OPPA

oppa...he is very kind and good mnners...
0-4 yrs old, as long as oppa was lost in the park, it must be because he ran to the singer performance stage.

Since oppa was born, he was very popular among the neighbours because of his big eyes, sharp intuition and cleverness.
One day, in my dream, all in a sudden, I dream of a truck fully loaded with radish driving passed me. There was a huge radish which was of the size of the truck. Withing my apron on, I ran after the truck, trying to catch the big radish. The radish rolled into my apron and I fell down onto the floor. This was the largest radish I had ever seen in my entire life. I was very surprised. Just when I tried to lift up the radish to take a look, I woke up from my dream. I felt very strange: “Is this a sign that I am pregnant?” Therefore, I went to the hospital for checkup. The doctor told me: “Congratulations!”. Indeed, I was pregnant!

oppa started to walk when he was 9 month old. Before this, although he can sit alone, he couldn’t climb, the family members were worried that he might be slow to learn walking. However, he omitted the climbing stage and advanced to the walking stage. All the family members were shocked.


During his 1 year old birthday, he would offer his birthday steam rice cake for the guests to eat. During the Toljabee* event, in order to let him choose the pencil and book, the family members purposely placed both items right in front of him, instead, he chose the brush which was placed beside those items. Hyun Joong started speaking and counting very fast, but he was most interested to sing, dance and play games.

(*Note: Toljabee event is used to predict the child’s future. In this case, oppa picked the brush which symbolizes that he will become a scholar.)

Since being newly wed up to now, our family has been living nearby the SongpaGu Olympic park. Every weekend, there would be a lot of singers performing there. When bringing oppa and his elder brother who is 1 year older than him to the park for a stroll, both children would be very happy.

oppa even got lost a few times, I panicked and searched all over the park, eventually he was always found at the stage where the singers were performing.

Once, the dance group “Seo Tai-ji and boys” were singing ‘I Know’ in the park, oppa actually ran up to the stage to dance. He even played games with the other singers on stage and laughed happily. oppa was excellent in his studies, it had never come to my mind that he will become an artist. However now that I started to think, he seems to be different from other kids since childhood.

oppa excelled in studies when young, had never thought of being a star

5 – 9 years old, childhood time Kim Hyun Joong

From kindergarten, oppa had shown his multiple talents. Solving math sum very fast and drew well. Also, learned to speak and recognized words very fast. His elder brother who was 1 year older than him would always sit still to learn. However, oppa was the kind of child who could play almost everything but yet could still learn well at the same time.

We were worried that both children would feel pressured from learning, therefore, we always let them get in touch with nature more often. In order to celebrate their starting of primary school life, our family went for a tour in Jeju Island. During that time oppa rode on a horse which was many times taller than him and refused to come down. Seeing this, the people around praised him for being so wonderful. During weekends, we always brought the children to fish. This is why until now, if he felt pressured from his artist work, oppa will always go fishing alone.

Starting from 2nd year of primary school, oppa became the class representative. He always handled his own things meticulously. Waking up right after his little alarm clock rang at 6am in the morning on time, completing all his home work by himself. When we visited his school, his class teacher always praised him: “oppa was very fast in learning. He would not have a problem to enroll into Seoul University.”

At that time, we thought oppa would use his learning ability to be successful in his career, we had never thought that he would be an artist.

Actually, starting from 2nd to 4th year of his Primary school, oppa participated in the Mathematic Olympic Competition and he always won the Gold medal. He also always won in art competition. His medals were so many until it could fill up an entire box. His result was always ranked 1st in the class and often rank 1st or 2nd in the whole school.

To prevent him from being singled out by his friends, we also sent him for extra tuition classes to learn calligraphy and Hanja. Even in the tuition center, he was always top in the class. When still in the lower primary years, oppa already obtained the certificate for level 3 Hanja qualification examination. His tuition center teacher praised: “oppa passed the certification examination even lower secondary students found hard to pass.” Our family members were also shocked.

oppa hide 300 millions won (approximately USD237,000) in a book as a gift for his brother

In junior high school placement test, he was enrolled scoring the 4th highest result in the entire school. It was in his 3rd year junior high school when he announced that he wanted to be an artist. As his father was worried that he was too engrossed in his studies, he bought him a guitar to ‘rest his brain’, this was the trigger point for him to be an artist.oppa started to be engrossed in guitar. oppa guitar teacher said: “He is very talented, something needed to be learned in 3 years he could master them in 3 months. His guitar teacher once advised his father to let oppa further his talent in music, but his father was strongly against it.

There after, oppa formed a band, working part time and performing outside. There’s once, the neighbours said: “The day before, the child of that household was delivering fried chicken.” Only then the family knew that he worked part time in fried chicken restaurant. We felt that as a man one had to be independent, it is alright to go through hardships, so we didn’t stop him from working.

oppa said: “I would follow my parents’ wish to study in arts high school, but I will make every other decisions in future.” After joining the high school for 1 year, he voluntary dropped out from school. His father & I said: “Dropping out was your own choice, you have to be responsible for your own decision.” He was given only 10 thousand won (USD7.90!) pocket money every month.

Due to Asean financial crisis, our business was affected. We started a fashion business in Dongdaemun. We had to work until 11pm everyday. After getting off from work, I often went to the TGI restaurant which my son worked to secretly watch my son working for around 1 hour before returning home.

During winter, while waiting for my son to come back home, I kept looking out for him from the window. At around 1am, looking at my son making his way through the knee height snow with much difficulties, I felt pain in my heart. In spite of that, I didn’t want him to see my sorrow and always turned off the lights to pretend that everybody had fallen asleep.

After passing the trainee singer interview, my son would return home only when he was given time off. In order to be a trainee, his pocket money was always not enough. Often, he came back starving by public bus. There were many times, he didn’t even have the transportation fee and had to walk home. Despite that, oppa had never once asked for money from us.

But his love for his family members is extremely deep. When his brother who was studying in America decided to dropped off from his university due to lacking of school fees, oppa told his brother: “Brother, please read this book.” and gave him a novel as a present.

When his brother opened up the book to read, he found a 300 million won cheque hidden in the book. His brother gave his father a call mentioning that no matter how he counted he couldn’t believe the cheque amount. It was beyond our imagination that while being a trainee singer, he could still carefully save so much money. Ever since he enrolled into the university (Kyonggi University Digital Music faculty), we never worried about him.

Both of us always told him: “Pray before doing something”. Although oppa said: “Since now elder brother is serving in the army, you can rely on me. Therefore, in the future, don’t work in Dongdaemum anymore.” We hope that not only he can be a singer but also be able to form a family of his own and be responsible. With this, we have no other extravagant hopes.

oppa’s mother JungYeonMi-aunty said to IS in an interview on 19-Feb “oppa is very sentimental child even though he is blunt and doesn’t talk much.” She also talked about the story of crying when she received a gift of beauty products from his son recently.

oppa’s mother said “He came come a few days ago and put the beauty products on the dining table. I asked him what is that and my son replied ‘Mum, I bought for you to use. Now can you please learn to enjoy life? Can you don’t do the work at the market anymore?’ and some other good-talking.”

She continued “I talked to my son’s uncle whom he is very close with to discuss what should I do. Uncle said ‘oppa came over to find me not long ago, he said he suddenly saw his mother’s face and that there was more wrinkles than before, he was so heart-broken. Then he went to the restroom to cry because he hates being seen crying.’ After which, he asked his uncle which beauty products are good to smoothen wrinkles as he wants to purchase it as a gift. Hearing that my son went to the restroom to cry, I felt really bad. Now, I am considering to stop my clothing business at DongDaeMoon market.”

oppa’s parents folded up their poor business during IMF (financial crisis time) and started their clothing business at DongDaeMoon which both of them have to work until very late together. oppa who was a high school student at that time, dropped out from school to work part-time to earn himself a living while preparing to debut as a singer.

aunty said “Because we wanted to raised our son as a strong kid with responsibility, we pretended not to know when he came back from his part-time work at wee hours in the morning. My husband and I would go to the restaurant that our son was working at and waited outside for an hour every night to look at him and we cried. Even though the lights were on while we wait for our son to return, the truth is that we would turn off the lights and pretended that we were sleeping just before he reaches the front door.”

oppa has been thrifty while being active as a singer to save money for his brother’s overseas studies fee. Recently, his filial piety can also be seen when he gave a new car to replace his father’s 10 years old car.

aunty said “I always say to my son to pray to god before they start to do anything. We opposed to our smart son, who managed to get grade 3 in Chinese Character Competence Test during elementary school, to get into the entertainment industry, but we believed in him when we saw his persistence in doing what he wanted to do. I am proud of my son.”

~im totally falling in love with oppa, ottokae, mianhae, saranghae~