Ice bucket challenge catches on in S. Korea, trend so far bucked

By 이현정
  • Published : Aug 23, 2014 - 10:52
  • Updated : Aug 23, 2014 - 10:52
A wave of South Korean celebrities and politicians are joining the ice bucket challenge, an online charity movement that recently started in the United States to raise public awareness for Lou Gehrig's disease.

Still, President Park Geun-hye has not yet indicated her interest in participating.

The challenge asks people to post videos of themselves being doused with buckets of ice water on social media. They may then call on others to do the same within 24 hours, or donate US$100 to an association that seeks to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease, affects nerve cells starting from the brain to gradually reach the whole body and may lead to total paralysis or death, according to the ALS Association.

A number of South Korean celebrities have taken the challenge. On Thursday, Suzy of the popular girl group miss A posted a video of herself being doused on the YouTube channel of her management agency.

Heartthrob Hyun Bin joined Friday with a posting on his agency's Facebook page and called on newlyweds Tang Wei and Kim Tae-yong to do the same.

Pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers joined the bandwagon with a video on his baseball club's Facebook page, in which he pledged to make a donation to the association.

Other renowned entertainers getting in on the act include Choi Min-sik, Ryu Seung-ryong, Jo In-sung and Sung Yu-ri. Dozens of singers went at it, too, with Hyoseong, Xia and Hyomin getting soaked, to name a few.

South Korean politicians also didn't miss out on the golden opportunity to raise publicity. Na Kyung-won, a ruling party lawmaker, drenched herself on Friday at the closing ceremony of the South Korean Special Olympics.

Kim Moo-sung, the ruling Saenuri Party chief, also took on the challenge Friday following a lecture at a training institute for postal workers.

Despite the challenge catching on in South Korea, there has been no news yet of President Park Geun-hye responding to calls made by Royal Pirates, a Korean-American rock band, to go at it.

"Although I have yet to confirm her stance on this, I personally think it's unlikely that she will join even though the cause itself is an excellent one," presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook told reporters at a briefing on Friday.

It's not clear whether Park would donate money instead.

The global phenomenon has been joined by American IT tycoons, such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, and dozens of other stars, such as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Oprah Winfrey and many more.

U.S. President Barack Obama has made a financial contribution, according to White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, indicating that Obama is unlikely to participate in the ice bucket challenge. (Yonhap)