September 1, is a bittersweet day for thousands of Super Junior fans all over the world as iconic member Kim Heechul formally enlists for his mandatory military service. As reported on Yahoo! Philippines OMG! last month, the popular star known for his wild fashion sense and “devil-may-care” attitude will be enlisting on September 1.
The E.L.F.s (Everlasting Friends, Super Junior fans) and the Petals (Heechul’s fans) know that Heechul was involved in a vehicular accident back in 2006, which resulted in severe injuries in his lower body. Due to this, Heechul will be serving his country as a public servant for two years.
Aside from being part of the Hallyu idol group Super Junior, Heechul achieved the status of an iconic K-Pop idol for his immense power over the Internet. His Twitter account, @Heedictator, has more than 600,000 followers. One of Heechul’s major Twitter achievements was when he registered as a worldwide twitter trend for four straight days from October 9 to October 12, 2010.
Ever the social media giant, Heechul used his Twitter account to formally say goodbye to his fans. On August 31, he posted several twitpics including one accompanied by a thank you message in 13 languages. He also posted his photo with his shaved head ready for military service.
On the day of his enlistment, Heechul tried his best to make his entrance low-key by having no public press conference or even any member of Super Junior accompany him to the base. However, his fans cannot help but bid him a formal farewell. They waited for him at the base to show their support and love. Kim Heechul greeted his fans joyfully and entertained them with his wit. He said: “I was not going to greet anyone before enlisting but I think my haircut turned out ok.” He also ask those taking photos to “please edit the pictures nicely if you are going to upload them!” Kim Heechul graciously thanked his fans before entering the base.
Recently, SM Entertainment’s official YouTube channel uploaded a two-minute long video message directly from Heechul himself, which was filmed before his enlistment.
The full translated transcript can be read down below.
Hello, this is Kim Heechul. I’ve been given the chance to greet you through this video message. By the time you get to watch this on the internet, I’ll probably already be working hard in training.
As you all know, I personally wanted to go in as quietly as I can, but the workers at the company were concerned that that would be a little disrespectful to all the fans who’ve loved and supported me. I think those words are right, though. It’d be sort of like, I’d suddenly disappear and everyone would ask ‘Where did Heechul go?!’ and then they’d be answered with, ‘Ahh, he’s already left for the army.’ I felt that fans would be a little sad in that respect, so I’m here sending my message through this video.
I’ll be turning 29 this year. It’s an older age compared to others, but due to an injured part of my body, I think I’ll be working at another place after my four weeks of training. It’s something that was definitely going to happen and it’s something everyone has to experience, so please don’t be too sad about it. After two years, I’ll still come back as the fun and cool ‘Big Space Star’ that I am today, so please keep liking me. If you end up liking someone else by then, well then, there’s not much I can do about that either, right? Haha. In these next two years I’ll make sure to work hard and take care of myself so that I’ll come back as the same person that I am today, or even at least with a more mature and adult-like image.
I think this is the first time I’ve said something like this. Our Super Junior’s fan club, ELFs, I really thank you. I’ve always been thankful and always loved you all. It’s only now that I’ve come out and expressed it. I love you, thank you!
In addition, a netizen on an online community board posted a picture of Heechul with his training camp team. Netizens who saw the picture commented, “He’s a real man now”, “His shaved head suits him so well. Look how small his head is”, and “I don’t know if it’s because he’s the ‘Big Space Star’, but you can notice him out of the entire group immediately.”
On the 6th, Kim Heechul uploaded a picture of himself at an army recruiting center in Nonsan, Chungnam where he is holding his fist up in the air.
In the picture, Kim is showing off his charms as a man. His new look is striking since it’s different than his usual looks.
Netizens commented: You look so manly now.” “Your face is so small.” “It’s good to know that you’re doing well.” “Short hair suits you well.”