Monday, February 27, 2012

Singer Rain takes a rain check on frontline soldiering

South Korean pop icon Rain will serve as an "entertainment soldier" for the remainder of his two years of compulsory military service, according to the defence ministry. Rain will appear in television and radio programmes of the Korean Forces Network, a broadcaster run by the ministry to boost morale, and take part in weekly concert tours to military units across the country. "As he is a singer and dancer, he will do well as an 'entertainment soldier'," a ministry official told AFP on Friday. Fans from across Asia wept last October when the 29-year-old entertainer entered boot camp to start his mandatory military service. He was said to be adjusting well to military life, being judged a top marksman and groomed to become an assistant instructor. Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, is a major star in his home country and throughout much of the rest of Asia, where South Korean "K pop" commands a huge following. All eligible South Korean men must spend about two years in the military. The country has remained technically at war with North Korea since their 1950-1953 conflict ended without a peace treaty. Most start their spell around the age of 20. But Rain took advantage of a provision allowing famous entertainers to postpone their service.

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