Asia News: Psy’s Companies Raided; BTS Confirms Free Show; Hong Kong: Dancer Safety; Malaysia: Protests Threaten Concerts
Psy’s Companies Investigated
The company that manages South Korean rapper Psy was raided on Aug. 25 by officers of the labor ministry who were looking into the death of a construction worker at one of Psy’s “Summer Swag” concerts.
On July 30, an unnamed worker from Mongolia fell to his death from a considerable height while dismantling the set following a concert in the city of Gangneung.
According to Yonhap News, the ministry’s Gangwon Province branch office visited the head office of P Nation, Psy’s record company in Seoul, as well as several of the company’s sub-contractors, to gather evidence.
It is believed that the deceased worker had not been provided with adequate safety equipment as he worked in inclement weather. The Industrial Safety and Health Act states that outdoor work be suspended when the weather becomes unstable.
In addition, the company may have violated a newer law governing industrial actions that take place during disasters.
Though Psy is said to control 60% of P Nation, it is headed by another man who was unidentified by Yonhap, which means the singer himself will likely not face any charges if the authorities find any wrongdoing.
BTS Confirms Free Busan Show
Top K-pop act BTS has confirmed it will hold a free concert on October 15 in the southern Korean port city of Busan to boost the city’s chances of being selected to host the 2030 World Expo. The concert will take place on a makeshift stage along the sea and is expected to draw 100,000 people, thus making it the biggest concert ever staged by a single act in South Korea.
Already, fans are making plans to travel to Busan for the weekend of the concert, and the Korea JoongAng Daily is reporting that hotel prices in the vicinity are going for as much as 33 times their normal price. In addition, some fans, who, anticipating the concert even before its official announcement, booked rooms in the city, had their reservations unilaterally cancelled by their hotels, thus forcing them to rebook at the increased price.
One fan told the newspaper that he was even told by the hotel that the reason his reservation was cancelled was because he is Korean. Apparently, the hotel expects rich foreigners to attend the concert. The price-gouging is an embarrassment for the city of Busan, which is using the concert to ramp up interest in the World Expo. If enough people go online and complain about the high prices, it could generate bad publicity for the city that adversely affects the bid. Busan has said it will crack down on the price gouging by sending inspectors to hotels.
Dancers Demand Safety Measures
The South China Morning Post reports that professional backup dancers for Hong Kong pop acts posted calls to social media in recent weeks for greater safety measures on stage in the wake of the near fatal accident on July 28 during a concert by Mirror when a suspended video screen fell and hit two dancers.
One remains hospitalized with damaged vertebrae that may mean he will be paralyzed for life.
His father recently reported the dancer is making “very slow progress.”
The parent company of one of the organizers of the concert has pledged to cover Li’s medical bills. Dancers told SCMP that they only got paid for work done, as if they were gig workers, and that there are no industry-wide benefits or protections for professional dancers who do concert and theatrical work.The top rate for dancers in Hong Kong is about $13 an hour for rehearsals and $360 for shows.
Back dancers make about half to two-thirds those amounts. Because the work is scarce and hours actually spent dancing can be slight, many dancers have to augment their income by teaching.
Protests Threatened If Concerts Not Canceled
PAS Youth, the youth wing of a Malaysian political party dedicated to strict observation of Islamic dogma, has threatened to protest in the streets if upcoming concerts by international artists in the country are not cancelled. The head of the group, Ahmad Fadhli Shaari is also a member of Malaysia’s parliament.
He said in a Facebook post that music concerts “spread a culture of hedonism” and go against “the norms and values of Muslim life,” according to Says.com, on Aug. 25. Fadhli added that he will bring up the matter at the next Cabinet meeting.
“I sincerely hope that the government … will consider cancelling and withdrawing permission for these concerts to take place,” he added. “The timing is inappropriate and the values they bring are contrary to Islam as a federal religion.”
Says.com speculates that PAS Youth’s statement was made in the wake of the sold-out concert by Billie Eilish.
The concert took place at the National Stadium in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur Aug. 18. later, Ceasar Mandela Malakun, a representative of the youth wing of the rival Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, countered PAS’s threat by saying that music, especially that by international artists, have a universal power to unite people and that his party welcomes such concerts.
“What we see as threats are ideologies that can divide and disunite us,” Mandela Malakun said in a statement quoted by The Star. As a result, PAS somewhat softened its stance, saying that they would not attempt to stop any concerts “if they did not go against the local culture.”
PAS Youth has in the past objected to concerts in general, but its voice became even louder after it joined the national government.s