In 4th February’s episode of ‘Hello (안녕하세요)’, a guest revealed that he is struggling with speech problem as he has difficulty speaking “ㄹ(rieul)”, which sounds sort of like a half r and half l sound. He dreams to be a Korean teacher and the speech problem also disallows him from saying “Sarang hae: 사랑해(I Love You)” to his girlfriend. This also unable him from saying the name of his idol – KARA’s “Hara: 하라”, which sounds like “Haya: 하야” when he pronounce it.
INFINITE’s Hoya revealed that during his trainee days, he had difficulty pronouncing the Hangul – “ㅅ(sieut)”, which sounds like an ‘s’. Due to the fact that he came from Busan/Changwon, where the natives speak the Gyeongsang dialect. He practiced consistently and in the end he was able to pronounce “ㅅ(sieut)” in 2 weeks, therefore, allowing him to debut in the group INFINITE.
Hoya further commented that he doesn’t think it is a problem as through practicing, the problem will be able to solve.
He suggested the guest to put a bit of pause in between “sa(사)” and “ranghae(랑해)” since the guest is able to pronounce “ㄹ(rieul)” if it comes at the beginning of the word.
The guest immediately tried the solution and he found out that he could pronounce “saranghae (사랑해)”. Hoya gained the applause of everyone on set. He was being praised as a “problem solver” .
Despite being happy, the guest was rather annoyed as he thinks that Hoya took away his chance of winning No.1 for solving his problem. The participant with the biggest concern will win prizes.
However, following the broadcast, the guest blamed Hoya for not being able to win No.1 and the prize money. The guest was caught swearing Hoya and slandering INFINITE by saying, “By the feeling I got, it seemed that winning #1 was within my reach so I even shed tears but Hoya messed it up. Hoya son of a bi*ch”.
An alleged acquaintance of the guest even said that the guest thinks it’s fun for not pronouncing right and he doesn’t attend class often.
Korean netizens were angry with the participant and defended Hoya. One netizen commented “Hoya really seemed genuine with worry and trying to find a solution but all he gets in return is hate ㅋㅋ How pathetic that he hopes of becoming a teacher with an attitude like that” (Source: netizen buzz).
Hoya is currently praised for his performance for his sub-unit group, “INFINITE H” and also his acting debut in “Reply 1997 (응답하라 1997)” as a soft and modern gentle man hailing from Busan who became a doctor. He is more delicate than women and resembles the Seoul man style from these days.