. Such duties are as tiring as those of ordinary soldiers,” he said.
An entertainment soldier appears on the Korean Forces Network’s (KFN) television and radio programs. The KFN is run by the ministry to boost the morale of soldiers. Such position allows them to take part in concert tours to military units across the nation.
The singer, whose real name Jung Ji-Hoon, is halfway through his service.
source: Korean Times.