It’s my birthday!

As warmer weather begins to approach in the month of May, many people start to grow tired, whether as a result of the laziness associated with hot weather or perhaps because of an onslaught of schoolwork and exams. In such lethargic times, people often look to find something to reenergize themselves. On this May 15, SONEs around the world have no need to look any further than Girls’ Generation’s self-proclaimed “energy pill”, Sunny, for this is the day when we celebrate her birthday. On her 22nd (23rd) birthday, let us reflect on what makes Sunny so special and hopefully reinvigorate ourselves in the process. While there are several aspects of Sunny’s personality and character that are obvious to the casual observer, SONEs know that Sunny has a wealth of unique features that lie beneath the surface.

The first and most obvious place to start is with three simple letters that have made Sunny famous: C.C.P., aka Cuteness that Calls for a Punch. It’s one of her defining characteristics, and SONEs all over the world have fallen in love with Sunny’s aegyo. Yet Sunny’s fellow Girls’ Generation members all claim to want to hit her anytime she shows it. The contradictory reactions of fans loving her aegyo and her fellow members wanting to punch her for it creates a dynamic unlike any other within the Soshi-SONE relationship. Perhaps the most famous variety of C.C.P. that Sunny has shown is the “three stages of C.C.P.”, which causes other Girls’ Generation members to have progressively stronger desires to hit her. Whether you love it or whether you feel your fingers curling into a fist, Sunny’s aegyo always seems to elicit a powerful reaction.

Who on Earth would want to punch someone so adorable?

Despite being small in stature (she’s the shortest member at 155 cm), Sunny has a large range of talents. She energized the airwaves as a co-DJ on the Chunji radio program from 2007-2008. Then Sunny dazzled fans as a co-host of The M, a music television program, from 2009-2010. And Sunshiners everywhere (not to mention Hyomin) fell in love with Sunny all over again during her 8-month tenure on Invincible Youth. As a regular on all of these programs, Sunny showed off a quick wit, her warm heart, and a natural ability to lead in nearly any situation. But it’s not just in a role as a regular guest star where Sunny can show off an amazing talent. Who can forget when she successfully did the limbo at a dizzyingly low height of 75cm during an appearance on Global Talk Show? In heels, no less.

Seriously… That’s crazy.

Variety show and talk show programs aren’t the limit of Sunny’s skills. With vocal skills that were polished under the tutelage of renowned K-pop artist Wheesung, Sunny is a powerful singer with a unique voice that stands out even amongst the other talented members of Girls’ Generation. Nicknamed the “Dolphin” by her fellow members because of her high voice, Sunny has beautiful vocals that always manage to capture the perfect emotional tone for any song. She nailed the low and sexy pitch for ‘Genie’, perfectly captured the playful and loving feelings that friends share in ‘My Best Friend’, and brought fans to tears with her sorrowful solo ‘Finally Now’.

It’s impossible to imagine it now, but her distinctive vocal talents nearly ended up as part of a different group, and not as one of the nine beautiful voices of Girls’ Generation. Sunny first began as a trainee with a different company and was supposed to debut as part of a duo. Then in 2007, after getting a recommendation to transfer to SM Entertainment, Sunny spent several months continuing her training under SM before debuting in the same year as the final member to join Girls’ Generation. Interestingly enough, Sunny is the niece of Lee Sooman, the founder and chairman of SM Entertainment. While some naysayers had misconceptions about Sunny becoming a member only because of her relation to Lee Sooman, she managed to show everyone (fans and otherwise) her charms and talents and now nobody can imagine Girls’ Generation or the SoshiBond without Sunny.

Continuing with the theme of Sunny and her family, she manages to share an exceptional bond with her two sisters: her birthday itself. The fact that she was born on May 15 is incredible when you consider that both of her older sisters, Eunkyu and Jinkyu, were born on the exact same day 15 and 10 years before her, respectively. The odds of three siblings all being born on the same day in different years are a staggering 1 in 133,000.

Sunny’s history is also incredibly remarkable, as she became a traveller of the world from a very young age. She was born in the United States, but almost immediately after she was born, she and her family moved to Kuwait. However, shortly after the move to Kuwait, the Gulf War began. The dangerous and unstable situation in Kuwait caused Sunny and her family to move yet again, this time to Korea. As a result of spending some time as an infant in the midst of a war, Sunny has a fear of firecrackers which has been captured on camera several times.

Thankfully her Soshi sisters are there to cover her ears.

Firecrackers are seemingly the only thing that Sunny is afraid of, however. Her bravery is well documented in a variety of situations. Where others scream and tremble, Sunny stands tall (figuratively, of course) and displays nerves of steel. She gently held a snake during a photo shoot in Factory Girl and remained cool and collected despite admitting being scared. While others ran away, screaming in fear, Sunny calmly caught chickens during Invincible Youth, most of the time in a single try. During Horror Movie Factory, many of her fellow members were scared to tears while Sunny remained unfazed.

Easy as pie… Er… Easy as chicken.

Perhaps the most powerful and moving example of Sunny’s bravery is when an unauthorized person dragged Taeyeon off stage and Sunny stepped in to keep Taeyeon safe. When Taeyeon was grabbed during the live performance at the Angel Price Music Festival, Sunny didn’t hesitate for a single second before calmly taking action. No one could have known whether or not the unauthorized man had a weapon in his possession, but Sunny took charge despite the uncertainty. Seeing the way Sunny put herself in danger in order to protect a fellow Girls’ Generation member is a testament to the strength of the SoshiBond and to Sunny’s bravery in both trivial and serious situations.

Despite her calm and level head in tense situations, even Sunny manages to lose her cool sometimes. But unlike us, when Sunny gets angry she doesn’t scream, yell, or break things. Sunny’s instinctive habit of displaying her anger is one that is perfectly appropriate for her because it’s just so cute: she just sticks her tongue into her cheek. It’s hard to determine when this habit first began to appear in public, but we’ve seen it in many different shows: Intimate Note, Star Golden Bell, Invincible Youth, and so on. We may always want the members of Girls’ Generation to be happy, but if anybody is going to be angry, we’d want it to be Sunny just because she looks so cute while she’s angry.

Cutest. Angry look. Ever.

Because of all of these wonderful traits and more, it feels impossible not to love Sunny. We hope that she continues to show even more of personality and charms, for we can never have enough. We hope that she continues to show her aegyo that gives us so much strength, and that her fellow members never actually punch her for it. On this May 15, let us all wish Sunny a happy 22nd (23rd) birthday, and let us all be reenergized by the wonderful energy pill that is Lee Soonkyu.

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