Solongus - Bright spark
Solongus - Bright spark
  • By Hwang Kyu-ho (
  • 승인 2012.11.12 18:57
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In actuality, his father, Cheong Ju-young, was said to have been extremely industrious and hyperactive. Also, he was a tough, energetic, and ruthless man.

Those around Cheong Ju-young had said about him in an unfeigned manner to a reporter:

“In a word, he was a he-man. Origin of a destitute family, he was hardly educated. He barely finished the grammar school. It was his last scholar career. In his early days years he merely lived off by eating little rice ball in a lath-and-plaster shed. So he felt the pinch of poverty. Thus, he came to be industrious to overcome the poverty. Propelled by the hungry spirit, his daily-life was scheduled to rise early around four o’clock. He breakfasted at five, attended the office at six, and read newspapers there over a cup of coffee before seven. Then he started work at seven o’clock in the morning. Customarily it repeated itself and did not change throughout his life. It was as always at home and abroad.”

But also, as a far-outer he was a bright spark with creative mind. Whenever he was confronted with challenges or obstacles he never despaired. Even if he was empty-handed he was never depressed with the rubber. Never did he back down. 

He simply thought that ‘If anybody can do, I can do it, too.’ Laying aside every hindrance, he milked his brain with can-do spirit. Then he thought out a bizarre but makeshift idea. Finally, he tore the vitals out of a subject and pushed down to the end with untiring efforts. In this way, he would make a summary job with consummate skill. As a neat worker, he did what he believed. Then he fixed the problem unhesitatingly and took his duty full-heartedly. It was quite similar to Heracles’ case. 

According to the Greek mythology, Heracleshad an astounding wisdom and wit. At the time, the king was Augeas. He had thousands of livestock in his stable. So the stable was always dirty owing to their excrements and filth. Nobody could cleanse it up for more than thirty years. 

One day Augeas, jealous of his wisdom, let Heracles cleanse it up within a few days. If he didn’t cleanse it the king intended to get rid of him on the charge of delinquency. That was his hidden sinister mind. Therefore, either willingly or unwillingly, the brainiest guy Heracles had to fulfill this mission. He nosed out his hidden mindset. After looking around the filthy stable, he found that the stable was close to the river. Then, he thought out an idea that the waters might be useful for washing out the dirty stable. Thus, he channeled the stable with the river and washed it out within a few days. The mission was completed. The King could not kill him.

Winter barley in the airfield 

Like Heracles, Cheong, Ju-young was such a man of unschooled talent. Here was an anecdote of Cheong Ju-young that he possessed a working knowledge. In his thirties, he, as a business man, was ordered to re-cover the desolate Korean airport with the green grass. At the time Korea was at War. The president-elected of the USA, Dwight D. Eisenhower,was to visit Korea and see the war situation. 

The scene of Eisenhower’s tour of the Korean War in December 1952. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


The staff around him wanted Eisenhower to see the grass-grown airfield when he got down from the airplane. But, there was no green grass around the Korean airfield. Already the coldest weather had winter-killed plants. Winter cold did not permit them normally to grow up outdoors. Further, Korea had no greenhouse at all. Thus, Cheong, Ju-young could not look for the green grass throughout the country. The mission looked impossible because any plant couldn’t suffer winter cold. However, it couldn’t stop him. He was a little bit tense and worrisome. Within a few days, he came up with an unusual idea that:

“The green grass cannot suffer winter cold. However, there is something similar to the green grass on the farm. It is now growing on the farm under the deep snow. It is winter barley that endures the cold weather. So it can be a substitute for the green grass. Let’s replace the green grass with the winter barley. Right, let’s do it.”

Rubbing his hands he removed the snow and dug out the buds from the ground. Then, he clothed the airfield with the buds. The airfield looked green. Nobody did recognize any difference between barley and green grass. Without any problem, he successfully completed the mission by covering the barren airfield with winter barley. With this sort of gumption he carried out any job in an extraordinary way. 

In regard to the relationship between his business achievement and his good fortune, there are some interesting accounts. Usually, he would say to his colleaguesabout the fortune:

Fortune is nothing to brag about to me. Misfortune is not a failure at all. One who wants to succeed in life has to possess 90% of passion of to carry out the work and 10% of self-confidence that it will be done. As for me, there was 0 % of anxiety of failure in my mind under any circumstance. That is the most important thing to get a success. I didn’t turn to fortune or the grace of God in heaven. Any intelligent man should not entrust himself to fortune.”

His words were right.

To the present, people say about him that:

“His success was due to diligence and passion. Coupled with achievement motive he was full of riveting ideas. Such ideas were natural-born, not from learning at school. All of them originated from his indomitable guts and gumption. With all these, he broke a road all his life. He has never lost passion during his lifetime.”

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