In the last few days there has been some concern for Sung-bong Choi, the manual labourer from Deajeon City who's only goal is to sing for the world. A recent post on his personal Facebook page spoke of him 'starting over'. Although I am unclear precisely what the message means (as I don't speak Korean and Google translate is awful) it was enough to produce a wave of consolation from fans who reiterated that they are here for him and that they will do whatever is necessary to help him succeed.
Upon browsing the more recent Sung-Bong comments on his Facebook and Twitter pages I noticed several things:
Sung-Bong's tweets (in English) are completely incomprehensible and make no sense
People are making judgments about his appearance and dress sense
Sung-Bong has undergone lots of different 'looks' to see which one fits
My fear is that Sung-bong is being treated like a performing chimp. Like a person who is there to make US feel good about ourselves, instead of the other way around. Let us not forget that it is WE who have lived the privileged lives in comparison to Sung-Bong.
We should remind ourselves just what this young man has had to overcome in order to be where he is today.
When he stood in front of the judges he lacked self-esteem, confidence, even the ability to smile.
In a short space of time he has made a lightning transition from nobody to somebody who is adored all over the world and because of this he is being invested with love and emotional energy. Although Sung-Bong has proved that he has the mental toughness to overcome the most horrid of circumstances, he is still learning how to be accepted by people and also learning how to respond to people's requests and the advice given to him.
Ever since Song-Yun Ah confessed that all she wanted to do was give Sung-Bong a hug after his audition there has been a sense that everyone wants to be a part of Sung-Bong's story. They want to kiss and hug him too, tell him that everything will turn out fine in the end.
One worrying development I noticed just today in a closed Facebook group closely linked to Sung-Bong and some of his relatives is that a fan who Sung-Bong personally made an administrator has started to advertise their own music in a group solely dedicated to helping Sung-Bong achieve his dream. This kind of behaviour leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. No sooner has Sung-Bong stepped into the world of show-business than people are already willing to use the powerful meaning his story has to endorse their own products. I truly hope that this trend does not continue.
Sung-Bong is right at the start of the path that he feels is his destiny to walk. A lot of important decisions will have to made along the way so we ought to ask ourselves honestly, should we like the over-protective parent who has to constantly tell their son that his hair was better yesterday or he shouldn't wear a certain type of jacket or certain colour of tie, or should we just wish Sung-Bong good luck in his quest and if he should ever slip and fall then we will be right there to catch him?