February 23, 2012 13:26
A manufactured Korean boy band have created a small backlash against the Korean Wave in Thailand with a bad joke about devastating floods last year that resulted in 780 deaths and three missing as of the end of last year.
In August, the seven-member group Block B gave an interview to a Thai website. "We believe that Thai people must be suffering a lot from the disaster. We hope that our donation money could heal their pain. What we can help is only by donating money. And, how much do we have again? W7,000." Afterwards, they made jokes and giggled.
The interview was uploaded on YouTube on Jan. 30 and spread quickly. By Tuesday, news articles had been published in some two dozen online media and portal sites in Thailand. On Pantip.com, one of Thailand's most visited sites, an article generated over 700 comments. Thousands of messages criticizing Block B and Korea were posted on different websites.
On Wednesday, Thailand's largest daily newspaper Thai Rath, the English-language Bangkok Post and state-run TV broadcaster Channel 3 also reported on the interview.
Lee You-hyeon of the Korea Thailand Communication Center based in Bangkok, said, "Thanks to the popularity of the Korean Wave, trips to Korea were getting very popular in Thailand. I'm concerned that this incident will have an adverse effect on the popularity of Korean culture and lead to anti-Korean sentiment."
The boys say they are sorry. "We deeply apologize to the people of Thailand who have been hurt by our impolite manner and rudeness, and also for defacing the image of Korea," they said in a statement on their website Monday.
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