Sung-bong Choi performs on “Korea’s Got Talent.”
Sung-bong Choi, a 22-years-old laborer, inspired me today. Like thousands on several postings, I watched his “Korea’s Got Talent” performance on YouTube. He walked on stage dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans and white sports shoes. Two of the three judges asked him several questions about his life before he sang.
Since I do not know Korean, I do not know the name of his song nor did I understand the words between the judges and him. I had to rely on the on-screen translation. I found the lyrics in a YouTube viewer’s post below the video after I watched it.
Nevertheless, I saw the effects of both Sung-bong’s answers to the judges’ questions about his life and his song on the judges and the audience. In their individual ways, the judges showed surprise, then compassion, even tears. The audience cheered and clapped and cried.
What caught me by surprise was the full, cultured voice that came out of this young man who had been left at an orphanage at 3, ran away from it at 5 after being beaten there, and lived on the streets selling gum and energy drinks for 10 years. No one has taken care of him since he was 5. He slept in stairways and public restrooms. At one point, he was sold “to somewhere.” He received his inspiration from a singer on stage in a bar while as he sold gum there and had only a random “master class” for his musical training. He practiced on his own.
Let me share with you what he sang with a sober face: “In my fantasy, I see a just world where everyone lives in peace and honesty. I dream of a place to live that is always free like a cloud that floats full of humanity in the depths of the soul. In my fantasy, I see a bright world where each night there is less darkness. I dream of souls that are always free like the cloud that floats. In my fantasy exists a warm wind that breathes into the city like a friend. I dream of souls that are always free like the cloud that floats.”
Sung-bong set an example. He could have turned in lots of bad directions in his circumstances. Yet he chose something good. Whether our tough times are economic, physical, emotional, or whatever, we should run toward the good, focus on that, and make our dreams come true. Today, I feel like singing more, much more! And, I feel like crying a little, too, for Sung-bong. I hope he does well in the competition and in the rest of his life.