South Korean lawmaker issues Scout jamboree SOS to BTS megastars
SEOUL, South Korea—With national embarrassment building over the World Scout Jamboree evacuations, a South Korean lawmaker has issued an SOS to supergroup BTS.
The K-pop megastars are currently on a hiatus with two members—Jin and J-Hope—performing their mandatory military service, and another member, SUGA, set to enlist shortly.
South Korea’s military should give them a leave pass so they can briefly reunite and perform for the thousands of mostly teenagers from around the world left stranded by the jamboree fiasco, according to lawmaker Sung Il-jong.
“For these precious guests, it is necessary to fill the lack of schedule… with the power of Korean culture,” Sung wrote on his Facebook page.
He asked Seoul’s defense ministry to “take all necessary measures” to allow BTS to perform at a K-pop concert in Seoul on Friday, Aug. 11, for the scouts.
Doing so “would help elevate South Korea’s national prestige.”
Sung, also a member of the parliament’s national defense committee, said the jamboree had “tarnished our country’s reputation due to inadequate preparation and poor management.”
The defense ministry told AFP that it had “nothing to comment” on Sung’s request.
About 43,000 people had gathered on South Korea’s coast last week for the World Scouts Jamboree.
But it was plagued by problems, initially with a heatwave that led to mass sunstroke casualties. Poor sanitation was another problem.
An approaching typhoon led organizers to scrap the campsite proceedings completely this week.
Thousands of students were being evacuated to Seoul and other parts of the country on Tuesday, Aug. 8.
Even before the typhoon warning, Korean media had called the jamboree “a national disgrace.”
But Sung’s request prompted angry responses from some BTS fans online.
“Please don’t use BTS to cover yourselves up!” one wrote on Twitter, which is now being rebranded to X.
“Isn’t it absurd that (the South Korean authorities) are putting the responsibility on BTS to clean up the mess they produced—by not adequately preparing for the Jamboree?” wrote another.
BTS has played a significant role in promoting South Korea’s culture, once even serving as the country’s presidential envoys.
Last year, they threw a free concert in Busan in support of South Korea’s bid to host the World Expo 2023 in the southern port city.
It was their last concert as a group before the members started joining the army for mandatory military service. /ra