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Yoo Ah In 10Asia Interview Part 2



Yoo Ah In | "I don't want live life just to live it; I want to be awake as a person"

Yoo Ah In once appeared on MBC's and recited a poem he had written. He occasionally posts short essays on his mini-hompy, and through his Twitter account, which he started a few months ago, he speaks to the world in his unique voice. The boy who, when he was in high school, said, "I want the light to shine on me, and I want people to see me shining brightly" as he dreamed of becoming a 'celebrity,' became an actual star through KBS's . It was only after he [achieved this level] that he was able to take the time to find his 'true self' and began to mature into an adult. And though he is still acting, for Yoo Ah In, who once said "Work is easier than living as myself," writing is a way for him to not lose himself.


Q. Jaeshin once said of the Hongbyeokseo, who criticizes the state of affairs in pieces of writing he scatters about, "If I don't do even this, I won't be able to stand it." Writing is an act which contains the will to express something inside of you that you feel you have to tell. After writing on your mini-hompy for a long time, you started Twitter a few months ago. How has it been?

YAI: When I'm in the country shooting [for a project], I become desperate for time and space to return to myself. But through Twitter, I was able to share the voice of Um Hong Shik as a person and Yoo Ah In as an actor, and it was a great comfort. In a way, it's a great blessing and honor that I can say just one thing and then collect and read the opinions of thousands of people through their replies. I have really learned a lot. Of course, there are lighthearted or routine comments, but there are a large number of "mentions" that have taught me and awakened me to new things, and that endlessly remind me of what a limited person I am [T/N: that is, how much he doesn't know and hasn't seen]. So, I have to keep using it. (Laughter)


"I would like the word 'youth' to take on a new meaning"


Q. Actually, I think it wouldn't be easy to keep [using Twitter] precisely because you have thousands or tens of thousand of people who are watching and listening.

YAI: There are many people who want me to keep using Twitter but at the same time, it also makes me speak up less. It's not easy fighting that. It's not like I was born as an independence fighter or with a defiant attitude. I like being comfortable and I wish my worries would disappear. But having said that, I know all too well that that would truly isolate me and make me into a miserable human being, and that's why I forcibly pull writings out of myself. It's not because I want so badly to write; it's because if I'm in a place where I don't, it will make me truly miserable--I constantly tell myself, 'I can do it, I can speak up, I will never stop speaking, even if you gag me I will speak until the end, I won't lose, I am not incompetent.' It's very difficult.


Q. Are you saying that even though it's hard to fully be yourself, you want to keep trying to check that [you are being true to yourself]?

YAI: Yes, and it's not just about writing, but also the act of just living in your twenties. In truth, I very much want to live a peaceful life. I want to be comfortable, and I obviously have thoughts like 'it would be nice if I could smile prettily and make money and live,' but I try to continually break away from those things and force myself to be a person in his twenties. I am a person who suffered from maturing early, and I learned the basic rules for skating by in life, but I have to throw those things away. I have fallen into the dilemma of being too realistic but not being able to stay in reality. Because what the world says is maturity is seeking the answers and stopping there, protecting what you have, and continuing to do things the same way; but to me, this is immaturity. I think that true maturity is endlessly looking for answers and pressing forward, and sometimes failing. So I wish the word 'youth' was used differently. When people sigh and say, "He's still in his youth," what they mean is "That's what an young [immature] kid is." I wish the word 'youth' would be used to describe not an immature and childish kid who is only full of passion and idealism, but instead a young person who is truly mature and living the right way.


Q. On your Twitter, you sometimes write about labor or human rights issues. These are thoughts that anyone who cares about social issues might have, but as soon as actors start talking bout it, they are burdened with the label of being 'political.' Don't you worry that you might be placed in that kind of very tiring situation?

YAI: I worry about it. It worries me, and it scares me to death. If I write just one thing about [social issues], I can't sleep at night. (Laughter) But the way I see it, someone who can't do that is either a dead person or at least partly so [T/N: He does not mean this literally]. It's just--I don't want to be a person who is alive only because he is breathing; I want to live as a human being and be awake to [what's around me]. I even think I should be allowed to talk about politics. All of us live under the complete domination of the system called politics, and to just say that politics are bad is, as Go Hyun Jung-ssi said on SBS's <Daemul>, being too irresponsible as a citizen! I'm not saying that I do it because it's the right thing to do or because I'm compelled to stand up and criticize every social problem I see, but I think I can at least play the role of introducing issues I think I can talk about and share with other people. Although it's the sad truth that even doing that much is very difficult in our society and in the system of the celebrity world.


"I show that I curse and drink and go to clubs on purpose"


Q. You wrote something after watching <MBC Special>. I inferred that you were writing about the allegations of degree forgery surrounding Tablo-ssi--even from the perspective of a person who isn't famous, it was a painful broadcast to watch because it [forced us to] face the serious illness afflicting Korean society. As you are in the same industry as Tablo-ssi and might also one day find yourself in a similar situation as he, I think it probably prompted even more thoughts in your mind.

YAI: I did think about that. Despite the fact that I might face something like that one day--that actually, because of that, I have to stay as silent as a stone even as I watch it happen--is that what celebrity is? It's not like I watched that one broadcast and said these are truths and these are lies. I am just a person inside that enormous system, and I am a person living in these times, and when I go home, I am a netizen. I was so frustrated that people could be so suspicious of one person but not be suspicious of that system at all. And from that perspective, I think I was also very lacking. That's all I wanted to say, but it was distorted and misinterpreted and people took sides and some people felt bad [because of what I said] and there were people who acted like I had said something unbelievably huge. There were articles written about it, and even though they're my own words, "a generation's wound"--ah, it makes your toes curl. (Laughter) Some people took it as "Who the hell does he think he is, calling it a generation's wound?" But that's really how I think of it, and what I was thinking [when I wrote the tweet] was about how it was a huge wound that people living in this generation were living their lives without realizing that. 


Q. I think it must be tiring to have to live by the rules of a system that don't mean much to you. And Korea tends to have extremely particular moral standards for celebrities in the public eye. 

YAI: The moment I package myself, it's not just about how other people are going to see me; I end up being trapped by that packaging. So I try from the start to make the size of that packaging large. I'm a kid who curses, a kid who drinks, and I go dancing at clubs. Even though it's not much, I need to do consciously do those kinds of things. Because right now, it's like you can't do those things [if you are a singer or actor].


Q. It's also true that if you get trapped in an image of being completely faultless and moral, all of a sudden that might be all that's left of you.

YAI: Right. It would be nice if the kinds of people [who are in the popular arts] expanded and became more diverse to match up with how much our eyes have opened and how much the standards of culture and art [have risen and] keep rising, but I am just a very small 25-year-old actor. That's why I wish there was a 30- or 40-year-old sunbae actor who could say this for me, so I won't be ripped apart by people thinking, 'Why is that bastard saying things like that.' Someone who could show that it is possible to do this work and still find happiness as a human being.


"Work is easy compared to living my real life"


Q. It does seem that we are gradually moving to a new generation of actors. Won't that help things change [for the better]?

YAI: I do feel that we are undergoing a change in generations. But the problem is that these young actors or singers have been matching themselves to the system ever since they started working in it. As if there was no other choice. I saw it happen after <Banolim> ended. 'Celebrities have to act like this. They have to smile like this and act like this, and and when there are lots of people around, celebrities have to hide their faces with hats that look like this…' These fresh kids have to think about things like this. I think it's a very bad idea for [these young actors] to jump into this business before they're able to develop who they are as individuals. I wish young kids wouldn't get involved [in this business]. If I were to go back to that age, I wouldn't do it again. It's too much to hope for to do this work and [simultaneously] be able to establish one's sense of self. This whole time I've been working, I've been told that I'm a crazy bastard or stupid, and I thought about whether I should quit. I'm sure there are people who would say, "He thinks too lightly of work." They're right. It's light. Compared to me; compared to living as a human in my real life, work is light. I wish people who want to enter this business would do so with the thought that it is more important to be a happy person than a happy actor. I want them to be able to make themselves happy. [T/N: That is, they have to know how to be happy from the inside, rather than finding happiness through outside things, like fame or praise].


Q. If it's been difficult enough for you to say that if you were to go back, you wouldn't do this work again, then what has been motivating you this entire time?

YAI: I think it was my brutal honesty. (Laughter) I was secure in my beliefs and the path I had to go down, and the reason I was able to endure it was because I was not impatient. In other words, people say that they will be able to sacrifice ten years of their lives if those ten years will lead to the realization of their biggest dreams. Going to school is similar in some ways. Even though you could spend that time more happily, there are parts you have to sacrifice for the future. But even within that situation, I think I was able to protect my beliefs and live a satisfying life even as I became closer to my goals. It's okay if all my dreams don't come true by the time I'm twenty-five; thirty-five is fine, and forty-five is, too. And I thought that it was much better to protect myself and proceed slowly than to lose myself in the effort to shorten that time. To be honest, even though right now i'm saying that doing such-and-such will lead to this-and-that, I'm not sure how I might change in the future. But I don't think that when celebrities say "I will always hold onto my original mindset," it means the same thing as "I will always stay this humble." An original mindset is the absolute bottom foundation of what you have when you're working for something or searching for something or trying to figure out what happiness means to you. That always has to come first, but the moment it comes second or third, you begin to not be yourself. So no matter how unbelievably hard it may get, let's always keep it number one! (Laughter) Even if everything else realistically ends up a bit mixed up.


Original Source: 10Asia
Translations: Jaeshinah @ Soompi 


 


Tags: interview, magazine, yoo ah in
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