theONESHOTS

theONESHOTS

Can a Boy Get Some Love?: Henry Lau, SM’s Mistreated Stepchild

Ever since EXO debuted earlier this year, I, as an ELF, have spent my time sitting in front of the computer, anxiously waiting to know what will become of my beloved Super Junior. Given SM Entertainment’s past history of replacing their senior citizen groups with fresh carbon copies, forgive me if I’m being cynical in saying that it won’t be long before EXO gains enough star power to quietly oust SuJu out of the spotlight. So the question we ELFs must ask ourselves is, “What will happen to the members?”

Wait, you know what? Scratch that. Most of them are survivors. They have developed such strong ties with the public through their frequent appearances on variety shows and in movies and dramas that they are pretty much guaranteed a lifetime of employment on television, so I guess they will be fine. Let’s be more specific then. Let’s worry about the one member who, not only never had the chance to bloom as a full-fledged Super Junior member, but also has had his talents wasted by signing to a company known for valuing looks above all. So I must bluntly ask, “What will happen to cutie pie Henry Lau?”

First of all, why the sudden interest in Henry? The kid debuted back in 2008 as part of Super Junior-M to target the Chinese market, but we rarely hear a peep from him nowadays. Unlike the EXO Planet that is made up of two distinct subgroups, EXO-K and EXO-M, with six members exclusively in each, most of the Super Junior-M members are “borrowed” Super Junior members. So if Super Junior has promotions in Korea, it becomes impossible for Super Junior-M to promote their own stuff in China at the same time. Therefore, if Super Junior-M is not releasing albums, the group is diminished to the remaining two Chinese members, Henry and Zhou Mi, meaning they only get to work every two years or so. They aren’t even included in all of the SMTOWN concerts. Some family, huh?

Recently though, this Chinese-Canadian K-Pop artist resurfaced in the “Maxstep” video as part of SM and Hyundai’s Younique Unit. For a split second, I was like, “Who is that creeping in my computer screen?” But after I quickly realized who it was, it felt as if Harry Potter had come out from that cupboard underneath the Dursleys’ staircase. (And yes, I’ve associated Harry Potter with Henry ever since that time he talked about pronouncing Hermione on ‘Strong Heart.’) It was like Henry was the embarrassing stepchild, locked in some dungeon, waiting for SM to let him out and throw him some bones here and there.

But Henry is far from embarrassing. He can not only sing and dance, but he also has mad skill when it comes to playing the violin. In my naivety, I seriously thought that his recruitment by SM meant that they had turned over a new leaf and were now interested in nurturing true talents that could further improve a group like Super Junior. After all, the whole idea of forming a group is to have each member contribute their share of talents, be singing, dancing, playing the violin, or doing them all at the same time, so that they can harmoniously create something unique. The fusion of classical music and Hip Hop brings something different to K-Pop, and in an industry where everybody sounds the same or strives to imitate a sunbae’s style in hopes of gaining a bit of swagger, this would have been a guaranteed success. It would have probably been pretty hard to top or emulate as well. If G-Dragon’s fake playing the guitar and smashing it into pieces makes me have naughty dreams, can you imagine my reaction and that of many fangirls for a real violin jam session? He would automatically get free admission to my heart, my bedroom and my bank account.

Seriously, what a waste! SM had originally planned to add him as an official 14th member of Super Junior, but due to fans buying SM stocks and planning a blown-out-of-proportions protest that only ELFs know how to stage, the Only13 campaign succeeded. You’d think that after the whole Han Geng fiasco, these fans would have calmed their cooches. So why hasn’t Henry been made a full Super Junior member?

Now, he is literally stuck. It’s not like he can switch groups or start anew. We all know it would be hard for him to re-debut as a solo artist, and even if he did, where would his niche be, Korea or China? Is it just me or did SM do this kid a great disservice by recruiting him into their company? Since his debut, he has been treated like a pair of ugly old grandma panties, kept in the far back corner of Lee Soo Man’s cultural technology drawer.

Last I heard, Henry recently shot a movie with Michelle Yeoh; he has a YouTube channel that he updates; he writes music; he tweets; he hangs out with Amber and friends. Perhaps this is a lifestyle that he himself chose and prefers. Nevertheless, SM, the marketing god, has the means to make Henry an amazing artist. They will just shove things in your face all the time, and then BAM! Just like that, you’re buying Super Junior’s latest album off of YesAsia. More importantly, unlike their many active visual idols such as Yoona and Siwon, this boy is not only hot; he is hot AND talented. With looks like that, he is welcome to play the violin on my body everyday. (Blush!) So what’s the hold up? He doesn’t even need that much polishing, and the fact that he is fluent in so many languages is a huge advantage. He can interact with fans in a way that many other artists wish they could. So why aren’t they using him? Sadly, we may never know.

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(Ilgan Sports, Ningin, SM Entertainment)

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    • http://twitter.com/henliii89 ★~k a t h (─‿‿─)
      As a Henry stan, I feel so happy that someone else realizes how SMent wastes Henry’s talents by not promoting him or whatsoever. Everything said about here is true and it pains me that Strings can do nothing but to support him in whatever shit SMent throws him. I hope that this will somehow be an eye opener for people who doesn’t know or underestimates Henry and to his beloved company.
    • https://twitter.com/#!/LimaCake LimaCake
      Not going to lie, I didn’t even know Henry was so talented. Give him to JYP – JYP needs some new talent anyway. I wonder if Henry likes being behind the scenes though.
    • Katja
      Thank you so much for writing this wonderful article. I really hope SM can feature Henry more because it’s such a waste of talent to always keep him behind the scenes… although yes, I do wonder what Henry really prefers. It’s always nice to see his tweets :)
    • http://dvqd92.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth
      you can disagree with me if you want this is what I think but in all honesty I think it was a mistake for sm to debut henry and zhou mi an already well established major group that’s already working just fine like Super Junior being a 13-membered boy group I guess it would be fine if it was done a bit earlier or from the start like EXO with EXO-K and EXO-M and also One Day with 2PM and 2AM but Super Junior-M was instead created three years down the line after Super Junior debuted and if they wanted to target the Chinese and Taiwanese market they could’ve easier just have Super Junior to do it instead of creating a subunit three years later with Super Junior-M I mean snsd didn’t do this thank god for example how would you feel if sm decided to add another member in snsd, dbsk, shinee, f(x) or exo or if snsd had a subunit and added a new member to target in another market outside of Korea called snsd-j or something for the overseas market (in japan or usa for instance which SNSD is doing at the moment when it comes to overseas market) market a couple of years later and added another member and this isn’t henry and zhou mi fault it really isn’t as they probably had no say about what sm is doing and sm should have instead them debut as a solo artist (but again it might be like Zhang Liyin if they do debut as a solo artist instead rather than in a group) or in another group or in the entertainment industry outside of music but what can you do i do wonder how henry and zhou mi feel about this and I think they will be fine in the end for Henry and Zhou Mi without Super Junior. I feel like Henry and Zhou Mi is being wasted including their talent by SM in Super Junior and Super Junior-M anyway and i’m looking forward and wishing them the best for Henry and Zhou Mi being in SMTown or as a solo artist or in another company outside of SM or in an entertainment industry rather than in Super Junior-M seeing as how i’m indifferent to Super Junior-M and other Super Junior subgroups even though i’m a huge fan and always have a special heart for Super Junior as I have sentimental time as a fan of the group and all.
      There are also articles related to this as well related to this as well I quite liked and agree on:
      http://www.callmepatricia.com/2012/03/24/this-ones-for-you-and-me/
      http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog/2012/04/sm-entertainment-in-china/ http://seoulbeats.com/2011/09/open-letter-dear-henry/
      • A friendly ELF
        Judging by that logic, you probably think it was a mistake for SM to add Kyuhyun to Super Junior as well.
        Kyu was added a year after debut, And wasn’t well received. Henry was in the same situation, and I don’t know about Zhou Mi. He keeps pretty quite about these things.
        Just pointing it out. :)
        Their talents are being used much more now.
      • Xian
        this is a late reply for this post, i know. i think when Henry and Zhoumi was signed by SM Ent. as part of Super Junior M both of them have a clear idea as to what they are signing up to. I’m sure it was explained to them properly that they will be part of a SuJu’s sub unit and not the main SuJu group. they were added to attract more chinese/taiwanese fans. that’s actually their (SM), should i say, way of reaching out to the chinese market. so Henry Zhoumi know their role in the group. But what they (both SM & Suju) didn’t expect was the rude and racist reaction coming from the fans after having an additional members for that sub unit. Honestly, i don’t mind adding members to an existing group as long as it will help the group become more successful. Even til now i still cant understand what the “Only13-ners” are fighting for. I mean coming from a matured and honest perspective Only13 campaign is nothing but hate immaturity and selfishness. Sorry for only having negative words for the Only13 believers. I guess that’s what you should expect from a belief founded by hate and negativities. This hate does not and will never preserve and help Suju’s talent and love for the fans. Let’s just hope for the best for both Henry, Zhoumi and of course Super Junior.
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    • Coccinelle
      You forgot to talk about his composing skills!
    • TheJadeBullet
      This article. Henry’s actually the only reason I paid any attention at all to MAXSTEP, I was just so elated that he finally got something to do. He seems to be the proverbial middle child of the group and SM just relies so much on everything other than talent these days, that he’s being severely overlooked. That is a crying shame.
    • http://twitter.com/Mary_PROM15E Mary Patrice
      Henry has said multiple times that he grateful for SM – on his twitter and such – and he is happy. SM has a lot of artists and there is only so many TV shows that can air in Korea – so I wouldn’t blame SM at all.
    • http://twitter.com/skehehdanfdlove
      guys, don’t worry. trust me when I say SM is not wasting on Henry’s talent. Henry is capable of marketing himself well without SM, because well.. the kid is just super talented to be ignored. He’s fast becoming Koreans’ favorite foreigner, and he knows it. Also, believe me I’m sure he has a lot of projects in his free time. Composing songs for new comebacks, for the future and stuff like that. WE never really know what happens behind close doors. You’d be surprised to know that Henry IS doing things, not just sitting around unemployed. He’s got his own label now Noizebank. The kid knows how to make it big, slowly though the process is :)
    • Nikki
      Henry should’ve been made leader of EXO-M instead of Kris…
      • ^.^
        don’t even…..
    • Lau
      I think Henry should come back to North America and make a new start here! Go on a reality show… but that won’t happen. I hope they find something to do with him. You can tell he loves to perform, he’s good at it and he’s super charismatic. We can’t let Henry fade away!
    • http://seriouslysexytunes.tumblr.com/ AJ
      Sometimes, I get the feeling that the people that work at SM aren’t that
      smart because they’ve made so many mistakes and there are many
      opportunities missed; they’re so narrow minded…
    • A
      There you go. Henry is going solo.
      • Kimsayou
        I was about to write the same.
      • ^.^
        !!! yay a verry veryy good surprise
      • Widney Meridien
        Don’t tell anyone but I kinda think I made it happen with this article lol (blushing).
        • nhila
          i just got to this post wish i saw it earlier. you have amazing writing skills, i love the whole article :) …now back to henry!! yes finally he came back, the only thing i regret is how is he soooo skinny now it makes me worried…but at lest he’s had his chance to bright :)
      • Chrystaland
        finally SM realize Henry’s amazing talent :’)
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    • Xian
      this is a late reply for this post, i know. i think when Henry and Zhoumi was signed by SM Ent. as part of Super Junior M both of them have a clear idea as to what they are signing up to. I’m sure it was explained to them properly that they will be part of a SuJu’s sub unit and not the main SuJu group. they were added to attract more chinese/taiwanese fans. that’s actually their (SM), should i say, way of reaching out to the chinese market. so Henry Zhoumi know their role in the group. But what they (both SM & Suju) didn’t expect was the rude and racist reaction coming from the fans after having an additional members for that sub unit. Honestly, i don’t mind adding members to an existing group as long as it will help the group become more successful. Even til now i still cant understand what the “Only13-ners” are fighting for. I mean coming from a matured and honest perspective Only13 campaign is nothing but hate immaturity and selfishness. Sorry for only having negative words for the Only13 believers. I guess that’s what you should expect from a belief founded by hate and negativities. This hate does not and will never preserve and help Suju’s talent and love for the fans. Let’s just hope for the best for both Henry, Zhoumi and of course Super Junior. :)
    • Esther
      I totally agree with this. Henry’s hot, fluent in like 6 languages, can play the violin and piano with amazing skill, and can sing and dance. He’s pretty much the total idol package plus a few accessories. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks Henry is being wasted by S.M.
    • Marina
      Is there anything Henry cannot do?! If you would write a post about SM and Henry now, would it be different? Does it seem that SM finally is promoting Henry and he is getting recognition he deserves?

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