Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Anything and everything about gay life anywhere in the world, especially Asia, other than Thailand.
fountainhall
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#1 Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Postby fountainhall » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:27 am

First it was Japan Pop. Then in the early 1980s Canto-Pop arrived, Mando-Pop following on its heels. It took some time, but the biggest Asian phenomenon of them all, K-Pop, came later. Little more than 20 years old, its rise was as surprising as its popularity was to become so massive and worldwide. For most, K-Pop is defined by its Boy Bands, often quite large groups each featuring young, handsome, sweet-looking and oddly similar singers whose performances mix plaintive ballads alongside some of the most energetic and energy-sapping dance routines. These “boys" are virtual Gods in their native land. Overseas they pack ‘em in to Japan’s 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome and undertake month-long sold out tours in the USA.

This week, though, what Variety Magazine describes as the “brutal pressure” these boys and others in the K-Pop profession face has shown its ugly and extremely sad side. Many around the world are mourning the death of Jong-hyun, the 27-year old lead singer in the most popular of all the K-Pop bands, SHINee. The 27-year old singer took his own life earlier this week. A farewell note tells of Jong-hyun being “broken from the inside. The depression that had been slowly eating me up finally devoured me and I couldn’t defeat it.”



Many in K-Pop’s stable of bands are recruited as teenagers into what is a notoriously high pressure competitive industry. Variety adds that many may not be emotionally mature enough to handle the discipline, the fame, the facial plastic surgery to ensure each fits the ‘required look’ and the extremely high standards of off-stage behaviour demanded by the conservative Korean public. Korean-American singer Seo Ji-won was one of the first to commit suicide, afraid that his second album could never match the huge success of the first. He was just 19.

Jong-hyun joins a growing list of Asian performers who, despite enormous success and wealth, have succumbed to the depths of depression. It reminds me of the total shock felt in Hong Kong in 2003 when Asian pop sensation and hugely successful movie actor Leslie Cheung leapt to his death from the 24th floor of the city’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Handsome in the extreme and only 46 years old, he was a true Asian icon. In one series of solo concerts, he performed for 33 consecutive evenings in Hong Kong’s 12,000-seat Coliseum, his costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier. In a 2010 poll run by CNN, Cheung was voted the Third Most Iconic Musician of all Time after Michael Jackson and The Beatles.

His fame had extended to the west largely through his appearance in two major movies that garnered a stash of awards, including wins at the Cannes Film Festival and Oscar nods. In Chen Kaige’s gorgeously filmed and moving “Farewell My Concubine”, he plays a gay actor who falls hopelessly in love with a male colleague – and then kills himself when his lover leaves him for a woman. In the bleak and emotionally draining “Happy Together”, two Asian gay men travel to see the Iguazu Falls in South America in the vain hope of re-igniting their feelings for each other.

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Leslie, as everyone called him, had come out as gay and was known to have been in a happy long term relationship with a Hong Kong banker of his own age. Yet in the days following his suicide, it became clear he had been treated for severe depression for more than a year. In his pocket, police found a note. It read, “I can’t stand it any more . . . In my life I have done nothing bad. Why does it have to be like this?”

a447
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#2 Re: Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Postby a447 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:25 pm

I am a huge fan of SHINee (I've posted about them before), so Jong-hyun's death came as a shock.

I don't know the situation in Korea, but in Japan teenage idols are definitely not wealthy. The production company works them to death before they get too old, grabs all their income and the stars are paid a pitiful wage.

fountainhall
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#3 Re: Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Postby fountainhall » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:15 pm

The Thai Department of Mental Health has issued an alert fearing that young Thai fans may be tempted into copycat suicides. Parents have been warned to monitor their children’s behavior patterns and be on the lookout for any changes.

I was staggered to learn from The Bangkok Post today that suicide is the cause of death of more than 800,000 people a year in this country, the majority in the 35-39 age range. This annual toll is expected to rise to 1.5 million by 2020. As bad, the number attempting suicide each year is estimated to be 20 times higher! What on earth can explain such astronomically high figures?

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... cide-alert

fountainhall
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#4 Re: Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Postby fountainhall » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:08 pm

a447 wrote:Jong-hyun's death came as a shock

I felt the same way when I learned of Leslie Cheung's suicide. Apart from being an extraordinarily handsome man, he was massively talented. The London producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh had offered him one of the leading roles in Les Miserables on Broadway which he turned down. That would certainly have helped make him a true world superstar long before performers like Jackie Chan.

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windwalker
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#5 Re: Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Postby windwalker » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:29 pm

fountainhall wrote:I was staggered to learn from The Bangkok Post today that suicide is the cause of death of more than 800,000 people a year in this country

The 800,000 suicides is in the world, not in Thailand. About 4,000 in Thailand.

fountainhall
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#6 Re: Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Postby fountainhall » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:23 pm

Thank you for correcting my very stupid error. It seemed very odd when I typed the number which in itself should have been a signal to treble check!

thewayhelooks
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#7 Re: Depression Takes the Life of Another Phenomenally Successful Star

Postby thewayhelooks » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:00 pm

Even so, 4,000 in Thailand is 4,000 too many. Sadly, I can't help bit wonder if some of these are by people who become HIV positive?


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