An article has been released via Soompi and Allkpop about EXO-Post Tao. I decided to watch the translated Sina interview myself which is below. This interview answered/brought up things I originally spoke about before in my previous post about Huang Zitao, mainly two points, but one general topic:
How TAO bashed Kris for what he did, but wound up essentially doing the same thing.
I plan on talking about sections of the video, so you may want to watch it in its entirety, and then fall back on what I have to say.
TAO brings up a point I’ve always found interesting: idols are really expected to endure anything and everything, whether they’re right or wrong. I feel they have to endure things that they really shouldn’t have to, like stalker fans and people saying overly negative things about them. It’s been only as of recent that idols are fighting back against public defamation and personally, I’m happy at the turn of events. Being an idol, sure, there are situations that you have to tolerate, but that doesn’t for you to give up your rights or humanity.
Without saying it directly, he clearly talks about SM Entertainment lack of taking care of their idols. He’s not the first to go through it and I’m not even talking about within EXO. This pings back to a point in my first post on this blog: SME and the Elephant in the Room.
If idols are hurt, they’re expected to brush it off and keep going without proper treatment. If they’re ill (let’s say more than a common cold), they’re expected to go on stage and perform. Now, I know that there’s a mentality of putting your fans first and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re doing what you love, there’s a natural action to do that. But there’s a time and a place. And if the people who are your fans are truly your fans, they would be understanding of why you didn’t show up to a fan signing or meeting because you had a bad case of the flu.
People within the analogy to cars, maintenance and repairs, you’ll be able to last. And since people are not quite like cars, it’s plainly said that you need to take care of yourself. I don’t believe SM thinks this way. They’ll push idols past their endurance limits, not allowing them to get proper treatment for their injuries and mishaps, so as a result: they’re more susceptible to break down easily. It’s a mentality of “oh, I’ll fix that later” and you never do.
He goes on to talk about how one is expected to go on and can, but told, “Just a little more and you can stop.” The problem with this is that one’s thinking will go from “endure it, endure it, endure it” and when you do it for too long, they’re start to think, “This isn’t enduring it, this is putting myself through constant torture and possibly a subtle way of killing myself.” Consider this situation: you dislike your job, but you endure going because you have bills to pay, need to keep a roof over your head, and expenses that if you quit, you might as well be out on the street. But when nothing changes, even after saying something, endure turns into torture. You’re constantly putting yourself through unnecessary stress which can and will cause your health to fail in different ways. And then one day, you may snap and just walk out not being able to put up with it anymore (I know how this feels because I’m there).
Now onto my main point of Kris just up and leaving and the members finding out, not even from Kris himself. If you’ve seen EXO’s Show Time, you can tell that TAO was close to Kris, perhaps more than the show let on. Now imagine someone close to you, someone you rely on, look up to, suddenly disappearing without a word. Naturally, most people would be upset, but upset enough to be in a blind rage. I think that’s what TAO went through in that moment. Everyone felt betrayed, but having a strong bond with Kris, it probably hurt him the most (outside of Suho who believed they should have stuck together as leaders). His blind rage caused him to speak out harshly. Ironically, and it’s sad the media industry works like this, he got the OK to upload it for the world to see. Why? For publicity. But I kind of believe that may not have been the only reason. I believe he wanted to let Kris know how he thought about what occurred, hoping it would reach him. The contents of what was said, can I blame TAO for writing it? Plainly, no. He was angry, felt betrayed, and lost.
Do I think Wu Yifan will forgive Z.TAO? Yes, I do. Not right away, but I believe in due time. Only because I believe that they know how the entertainment industry works, but also how SM works. TAO understands why Kris left because he experienced it himself. Even though it was TAO’s true feelings, I feel Kris knows what TAO posted wasn’t only his true feelings, but a publicity stunt. And it’s clearly that TAO regrets what he said now that he understands what Kris went through.
Another confirmed feeling for me was his family, especially his dad being involved more into the reason of his departure from EXO. It has always been clear that his father played a role but I think he played a bigger part than the media has claimed. Z.TAO won’t have his complete fresh new start until he nulls his contact with SM, which I hope comes sooner than later. But considering SME’s track record of dragging out these sort of situations and lawsuits until the cows come home, it’s not likely. It’s known that SM and Kris and Luhan have to go to court over the whole contract lawsuit (which Kris’s has been over a year now) and even the status of Sulli from f(x) has been talked about, but nothing about TAO has come from SM at all. At least we know that TAO, himself, has confirmed that he has left the group, and now I can officially believe the truth.
All in all, I respect TAO a little more. Initially, like Kris, I thought the act of just leaving without a word was childish and brash (even with the understanding of how SM treats some of their idols). But since TAO realizes the reality of the situation, I think that has caused him to mature. I’m not saying that he’s suddenly this great man because he spoke out about his situation. He still has some growing up and life experiences to go through, but I believe he’s placing a foot in the right direction.