Monday, 22 August 2011
Sung Bong admits attempting suicide to CNN - Includes transcription - August 21 2011
Transcription of CNN Interview – 21/08/11
(CNN) He may not have won Korea’s Got Talent, but Choi Sung-Bong has won the heart of a nation.
His incredible story, from the streets to the stage, has touched millions around the world.
He says ‘I never thought this could happen, I never thought I should have been born’.
Choi is a long way from where he started. He was left in an orphanage at the age of three and ran away at the age of five after being bullied, and lived on the streets fending for himself for the next ten years
Up until 2006, Choi was living in a container box in this neighbourhood, the red-light district of the city of Dae-Jun.
He was living without any electricity without any heat and without any water. The only income he had during that time was from selling drinks and guns in the local nightclubs
Choi tells me ‘There were a lot of criminal gangs in that area, they didn’t like me. I was beaten up a lot and once they took me to a mountain, dug a hole, threw me in, and buried me’.
Choi says he tried to kill himself several times, as he felt his life was meaningless. The only thing that gave him comfort was music that heard in the nightclubs
He says, ‘ I felt calm when I listened to music. I would feel depressed and despair without it’.
‘Music was my only friend’
Choi searched the internet for someone who could teach him. He found former opera singer and music teacher, Park Jeung-So,
‘His situation was unbelievably harsh. But his passion for music, for wanting to learn to sing was very strong. I couldn’t charge him for lessons when I’d heard what he’d been through’.
Park recommended an arts high school and helped him to pass the state examination. At the age of 16, Choi went to school for the very first time.
Children’s foundation, Child Help Korea, helped him secure a government subsidized flat and his life was transformed. Social worker Yu Hyun–Jeong is delighted that he has found success, but she’s also worried.
She says ‘All this change happened very fast, I feel this overwhelming interest maybe too much for someone who has been abandoned all his life’
But Choi says he is happy to have come this far, and more than anything, wants his singing to give hope to others who are suffering as he did.