Summer is well and truly upon us, and as we come to the end of July, it’s time again to take a look at some of the news stories that have been buzzing around the K-Pop world this month.

Red Velvet Light stick Unveiled!

Finally, the girl group Red Velvet had an official light stick unveiled this month by SM Entertainment!

Featuring their trademark pastel coral colour, the light stick is comprised of a white handle, topped with a jewel-shaped bulb that encases the letters ‘RV’.

Some fans have been left disappointed though, stating that SM had not put in enough effort for the design. Many fans had created their own, more elaborate Red Velvet light stick designs in the past that have included hearts and even a gun-shape!

What do you think of it?

Possible BTS Military Exemption?

You may have seen a lot of headlines referencing a South Korean politician calling for boy group BTS to be exempt from their mandatory military service. However, this is a bit of a twist on the truth likely made to get people to click on the article when it pops up in their newsfeeds.

The full story is that Ha Tae Kyung of the Bareunmirae “Righteous Future” minor opposition party put it to National Assembly Defense Committee to call for amendments to the criteria of who gets exemptions from military service. At present, Olympians that win medals at the games only have to undergo 4 weeks of military training as opposed to the usual 2 years.

Ha suggested that this should be extended to others who have made outstanding achievements, such as BTS, who have immense success internationally, and a historic number 1 on the Billboard 200 with their album Love Yourself: Tear. Exemption from conscription in these cases has been requested by many petitions, and there have been calls for it to apply to athletes aside from Olympians too.

Whether or not this could lead to some receiving a complete exemption from military services, or more getting a shortening of the mandatory 2 year time period remains to be seen!

Popularity of Korean Language lessons

The BBC reported that there has been a huge rise in people signing up to learn the Korean language.

A report by the Modern Language Association shows that Korean uptake in US universities rose by almost 14% between 2013 and 2016, while overall language enrolment was in decline. The latest statistics show 14,000 students are learning Korean in the US, compared to only 163 two decades earlier. The language learning website Duolingo launched a Korean course last year because of rising demand. It quickly attracted more than 200,000 pupils.”

It is suggested that the uptick in popularity is thanks to K-Pop’s global reach, with the recent massive success of groups like BTS only adding to people taking an interest in Korean language and culture.

It will not surprise many reading this who are currently studying Korean, but the article also warns that the language can be far from easy for native English speakers to learn.

You can read the full article here.

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BIG BANG’s Seungri on the loose.

BIG BANG’s maknae Seungri is back with another solo album – ‘The Great Seungri’. This has brought with it MV releases and a lot of television appearances this month. For those that know Seungri, you will know that interviews with him usually mean trouble…for the other BIG BANG members at the very least!

True to form, he has already mentioned that both T.O.P and G-Dragon have changed a lot since debut, that he earns 1% of what G-Dragon does and that he still finds it a bit awkward Daesung. He has also been advising the girls of BLACKPINK on how to sweet talk YG boss Yang Hyun Suk and telling them that they need to date in order to be able to sing about love.

Even though he causes headaches for his members and his boss, Seungri’s honesty and bluntness is very refreshing and welcomed by most. He is also known for his wicked sense of humour and confidence which means that, any time he appears on camera, you just know it will be entertaining!

MASC’s Chibin beaten by fellow member?

MASC member Chibin recently posted to his Instagram a very worrying caption:

I guess you have made a sin but want to escape. Hyung, I guess you have no intentions to apologize for the pain in my heart and body that you have caused that day. Hyung you are the only one I’ve unfollowed. The reason? Because I’m getting goosebumps thinking about how you will be uploading posts as if nothing happened. I’m sure you will be reading my post. If you think I’m fine then that’s a big mistake and misunderstanding. That day comes back to my mind when I turn off the lights and lay in bed at night. I still have scars on my face. Don’t think the past is just the past. I can’t forget that day. The day when I cried while soaking in the rain and watching my blood drip…”

A friend of Chibin was then reported to accuse MASC member ACE of violently beating Chibin with an umbrella. The friend shared photographs of a cut to Chibin’s scalp, a scratch on his face, bruises on his hand and a handkerchief with blood stains on it.

ACE has reportedly come forward and apologised today, but also clarified that the full story has not been revealed. He has even released a song about his stance on the subject.

It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds…

[Translation of caption found here.]

Spectrum’s Kim Dong Yoon passes away

Sadly, it was reported on the 27th that Spectrum member and former MIXNINE contestant Kim Dong Yoon had passed away. He was just 20 years old.

His agency, WYNN Entertainment, released a statement confirming his death, but offered no further explanation. It was then reported that Dong Yoon’s family have requested an autopsy be carried out on Monday the 30th. A lot of speculation has already taken place, but hopefully this will provide some solid answers.

Our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this unbelievably difficult time.

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