2PM Jaebeom issue: Seeing both sides of the story


Just when you think there’s no stopping 2PM and its rise to fame, an unfortunate setback has caused them to stumble in their way, especially their leader, Park Jaebeom. As a leader, he’s supposed to be the rock that holds everyone together, but what happens when people are the ones who throw rocks against him?

Just a recap of the controversy about Jay that erupted yesterday:

Messages he left to his friends in his myspace page in 2005 was discovered, and it contains highly offensive words and sentiments against Korea.

What outraged people particularly were his words saying “Korea is gay,” “I hate Koreans”, “I want to go back to the States again”, “Korea is whack… but everyone thinks I’m like the illest rapper when I suck nuts at rapping…” And in 2007 he wrote: ““I’m like a gay version of myself.”

JYPE rep has stepped forward and said, ““Currently JaeBum is reflecting on his own actions. Do understand it as a thoughtless act of someone still young.”

And most recently, Jay issued an apology, saying,

“I would like to apologize for the words I typed on myspace a few years ago. Sorry. I would like to explain my feelings then and apologize for them
I returned to Korea in Jan 05 when I was a high school student. Being born and bred in America, I had hardly any understanding of Korea, and when I first came to Korea, I couldn’t speak the language, couldn’t adapt to the food, and didn’t know and didn’t understand Korean culture….”

…”Looking back, I’m really sorry and embarrassed for writing such things. I have since adapted to Korea and completely changed my mind set. I’m thankful for all everything I went through so that I could perform on stage. I posted those words 4 years ago and I have completely changed since then. Our family, Hottest and our 2PM members, I’m really sorry to everyone as well as everyone who loves 2PM.”

***

This is not the first time an artist caused a stir because of what was discovered by netizens or what was posted by the artist themselves over the Internet, a place we all know is public and easily accessible.

***

JESSICA H.O.

A good example is Jessica H.O., a budding singer at that time whose career took quite a nosedive because of what she posted (in a message to SNSD’s Tiffany) about BOA, calling her “gay” and dissing Tiffany’s girl group that was about to debut. She also called Daniel Henney a “fag.”

CHRISTINA CHUNG



Christina Chung, a Korean artist based in the U.S. got serious flak from BoA fans when she commented via Twitter that BoA’s English made her “cringe.” Immediately after, she posted an apology, admitting that what she just said was harsh and that BoA is an artist that she respects.


KIM DAUL


Kim Daul is a Korean model who’s very outgoing and doesn’t give a damn about speaking her mind, or using her body to express herself. She was bashed by netizens when she posed nude in a magazine, saying that she’s a disgrace to Korea.

Food for thought: Here’s what Kim Daul wrote on her blog as a reaction to criticisms she received…

seriously korean ppl
stop bullying me
because
u know what

i have a life

i dont owe you anything
and you dont own me

i dont mean harm, and im just happy to share
my point of views or what i like, its not to offend or to be punk

Korea is Korea. its not the world…

its so silly to restrict korean girl has to be a certain way
this is superiority complex and complex is not …. flattering

and before im korean,

IM ME.”


VERA HOHLEITER


Vera Hohleiter, a panel member of the popular KBS2 TV show, “Chat With Beauties” also called “Misuda” published a book in Germany, apparently highlighting her negative experience in Korea. Some of the things she said are:

“As a well-mannered and well-educated person from Europe, I put in a great deal of effort to appreciate the Korean society, but everyday I counter something that makes me fail to do so.”

“Koreans have a bad taste for gossiping about foreigners. When they spot them in a public place such as in the subway, they delve into a very detailed criticism of their appearance and do it in a loud voice.”

MILEY CYRUS


In the U.S., Miley Cyrus caused a controversy when she was seen in a photo doing a pose that was supposedly mimicking how the Chinese/Asian people look. In a less politically correct term, they were doing the “chinky eyed” pose.


***

LOOKING AT BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY: Netizens/ Korean people’s sentiments

I was supposed to write about this issue yesterday, when it was still at the heat of the moment, but I realized that with my 2PM and Jay bias I would only be talking about how I want to give Jay a huge hug and tell him that everything’s going to be all right. As everyone and the readers of this blog know, I am a HUGE fan of Jay. You can even see in some articles gifs or photos of Jay even when the post is not about him. I picspam people over at Twitter ginormous amounts of Jay pics. So I figured, I should step back and look at the situation from an outsider’s point of view.

“He was YOUNG when he wrote it.”

There were arguments that Jay was young and immature when he wrote it, therefore we shouldn’t be making it a big deal. On the other hand, being “young” should not be always made as an excuse. He was what, around 16, 17 at that time? Calling an entire nation “gay” and saying that you hate its people is just wrong. Period. Even if it was another country or even if it was a small group of people—the fact is, even though he is (quite) young, he surely knows what is offensive or not. Regardless of whether he understood Korea and its culture or not, he certainly wouldn’t want to be called “gay” or “whack” himself. Double whammy because the words he used were offensive to the gay community as well.

On the other hand, Nichkhun, with his Thai-Chinese and American background, would’ve had hell of a hard time adapting to Korea as well. But did we hear or see him complain? I’m sure Khun did, being human like the rest of us and being put in that situation, but he handled his loneliness and angst better than Jay did. His family was also far away from him, he didn’t know the language and Korean ways and he didn’t have a drop of Korean blood in him. He was young when he was plucked from his comfort zone too. Jay and Khun are different people who express themselves differently, but it only means that such an ordeal can be handled in another way.

“That was 2005, 4 years ago! He was born and raised in America…”

For netizens, the issue here is not the year when he wrote it. It’s WHAT was written that matters. About him being raised in the States, it’s not like he didn’t have access to knowledge on all things Asian, even if it’s not about Korea. In his myspace, most of his friends are of Asian descent.  Try to put yourself in the Korean netizens’ shoes. How would you feel if someone, who is Korean himself, said those words against your country?

***

JAY’S SIDE

We were not in Jay’s position when he wrote it so we really would not understand how he felt. There were a lot of things going on, he felt vulnerable and lost in a place he didn’t understand, AND where there were people who couldn’t understand him. On top of that, he was feeling the pressure of practicing every single day, working hard for years yet feeling as if his efforts were not paying off. His musical and dance style were changed, and he couldn’t express himself. He was in the middle of trying to find his identity, as a Korean American, more so on what being a Korean really means. He felt lost. He didn’t know who to turn to, nor did he know how to keep it all in. Having all that hardship bottled up will eventually explode once feelings of frustration and loneliness becomes too overwhelming.

Wooyoung’s message in his cyworld: Hottest… Thank you. 2PM. We aren’t 7 people. We are one.


Jay’s fans are now doing everything they can to control the damage. Petitions, message of support are being made. And it’s quite obvious from the people’s reactions that they have “forgiven” and “accepted” Jay’s apology. On the other hand, I agree with what ahhyala said in his article: Double Standard when it comes to Celebs? He writes, “Netizens were very harsh and mean to her even though she apologized and many KPOP fans still hold comments she made before her debut against her. But with Jaebeom it seems many are already over the issue in such a short time. Why is there such an obvious double standard? ….If we can easily forgive Jaebeom, we should be able to get over Jessica H.o’s comments, especially since BoA doesn’t even care.”

***

My own personal thoughts on this issue:

Jay made a mistake. Whatever excuse or reason, it’s a fact. Now what’s been said has been said, what’s done is done—there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Netizens should not judge Jay based on that one incident. People change. Jay has been nothing but honest then, and you can see that he’s still honest ’til now. The boy was being real. But people shouldn’t be quick to side with netizens, or to Jay. Both sides have valid reasons for feeling the way they do. Netizens were outraged because of his harsh words, and in the manner which he said them. It’s understandable because even when you’re in another country, there are ways to learn and appreciate your motherland. In my high school we have Asian culture festivals and such to remind us where we came from. BUT Jay is aggrieved, because what he felt back then is NOT what he feels right now. Newsflash: Celebs are NOT pefect. They say crap just like how netizens are free to say crap about celebs. It is what it is. Let’s all just move on.

Let’s hope that Jay goes through this ordeal in one piece so we can see him smile once more.


credits: Kim Daul’s blog at iliketoforkmyself.blogspot.com, koreatimes.co.kr, K Bites

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20 Responses

  1. i love your header. :3

  2. Thank you :]
    thank you so much~ 2pm needs all the support they can get.

  3. he was wrong..then again, everybody’s made mistake..i didn’t even care what jessica H.o said ’bout BoA..if BoA didn’t care why shud we…I hope the issue settled.. n we can see Jay’s smiling again…

  4. young american-raised kids like jay at the age of 16, 17 and younger – they all say things are GAY. it’s like synonymous as saying something is LAME. that’s just the way that a lot of kids who are about that age or younger talk in the united states. for these kids, GAY=LAME

    koreans don’t get this and they took jay at the plain words he said. and jay was more self-centered at the time. he didn’t have the perspective of the long-term. he just didn’t know any better.

    now, just watch what happens next where jay does some really public things in front of media cameras where he publicly shows his respect for korean culture and manners. my guess is that he’ll probably do some lengthy interview where he’s grilled on the topic and he cries and shows his deep regret and asks for forgiveness. that’ll be his public flogging humilation that his critics will probably be expecting and laughing at.

    • yeap, terms used in the US don’t need to be taken seriously. it was a dumb statement yes, and using the word “gay” is wrong in itself. but when looked at in different contexts, the reactions would be different. i agree, this is a case of ignorance, on both sides.

  5. Love the new header 😉

    Khun probably also said some pretty angsty stuff, but unlike Jay, Khun was smart enough to make his myspace private. Sigh..Fail Leader is Fail Leader ❤

  6. Just wanted to say, I’m a guy. haha. but thanks for quoting me

  7. OK Good… cause I was beginning to think I was the only one with this opinion. This is quite possibly the only opinion blog I’ve read that comes close to my thoughts on this issue.

    So i wrote a whole response but basically decided to just do a rant on our blog… *sigh*

    -Rome

    • it’s okay! it was hard to do this post because a lot of factors had to be considered and a lot of people are doing he said, she said and it’s getting confusing. i feel a bit depressed about the whole thing though.

  8. your article is good and so true. what’s done is done..
    i’m totally agree with you.

  9. I’m sorry for my mistakes, ‘hope you’ll understand me.
    I think that we could see every situations .
    Koreans are feeling hurt, Jay when he was young…
    I’m sorry but, first, you shouldn’t compare Khun and Jay! Because it’s NOT the same situation, the same personnality!

    They have to be able to adapt themselves, and sometimes, a person can’t adapt himself compare to an other person who will be able to adapt himself ease with the greatest of this situation. Jay is Korean, Khun isn’t Korean, it’s a fact and it changes ALL. Jay should adapt himself as a Korean & Khun as a foreigner, in front of Koreans, I think that it’s different, I couldn’t explain that…
    AND I think that your article is focus on the point of view of Koreans for the part about Jay. I think that if you haven’t lived the same situation at this age, so you absolutely can’t understand! Because spacially at this age, It really is hard to be in this situation, and I can tell it! It’s for that, this excuse is acceptable!
    People can suffer from depression because of this king of situation and I saw it! When you haven’t the same mentality, the same way to live, to think than in your contry but you have to be here, you are not the sort of people who adapt himself easily, you hate to be here, you hate all, because you’re standstill, It’s unbearable and at this age, you often are not being able to open your mind seing that out of your little world in America (/ metropolitan france in my rate xD), poeple can live like that, think like that etc. This kind of test makes you grow up, and if he is there again, He must have grew a lot.
    On an other hand, Koreans are hurt, and I can understand it!

    • Hello, and thanks for your comment. About my comparison with Khun and Jay, I did say in the post that: “Jay and Khun are different people who express themselves differently,”—-which means that they have different personalities and ways of adapting. I just cited Khun’s example because “but it only means that such an ordeal can be handled in another way.” I’m just saying that they are the SAME situation with the fact that both didn’t grow up in Korea, and that they were plucked from their comfort zone, away from their family—that’s how similar they are to that extent. I know it hurts Koreans most because Jay himself is Korean. Dealing with loneliness can be done in a different way. I’m not on the side of anyone completely. I can see that both sides have their reasons. And on the part of Jay, I did emphasize that “We were not in Jay’s position when he wrote it so we really would not understand how he felt. There were a lot of things going on, he felt vulnerable and lost in a place he didn’t understand, AND where there were people who couldn’t understand him”— Of course we didn’t experience the same hardship that he did, so we really have no idea how intense he felt. I do understand though, how it feels to be lost and out of place… When I first got here in America my cousin introduced me to his friends at a party. And when I talked they were like, “So how come you speak good English?”—which is a common stereotype that when you’re Asian, or not a native of America, you can’t speak English the way they do. We can also look at it from Jay’s side. He had a hard time trying to fit in. He spent most of his life in the US, we can only imagine how difficult it was for him. Anyways, let’s all hope this thing blows over and ends in a civilized manner for the benefit of Jay’s career. I’m sure he’s changed and regrets what’s done.

  10. Your words is the most powerful weapon. Therefore, you should be careful to use it.
    For me, it’s not an excuse just saying that someone is young, so that he can say whatever he wanted to say or excused to made mistakes. This just make more deep stereotype that: do as much as mistakes when you’re young. It’s completely wrong. More mistakes: saying harsh words in the name of nations. We all know, this is a sensitive issue, especially when you say it to Koreans where we all know that they love their country so much. I know how Koreans felt when someone say bad words of their nation, as my country are in this kinds of situation with our neighbor. And just saying that he was young so that he can made mistake? nope.. bad answer.
    HOWEVER, I’m with you in supporting him to move on as long as he learned his lesson. I hope there will be a brighter and good side coming up from this situation: Jay will becomes more respect his motherland, and respect others. You can do it Jay, and in the future don’t fell off to the same hole!

    • my thoughts exactly. very well said. i’m with you on the issue of him being “young.” i think he’s already finished with high school or still was when he said it. it’s just that at that age, he’s still self-conscious and self-centered. thus he was doubting his skills (like rapping) and had lots of insecurities. but what’s done is done, he apologized and seemed really sincere. people should put themselves in his place and try to understand (at least) how he felt and how he’s feeling right now.

  11. (I knew I could find out what was going on with Jae on here, it is all over the web but no webpage is informing me on what it going on…THANKS, for the info)

    (My opinion can be bias but this is how I feel) I know that I am generalizing….but Koreans have a lot of pride when it comes to their country so if anybody or anyone is critizing their country, they are going to take it to heart. Things like that is very serious to them. I just hope they dont read too deep into what Jae is sayin because he was young, he didnt know Korean, and he he was from the states so Korea was something brand new and probably something hard for him to adapt to. We all was young and naive esp. when we was around the age of 16,17. him being young isnt an excuse but he didnt know better because he was young(but he knows now). Im from the states and I know I am going to be in Korea this summer, my thought isnt going to be as harsh as Jae’s (I know I am going to have more appreciation for the simple fact I am half korean and I am 21 and he was like 16, so my thoughts and opinion is going to be more mature) but I know I will have my doubts and feel uncomfortable. It’s human nature. Even though he is Korean dont he should be automatically feel comfortable in Korea. Koreans in the states are a little more ‘Americanized’. He is older now and he admits that was wrong. That should be enough, he seems so sincere.

  12. what you wrote is as close as it gets to what i think on this. i’m glad you wrote both sides bcs a lot of what i’ve read is jay biased. i like jay & i think the appeal is the fact that he is so honest from what we see of him on shows/programs & he probably wrote exactly how he honestly felt at the time but if he turned round & said to me i hate your country, it’s gay & i hate your ethnicity i’d be offended. hell i’d be offended if my best friend said it! i’m glad he apologized quickly tho & he’s definately learned from his mistake, it was bad what he said but i don’t think the answer is 2 linger & bear a grudge against him like some of the netizens are.

    • thanks for understanding. some people think that this post is anti-jay but it really is just trying to understand how netizens think and why they reacted the way they did. but that doesn’t excuse them for resorting to ridiculous statements and asking him to be deported, go suicide etc. that’s just too much.

  13. However, don’t the comments he posted seems to be related to his stress in which he had as he practiced everyday? I don’t know Jaebeom as well as you do… sorry if you feel that I’m ignorant…

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