[ENTERTAINMENT]Tragedy Brings This Singing Duo Closer on the Fickle Stage of LifeWhat if your only daily exercise was standing for a few minutes? This is the case of Kang Won-rae, one half of the pop song and dance act Clon.
The 35-year-old formed Clon with Ku Jun-yeob in 1996. The duo was especially known for performing exciting dance routines to upbeat rhythms. Kang earned popularity with his wit and energetic, if somewhat eccentric, personality.
Clon found their attractions won them attention outside Korea as well, in countries like Taiwan. Then tragedy struck last November when Kang was run over by a car. He is now permanently paralyzed from the chest down, and the fate of Clon is uncertain.
But this young man is not cursing fate.
"I'm now a bigger star. You know, it's not often an entertainer gets on the nine o'clock news, but I did, though the news wasn't so pleasant," said Kang.
He was speaking with unexpectedly high spirits from his bed in Severance Hospital in Sinchon. These days, he is concentrating on his daily five hours of physical therapy. Speaking of his only daily exercise, which is standing supported at the waist and legs, he said: "Those 20 minutes are the only time I get to stand."
For Ku Jun-yeob, the other member of Clon, the accident was a hard blow, nearly killing his partner and placing the future of Clon in jeopardy. Kang said he was concerned about Ku's career: "I think Jun-yeob faces more misfortune than I. I know he is refraining from continuing his career as a solo act for me － other people might say, how dare Ku desert Kang Won-rae."
Kang has urged his agency to include a solo song for his collaborator, titled "Dedicated to Won-rae," in Clon's best-of album due out in the near future. "Or, Jun-yeob can pursue an acting career － he's pretty good looking and well built," said Kang. Rather than worrying about his own life, Kang seems more concerned about his friend's.
But, at least in the coming months, it seems unlikely the two will separate. Ku says, "I'm going to release a new Clon album with Won-rae first. The songs are all ready, and the dance moves are all decided. The only thing left is to sing them together. I can't pursue a solo career. I can't imagine what it would do to Won-rae."
Ku is eager to put Kang's fears about his career at ease. Lifting a line from the recent Korean blockbuster movie, "Chin-gu" ("Friends"), he says with a grin, "Friendship means that you don't have to say sorry."
Besides his friendship with Ku, Kang can also take solace in love. Kim Song, Kang's girlfriend, is now well-known for her dedication to her boyfriend, taking care of him day and night.
She has also published a book telling the story of herself and Kang, whose title translates as "A Cactus That Loved A Rose."
There may not be many silver linings to this rain cloud, but there seems no lack of positive thinking.
by Woo Sang-gyun