It’s been a big week in the K-pop world, friends. Two of Korea’s hottest young stars made headlines this week, but no good news was brought to their fans.

Kim Hyun-joong, the object of this blogger’s affection, who has been mentioned here many, many times in recent months, was diagnosed with swine flu earlier this week. I first heard about it from Donny on Tuesday. Since that night, virtually every Korean teacher has said something to me about poor Hyun-joong (yes, my crush is well-known amongst the teachers). Students who saw the Kim Hyun-joong picture on my nametag have all said the same thing to me: “Teacher, jgskfjhgdkfjghd plu!!” I understood ‘teacher’ and ‘plu’ (Konglish for flu), but the gobbledygook in between the two was beyond me. But I knew what they were trying to tell me, and that was enough.

Last weekend, I went to that big concert in Incheon. One of the groups that performed was rising pop sensation 2PM. Two of the guys in 2PM grew up in America. The lead singer, Park Jaebom, was born and raised in Washington state and didn’t move to Korea until fourish years ago when he was in high school. Around the time he moved over here, he wrote a message on a friend’s Myspace that said, “Korea is gay. I hate Koreans.” The post was recently discovered and caused such an outrage (among who, I’m not too sure) that Jaebom fled the country. The group has since stopped all of their activities. Three days after I saw him perform in Incheon, he was on a plane back to the States. Could it be that I saw Jaebom’s final performance in Korea? That’s sort of like seeing Michael Jackson’s last concert, right? Right?

You can’t help but feel bad for the guy. Korea’s a hard place for foreigners to live, and sometimes even worse for kyopo (Koreans who were born or raised abroad). Jaebom went from being one of the most famous guys in Korea to being a virtual nobody in America, all because of something he said in a moment of discontent that occurred four years ago. If I had to leave the country because of something I’d blogged about or written on someone’s wall that showed Korea in a negative light, I probably would have been out my first week here.

Not all Koreans are pleased with his departure. Young, crying fans shouted and screamed for him not to go as he walked onto the plane. I even found a petition to keep him in 2PM (still 49,869 supporters away from the 50,000 goal). I secretly hope he’ll be back, because 2PM’s song “Again and Again” is so damn catchy and I want to hear more.

And that’s your local K-pop roundup, folks. Anyone who still wants to be my friend despite the fact that I’m secretly totally bummed about Kim Hyun-joong and Jaebom, I sincerely thank you.

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