BTS fans outraged esports star may skip mandatory military service if he wins Asian Games gold

BTS fans outraged esports star may skip mandatory military service if he wins Asian Games gold
via YouTube
Bryan Ke
September 27, 2023
BTS’ fans, affectionately known as ARMYs, are voicing their outrage after learning that famous South Korean esports star Faker may skip the mandatory military service if he wins a gold medal at the Asian Games.
Key details: Faker, whose real name is Lee Sang-hyeok, 27, is among the 16 South Koreans representing their country at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, China, in esports.
The Games, which opened on Saturday, feature seven titles with gold medal awards, notably “Arena of Valor (Asian Games Edition),” “PUBG Mobile (Peace Elite Asian Games Version),” “Dream Three Kingdoms 2,” “Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition,” “EA Sports FC (FIFA Online 4),” “DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancient)” and “League of Legends (LoL),” the game Faker is known for globally.
The exemption: Like in other sports, those who bring home a gold medal in esports may also be exempted from South Korea’s mandatory military service, which requires all able-bodied men to register for conscription for 18 to 21 months. While the service requirement takes effect at 18 years old, it can reportedly be delayed up to the age of 28.
Faker may also receive the same exception Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min received when he, alongside the South Korean national team, won the gold medal in soccer at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Son, 31, only underwent a three-week basic training at the time.
Their standing: South Korea beat Saudi Arabia’s national “LoL” team on Wednesday 2-0. They will be advancing to the semi-finals on Thursday. The grand final is scheduled for Friday.
The outrage: Several ARMYs voiced their outrage on X after learning that Faker may skip his mandatory service, while three of their BTS idols — Jin, J-Hope and Suga — did not receive the same exemption.
Like you can’t dent the impact of Esports. That’s why Faker is included in ‘The Elite 4’: Bong Joonho, Son Heungmin, BTS, and Faker. But it’s extremely unfair for them to intentionally exclude BTS the way they are,” one X user posted.
“This rlly makes me question how the SK gov’t determine what national prestige is & how ppl contribute to it. Does e-sports boost/spread their culture more than music, the arts, global relations? I wonder hm $$ e-sports contribute to their economy vs BTS & othr artists?” another wrote.
“I once calculated that BTS brought as much money to the country as the national airline (and as many tourists). And in terms of prestige, I can safely bet internationally they are the most famous Koreans. The gov and many locals just have no respect for popular music.” said another X user.
Igniting more fury: One X user ignited more fury into the matter by posting on the social media platform a picture of Faker with his trophies, with a caption that reads: “Faker has done more for Korea than BTS.” The post has so far received over 2.2 million views.
View post on X
No shade to faker, I’m sure he’s a great guy but BTS was awarded cultural merit order (youngest ever) and in 2019, contributed 0.3% of overall South Korea GDP,” one X user responded.
View post on X

No way you think faker is bigger than BTS,” another user noted.
God of our country my ass,” another X user quipped, “the number of elderly Koreans who have called BTS ‘our nation’s treasure’ and let’s not forget how so many oversea Koreans have been so grateful to BTS bc(sic) of how much westerners have opened up to the Korean culture/language.”
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