3,000 fans welcome G-Dragon back to civilian life

The large fan turnout for G-Dragon last Saturday reflects strong hopes of BigBang returning to music, as two other members - Daesung and Taeyang - are set to be discharged next month.
The large fan turnout for G-Dragon last Saturday reflects strong hopes of BigBang returning to music, as two other members - Daesung and Taeyang - are set to be discharged next month.PHOTO: JENCHUULI_CHAENG/INSTAGRAM

SEOUL • Fans of BTS are hoping that the South Korean boy band's global momentum will not be derailed by singer Jin's military-duty enlistment.

Talk has it that he is slated to be called up by year-end.

But fans of another mega K-pop boy group, BigBang, have reason to cheer.

G-Dragon wrapped up his compulsory army stint on Saturday while two other members - Daesung and Taeyang - are set to be discharged next month.

Last Saturday, some 3,000 fans turned up to welcome G-Dragon back to civilian life.

After bowing to them in appreciation of their support, with some fans said to have waited for hours, he said via a megaphone: "I want to thank you all for waiting for me, and also thank you for coming today."

He added, wiping away tears at one point: "Now that I am no longer a soldier, I will now return to my career as a singer and give my best efforts."

The authorities used a different venue for the discharge, with his camp, close to the border with North Korea, sited in an area that has seen reports of African swine fever.

The large fan turnout will reassure G-Dragon, who enlisted last year, that he still commands a following despite being dogged by some negative talk that he received preferential treatment while serving his military stint.

In Shanghai, Chinese fans managed to plaster G-Dragon's face on the facade of the Shanghai Twin Towers.

But even as BigBang fans hope the group can quickly return to music again, there has also been speculation that G-Dragon may go his own way instead.

Some pundits think that even though Seungri has left BigBang because of allegations linking him to drug-taking and criminal breach of trust, the brand name has been tarnished and G-Dragon could well choose to focus on his solo career instead.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2019, with the headline '3,000 fans welcome G-Dragon back to civilian life'. Print Edition | Subscribe