The Soompi Daesung Project: How Hundreds of VIPs Reached Out
On May 31, Big Bang’s Kang Daesung became involved in a fatal tragedy when he drove his car into a motorcyclist who had been lying on the ground due to a previous accident. The details of the accident are extremely mysterious, but what is clear is that Daesung has become persona non grata in the eyes of many casual observers who were quick to look at the situation — a young idol singer speeding along in an expensive car well past midnight — and judge him negatively because of it.
Still, there are many others who take a more nuanced view. To his friends, family, and fans — in other words, the people closest to him — Daesung is an introspective young man who has always been prone to blame himself for things that go wrong, regardless of whether he was at fault. Knowing this, they began to worry about Daesung’s state of mind, especially after various details came to light: that Daesung has locked himself up in his room and is refusing to talk to friends or family, and that on his rare outings, he has been described as shaking and too distraught to speak.
The Soompi VIP community decided to reach out by posting personal messages, photos, and videos that would be delivered personally to the YG headquarters by a group of VIP Soompiers in Seoul. The show of support was truly amazing — over 250 members participated in the written project, while dozens more contributed artwork or videos. I accompanied three Soompiers, Clio (CLI0), Sabi, and Olivia, on their way to the YG headquarters to report to those of you who couldn’t make it personally!
We met outside the Hapjeong subway station, which is the closest stop to the YG headquarters. Before parting with the project, we sat down at a nearby park to check it out. Clio had spent many painstaking hours compiling the messages and pasting them into a book, and it was wrapped very elegantly. We added to the box a CD containing the fan videos compiled by our moderator Leslie, and the package was complete!
The girls discussed their reasons for starting the Daesung support project. “I think a lot of fans felt, still feel, a sense of helplessness in this situation,” admitted Clio. “I’m worried about how this accident will change Daesung. There’s no telling how this will affect him, and with his personality type, I’m concerned that he won’t let go of his sense of guilt. I just hope he can take all the time he needs, to do whatever he needs to do, to be of sound heart and mind once again.”
Sabi added, “Daesung being an innocent as he is and having a good heart, I’m afraid I’m not going to see him smile from his heart like in old times. I just want to see him smile again.”
Because I’d been reading a lot of varying opinions about Daesung’s role in the accident — ranging from full-on blame to absolving him of any responsibility — I asked them for their take on it. Sabi said that she was waiting before making a decision. “With all the different information coming from YG, taxi driver, and police, I’m not sure what to think. I’d like to wait for the final report because I wouldn’t like to be unfair to anyone. This is a very delicate subject we are dealing with.”
Clio said, “I’m not making excuses here — Daesung did hit a person and a taxi cab. He is clearly at fault for that. However, I think, in situations such as these, we must be careful in assigning blame. Because whether we like it or not, when we assign blame, we extend the burdens of guilt and condemnation.”
Olivia shared similar sentiments. “What happened to Daesung was really unfortunate, and at this point, I just hope someone is able to bring some light onto the whole matter. Everyone is anxious and emotional as we are still unsure about what exactly happened that night.”
As we left the park, we were approached by an old man who had been sitting and drinking beer and rice wine on a bench with his friend. Unbeknownst to us, he had stopped into a nearby convenience store to buy us ice cream! Wow!
We wondered whether we could use the ice cream to get into the good graces of the people at YG. (Yes, very sneaky!) You see, the YG headquarters has very strict security, and we realized that there was a very high probability that they would not accept our package. So when we reached the headquarters, modernistic and imposing in the extreme, we gave the security guard some ice cream and tried to win him over. No luck! The guard seemed to appreciate the ice cream, but would not budge an inch: no packages allowed. The guard was certainly doing his job very well; we couldn’t blame him for that! But after how many hours Clio had spent compiling the book, not to mention all the project participants who wanted nothing but to be able to reach out to Daesung, it was extremely disappointing to be turned away like this.
As we mulled over what to do, we were approached by a reporter and camerawoman. Say what?!? They told us that they were from KBS (which is one of the three major television networks in Korea), and they were very interested in our project. They interviewed Clio and Sabi and documented the pages of the book. They also asked us to provide them with footage from the video. The Soompi Daesung Support Project is making it on Korean TV! How’s that for exposure?
Enough excitement for one afternoon? Apparently not. We then noticed an unusually handsome young man in a white V-neck T-shirt exiting the YG headquarters and entering a nearby convenience store. No, it wasn’t any of the Big Bang members, which is just as well because we all would have keeled over! But Olivia recognized him as one of the Kwon twins, who are currently backup dancers with YG but have been marked out by insiders as probable trainees. Could we give him the package to give to “hyung” Daesung? We tried, but the poor guy, already besieged by a few schoolgirls, ran out of the store at the speed of light, leaving behind only a fleeting aura of perfect skin and good physique.
At that point, I called up Soompi’s senior editor, Eugene, to relay the problem: We needed this package to get through the doors! He told us, no promises, but he would try to use our connections to deliver the package next week. Well, better that than nothing… but to think that we could have spared ourselves this whole adventure simply by calling him first! On the other hand, a TV appearance, a possible trainee sighting, and free ice cream — why would we?
I left the girls who were headed en route to nearby Hongdae, one of Seoul’s hip districts to hang out. At home, I checked out messages from three of the dedicated moderators of Soompi’s Big Bang subforum. Clio had told me that the project would not have been possible without them, particularly Leslie, who had spent hours compiling the fan videos and spearheading the effort. Although it was impossible to meet them in person, in the end, it almost seemed unnecessary to do so: through their words, I could easily sense their sincerity and devotion to Big Bang. It made me think that Big Bang is very lucky to have such pure-hearted fans. And although I’m not a VIP, it made me proud to call myself a Soompier. I was so touched by the strength of their answers that I decided to close this article by including them below.
What is it that you love about Daesung?
toozdae08: Out of all the people in Big Bang, Daesung is probably the easiest to fall in love with and the hardest to dislike. He’s the kind of person who would place everyone and everything before himself, which isn’t always a good thing. And his voice is so beautiful and he’s just a very beautiful person.
shinhdeplol: The first time I saw Daesung in the Big Bang documentary, I really admired him for his diligence and determination. I also love him not only as a singer with a big voice but also as a person with a big heart. He may have this “dumb” image on TV, but I know that he is a very deep and thoughtful person. What inspires me the most is his strong will to recover from the severe car crash back in 2009.
leslie_lei: I never saw him act arrogantly and despite the immense success they have, he has remained grounded. His smile brightens our day. He has mad vocal skills, a wonderful dancer, and has superb acting skills.
How did you react when you first learned about the accident?
shinhdeplol: I was numb for a while and didn’t know how to respond. Daesung was severely injured in a car accident in 2009 so I didn’t expect him to get involved in another crash. I was like, “Why Daesung of all people?” I felt so bad for him because this time he has to suffer from so much mental pain.
toozdae08: When I found out through the Soompi Big Bang Twitter account, I was very shocked and confused. With all the conflicting information that was released at the beginning, it was hard to have an understanding of what was really going on. But as the information became clearer, I just grew really sad about the whole situation. I felt sad for the motorcyclist who died, his family, and Daesung — everyone who was caught up in this ugly and unfortunate event.
What is your take on the accident?
leslie_lei: Daesung has given his side of the story and i just hope that with the current investigation the truth will come out. The three parties involved in the accident were all victims. What I didn’t like, though, was that media kept on painting Daesung on a bad light since he’s a celebrity. That is simply unfair.
toozdae08: I don’t think he’s to blame for the circumstances surrounding the incident — by this I mean I don’t think there was anything he could have done to really prevent this from happening and it’s a case of wrong place and wrong time. However, he may be partly to blame for the victim’s death. What I believe is this is a tragic situation for all and that arguing who is or isn’t to blame is making it more black and white than it truly is.
This is a very complicated situation and I wish people would think first before judging anyone caught in the middle of it. Not all the information and facts are out, so be cognizant that it’s premature to judge.
shinhdeplol: I think it is too much for the people who put all the blame on Daesung without even knowing the investigation results. It’s a bit unfair that someone are so harsh on Daesung just because he is a celebrity in the spotlight. Many people are so quick to judge him as a bad person and completely forget all the good deeds he has done for society. Overall, I think it was just an unfortunate accident and Daesung was unfortunately involved.
What was your message to Daesung?
shinhdeplol: I hope that you will soon find your strength and hope. Please always remember that there are a lot of people out there who love, appreciate and support you: your family, your Big Bang brothers, your friends, and also VIPs all over the world.
Author’s note: The interview is scheduled to air on KBS tonight at 7:30 PM. However, the news being what it is, it is possible that it won’t air — just keep your fingers crossed!