[English Translation] Consolatory Train Performances Provide a Special Strength
~Cloud Cover by Terri :-}, Managing Editor
At this time, we have no idea if Rain will be involved in any future Consolatory Train Programs. The performances are supposed to start up again in the spring, but right now, Rain and the other External Relations Team soldiers are laying low. I imagine, though, that rehearsals are currently taking place, but that’s just a guess. If we hear something about an upcoming Rain performance, though, we’ll let you know. After all, that is what we do, right? :-}
In the meantime, please read this article, It was written by a writer of the DEMA FM Consolatory Train Program itself. We don’t know her name, because it was not revealed. However, her words really capture the frustration I feel at the public and the netizens in Korea, who continue to vilify both Rain and his fellow soldiers in the program—even though they don’t have a clue how the PR Division is run, or how hard its External Relations Team really works.
Maybe to some, the PR Division and its soldiers are a waste of time and money. Having lived the military life and having provided some of these types of family and morale, welfare and recreation programs for U.S. military communities myself, I disagree. I know first-hand how much these types of activities can mean not only to the soldiers in the audiences, but also to the soldier performers. I know, because they TOLD me so.
Many thanks to huhuhuhu, on The Cloud (Rain’s official fan club in Korea) for translating this article into English for Rain’s English-speaking fans.
Also, many blessings to the soldiers of the PR Division, who continue to carry on in the face of such senseless vitriol.
Upcoming Consolatory Train Performance
The Consolatory Train Performance gives a special strength that cannot be found in other performances. Compared to girl groups, the DEMA members received even more passionate cheers from the soldiers who packed the seats.
Sergeant Park Hyo Shin singing “Snow flower” without musical accompaniment all year long at the request of the soldiers. Corporal Jung Jihoon bringing joy to the soldiers with his passionate performance, and convincing and begging the commander to give a special day off as gift to the soldiers. The Untouchable team running around the stage until they were wet through and through. The DEMA members did their best and the soldiers chanted their names in one voice to cheer for them. Gaining energy from the passionate response, the DEMA members gave an even more passionate performance.
The duty of the DEMA members is not just to boost the morale of the soldiers. They also perform the role of bringing our army and the citizens together. Through regional consolatory train performance, they gave unforgettable memories to residents who live nearby. During Expo, over 30,000 people attended the K-pop festival in order to watch the performance of the DEMA members. Through their participation in local activities and national events which bring civilians and army together, DEMA members help create a positive image on our nation’s army.
But recently all their efforts were destroyed as if they were nothing by two words: ”special privileges”. The memories jointly made by them and the soldiers are fading away and this is sad.
If one only looks at the number of leave days and sleep out days of the DEMA members and compare them with the leave days of ordinary soldiers, it’s inevitable to see that DEMA members have more days in terms of number. The sleep out days because they have to rehearse for their stage and because they have to do broadcasting programmes, and the sleep out days when they have to go to regional army bases to perform Consolatory Train, were all included as their leave days. They were labeled as receiving “special privileges” and were being criticized. It is unfair to them.
Especially, due to production reasons, the stages of Consolatory Train look similar week by week. To avoid this repetitive feeling DEMA members have been requested to prepare new songs and new stages. We really feel bad that they have to accommodate our request under such difficult circumstances.
The DEMA members willingly swap their weekends and leave days for Consolatory Train performance and radio broadcast programmes, as well as participating in various activities. This is because they are fully aware of their duty, the help they will give in boosting the morale of the soldiers, and they are proud of their roles.
In 2013 the Consolatory Train will continue to go to various army bases. The DEMA members will continue to go on stage. When the soldiers watch them on stage, let’s hope they do not see these DEMA members as celebrities living a different military life than their own. Rather, let’s hope they will see them as comrades, and continue to enjoy their stages passionately like they always have.
Original Article in Korean: http://kookbang.dema.mil.kr/kookbangWeb/view.do?ntt_writ_date=20130110&parent_no=1&bbs_id=BBSMSTR_000000000251
P.S. I thought you might enjoy seeing a few pics from my own U.S. MILCOM theater days. So, below you’ll find a small gallery of them—just for fun. These were taken a long time ago (in the late 1980′s). As I recall, this was a heck of a lot of work, but it was also extremely rewarding.
FYI, the soldiers who auditioned for and participated in our shows had to get special permission from their commanding officers to become a part of our volunteer program. They were expected to complete all of their regular military duties, come to every single rehearsal, and participate in technical workshop activities as much as possible.They had to be on their very best behavior. So, they could not be listed on a disciplinary report during their involvement. If they were ever disciplined during a show, then they were removed from the program. This was rare. I only recall this happening once.
So, yeah. It was a ‘privilege’ for our soldiers to be allowed to be a part of our shows, but they never received any special ‘privileges’ because of their involvement. There was a lot of extra work involved, and balancing their military lives with their performance lives was extremely tough. So, to me, all of this talk about the ROK PR Division soldiers receiving “special privileges” is plain old hogwash. Terri :-}