Choi Sung Bong: Korea's Got Talent
Viewers of Korea's Got Talent - the Korean version of the TV show that aims to find new talented entertainers - were recently treated to an amazing singing performance from a young man, 22 year old Choi Sung Bong.
Interviewed by the panel immediately before his performance of a lifetime, Choi Sung Bong told the astonishing story of his life in just a few shy words, and, perhaps as a result, you could visibly see the panellists willing this young man to do well.
His performance was breathtaking, as you can see for yourself in the video below.
The judges and audience alike were moved to tears, because who could believe this young man, whose life had been so hard, could sing like an angel.
Choi Sung Bong singing on Korea's Got Talent
The Amazing Story of the Life of Choi Sung Bong
Choi Sung Bong was placed in an orphanage when only 3 years of age, but ran away 2 years later when he was only 5 because he was being beaten up while was there.
For the next TEN YEARS he lived on the streets, making a little money to eat by selling chewing gums and energy drinks, sleeping at night times on stairs and in public toilets, anywhere out of the cold.
Sometime during those ten years, he met a woman who ran a food cart outside a nightclub. She encouraged him to sit the Korean equivalent of GED exams in order to attend school.
She also gave him the name Ji-Sung, a name which he now prefers, but it was not until much later Ji-Sung realised that a name had, in fact, been registered for him in the orphanage all those years before. At the age of 5, Choi Sung Bong did not know his own name and he was without a name for many years.
When he was 12, he was selling chewing gumin a nightclub when he heard an opera singer on the stage.
He was mesmerised as he listened to the dulcet tones, and decided there and then that he too would love to be able to sing like that.
He became a self-taught singer, practising at every opportunity.
Meanwhile he had taken on yet more street work, delivering early morning milk and newspapers by day, while working as a delivery boy at night.
Choi Sung Bong earned enough money to attend secondary school classes, and it was here his talent was discovered.
With all the work he did outside school, he was able to pay for the odd master class.
One night he had a fall, and was treated at Kun Yang University Hospital. There, they discovered earlier injuries he had sustained when he was hit by a car on two separate occasions as a child on the street.
Nomedical aid had been administered at the time, and he was duly admitted to Kun Yang for remedial treatment.
It was while there as an in-patient that he performed his first fund-raising public recital.
He eventually graduated from Daejeon Arts High School and starting working in the construction industry.
And so, this young man wearing checked shirt and denims appeared on stage, looking as if he was dressed to go to work, and sang an Italian song called Nella Fantasia, and wowed the judges and the audience with his performance.
He did not win the show; he came second. but one of the judges offered to give him free master classes so he could perhaps make a career out of singing.
Remember the name. We'll be hearing from Choi Sung Bong again.
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