the ‘not-so-brave’ ones

Taiwan is making a military drama that’s supposed to encourage the young and able male generation in serving, as well as extol the armed forces’ contribution to the country. Read: propaganda.

I wonder if this was the drama that they were talking about before where they planned to cast young, popular actors to make the project more appealing.

Unfortunately, they also disqualified those actors who have been dodging military service… so that means, almost the entire male idol population of Taiwan? Jerry Yan is one actor who has done his conscription, but this was before he became famous.

See, that’s the reason why these male idols accused of being military dodgers have not entered the service yet. They probably fear that their red-hot career will turn white-cold once they disappear for a year (the length of the conscription).

Here are three of Taiwan’s famous “dodgers”:

Incidentally, Joe Cheng, Ethan Ruan and Mike He have been buddies since their modeling days. And they are enrolled in the same school (Hsing Wu College). Joe and Ethan have reportedly been placed on the ‘watch list’ by the military for avoiding the service.

In Taiwan, as long as you are able to prove that you’re a student, you can avoid getting enlisted and that is why Ming Dao has been a student for 11 years (!!!). Another way to avoid military service is a medical condition like asthma (Ken Zhu) or depression (Vic Chou). A bad back has also saved Jay Chou from serving, although some critics have raised the issue on whether he was faking it when they saw his action scenes in Treasure Hunter; wait till they watch The Viral Factor.

Idols like Wang Lee Hom, Van Ness Wu, Wilber Pan and Wu Chun have been spared since they are not Taiwanese citizens.

Taiwanese males can enter the military “voluntarily” up to 33 years old, otherwise they would be drafted forcibly or, gasp, sentenced to three to five years in prison.

I guess it’s just a matter of turning conscription “sexy” and “admirable” like what they do in South Korea. Look at those stars like Hyun Bin, he’s still a star even when inside. And stars like Jo In-sung and Song Seun-heon promptly picked up where they left off once they got out.

Taiwan’s defense ministry should re-think it’s strategy. Instead of threatening the stars, entice them. Have big send-offs! Release periodic updates, accompanied by photos showing the stars sweating it out and looking severe during training. This will be hitting two birds with one stone: keeping the stars in the public’s mind and giving the military added PR. That’s what they want, right? To make the military more “appealing” among the younger generation. How else to do it but by using these male idols as free endorsers?

Back to Taiwan’s military drama… because they banned those male stars who are deemed as dodging duty to their country, they were of course left with no one famous enough that they ended up with Wu Chung-tien.



I had to look him up and realised he was the teacher in Devil Beside You, that starred Mike and Rainie Yang.

The drama is called “The Brave Ones”. So apparently, those who haven’t served the military are not brave enough.


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