Prior to his momentous day, Junsu spoke with a wire service about his experience with candor and detail.
Yonhap News Agency on Sunday quoted Junsu as saying, “(The military is) a place worth experiencing at least once in your life if you’re a man.”
He added that “President Moon Jae-in’s whisper on Police Day (Oct. 21) lingers the most in my mind,” as well as “It was inconvenient not being able to eat what I wanted to.”
Junsu admitted to having attended church missionary sermons for Choco Pie snacks, enjoying the round-shaped chocolate cakes with marshmallow filling that have long been a favorite in Korea.
Junsu said that before his service, he thought of performances as something he did for himself, but during the time he worked as a promotional figure for the conscripted police force, it was more for the team, for the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency, where he belonged.
In addition to morale-boosting concerts, Junsu also took part in video productions in which he promoted policies and crime-prevention guidelines.
“Before my service, I would avoid policemen for no reason, but now, even from afar, I think of them as those who give so much for civilians,” Junsu said.
Having debuted in show business at an early age, Junsu had never really been around so many people when not at a concert. At first, it was difficult for him to assimilate into the hundreds of men, but after a few days Junsu began to adapt.
“I learned that we are all the same,” said Junsu, going in to such detail as to describe bonding over moments of flatulence-based humor and communal showers.
“I came to depend on people who are more than 10 years younger than me, and realized that I could be someone for others to rely on, too,” Junsu said. “This once again made me see that we’re all the same people and I could look at the world anew with a more broadened perspective.”
Junsu considers himself an introvert, but during his time with the Gyeonggi Nambu Police, he put himself forward and took an active part in his service, thinking that it would prove to be a precious and amazing time.
What he remembered most from the time was his encounter with President Moon at the Police Day event.
President Moon had personally come to the podium to shake Junsu’s hand and whispered in his ears.
“I cannot forget his words,” said Junsu. He preferred not to relay the message, saying he wanted to keep it private between him and the president. “They were words of encouragement,” he commented.
To earn the right to spend time outside the police station, Junsu volunteered to do chores such as proctoring physical strength examinations and performing extra manual labor.
“I never really had cravings for fried chicken and pizza before enlisting, but in the boot camp I thought a lot about sweets and fried food,” Junsu said.
“I went to a church at a 40-minute walking distance every week just for the Choco Pie and chocolate bars. I would hide them in my locker and when I was down to one, I would start to feel anxious and worried,” Junsu said.
Asked to share words of advice for other male celebrities yet to enlist, Junsu said, “I must repeat the hackneyed saying that this is something worth going through if you’re a man in this country.”
“The past two years are an indispensable period in my life,” Junsu said, before finishing with a laugh, “but I wouldn’t want to go through it twice.”
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)