Students are reportedly bingeing on five meals a day to to stay out of their enforced civic duty.
An excerpt from The Guardian: There are so few exceptions for young men hoping to avoid conscription in South Korea that even the country’s most famous musicians are required to pause their careers and get down in the dirt.
But 12 vocal students have found a new way to avoid service: expanding their waistlines.
The aspiring singers, who were not named, binged on pizza and hamburgers five times a day in an effort to gain weight and ultimately fail the military physical. They swapped tips over chat apps and determined “high-calorie protein shakes, supplements and drinking a lot of aloe juice to retain water weight” were the best options, according to a military investigation.
All South Korean men must serve about 22 months before the age of 28 and are subject to a physical to determine whether they are fit for duty. Those who fail the physical requirements are either exempt from service altogether or must complete alternative civilian work, generally seen as preferable to the privations of military life.
There are almost no exceptions, not even on religious grounds. The issue resurfaced recently when lawmakers and fans of K-pop group BTS called for their achievements at the top of the Billboard charts to be recognised with a pass from the military. Only those who win classical music competitions or medals at the Olympics or Asian Games can avoid conscription.