Singing hope for Myanmar: 13-year-old refugee becomes singer in S. Korea
Updated: 2021-06-10 09:57:30 KST
One sunny Friday afternoon,a girl stays behind at school to practice singing.
"Why is love so hard?"
She is 13-year-old Wanyiwah, a singer in South Korea who's native to Myanmar's Karen tribe.
She first grabbed national attention after appearing on a popular trot music television show.
Now she is on the rise to stardom, garnering support from the people of Myanmar.
"If you go to her Facebook page, a lot of her fans are from Myanmar. Many know that she's a singer in South Korea, and she's getting a lot of likes. I hope she becomes more famous in South Korea, because it's a country famous for its music and K-pop."
As members of a minority tribe, Wanyiwah's parents fled from Myanmar's ethnic persecution and settled in Thailand.
But after Wanyihwa's father passed away, her mother decided to move to South Korea where she thought her daughter would have a better chance of becoming a singer.
As a cash-strapped single mother and refugee, Wanyihwa's mother struggled to support her three children.
But after her talents were recognized, people started offering Wanyihwa help and she began singing on stage.
"Music is my life and my friend. Since my father used to be a singer, music has been a part of me since I was a baby Also, I'm so happy that I can make my mother happy because becoming a singer was her dream as well and she worked so hard to make that happen for me."
Now Wanyiwah is using her talents to spread hope to her motherland, Myanmar, through the song, "the Spring of Myanmar."
"Shall the three fingers bloom into flowers, Myanmar"
"I define Myanmar's spring as a time when kids my age can just play happily without fear. Right now, I'm in Korea having a good time with my friends but I know my friends in Myanmar are going through tough, scary times. I really hope "spring" comes to them soon."
Wanyiwah's music teacher, Lee Kyung-ja, has high hopes for her.
She hopes that Wanyiwah grows up to be not just a singer, but also a representative of both Korea and Myanmar and a delegator of peace.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News