Words From Rain's Mother (Fanclub-days)
Ji-hoon is not like a typical child, he is more like a calm and steady gentlemen.
Compared to his father, our family’s Ji-hoon is more like me. His
character is frank and straightforward, so we always hear from other people praising him as a very honest person.
While in a group of people he is not independent; at home, however, he is a sensible, grown boy. When he was younger, he’d always bicker with his only sister, but whenever she’d come home from a spanking/beating, he’d show sympathy towards her.
Our Ji-hoon has been obedient since young, very calm and steady. Whenever I give him a lecture, he never once talked back.
But Ji-hoon is a bit of a picky eater, so I’m a little worried…practically doesn’t eat pickled vegetables and meat. Because I’m looking after the shop, I’ve no way of taking care of him, so I feel very guilty.
I’m unable to be like those parents who accompany their children to the TV station and are attentive to them through the entire process; I can’t even make him something good to eat, so I feel ashamed and guilt-stricken.
When I first heard him say that he wanted to be a singer, I really wasn’t that surprised. Even though his father hoped that he would study hard to become a policeman or an officer, whatever the child wants to do, the parents have no choice but to go along.
In this sensitive period of teen hood, I have no worries about his behavior towards the opposite sex, or smoking and drinking.
The only thing is once the opportunity to learn is missed, it will never return again. So I hope that he will use the free time in between his performing activities to do more homework, which would be nice.
Interview with Rain's father
Singer Bi is crying. Bi who got his "Artiste of the Year" award last year December 30th during the 2004 KBS Music Award ceremony said,"Thank you to those who helped me fulfill the promise I made to my mother who is now in heaven".
Tears streamed down his cheeks as he said this.
Three years ago, Bi made a promise to his mother at her dying bed, "I will succeed". It is un-imagineable how he felt then, how at the momentwhen he was given the award, between Bi's promise to his mother and his excitement of becoming the best singer, his tears flowed for his motherwho is unable to witness his success, and the pain of losing a loved one.
Bi's mother, who was worried for Bi up to her last moment, 2004 was the year when countless people fell for your son!
With the serial drama, Full House, Bi was also presented with three other awards in the KBS actors' category. His acting skills were considered recognized in this aspect as well.
It was at the KBS Music Award that this artiste who debuted just three years ago was given the highest honor of the "Artiste of the Year Award".
But his award was celebrated with tears. Unable to stop his tears, Rain performed his encore performance, "It's Raining", with his head down most of the time.
From the outside, he looks like the son of a rich man. With his well-built figure and splendid dance steps, he has captivated the hearts of fans from the age 10 to age 60. But what kind of a journey has he traveled to get to where he is?
After the award ceremony, we went to Bi's house at Seoul, Mapo. At the time when we visited, only Appa Jeong was at home. "I don't think my son will be willing. I have not done anything for him", Apppa Jeong rejected our interview politely at first. However, under our persuasion, he finally relented and started talking about the journey this father and son has traveled together.
"When I saw my son receiving the award on TV, I cried too. There was an immense pain in my heart. I knew why he was crying. When he finally came home holding his award very late that night, I held him for a longtime, relaying what I felt to him."
Bi's mother was tormented by diabetes for a long time. As Appa Jeong's business failed, her condition grew worse. At that time, Bi was still a new-comer under JY Park's training. During a visit at Bi's place, JYPark learned about the condition of Bi's mother and sent her to Seoul University Hospital, saying "don't worry about money". But Bi's mother insisted on checking out of the hospital, saying that she didn't want to add pressure on her son. She finally passed on in December 2002.
"That was the most difficult time. When my son was training hard to become a singer, my wife passed away due to worsening of her condition.I went off to Brazil in hope of earning money. But I didn't find any job and finally had to come back, drifting around for a while. In between, the amount of money earned was negligible compared to my wife's medical expenses. You can imagine the difficulty then. During that period of time, my wife became blind due to the complications from diabetes. In the long term, her other body functions will also start to deteriorate. Because of that, my children did not receive one cent of pocket money at that period of time. To think of it now, I feel an incredible amount of guilt towards my children and wife."
Appa Jeong always felt that if only his career did not fail, his wife would not have been subjected to so much stress and leave the world so soon. Because of this burden of guilt, Appa Jeong gave up his habits of smoking and drinking.
"After my wife passed away, my son and I did not talk for a period of 2years. Except for some routine daily exchange, we did not know what to say to each other. Both understood the pain that each other was going through, and they did not want to remind or be reminded of it. So subsequently, the words became lesser. As a father, my guilt grew daily in the face of a silent son."
Bi's mother said this even at her last moment, "You must do what you want to do". She was always worried for him.
"After my debut, when I become a top singer, I will bring my award to your grave". This is Bi's promise to his mother at her death bed. After his mum passed on, he practiced like mad in order to succeed; working so hard it was almost scary.
3 years ago, he started receiving good feedbacks with the song "Bad Guy". "After my wife left the world, the family split up. I worked at somebody's millhouse, while Bi stayed at the hostel provided by JYPE and led his life. It was later that I heard he was eating instant noodles every day for months and practicing his singing and dancing like crazy. It was heart-wrenching for me."
"When he needed his parents by his side most, I did not give him any help."
After receiving the award, Bi went straight to his mother's grave at Gyeonggi-do. Even when his schedule was packed, he will put work aside during festivals or the anniversary and go to the grave with his family to visit his mother's grave without fail.
"On normal days, he will visit his mother's grave alone once a month.When I look at my son and compare him with other young men of his age,he is much more matured. Missing his mother so much, he has every reason to blame me. But recently, he has been keeping me company a lot when I'm at home alone. "Don't cope up alone at home. Go visit your friends or go exercise," he'll say. My son can't stay at home and rest for even one day. He'll usually come home only at 3, 4am in the morning." It is Appa Jeong's wish to make his son a nice, hot meal.
Seeing how hard his son is working to death trying to achieve his ambition, Appa Jeong feels that it is not untrue to say 10% of his achievements come from his talents, and 90% from his hard work. When he sees how hard his son is working, he wishes he could help a little. But his son always finishes he own stuff and think of what he needs to do in the future.
"When I was young I didn't work as hard as my son. Sometimes I want to lead my own life, sometimes I want to have fun with my friends. This isthe normal characteristics of young people. But my son, he keeps thinking of the future. Sometimes when he is resting at home, he'll keep saying he feels unease and then runs off to his practice studio again. I can't even stop him. This is when my heart aches for him."
Bi went to Rome with his father and sister on 17th Jan. They stayed there for a week befoe coming back.With regards to his son's popularity with the ladies, Appa Jeong is really surprised. Sometimes he goes online and is amused by the messages in benamoo cafe.
Onstage, Bi captures everybody's unwavering attention with his sexy dance steps and his enigmatic, unique voice. But he is never satisfied with himself and diligently strives to be better. Some housewives watch Bi on TV and forget to make dinner, causing them to quibble with their husbands. Some even went to the TV studio just to see him. But Bi doesn't just shine as a singer. He is just as outstanding playing his roles in Sangdoo and Full House, getting great comments on his work and performances. Some even say he's the home run of box office hits.
Why is it that Bi doesn't tire? Is it so his father can have some special and unique tonic? We're really curious.
"Ah..my son is already busy enough with his own matters. Imagine how tired he'll be if he has to worry about mine too! He always tells me to relax, and is afraid I'll feel lonely by my self at home. Last year when he had to film his drama serial, I was so bored at home I actually fell sick! I never used to watch TV, but I watched every episode of Full House without fail. From then, TV became my life! (Laughs)"
Bi's father has already been resting at home for one and a half year.He was running his own millhouse and cakeshop until Bi was in junior high. At one time, they even had two houses. But all these ended during the IMF. He tried many other careers after that, but did not succeed.
Although his son did not request for him to not work and just stay at home, but seeing how hard his son works, he hopes to help a little by staying by his side. So Appa Jeong gave up working abroad. He hopes to make up for the time Bi needed him but he was not there.
"Whenever I say to take care of him, he'll ask me to first take care of his sister, who will be taking her entrance exam soon. Of course, this is because Hana is his only sister, but it is also because at his mother's deathbed, she told him, "I'm leaving your sister to you". His sister is retaking her exams now, and she is similar to her brother in so many ways, so she wants to get into the drama and movie major in university. But the course is incredibly competitive. Although she is retaking her entrance, it still remains if she can get in or not.Anyway, I got to go do something of my own after she gets into university. I'm only 50 year old. Can't stay home the whole day at this age."
"The family trip to Italy on 17th Jan. Having ended his publicity activities for his third album, Bi is busy preparing for his first solo concert. He is going to release a single album in Japan in Feb next year, and will be going to Japan to promote this single. World-renowned fashion design, Armani, also extended his invitation and invited Bi to represent Asia in his fashion show, saying he'll be designing something especially for Bi then. Armani went considered many Asian artistes and finally decided on Bi based on his looks and charisma. On receiving the invitation, Bi said it's a good opportunity for the family to go for a trip together. It has been a long time since the family went on a trip together, and he doesn't when they'll get the chance to go holidaying together again if they don't do it this time."
But they're embarking on this trip soon, and Appa Jeong is growing uneasy. During the course of interview, he seemed to have relaxed quite a bit now.
"I must share with my son the words I did not say during this trip. The feelings I bottomed up for so long."
Seeing that he is starting to open up, I asked the question I've been hesitating to ask. Appa Jeong is only 50 year old. Has he considered remarrying? Has Bi ever encouraged him to do so?
"When I think of my wife, it's impossible for me to think of remarrying. I didn't know of how dangerous diabetes was at that time,and went working abroad leaving her here alone without enough to cover her medical expenses, my son has never talked about this topic. Although I don't know how life will be after my two children get married, but there is no such intention to remarry now."
In Appa Jeong's mind, the first priority is his daughter's entrance exam and his son's matters. Although this is something in the future,he hope to see Bi complete his remaining two years in the university,and after his military services, meet a nice girl and build a happy family.
So what kind of a daughter-in-law does Appa Jeong wants? Having created a dream-like couple in Full House, I asked him if Song Hye-Gyo is the kind of daughter-in-law he wants. After all, it's because of their over-whelming chemistry and compatibility that tabloid news of them dating emerges.
"It is perfectly natural for two persons to grow close together because they work together in the film day in day out. Whether they are together or not, he did not tell me. I only know they are very close friends. But of course, having a daughter-in-law like Song Hye-Gyo in the drama is good, cheerful and healthy."
Appa Jeong believes that his son has a clear direction of what he wants to do, and will work hard towards it. He also believes that his sonwill eventually meet a nice girl of his dream.
Although the conversation seemed difficult at the beginning of the interview, but as we ended up chatting openly and sincerely for a longtime! Of course, during the course of the interview, Appa Jeong keeps reminding the son he is proud of , "Just like the motto he made before he debuted, I hope he works hard and persist till the end, and stay as a humble person." With the strength of his family love with Bi treasures so much, I hope he strives forward courageously and meet no obstacles in his career path in 2005!