Have you heard the story of Sung-Bong Choi?
I absolutely love these kinds of stories.
And it’s not that I just love these kinds of stories, I need these kinds of stories. Perhaps, we all need these kind of stories.
Sung-Bong Choi, a self-described “manual worker” is a recent contestant who shocked many on Korea’s Got Talent. While an easy comparison might be the story of Susan Boyle, his story is even more compelling. In his own words:
“When I was three years old, I went to an orphanage, but because of the beatings, I ran away when I was five and lived alone by selling gum on the streets. For ten years, I lived like a fly. I was eventually able to graduate elementary and middle school through qualification examinations and the first thing that I ever liked was music.”
Susan Boyle surprised us because while she didn’t look the part, she sang with such beauty. And you can certainly say the same thing about Sung Bong Choi. Let’s be honest. We know we shouldn’t but we sometimes judge a book by its cover and yes, we do exactly that with people. I don’t like to admit it but sometimes, I fall into that trap.
But it’s not just the outward appearance, it’s really Sung-Bong’s deeper story:
Sung-Bong Choi is a manual worker – his lowly profession is laughed at by the audience in the studio, and is slightly mocked by one of the judges – who has lived alone basically his entire life – he has no family and was raised in an orphanage, but left after being beaten up by people there. He was homeless for ten years and survived by selling gum and energy drinks on the street. Basically, we can barely summarize Sung-Bong’s life without tearing up, so we’ll ease the pain by letting you know that his singing is absolutely divine. Let’s hope his newfound Internet fame gives him a better life. (source)
Lastly, I love these stories because they remind us that everyone
has beautiful gifts that need to be discovered, recovered, and empowered.
Beautiful gifts. Everyone.
Check out his beautiful voice and even more so, his inspiring story.
One of his recent performances:
CNN’s coverage of Sung Bong Choi:
And yes, I’m aware of the mini-controversy as a result of the producers’ editing:
It may have seemed like he had a tough childhood, but when netizens researched and found out that he actually was musically trained from attending the Dae Jun vocal department, controversy arose. His side defended this by saying that he had already revealed this information previously.
Although he had also revealed that he took the qualification exams for elementary school and junior high school before graduating from an arts high school, this statement was edited out of the broadcast.
Although touching the hearts of viewers with his beautiful voice, the editing by the producers caused him to become embroiled in a controversy that left viewers both confused and angry after discovering that he had graduated from an arts high school.
“Korea’s Got Talent” producers emphasized that they did not edit it that way intentionally and aired the full interview on June 5th at 9:50 PM KST. Producers stated, “We merely wanted the episode to flow. We did not have any other intentions. We have decided to broadcast the interview in full because we felt that there was room for misunderstanding by the public.”
They continued, “It is true that Choi Sung Bong passed his qualification exams in order to enter Daejun Arts High School, but he was not able to attend classes because of his financial difficulties. The fact that he graduated from an arts high school was already known by not only the producers and judges, but by the audience members as well. We didn’t feel that it was necessary to include his high school career when people were already so touched with his singing, which is why we cut it out.”
In the video, Choi explained, “I did enter an arts high school, but there was no instructor. I wanted to drop out, but instead, I attended classes by myself and studied alone.” [via allkpop]