A native of Seoul, Korea, Hi-Dong Chai was educated in the United States. He received a Ph.D. in engineering. After working for IBM for 19 years and subsequently teaching at San Jose State University for 15 years, he retired in 2002.
After retiring, as one who lost his loved ones through WWII under Japan and through the Korean War, he decided to share his life experiences through writing.
My Truest Hope was published in Guideposts magazine in 2012. He e-published Blossoms and Bayonets, a fictionalized version of his family under Japan co-authored with Jana McBurney-Lin, in 2012, and also Cindy and a Korean Boy and Shattered by the Wars in 2013.
His next project is to complete his American story: A 16 year old Korean boy comes to America in 1953. He struggles to support himself overcoming hunger and loneliness. He persists and receives a Ph.D. and establishes himself as an authority in his field. The message of the story is that in America if you are willing to give all you have, you can attain your dream.
I hate war. War kills. War maims. War orphans. And it leaves a deep scar not only on the land, that will take years to heal, but also in the hearts of those who are affected by the war. I am one of those who carry a deep emotional wound to this day, more than sixty years later.
During WWII under Japan, my father was imprisoned because he was a Christian minister who refused to bow down to the picture of the Japanese emperor. My elder brother volunteered to join the Japanese military to have his father released. After the war he returned home and died from his injury.
During the Korean War in 1950, the communists took away my father. He never returned. My other brother who had turned communist disappeared. He also never returned. My mother and I fled Seoul for Cheiju Island. Without Father, we struggled to survive for two long years. Then in 1953 during the war, Mother put her youngest 16 year old son on a boat heading for America so that he would be safe and get a good education.
Shattered by the wars is a story of love, sacrifice, faith, and suffering – all wrapped in one package. The heroine in the story is my mother. Mother prayed without ceasing. Through her unceasing prayers, she was able to walk through the dark tunnel of despair and distress, and lead us onward with love and grace and absolute faith in God.