HAVE YOU ever been to Mindulre Youngto, more
famous as Minto? Mindulre Youngto means "Dandelion Territory"
in Korean. It is the cafe that was founded near Shinchon railroad station in
1994. Chi Sung-ryong ('76, Dept. of Theology) founded and managed Minto
against foreign capital in Korea for ten years. Now, he is entering the world
cafe market. This month, The Yonsei Annals met Chi Sung-ryong at the
Shinchon new branch of Minto
The Annals: Why did you name your cafe
Chi: A Mindulre's seed flies a great
distance, 240 km with barriers. Besides, it grows up lively anywhere. I want
this strong dandelion's nature to spread into our lives. That is the reason I
named my cafe Mindulre Youngto
The Annals: What comes to your mind when
looking back on the last ten years?
Chi: Looking back, I am so surprised at how time
flies. At the beginning of Minto, my dream was simple: make the
customers happy. I used various things to impress our customers; various kinds
of tea, special internal interior and a psychological test, etc. As a result,
many clients were satisfied with the effort and visited our shop continuously.
As Minto expanded, my dream became bigger and bigger. Now, it is my
dream to make Minto
the greatest culture space in the world.
The Annals: As a
successful enterpriser, what do you think about money and capitalism in Korea
My thought about money is certain: getting, saving, and giving more money.
First, getting more money is a basic step for society. In Korea, NGOs and public
welfare societies that help other people consider profit as negative behavior.
However, earning is a first step in accomplishing their goals. Second, saving
more money does not simply mean accumulation. We need to use savings as a means
of challenge to various fields with new sense and courage. That is the true
meaning of "Saving more money." Third, giving more money means returning profit
to society. Korean corporations hardly restore the money to society, although it
is their duty to do so.
The Annals: In your
autobiography Love Comes Out in Mindulre Youngto (2001), you wrote that you were
so disappointed at the big difference between your expectation and actual campus
life. How was your college life?
Chi: Before entering school, I expected that I could
learn practical knowledge. However, the reality was different and I fell into
deep despair. I hardly attended classes. Instead, I read a lot of books all day
long and wandered around in Seoul. After a few months of roaming, I got an
answer: "Enjoy the Present." A proverb says, "Time and tide waits for no
person." I realized that we should do our best every second not to regret time
When reflecting on my university years, I first think of the 120 times
"meetings" I went to. I made an effort to meet people openly at every meeting.
It was not my object to find love, so I was able to meet many people comfortably
and freely. Many meetings let me experience one thing: "diversity."
Understanding "diversity" enabled me to adapt myself to new circumstances
The Annals: Please give some advice to
Yonseians about life.
Chi: First, you must be frank. Throw away
useless self-satisfaction. When you are frank to others, they believe you and
will open their hearts to you. Second, be more international. The world is
getting smaller. Study foreign languages and concern about worldwide issues.
Third, remember that connections with other people are precious. Connection is
your weapon to live in the world. Last, get rid of your crust and jump into the
real world directly. You should meet various people and pursue the truth
Chi is a man who really loves his job. Loving one's job
may be the most important condition to "Enjoying the Present." Through an
interview with him, I was able to imagine Minto as the greatest culture