In Thailand and the rest of Asia it often seems there’s somebody taking offense at something that wasn’t offensive nor meant to be offensive. Case in point, the whole hoopla with Korean boy band, Block B this week.
If you haven’t heard, Block B were on a concert tour to Thailand and, while here, were interviewed and asked the usual questions. Of course, they’re all of 12 years old (well, they’re older but they act 12) and, in typical Block B high spirits they started to clown around. The interview got sillier and sillier and then they were asked about the floods in Thailand. This was the response.
When the interviewer talked about the floods, Zico replied, “I know that many people have had it hard due to the floods. With this monetary aid, we hope that you will feel better. The only thing we have is money.”
A second member of Block B then jumped in, asking how much money Zico had, and Zico, the leader answered, “About 7000 won?” which is around $6 USD. The other members laughed. (See 12:32 mark on the video below for him in action – of course, it’s in Korean but you can see the sentiment behind it).
Then, of course, the proverbial sh*t hit the fan, both in Thailand and Korea, with Block B being called “insensitive, rude” and a whole lot more bad things besides. So bad did the comments get online over the last few days, and even included death threats, all the members of Block B have had to apologize and a couple, when watching the video of the interview, even admitted they could see why people were so angry.
This was Zico’s apology for the whole Thailand incident:
With our crooked manners and behaviors beyond our common sense, we truly apologize in causing uproar in regards to the residents of Thailand who hadn’t necessarily come out of the shock of the flood.
Despite being an adult, we’re very embarrassed that we not only behaved absurdly or in such suggestive manner, but that we did not reckon the national disaster it had caused as well as the hearts of the victims of the flood.
From sitting while leaning against the sofa to shaking our legs and having side conversations with the members throughout the interview, as a public figure, we think that we cannot excuse ourselves in any way nor receive any form of forgiveness in that we could not differentiate the lines between acting freely to acting purely on our own desires, thoughtlessly trying to liven up the atmosphere in which we couldn’t control, and that we made a mistake in ruining the image we have of our country to those in Thailand today.
I am currently truly reflecting over my actions as I apologize in bowing my head again.
I apologize for my disrespectful interview in that I have caused another wound on top of the already existing scar and that I am ashamed. I’m sorry and sorry again.
Now, personally, I think what Block B said was stupid but I’d hardly call it offensive. The comment seemed more like a joke about themselves and lack of money than it did about the floods in Thailand. Besides, like I said, they act like they are 12 and they were showing off. After all, that’s what 12-year-old boys do, when they’ve just become famous.
And, hey, I’m one of those people who lived in Bangkok’s floods for over 2 weeks, paddling in two feet of water every time I left my apartment and, no, I wasn’t offended. So, if you didn’t live through Thailand’s floods, why are YOU?
In true mob mentality, however, the internet went crazy, Block B were forced to apologize and leader Zico even shaved his head as an apology (people sometimes do that in Asia if they’re mortified at their behavior – it’s an Asian thing and is meant to signify the strongest mortification and apology possible).
But, now that Block B has apologized (see second video), can we all just agree to let it go? They apologized, most of us in Thailand didn’t take offense, so let them move on and play more music.
They’re talented, and hopefully they’ve learnt a good lesson from this — think before you open your mouth or it might come back to bite you in the rear end.