Hyun Bin fever hits island in Yellow Sea

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Hyun Bin fever hits island in Yellow Sea


Hyun Bin

INCHEON - Baengnyeong Island, near the inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea and the island closest to the attack last year on the Cheonan warship, is stirring once again, not by an attack by North Korea, but by the “Hyun Bin craze.”

Actor Kim Tae-pyeong, 28, known professionally as Hyun Bin, was originally supposed to serve as an Army public relations officer. But following the actor’s “great desire” to experience the real duty of the Marine Corps, military officials decided to deploy him to the front lines of the unit, the 6th Marine Brigade on Baengnyeong Island on Monday.

Upon hearing the news, Baengnyeong islanders are already in a festive mood, excited that such a famous star will be living among them. Elementary, middle and high school students were having a hard time keeping their excitement under control, eager to skip school to greet the actor’s entrance by ferry on April 29.

Such excitement comes not only from being on the same island as heartthrob Hyun Bin but also the marketing effect that the star will bring with him. Islanders are preparing for his arrival saying “the island will have a tourism boom, at least until Hyun Bin gets discharged.”

After the torpedo attack on the corvette Cheonan in March 2010, blamed on the North, the number of visitors to Baengnyeong Island dropped drastically, from about a thousand a day to only dozens. The island has been suffering ever since.

Signs of the expected recovery are already starting to show. More than half of the ferry tickets for the morning of April 29 have been sold. A deluge of calls at Uri Express Ferry Company asking for tickets has been coming in since Monday. “Such ticket sales are unprecedented, taking into account that it’s off-season for Baengnyeong Island tours,” said an official from the ferry company.

Owners of holiday lodging are anticipating the star’s arrival. Until the Cheonan sinking, Baengnyeong Island was enjoying a tourist boom. But afterward, many hotels had to close.

By Chung Ki-hwan [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련기사[중앙일보]

현빈, 백령도 지키는 진짜 해병 된다

홍보병 아닌 전투병 확정

배우 현빈(29·본명 김태평·사진)이 ‘백령도의 진짜 해병’이 된다. 해병대 사령부는 18일 보도자료를 내고 “포항 해병대 교육훈련단에서 신병교육을 받고 있는 김태평 훈련병을 서해 백령도, 해병대 6여단에 전속 배치하기로 했다”며 “오는 22일 신병훈련 수료식을 마치고 4박5일 휴가를 다녀온 뒤 백령도에서 일반 보병 전투병으로 복무하게 된다”고 밝혔다.

해병대 사령부는 지난 8일 현빈을 병역미필자를 대상으로 해병대 입대를 유치하는 모병 홍보병으로 배치하겠다는 방침을 밝힌 바 있다. 해병대 관계자는 “김 훈련병이 일반 전투병으로 평범하게 근무하기를 원하는 국민의 바람을 전향적으로 반영해 기존 입장을 바꿨다”고 말했다.

지난 8일 현빈의 모병 홍보병 배치계획이 알려진 뒤 인터넷 등에서는 ‘평범한 해병이 진짜 해병이며 배우 홍보병은 필요없다’는 등의 지적이 제기됐다. 김관진 국방장관도 지난 14일 국방정책설명회에서 “개인적으로는 전방부대에서 다른 병사처럼 평범하게 근무토록 하는 게 어떨까 하는 생각”이라고 말했다. 해병대가 현빈의 보직을 공개 발표한 뒤 열흘 만에 번복한 것을 두고 여론을 지나치게 의식한 행보란 지적도 나오고 있다.

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