It has already been 2 years since we debuted... now we came up with our own autobiography, thinking of our newbie days. This is a great, heart throbbing event that we dared not thought of at the time of our debut. While in the process of writing, I thought that we were always showered with love we did not deserve. I really liked the fact that we could go back to thinking about the days before we debuted, the times that were most difficult due to practicing. I really thank our fans, who are always by my side and who never hesitate to give us deep love.
Kang SunG Hoon
Chapter 1: Birthday Party that was muddled up with whipped cream.
Today as well, I arrived home at 3 in the morning after recording. As always, fans were waiting in front of my apartment in Dong Bu Ee Chon City. It seemed like there were more than 30 fans, including the ones from out of Seoul. I was very tired. But it was not easy to ignore them.
'But if I be nice to every one of them, then I must do that to all the other fans too...'
I had some dilemma over that momentarily. But I ended up just lightly saying hi to them with my eyes and came home. I didn't feel too well about that. I feel bad that my sister-like fans wait for me in front of my house or studio, losing their sleep.
They must be the 'princesses' at home who are not envious of anyone, but I feel bad that they suffer because of me. Most fans are junior high, high schoolers, but sometimes, preschoolers wait in front of the office too. On the other hand, those who are as old as my mother give me their fan letters and disappear too.
"I came to like you when my daughter started liking you. This is the letter my daughter and I wrote together."
They must love me as their own son.
A while ago, I met parents of a fan, who adored me like their son. Some father came with a junior high student and rang my door bell.
"My kid is in junior high, and I was wondering if we could talk for a moment...."
He was very old, but he acted so shy that I didn't know what to do. I let him and that fan come into my house immediately. I gave them my autograph and I talked shortly with her.
"Who hasn't followed around a star when they were young? She's my daughter but I am glad that she follows you like a good brother, instead of getting off track."
Surely, parents these days looked like new generation. I thought that she was lucky to have parents like them.
Nothing can beat official fan meetings as a place to meet most number of fans. I find myself being confident than usual when there are events like that.
I even feel like screaming, 'Who else has been as lucky to be showered with this many birthday wishes as I did?' This year, February 22nd, I turned 20 years old and got messages and presents from thousands of fans.
"Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday to dear Sung Hoon."
The other 5 members' and thousands of fans' voices echoed in the stage.
I blew the candles out. Then oops! That big cake came down and fell on the floor. 5 members started caking my face with no mercy. I got them back by throwing frostings and we laughed at each other's face that was muddled with whip cream. I think the fans had fun watching us being free.
< P>At the moment I can be with my fans, I become the happiest prince in this world.
Chapter 2: Inborn Stage Intuition
"There was a huge snake in the middle and countless number of snakes surrounded that big snake and played around. That was the dream I had."
My mother thinks it signifies that the little snakes are fans and the big snake is me singing in front of people.
Maybe it was due to that dream of forthcoming conception. Ever since I was little, I showed signs of being an entertainer. A 3 year-old didn't know anything, but I was told that I always danced along to pop songs and adults adored me for it. I received so much love from people surrounding me, so much that people came just to hug me once. Especially, my grandfather gave me as much love as my parents did.
"I can't go do my work if I don't see my Sung Hoonie for one day."
When I was a newborn baby, Grandpa always came before and after work to our house to see me. When I grew old enough to play with toys, he bought all the new toys that were out; thanks to him, my house was filled with toys.
My debut stage as a kid with potential was at Grandpa's 60 year-old birthday party. I surprised all the adults by singing what was popular at the time, as a preschooler. On top of that, whenever I grabbed a mic, I never let go of it and I even became a host- this shows that I must have an inborn stage intuition.
Then when did my dancing skills come about? I wonder if my flexibility for dancing was formed from learning Tae Kwon Do back in elementary. You might think, how are those 2 related? But it is my theory that there is nothing like Tae Kwon Do to discipline a flexible body. Also, I learned at that time how content it was to move my body to perspire. I did Tae Kwon Do so hard that my master even told my mother that he wanted to raise me as a martial artist to represent the nation.
I mastered all the other kinds of sports; soccer and baseball needless to say, and skateboarding, roller-skating, and skiing. The times I got to show off my intuition as an athlete were in 5th and 6th grade. I represented my school and also my district as a track member. As a last runner up, I always led my team to victory. I got a 2nd place at a district-wide short distance competition, and even when my team was last, I always made it to win first. As well as my athletic abilities, my competitiveness was very strong.
There is not so funny episode related to track. It seems to be a tradition in our household, so my little sister Yoon Ji was also a good runner. When Yoon Ji led her white team to win, I always led my blue team back to victory. My sister always tells me that story and teases me for being a 'cold brother.'
Chapter 3: I Want to Study in America
Compared to other kids in my age, I was a mature boy ever since I was little. At the age to be lazy and be playful, I always prepared my school stuff of my own volition and woke up before my mother woke me up. She usually believes me and supports me for whatever I do, since I've been pretty independent as a kid.
It is no wonder that I was father-like to my sister, Yoon Ji. When she got beat up by kids in the neighborhood, I made so much fuss about it. I always bought her school supplies when she had something to take to school the next day, and I even bathed her when she was little- I was a caring brother. I don't see her very often because she is in Japan right now for her language course but I always worry about her as a big brother.
"Even if you like your boyfriend, never propose to him first, okay?"
I possess generally an open-minded personality, but I seem to show my conservative sides, more or less than like a father would, when it comes to matters concerning my sister. She always looks at me weird whenever I say that because she is very outgoing, but sometimes, she treats me as if I'm something great. There aren't that many brothers who can give their sisters allowance as a student.
"My brother is so cool......."
Yoon Ji still looks little to me whenever she says this because she's happy that I give her money. Perhaps it's because I was more mature than other kids?
At the young age of grade 5, I experienced something grand that totally changed my life. I got to visit America as a school representative with kids from other schools when I joined little astronauts. The culture shock I experienced at the time was just unbelievable. It was a pure shock for a kid in elementary school that there was a big world outside other than school and home.
After I came back from America, nothing was interesting. Korea seemed to stuffy and shabby. I earnestly wanted to study in a new environment, after seeing the different culture in a foreign country.
"I want to study in America."
"What are you talking about? Let's think about it again when you grow up."
My mother must've been surprised, when I, merely a kid in elementary school, said that fearlessly. She probably thought that I just wanted to visit America again. She predicted that I would eventually forget about it but no way. My decision was already set and I persuaded my mother with persistence. At first, she only said no but as the time went on, she seemed to be thinking hard about it. At last, I begged for 3 years and finally got a permission to go to America.
The place I went to study abroad was Hawaii Mission School. That was the America I dreamed about.
Chapter 4: The Audition I Took Rashly
I wanted to be responsible for the decision I made. Because I went against my mother to come to America, I got used to it fast and I tried my best to live. I experienced the free air of Hawaii and studied hard, resulting in getting straight A's in all my classes.
The turning point in my life that revolved around studying was when I met coincidentally with Ji Wonie hyung. At first, I wasn't interested in him because he was always so quiet and he sat way in the back. I just thought of him as a fellow Korean student in the same class.
Then one day, he started talking to me.
"Where do you live?"
The meeting with hyung that began so trivially. We realized that the more we talked, the better we connected. Especially the fact that we were both into music and dance made us closer.
From my aunt's house to school was a distance of 1 hour, so I moved out and began living with Ji Wonie hyung. Everyone seemed to be worrying about me, including my mother in Seoul and my aunt in Hawaii. They were pretty concerned as to whether I will get off track, since I was still at a young age.
I was indeed young, but I didn't want to be hassled by anyone and I had a strong pride. To prove that I could live independently, I tried so hard. Studying, cleaning bathroom, laundry, and housework, I always tried to keep things in order.
For me who had no older brother, Ji Wonie hyung took care of me better than a real brother would. By hanging out with him who danced well and sang well, I got exposed to diverse kinds of dance and music.
Then a historical event that I would call as a turning point in my life occurred. It was the day where one of the people I knew from the club had his birthday party at a club called "Juliana" in Hawaii. He told me and Ji Wonie hyung to sing in the next door since a production owner and producers from Korea were there.
Without saying anything like "Watch us" or "How do you do," we sang what was popular at the time, "Na Uh Ril Juhk Ggoom" by Turbo, along with a dance. We sang some more afterwards, but I remember not being embarrassed at all and just trying our best. Mr. Lee Ho Yeon from DSP and Producer Eun Kyung Pyo were present at the time.
After we finished dancing, Mr. Lee asked us "Don't you guys want to be singers?"
I didn't even think of that as an audition, I just danced and sang with no purpose. My answer accidentally slipped out and I yelled "Yes!"
"Right, I really like you guys. I'll contact you very soon."
He contacted us sooner than we thought. The next day, we heard from our friend that he wanted to see us again.
"Let's work together well."
When he spoke warmly to us at a hotel lobby, I felt as if I were dreaming.
Chapter 5: The Fateful Meeting with the Members
"Singer? No way!"
My mother, who was in Seoul, opposed firmly when she received a sudden international call from me. She was insecure enough that she sent me away this far, but now a singer! I understood how she felt. But my mind was already completely set on becoming a singer. I had no way but to persuade her. The who helped persuading her at the time was my aunt in Hawaii.
"Sung Hoon I observed in Hawaii was a smart student but also a kid with stage intuition. I don't know but he will succeed. Let him do it."
My aunt, who was a former actress, told my mother this. Eventually, I got on a plane to Seoul a month later, in August of 1997. But an unexpected situation awaited us. In Seoul at the time, a dance group consisting of 5 or 6 members were popular. I was disappointed at the fact that our group was going to have 6 people in it.
"I am not a monkey in a zoo, I wouldn't like to sing in a group that has so many members."
I don't know where the heck I got that boldness when I think about it now, but I told frankly to Mr. Lee. Then I didn't even turn back and just concentrated on studying. He tried to persuade me, and at the same time, also told my mother to change my thoughts.
I tried to study hard. But truthfully, the dream of being a singer that I once had couldn't be erased so easily. My mother was the one who changed my mind at the time.
"Sung Hoon, you are young but you should keep the promise you made with Mr. Lee. And think for one last time if you can give up your dream so easily."
She was right.
"Mom, I'll do it. I'll try hard."
And when my mind was completely turned over was when I met the members now. When I saw Su Won who gave kind and cool feeling, and the super awesome dancers Jae Duggie hyung and Jae Jinnie hyung, my faith settled in. And lastly, Ji Yong whom I introduced to Mr. Lee. He was an exemplary student who ranked in top 10 of his class but also one of my friends that danced and hung out with me since I was little.
When us 6 got together, I had nothing to envy in this world and I had confidence to do well. And when we went through tearful hours of practicing, my worries at first melted away as snow would.
Chapter 6: Pansori Practice & Heavy Gymnastics
*Note: Pansori is the Korean version of a long epic poem, a type of a traditional performance.
The dance practice had already lasted over 2 hours but no member suggested taking a break. At this moment, our manager stopped the music.
"Let’s not go overboard and take a short break here."
But someone else turned on a trendy song sung by some other popular group at the time. Jae Dukkie hyung stood up and imitated the choreography of that group exactly the same. I followed his lead and tried to change my mood.
During our practice days before our debut, when someone said that we should take a break and turned off the music, we were seated for a little moment and someone else turned on the music again. We supposedly were tired but no one rested and only concentrated on practicing. The members gathered during the afternoons because we had school in the morning. Until the whole day was over, we were obsessed with dancing and singing.
Thanks to our passion, we heard critiques that our singing and dancing abilities were improving. On top of that, what we learned in order to upgrade our singing was the pansori. We all know that the pansori is famous for opening up our voices and making them smoother. We tried hard to become good pansori singers. Our song, ‘Hak Won Byul Gok,’ had a lot of screaming parts in it so the pansori practice helped a lot.
The next thing we learned was the heavy gymnastics. We did so because we thought it was necessary in order to show more masculine and vigorous dance routines. We were doing it for the first time so our bodies were exhausted but as we practiced every day, our tumbling and jumping abilities improved tremendously, making us forget all about the hardships of learning.
It must have been the fruits of our effort, that our first TV appearance in the KMTV’s "Show! Music Tank" was a huge success. Many related producers complimented us, 200,000 album copies of preorder, ranking in the top 10 just in one month of release, and the record setting hit of 4 songs simultaneously- we slowly started pacifying the gayo industry.
Chapter 7: Fainting on the stage, to the hospital
On a day we had a TV appearance on KMTV after we released our 2nd album, the beginning orchestration of my favorite song ‘Gi Sa Do’ was starting. The fans were cheering with passion, with the placards that had my name on them. But I was having cold sweats, and I wanted to collapse because my stomach was hurting too much.
‘Is it appendicitis? I have to hold on, I will be alright. I can’t faint on the stage.’
No matter how much I tried to withstand, the stomachache was intermittently repeating. My vision started to blur when the song was almost near its ending. I came down the stage, and soon lost my consciousness.
Where I woke up was at the hospital. I was hospitalized for the mesentery inflammation of the lymphatic gland. It was due to the unbalanced eating, overworked schedule, and the gathered fatigues.
"Sung Hoon, are you okay?"
I began to see each member’s face, all ready to cry. I had never been to a hospital even when I was young, so I realized the preciousness of my health. I must have blocked all the bad lucks, because ‘Gi Sa Do’ received our fans’ love and Jekki, for the first time, got to be #1 on a program.
"I've only known one woman, I've only trusted one woman, I've loved you only.
But because I had nothing to give but love, you left me.
Maybe it was for better. You can forget about me, so please be happy.
I buried you in my heart for leaving me like that."
(from Gi Sa Do)
My costume for ‘Gi Sa Do’ was the shiny trenchcoat and the jacket made out of artificial leather. With the metal accessories, I got to express the image of a ‘knight guarding justice.’ I especially liked my peacock hair. We were popular for the most individualistic clothing and hairstyles for this song.
On top of that, it was a good dance song under a deep house genre with a catchy melody line. I couldn’t express my happiness when we received #1 spot with this song. It was the moment I accomplished my dream of being #1 I wanted so much after I became a singer.
After our debut, there was another time I had to go through pain, as much as I went through when I was ill. The reaction for our 2nd album was way too good, so when we released our 3rd album, we had to be nervous as to whether the fans would love it or not. The 3rd album contained songs that were more musically mature and also displayed high-leveled choreography.
But the time period of our 2nd album performance was long, and when we were on a break, we spent our days busy doing musical and shooting a movie. Even though we were trying our best as we recorded each song, we couldn’t help but to feel insecure.
As it turned out, the reaction was rather cold. Our title song, ‘Mu Mo Han Sa Rang,’ didn’t receive the overall attention of our fans. But soon after, we rose back with ‘Couple.’ And we received the co-award with HOT in the end of the year.
I will never forget the songs ‘Gi Sa Do,’ the one we got #1 with for the first time, and ‘Couple,’ which showed our stability.
Chapter 8: Heartbreaking Performance
In December of 1997 at the Se Jong Cultural Center, there were many fans that crowded around to see our first concert. I was in the makeup hall, having to soothe my nervous heart as I heard the fans’ cheering.
"Let’s try our best!"
When Ji Wonie hyung and I met in the eyes, he patted my shoulder and said this. That one phrase of his became my strength. We all encouraged one another with our eyes and got on the stage. The burden of having to try our best for the fans from the start to the end rushed in.
But the next moment, I could feel the infinite love of countless fans that came from all over the place to see us. As the time went on, I fell in love with what the concert had to offer. My body gained more strength, and I could clearly see the audience cheering.
When we sang the acapella, I was almost ready to cry. Like that, the first concert remains in my mind as an unforgettable memory. What I felt by having the concert was that I really have to be healthy in order to perform well. For a live performance, I decided to work out regularly and open up my lungs and also be careful with my neck.
But there was another concert that was as meaningful as the first concert to me. It was when we appeared in the program from KBS called "Love’s Request." My heart ached when I saw the angelic children suffering from incurable diseases. I couldn’t even hold them because they were so small. I was also afraid because if I were to embrace them, I, being a weak-hearted person, would cry in front of the camera. So I just stood behind the camera and just observed them playing. It was a heartbreaking performance because of the thought that there were not many ways to help them besides singing.
Chapter 9: Movie, Musical, Everything OK!
In 1998, we starred in the movie "Seventeen." It was a big issue because we received 3 hundred billion won as a guarantee, which was the highest ever in the history of the movies. But personally, I was a bit hesitant in shooting the movie. Singing itself took up a lot of time, so I was unsure of the idea of trying out in a new area. And what if the movie fails? When I thought about that, I became really nervous.
But it was of my nature to try my best since we all agreed to do it already. On top of that, my role in the movie was really heavy. It was obvious that whether I try my best or not would affect Jekki’s image.
In April, 1998, the historical first shooting began in front of Oh Sahn High School in Bo Gwang Dong, Seoul. When our minivan and the staffs’ shooting bus arrived, there were girl fans that somehow found out, who crowded in front of the school on their way home.
"Would I do well?"
When the movie set became all noisy, I was afraid whether I could get into my character and act well. The first scene was me and my partner, Kim Ji Hye, entering the school together. I had the role of an exemplary class president. It was a scene with not even one line, but whenever I entered the school friendly with Kim Ji Hye, fans booed and screamed, there were many NGs.
I repeated "I’m sorry," but the director, Mr. Chung Byung Gahk, didn’t seem to care at all.
"Jekki is very popular.. I always already predicting this," he said this and just heartily laughed.
Anyway, our first shooting was finished and I was surprised at myself for being able to act in front of a camera without being very nervous. Even the director complimented me, saying that I was talented in acting.
One of the reasons I wasn’t nervous and could do well was due to the fact that I could work well with the director. Later, I even got to the level where I could ‘enjoy’ filming.
"Now that we are watching the premiere of our movie, it looks a bit awkward but we feel pride in it. We hope that the teenagers’ troubles and loss of direction get delivered well. Just remember that we really tried our best."
On the day of our premiere, we encouraged each other for the fact that we tried our best, apart from the success or failure of the movie. But when we went to the Dae Han Theater on July 17th, the opening day, we couldn’t help but to be surprised. ‘Did all the Jekki fans in Korea come?’ We even thought that, that was how crowded the theater was with middle and high school students.
The movie I worried so much about, "Seventeen," was released in video as well and received the continuous love from our loves.
What we did as a sidetrack besides shooting the movie was a musical. We were encouraged by the success of the movie, but we also wanted to challenge the genre of musical, which had the combination of both singing and dancing.
The role I had in "Alibaba and the 40 Thieves" was Alibaba. I practiced so much, to a point where my throat was all swollen and sore, so I couldn’t practice anymore. I even remember crying because I was singing all day and so exhausted.
Hard practice must’ve paid off, because the reaction of the audience was very good. It was sold out everyday and it was also a good opportunity to show that Jekki always tried their best.
Chapter 10: Unlaughable Fan Letter
I realize that it is due to the fans that Jekki exists now. But sometimes, I receive scars in my heart from the fans. I have a nickname ‘Smiley’ because I’m always smiling. However, once I get to be known, I am really weak hearted and easy to cry.
There once was an event that made me unable to decide whether to laugh or cry.
Of countless fan letters I was receiving, I began to pay particular attention to one of them. The letters from this one girl who was suffering from the bone marrow cancer always made my heart ache. It even got to a point where I checked for her letters daily from my mom, every time I came home from the TV performance.
"I can forget all about my pain when I hear your singing. Only your songs give me hope in my life."
That girl described in detail about her ailment and her financial problems at home in her letters. Even with my busy schedule, I always read her letter and my hope to help her became earnest.
So at the concert, we even sang a song for her. Eventually, I began to search for that girl. But she only wrote that her address was Seo Dae Moon, so I couldn’t find her so easily. Then one day, on the outside of the envelope, the hospital she was at was written.
So I asked the hospital for the cooperation, but the staff told me that there was no such girl in the cancer department. I was thinking, ‘No way,’ and I looked for her one more time. Then I found out that she wasn’t a patient under a cancer treatment but rather, someone who was hospitalized in the mental institution.
At first, I was so flabbergasted. I felt really upset because even though she was a fan, I felt very deceived. But as I thought about it carefully, she did have an illness after all, a mental illness! The thought that my songs were of help to her made me happy.
For loving my inadequate self, I thank my fans for that fact alone. Sometimes I get hurt like this but it all happens because I am liked, no?
Chapter 11: The Prettiest Girlfriend In School
First love… aren’t those the words that would make anyone’s heart tremble? Because of my outgoing personality, I got along well with girl friends as well since I was little.
But one friend I met in the 2nd year of middle school gave me a whole different feeling than my other girl friends before. I met her coincidentally in school but I didn’t even have guts to talk to her and only watched her from afar. Now that I think about it, this must’ve been the first time I started falling for the opposite gender.
"Dude, you have high standards, isn’t she the prettiest girl in our school?"
(Picture insertion of Sung Hoon and his sister Yoon Ji riding a bike: Whenever I went out when I was little, I always took my little sister Yoon Ji along. I especially enjoyed bikeriding with her.)
Truthfully, I was pretty ‘popular’ in school at the time but I didn’t know that the girl I had in my heart was also the most popular person in our school. Basically, I was competing against everyone from the school.
When I was only suffering from this crush, we met on a coincidental occasion. On contrary to the way she looked prude from a distance, she actually had a very bright personality.
The spontaneous meeting continued from the beginning. Like the other kids, we met together to study and went out to eat ice cream and had serious talks about each other’s future. After about 3 years of sharing our friendship, the time to part came, because I was going to Hawaii to study abroad. And she also had to leave to Singapore for the same purpose.
"Could we meet again?"
"Let’s study hard and after 1 year, let’s meet in New York."
And the summer after a year, we met again in New York. I was very content to see her the same way she used to be before- innocent. But afterwards, I never saw her again. According to the rumor, she is not in Seoul yet. I wonder if she even knows that I became a singer and heard my music yet.
After that, I didn’t have a girlfriend. Even in Hawaii where people treat the ones without girlfriends stupid, I didn’t have one. What was the reason? Sometimes I think about it deeply, but besides the fact that I didn’t meet anyone as likeable as her, I didn’t want to just go out with anyone to fill up time.
On top of that, I became a member of Jekki so I didn’t have any room to have a girlfriend. With 2, 3 hours of sleep a day and the busy schedule, there was no mental and timely room to me for a girlfriend to come in.
But it is obvious that I am a regular 20 year-old that wishes to receive a Christmas or a birthday present from a nice and a pretty girlfriend. If I get a girlfriend? I wish to have one who can understand the special situation I’m in right now. Even if I can’t talk to her on the phone for a long time, even if I don’t keep up my promise when some unexpected schedule pops up, I want to have someone who can understand me. I even dream that it could be someone who is thoughtful, the one who can scold me until I feel really bad.
If it’s someone like that, wouldn’t she be able to comfort me with warm consoling words when I’m tired from working?
Chapter 12: Blessed With Friendly People
"You have many good people around you."
My mother always says this to me. It is because wherever I went since I was little, I always caught people’s attention. My mom has almost the same personality as me- she is friendly and likes people, so I think I resemble her and like to be in the crowd.
"I’m home from school!"
As I said this and stepped into the house, I always brought along 4-5 friends with me. They even cleaned out my fridge and slept over, it was quite common. My mother, who liked children, cared for them as much as I liked them.
During elementary, I was always a moodmaker and was popular among friends because I had a bright personality. I was always surrounded by group of friends in school.
Among them, Ji Yong, the present member of Jekki, was my best friend since those days. I remember making a group with my friends for some talent show at a school picnic and singing Taiji Boys "I know." Ji Yong was one of the members.
I guess we were practicing to be in Jekki since then. I recognized Ji Yong’s potential (?) back in those days and recommended him as a Jekki member to our producer.
But we weren’t just kids who only liked to play. Ji Yong and I did well in our studies too so we never lost 1st place in class. We were nominated for the vice president in 5th grade and I became one. And in 6th grade, we were both nominated for the president and Ji Yong won. We were supposedly competing for the same spot but that never affected our friendship. I think our friendship rather got stronger in the midst of our friendly competition.
Ji Yong had always been a confident and carefree person. But I felt distressed over him once. That was when he first came into Jekki. He was the latest to be in the group so it was harder for him to learn the choreography or the songs, and it seemed difficult for him to get along with the members because they were all individualistic. So I told the other members many good stories about Ji Yong and I also tried to tell Ji Yong about dancing and singing.
And another one of my precious friends is Kwang Joong from middle school. Kwang Joong has a total different personality and outer appearance from mine. Compared to me, who look feminine and have a small body, he looks really manly and is built. So whenever I was about to get beat up by gangster-like people, he always stood up for me and defended me.
What about the personality. I am outgoing and always smiling, but he is quiet and always expressionless. But he has a warmer heart than anybody else does.
"Sung Hoon, how about I become a manager?"
"Really? Truthfully, from what I see, being a manager is not an easy occupation but…. Do you think you could do it?"
Kwang Joong was punctual and had the ability to think quickly on his feet, so when he said he wanted to take the path of being a manager, I thought he would do well. But when I first thought of my friend suffering with me, I wanted to stop him. However, he began living in my house and stepped out to the real world as a road manager. It is all thanks to him that he makes me exercise when I get lazy, and looks after my meals when I skip them.
Sometimes I think about it deeply, and no matter how much I think, I am a very lucky guy--- Because I can always be with my precious friends.
Chapter 13: Should I Be a Producer or a Businessman?
"Sung Hoon, what’s your future dream?"
"I will become a singer."
In my childhood days, when other kids’ future goals were doctors or athletes, mine was to be a singer. And luckily, I got to achieve that dream even before I turned 20 years old. It was a so-called superstar that received a lot of love from the fans.
‘I can do anything!’
My entire body can feel such confidence. Would people know such feeling?
Achieving a dream is really a cool thing to do. But I also know the fact that I shouldn’t become arrogant or forget about the future because I’m absorbed by the fact that I accomplished my goals now.
"You can’t be in a dance group forever, wouldn’t you be short-lived?"
This is one of the questions reporters hesitantly ask me. Whenever I am asked that question, I always answer "If I lead a good life as I do now, I will like my image in the future as well."
Yes. I don’t have any grand plans for my future yet. But I have many things I want to do, and I also have the confidence to do something with all my will. And I am only 20 years old now but I dream of my future 20 years later.
(Picture insertion here: With my classmates on a school excursion. I wonder how they’re all doing….)
After I became a singer, I got more into music, so I imagine myself being a music producer in 20 years. Wouldn’t it be rewarding to manufacture good albums with people who are young just like when I debuted, but the ones who have deep passion for music?
However, I know that music becomes more difficult as I go on to learn it- that thought is always in my mind. I will have to try very hard. In my head, I also have another vision of my future. Just like my father who has a business in Hawaii, in 20 years, I will be a businessman. I giggle to myself as I think of my life, living in a happy family, with a wife as pretty as my mother and my children.
I have a lot of absurd ideas so I even have a plan to build a "Building of Dreams." It is a kind of a multi-building where everything can be done in one place.
My business plans are all done in my head, but I have one thing to worry about. I must be thrifty and frugal when it comes to money, but I can’t be like that. I’ve been raised to like sharing and I didn’t know how precious money was. Plus, my mother thinks, "If you’re a man, you have to be able to spend money too," so I have not seen a person too often paying the bills before me. Anyway, I think whatever I become 20 years later wouldn’t be too different from Kang Sung Hoon I am now. Eventually, my future is something achievable only if I try my best now.
I want to live my life to the fullest at the present moment. And afterwards, I want to become an adult who knows how to accept life that’s given to me humbly.
Chapter 14: Mother Jung Ye Geum Speaks of her Son Sung Hoon
I feel very proud and sad at the same time when I watch Sung Hoon aspiring to be a good singer, when he is at an age to whine to his parents. My heart especially aches when he comes home exhausted. I wish that he would just be an ordinary kid like others that study.
But Sung Hoon had potentials to be an entertainer since he was little. Even when he got dressed, he was a dandy little boy that was able to coordinate his own clothes. I wondered where he learned it, he was also a very good singer. And he had very many friends and he was notorious for being a mischievous boy.
I’m blushing a little since I sound like I’m bragging about my son, but Sung Hoon had leadership ever since he was little. He was always a leader among his peers when they were playing. And in comparison to the other kids, he was mature and had a strong pride. He admitted right away what he did wrong but if he was embarrassed in front of a crowd or his ego had been crushed, he lost sleep for days and stayed angry.
I raised him with restrictions. I forgave him 3 times for the same mistake and spanked him the 4th time. He must’ve been upset, but he never defied it and admitted his faults, thus showing a manly side of him.
One day, I received an unexpected international call from Sung Hoon who was studying abroad in America at an early age.
"I want to be a singer."
I was very stifled by this sudden call. I would’ve been insecure even if he was in Korea, but since he was telling this to me from America, I began to worry first.
But since I had always trusted my son, I couldn’t just oppose him. I first began to investigate the production that proposed Sung Hoon about being a singer. Unlike what I had worried, DSP was known to be a good production. And what changed my mind at last was the meeting with Mr. Lee Ho Yeon who had a kind impression.
"Don’t worry. Sung Hoon is very talented. I want to raise him to be a good singer."
I stopped worrying but to be truthful, I was still confused until I saw his first TV performance.
‘He has to study, what if he fails?’
‘Does Sung Hoon really even have a talent? Was I right for allowing him to do this?’
But when I went to the TV station with the other members’ parents in order to see his first performance, I realized that my decision was right. Sung Hoon looked very natural from the way he performed on the stage.
After Sung Hoon became a singer, my time to see my son reduced significantly. Instead, countless fans that come to visit Sung Hoon are crowded in front of the house. As someone raising a daughter, I can’t help but to feel sorry for those girls who stay overnight in front of the house. At first, I gave them bus fares and drinks and talked to them. But as the fans increased, this was a difficult task to continue.
There was this incident once. Some girl claiming to be Jekki’s fan called our house in a desperate manner.
"Our friend hurt her leg and got a treatment from a hospital but we only have 10,000 won, please help us."
Beside the fact that they were my son’s fans, I wondered how worried they would’ve been, so I called the taxi and paid for the hospital bills and took each one of them home. They didn’t forget to call me back to thank me politely a few days later.
Sung Hoon’s practicing diligently day and night in order to prepare for the 4th album. He can’t even have a hearty meal with his family members and his face looks weak from the lack of sleep. It is something he does with passion, but I wish he would look after himself too. And there is nothing more I wish than for Sung Hoon to stay exactly the way he is now; modest, polite, and someone whose words and actions match.