I have a confession to make: I’ve actually liked Kpop for a looong time. Since 2008 to be precise. Obviously back then, I had no idea about what they were singing, but man I just loved Big Bang, Rain, and Wondergirls, and I still get super nostalgic when I hear the song “Haru Haru.” Even to this day, Big Bang remains among my absolute favorite bands, and their releases in December proved that they are still in the absolute elite when it comes to Korean pop music.

However, for Big Bang fans, this week proved to be something indeed. My favorite Big Bang member, T.O.P. with the civil name Choi Seung Hyeon, was involved in a marijuana (대마초 in Korean) scandal. I don’t think this would ever qualify as a scandal by Western standards, but anyway. This incident forced him to publish a handwritten apology to his fans. And I actually thought that was the end of it. But then followed a formal indictment, and he was stripped off his military rank, which I personally think is harsh, but well… I know I’m a liberal Westerner in a deeply conservative society. I doubt he is the first rapper to smoke a little weed, and personally I couldn’t care less. Anyway, the circumstances proved a bit more grave, since he apparently smoked the marijuana while he was serving his military duty in the Seoul police force. Not a smart move.

The day after the indictment, he was found unconcious from an overdose of muscle relaxants and he was rushed to the ICU, where he remained unresponsive for days. This saddened me deeply, as I feel that a 29-year-old should be allowed a minor side step without feeling that his life has come to an end. We all make mistakes, but when celebrities do so, Korean fans can be very unforgiving. Suicides are common in Korea, and among celebrities maybe even more so. Twitter has been flowing over with the hashtag #StayStrongTOP and local news outlets have been following the case closely.

The good news is that he now seems to have woken up from his coma and is on the road to recovery. I strongly hope that he will not only recover his health but also his career. He deserves it.

As for other Big Bang related news, another member, G-Dragon, released a new solo album yesterday. I’m absolutely in love with the quiet love ballad called “Untitled”. I hope you’ll like it, too! For Korean learners out there, I’ve included the video with the lyrics to the song. Happy Friday everyone! After today’s teaching, you can find me celebrating “blazing Friday” in Hongdae! 불금~~~!


  1. Big Bang is the ONLY K-pop group I actually like (watching them feels like reading Dr Suess books). And the situation is unfortunate. I think Korean celebrities should be able to enjoy a little whiff without worrying too much. If caught, just pay the price, both financially and socially, and move on. I hope T.O.P. does just that. He’s a gifted lyricist as far as I can tell from a couple of songs I’ve heard. He writes incredibly smart lines.

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  2. I actually used to listen to a lot of Wondergirls and Big Bang around that time as well and ‘Tell Me’ and ‘Nobody’ definitely both have a special nostalgic place in my heart 🙂 I actually started reading Big Bang’s autobiography in Korean a couple of months ago. While I haven’t made it to TOP’s section yet, reading about how hard they’ve all worked to get where they are, I do really hope that such a *relatively* small mistake doesn’t have to have too big of an impact on his career. And of course I really hope TOPs both mental and physical health will get back to a good place.

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