by Colin Takahashi
Just when Helen Choi thought life couldn’t get any more normal, things completely changed.
While watching SBS’s 20th Anniversary Special last November, Helen Choi turned away from doing the dishes after hearing Areum Lee sing, but what kept her watching was Areum’s talent even after realizing she was blind, according to The Star-Ledger. It was then that she made the decision to adopt Areum, so that she could help her utilize her talent to the fullest extent.
While in South Korea, Areum underwent training to become a massage therapist, a typical occupation for the blind in East Asia.But even with two more years of training to become licensed it was not guaranteed she would be able to obtain employment.
Choi believes that Areum will have a higher likelihood of working in America since South Koreans who are handicapped often face job discrimination.
Currently training with Nadine Herman of the Newark School of Arts, Areum is praised for her perfect pitch and her ability to sing in English, although she knows nothing of the language. Helen hopes that Areum can instill hope in handicapped people and show them that it is possible to succeed in life despite certain setbacks.
“It’s clear in my mind that she has total total perfect pitch because she, in her ear, can pick up anything, at anytime, no matter what it is,” Herman said.