“I can’t think of another example of soft power as transcending and unifying as BTS.”
Former Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who is fan of the group, expressed this in a heartfelt message on her social media accounts on October 17, Monday following BTS’ decision to start the process of enlisting in the military.
Puyat is currently the deputy governor for the regional operations and advocacy sector of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
South Korea requires all able-bodied men to serve at least 18 months in its military by the age of 28 years old.
This is due to the ongoing threats from North Korea.
Exempted from the conscription system include some athletes, performing artists, and classical and traditional musicians.
Puyat joined BTS’ fans, collectively called ARMY, around the world who sent well-wishes and emotional messages to the septet after their enlistment was announced.
In her post, Puyat said that it took only one song and the influence of her daughter to make her become a fan.
“It actually just took one song plus years of conditioning from my daughter for me to become a BTS fan,” Puyat said with a purple heart emoji.
The former Cabinet member then expressed her admiration for the Grammy nominees for their achievements in breaking barriers through their music.
“These seven boys broke through a whole lot of barriers to become the world’s number one musical phenomenon, yet they remain humble and hardworking, and they use their fame and influence for the social good,” the BSP official said.
Puyat described BTS as a unifying soft power.
“Their massive global reach has turned countless numbers of people into fans of South Korean culture, and I can’t think of another example of soft power as transcending and unifying as BTS,” she said.
The veteran economist ended her post with: “See you in 2025. Apobangpo. Borahae.”
The term “apobangpo” is a shortened Korean word that translates to “ARMY Forever.”
“Borahae” is also a coined Korean word that translates to the phrase “I Purple You.”
V coined this phrase during a concert in 2016. It has since been used as an endearment of ARMYs to the group.
Puyat also accompanied her post with video clips and photos of memorable moments she had when she, her daughter and friends watched BTS’ “Permission to Dance” concert last year.
The hashtags #Apobangpo, #ForeverWithBTS and other related phrases to BTS and ARMYs also continued to trend on social media on Tuesday, October 18.
Based on BigHit’s statement, Kim Seokjin or Jin will be the first to serve after his solo debut this month.
The rest of the members will carry out the process according to their individual plans.
BigHit and BTS are expected to reconvene around 2025 after all the members (RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jin, V, Jimin, and Jungkook) have completed their services.
[공지] 방탄소년단 병역 이행 및 향후 활동 계획 안내 (+ENG/JPN/CHN) pic.twitter.com/jntF90agO4
— BIGHIT MUSIC (@BIGHIT_MUSIC) October 17, 2022
Such a decision ended the long debate in South Korea about their exemption from mandatory military service.
This was also released after they concluded their successful free concert in Busan as part of the nation’s bid to host the World Expo 2030.