Another one bites the dust.
That was my first reaction to the news that scrawny bad boy Hyunseung had quit K-pop sextet Beast to go solo.
Why am I not even surprised?
We are just four months into the year, but the K-pop world has already witnessed three major shake-ups - Kara's disbandment, Minzy leaving 2NE1 and now, Hyunseung bidding farewell to his bandmates.
In the most recent case, there had been several signs of Hyunseung's growing disenchantment with the group since last year.
Last September, the 26-year-old skipped a Beast fan meet in Seoul, only to be spotted relaxing at a cafe with a girl - at the same time that his fellow members were working their butts off.
Since January this year, photos, video clips and GIF images have surfaced online, showing Hyunseung looking bored and listless during Beast's media interviews and performances.
I am surprised by how some self-proclaimed ardent supporters of Beast had turned against him overnight.
According to entertainment website allkpop, angry Beast "fans" have been slamming him online, leaving brutal comments such as, "If you were going to leave, you should've left quickly... You are a burden" and
"Don't you dare mention Beast's name from now on. Don't be selling their name for your benefit".
These fans ought to put themselves in Hyunseung's shoes.
Imagine being stuck in a contract job that you hate but cannot get out of for all sorts of reasons, be it loyalty or old times' sake.
That was probably how he felt when he was in his final stretch with Beast - every working day would have been a chore and every hour a suffocating and stifling process.
Beast's record label, Cube Entertainment, explained that Hyunseung and his teammates encountered "personality clashes due to different opinions in music".
I suspect Hyunseung felt a lot more at home with the sexy hip-hop genre than Beast's trademark thumping electrodance sound.
It was his solo material, edgy single Ma First, and side project Trouble Maker - the raunchy sub-unit with K-pop bombshell HyunA - that allowed his aloof charm to shine through.
Hyunseung is free to do what he wants now. Let us give him a chance to prove his worth.
After all, post-One Direction Zayn Malik showed the world it can definitely be done.
This article was first published on April 27, 2016.
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