It was the most worthwhile day to me when my mother was chosen as one of the “Great Mother of Art Performer Awards”.
My mother was a woman who was selling all around the Haeundae beach all day long with her baby on her back. She worked so hard that she couldn’t notice that her feet swelled up badly. My mother was a woman who endured repeated verbal and physical violence by my father. My mother was woman who did everything however hard it is in order to earn money for educating her six children.
I think it is another moment I did in return for her great love when my first album “The Lost 30 Years” became a great success.
My mother burst into tears in great happiness at a place we gathered together.
She had many of hard and unlucky time living as a mother, but she was born of a rich family. Her father was a dentist and raised her without any financial difficulties. She attended Kyeongbuk Women’s High school, one of prestigious high schools in Deagu, and was an active student enough to be a captain of the volleyball team of the school.
She sings songs very well with her beautiful voice, which attracted public attention.
She seems to be born with a beautiful voice and in fact she was a singer releasing an album for some time.
When she worked as career woman, she and her co-workers went out for a picnic where there was a singing contest. She was recommended to participate in the contest by people around her, and since then she became a singer under exclusive contract with MBC in Busan. She, known on the stage as Kwack, Mun-hee, also released an album together with another singer Gho, Dae-won.
However she soon gave up her life as an artist due to the severe objection from her family, and came back to work. A while later she met my father and they married.
They led a happy marriage life and I had a “short-period” of affluent childhood. However, my father spent more time with prostitutes and blinded by them he became addicted to the use of narcotics.
After all, he quit his job and my mother had to keep the livelihood instead.
At that time, she worked as a head nurse at a local hospital and forced her half-crippled husband to be admitted into of the department of neuropsychiatry. A few years later he left the hospital, but he couldn’t stop binge drinking which led a sudden bursting of his blood vessels. He was paralyzed from waist down and he got more frustrated by the fact that he couldn’t walk anymore. All he did was just drinking.
Everything was in mess, but my mother worked harder despite being in severe agony to keep the body and soul of her husband and her six children all by her self.
She never expressed her physical and mental anguish to us.
I am so proud of her and I think I am blessed to have such a woman as a mother.
My father was rather a burden to her and to entire family, but she didn’t give up taking care of him every day and night.
She was just a weak woman, but she never minded doing hard job.
She has a pure heart and she is a warm-hearted woman.
I love her and I respect her.
I remember she was really a good singer. I am sure she would be a great artist if she had given up her dream as a singer. My childhood was tough, but I dreamed of becoming a singer since I was an elementary school student and my mother always encouraged me to realize my dream by saying that “you seem to inherit my talent of singing. Try hard and you will be a good singer. I failed to realize my dream, but you can do it.”
Keeping her words always in my mind, I tried harder and practiced more. In doing so, I worked everywhere I could work since I went up to Seoul. I worked at a gas station, a grocery store, a food distribution factory, etc. One day I came to visit Gho, Dae-won who released the album with my mother in the past, and he helped me to sing for the first time on a stage at a bar of Namyoung-dong, Seoul.
However, once again I had to muddle through the bitters of life. The bar where I worked as a singer went bankrupt, and my family was cheated again and lost the house in my hometown. I came back to Busan with everything left behind, but there was nothing I could do. Eventually, I went up to Seoul again and worked at bars and theaters and happened to meet Ahn, Tae-sub who has led me to where I am now as a singer.
For about 5 years, I stayed at his house learning playing the piano and writing a song. I practiced hard to enhance my talent. In 1982, I participated in a KBS singing contest and won the best awards for the five weeks in a row. Finally I entered stardom since my song “The Lost 30 Years” was aired through a live program of KBS “Reunion of dispersed family members between South and North Koreas” in June, 1983.
I became a star, literally, overnight.
I appreciated the efforts of mother who had played a best role as a teacher and a best sponsor.
Since then, I was always on the lists of awards with my hit songs such as “The Starting Point”, “Compass”, “Cause I Feel Sad” and “Let’s Dance the Cha Cha Cha”.
She monitored whenever I appeared on TV.
I think without such a mental support of my mother, I couldn’t overcome the bitters of life, gain popularity from the public, succeed in rising again after several slumps and solidify my position as one of the nation’s representative Trot singers.
Behind my success, there was a mother who never stopped supporting her children.
Nowadays, I feel sorry every time I visit her. She gets pains in every part of body whenever the weather is not good, and sometimes she feels lonely.
But she wants to spend the rest of her life by helping unfortunate and underprivileged elderly people.
“Come empty, return empty” This is a Chinese idiomatic phrase I come up with whenever I think of her life.
Though she worked so hard, what she earned is so small. But she and I do not feel sorry for that because we think our dream, hope and love are more important than becoming rich.
She always teaches me to try to think of what is the right thing to do as a human before to gain popularity of the public.
That’s why she likes more to hear about me as a “warm-hearted singer” rather than a “great singer”. I try to love people around me considering her true mind. I try to be a good singer, but more than that, I try to sing the life and love of neighborhood, and as an artist, try to practice contributing to society.
Lastly, let me say about my father. Many of who read what I write here may think that he was not a good husband and father to all members of my father. Thought it is true he gave much trouble especially to my mother, but he originally has a good personality with pure and warm heart.
Before he got frustrated after being addicted to drugs which made him give up his dream and passion, he was a man of sincerity and used to help others.
Now I think he just resorted to drinking to forget about such frustration and pains.
Now I say he was a “good father”. My mother is my emotional prop and best supporter behind the curtain. I would like to express my sincere appreciation and love to her. Long and happy life to her!