We Are The World Blogfest, Month 7: A Korean Discovery

The We Are The World Blogfest is in its 7th month now, and this month’s co-hosts are –

Michelle Wallace , Shilpa Garg,  Andrea Michaels,  Peter Nena,  Emerald Barnes

It pleases me a great deal that we have come so far in the WATWB journey. These past 7 months have helped me connect with a variety of people doing a variety of things, but intent on one thing – spreading the light! 

If you already are a part of the WATWB family, don’t forget to read the stories of the other participants. Should you like to be a part of this family, please click here and follow the instructions provided in the post.

My contribution to this month’s WATWB story is not exactly a new story, in the sense that we have already seen it happen many times before. It’s a typical ‘rags to riches story’. But why I mention it is because of the nature of hardships faced by this man since infancy, his will to overcome his adversities and the people who helped him through it all, all in an industry where cutthroat competition is the norm and people are ready to push you back to get ahead of you, without a care whether you get a scratch or die.

Ok enough with the suspense. Here’s what really happened…

Some months back on a sick, sweaty summer night, I was listening to Jackie Evancho’s version of Nessun Dorma on YouTube, the one she performed at UK’s Got Talent. Now we know that YouTube suggests videos that the viewer might also like. That’s how I stumbled across Choi Sung-bong’s audition for Korea’s Got Talent… and my jaw dropped off! Not because the man was an exceptional talent (he is a fine singer, no doubt) but because of his life story.

Click on this link to go to the YouTube video of his Korea’s Got Talent audition of 2011. 



In brief, since the tender age of 3, this man had been staying at an orphanage for abandoned children in Korea. At age 5, he ran away because of the abuse he had to suffer there, took a bus to Daejeon and started living in the Red Light District of Daejeon, ALL BY HIMSELF. He survived only by adapting quickly to the street life, selling chewing gum and purely living a hand to mouth existence. It gives me goosebumps to imagine a toddler of 5 living in containers and public toilets in an area that thrives on human depravity. How he survived, I don’t know, but I’m not the only one who’s glad he survived. Because years later when he met Jeong Seo Park, a famous name in Korean Opera, Park was astounded to see the talent in Choi. Park took upon himself to help Choi with his musical training. Choi enrolled in school too, but struggled immensely because he had to work to pay for tuition. He briefly left school and became disenchanted with music, only to return to work with Jeong Seo Park again. In 2011, he auditioned for Korea’s Got Talent and the panellists couldn’t believe that this man, who came from nothing, sang Opera, which is a difficult art form that requires intense training. After Korea’s Got Talent, Choi’s fame only rose and he received more help and more kindness from the Music Industry and his sudden army of fans. God bless him and all those who helped him in being who he is now.

I hope this man goes from strength to strength. He is a living reminder of both human cruelty and human endeavour. He survived only by sheer luck and will to live. No doubt his talent in music is exceptional for his circumstances, but his education in music could not have been possible without the help he received from kind souls like Jeong Seo Park, the Panellists at Korea’s Got Talent who recognised his worth and the people who sponsored him through his struggle. His story not only shows what wonders human beings are capable of but also that even in an extremely competitive environment, it is still possible to be human. My faith in humanity – restored!

That’s it from me. Goodnight folks! 🙂


Copyright ©2017 Pradita Kapahi.

All rights reserved.

35 thoughts on “We Are The World Blogfest, Month 7: A Korean Discovery

  1. Wow! That’s why I always try to stay positive! It’s hard sometimes, but somebody else always has it worse and if they can overcome their adversity and thrive, there is a no reason I can’t, or anyone for that matter! Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Grabbety. I agree. We only have to look around us to see how we’re luckier than some. This man is an inspiration for those who are facing difficulties as well as to music lovers. Thank you so much for coming here and stay positive 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is an incredible story! When I think of my own children at the tender age of five, I can’t imagine them surviving a night without their own beds and blankets, much less surviving on the streets for years. What an inspiration this young man is to so many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True. I am a mother to toddler that age, and I kid you not, when the first time I came across this story I could not get the image of her running away and facing a street life from my mind. It was scary, it was disorienting and it was downright sad that some kids in the world face this on a daily basis. Thank you so much for coming here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot even begin to imagine what this man lived through as a child. To decide it is better to live on the streets at age 5 speaks to the abuse he must have suffered in the orphanage. Then the things he must have witnessed and experienced on the streets had to be horrid, too. But once you are on the streets there is not really anywhere else to run away to so he must have felt stuck there.

    Amazing that he reached adulthood at all. He managed to become a successful one, too! Thank you for sharing this incredible story Pradita.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, yes. I had seen it before. But, it still hits the spot. He has found his voice. Fancy Pradita choosing music?! I think it also timely. With political instability in their region, it is kind to remind our Korean brothers and sisters of some of their good news, lest they lose heart. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Simon for coming here and leaving that encouraging comment. Do you had heard of him before? Isn’t his story just inspiring? It’s difficult for me to imagine how he could have survived all that since the age of 5! The sicknesses, the hunger, the loneliness and the sense of being lost…. Brings me to tears every time. And the sad thing is, there are many like him out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Pradita – it is amazing how kids and people can survive from situations most of us would reel from … incredible talent Sung Bung Choi has …and wonderful he was helped by Park and now can let us hear his wonderful voice and I’m sure he’s out there helping others … cheers – a great post – thank you – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for coming here and commenting. Indeed, his story is inspiring. All the best to him and to people like him who struggle and succeed inspite of the odds. Thanks again for reading 😀


  6. Wow, this speaks to the resilience of the human spirit. To have endured what Sung Bung Choi has and to have found his voice(in more ways than one) is simply inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing this and for being part of #WATWB!

    Liked by 2 people

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