Regular FeaturesPeople/Yonseian
Minto; Where Love Permeates
Doh Sang-youp Reporter  |  quowoo@yonsei.ac.kr
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승인 2004.09.01  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

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 "Mindulre Youngto"?
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 society?
Chi: 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 past.
   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 easily.

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 passionately.

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 cafe.

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