The netizens in South Korea are notoriously judgmental and not afraid to unleash their ire at whatever is the hot topic du jour. When it comes to their celebrities, mostly they require vanilla complacency in their public persona coupled with a hard working ethos. In previous years, some of the topics that have gotten celebs in hot water include tax evasion, propensity for violence, and draft dodging. This year the male celeb touchy subject is once again military service, but it’s not about draft dodging insomuch as it’s about going but slacking off. The entertainment division was scrapped recently on the heels of the report that male stars serving get extra time off and seem to be treating it like an easy vacation job. Which is how Yoochun got side-swiped with a minor controversy this week when he was photographed by tabloid Dispatch while he was out eating, drinking, and smoking with his buddies in a restaurant. Totally legit, right? Not according to the irate netizens who put two-and-two together and realized Yoochun was smoking yet once he enlists he’s been exempt from active duty and will serve in the PR department due to a lifelong asthma condition. Netizens hollered “unfair!” and asked whether the asthma is false (no, he has it, and people with mild asthma can smoke though its not the best idea), or whether he can’t do hard military duty due to asthma that apparently isn’t severe enough to stop him from smoking. I can’t believe this is even news. Compared to actual A-list male star draft dodgers 7 years ago, this is like trying to create a scandal out of smoke (har har). So it’s best to get to Yoochun’s other news this week, this one considerably better for his career. Song Joong Ki is off to the army and turned down the role in director Bong Joon Ho’s upcoming movie Sea Fog and Yoochun has been tapped in his stead. The male lead is actually Kim Yoon Seok, who is so much awesome everyone should just bow down, but the chance to work with both guys is priceless. This ought to be fantastic news for Yoochun fans and will have lasting effects if he’s good in it, while the smoking kerfluffle will evaporate into the ether.
I was actually way more interested in the smoking scandal pictures because it caught Yoochun out driving his Rolls Royce Ghost. First off – Yoochun drives a Rolls? I totally would not have thought it. A young hip guy, I would have seen him in a Maserati. The Ghost is the low end of the family, but still starting at around $230,000 to drive one home, whereas the Phantom is double that price and the just released Wraith somewhere in the middle. I also find it amusing for him to drive a white Ghost in Seoul and not expect to be easy tailing for any paparazzi. Chunnie, go buy yourself a Hyundai for daily driving needs. And quite smoking, it’s smelly and bad for your lungs and you are a singer with a lovely voice. I think if Yoochun shines in Sea Fog, he will go a long way to silence his naysayers because if Bong Joon Ho picked him for a movie, he’s clearly seen potential there. And I think Yoochun is fine when he plays characters that are earnest and likeable. I hated his obsessive and one-track-minded grabby character in Missing You and boy was that a painful watch. He also looks sexier when he’s dirty and scruffy (remember those Blacksmith ads?) and I’m expecting lots of that in Sea Fog where he plays a sailor.