Yoo Yeon Seok Had A Dream Of Sharing

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[Nawael Khelil] Last year, December 28. The streets of Myeong-dong are invaded by boys and girls who want to have a chance to enter the ‘free hug’ event that a celebrity is holding. However, due to some security problems, the event is cut short within 20 minutes. The celebrity who turned Myeong-dong crazy was Yoo Yeon Seok.

Yoo Yeon Seok debuted in 2003 in Park Chan Wook’s legendary movie ‘Old Boy’, playing the role of little Yoo Ji Tae. In ‘Architecture 101’ and ‘Wolf Boy’, he extends his acting to new horizons before looping the ’10 years career’ loop with the popular drama ‘Reply 1994’.

He’s now ready to play with the great and the good. He’s currently in the scandalous ‘Whistle Blower’ with Park Hae Il – his role model – and with Im Soo Jeong in ‘Secret Temptation’ (the date of release is still unknown). Yoo recently signed for ‘The Tailors’ with Park Shin Hye, Han Sun Kyu and Go Soo, or ‘The Mood That Day’ (2015), alongside the beautiful Moon Chae Woon.

Yoo Yeon Seok dreamt of being an actor since that school Arts Festival for which he had prepared a play. The electrifying feeling of acting as well as exhilarating applause of the public started to compose his motivation. He came to Seoul at a young age in order to realize his dream. As it became reality, his work filled his mind with curiosity about other children’s dreams.

Setting this curiosity as a motive, Yoo worked on very special project that he captured on paper in his book ‘Yoo Yeon Seok’s DREAM’: discovering the dreams of African children.

Before leaving, he thought that – it’s a quote –“‘African children would dream of receiving enough water for a day”. There, he realized the importance of dreaming for a human being. The only act of dreaming is already a proof that you’re sane, an act of happiness, of ambition. And Yoo truly wanted to help African children to conceive a goal, a dream that’s their own and that would take them to the top.

Despite his desire of leaving Korea for a while to do ‘big things’, it took a long time to the actor until he finally decided to carry out his project. He was afraid that it could be rude to his impose ideas on a people of a different culture, but also that people here in Korea would say that his project was just another publicity for his career.

At the end, pessimism didn’t stop him and Yoo Yeon Seok left to accomplish what he considered as his ‘duty’ – first, towards children as a child who was able to live his dream, secondly toward himself, but also toward the enormous amount of humans that have no idea about how things are evolving on this beautiful continent.

This is why he decided to make a book out of this life-changing experience: spending days with these children who have a different culture and a different language, he found out that the idea of a ‘dream’ is an international concept – a human concept that’s actually inborn – that only grows up slightly different in one’s mind according to an environment.

‘Yoo Yeon Seok’s DREAM’ aims to restore the notion of ‘dreaming’ in our society that tends to focus not on self-fulfillment but more on public satisfaction through competition. (photo by PAPER Book)

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