The Common Good

The Story and Voice of Sung-Bong Choi

1100609-sungchoiHave you heard the story of Sung-Bong Choi? I absolutely love these kinds of stories. And it's not that I just love these kinds of stories, I need these kinds of stories. Perhaps, we all need these kind of stories.

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Sung-Bong Choi, a self-described "manual worker," is a recent contestant who shocked many on "Korea's Got Talent." While an easy comparison might be the story of Susan Boyle, his story is even more compelling. In his own words:

When I was three years old, I went to an orphanage, but because of the beatings, I ran away when I was five and lived alone by selling gum on the streets. For 10 years, I lived like a fly. I was eventually able to graduate elementary and middle school through qualification examinations and the first thing that I ever liked was music.

Susan Boyle surprised us because while she didn't look the part, she sang with such beauty. And you can certainly say the same thing about Sung-Bong Choi. Let's be honest. We know we shouldn't, but we sometimes judge a book by its cover and yes, we do exactly that with people. I don't like to admit it, but sometimes I fall into that trap.

But it's not just the outward appearance, it's really Sung-Bong's deeper story:

Sung-Bong Choi is a manual worker -- his lowly profession is laughed at by the audience in the studio, and is slightly mocked by one of the judges -- who has lived alone basically his entire life -- he has no family and was raised in an orphanage, but left after being beaten up by people there. He was homeless for ten years and survived by selling gum and energy drinks on the street. Basically, we can barely summarize Sung-Bong's life without tearing up, so we'll ease the pain by letting you know that his singing is absolutely divine. Let's hope his newfound Internet fame gives him a better life. (Idolator)

And yes, I'm aware of the mini-controversy in the way the show told Sung-Bong's story as a result of the producers' editing, but regardless, I love these stories because they remind us that everyone has beautiful gifts that need to be discovered, recovered, and empowered.

Beautiful gifts. Everyone.

Check out his beautiful voice and even more so, his inspiring story:

portrait-eugene-choEugene Cho, a second-generation Korean-American, is the founder and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle and the executive director of Q Cafe, an innovative nonprofit neighborhood café and music venue. You can stalk him at his blog, Twitter, or his Facebook Page. Eugene and his wife are also the founders of One Day's Wages, a movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. This blog post originally appeared on Eugene Cho's blog.

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