Photography by Kim Mun / Hopscotch Studio; creative direction by Ibnu Aswan; art direction & styling by Joyce Lim; outfits by Emporio Armani; watches by TAG Heuer; makeup by Joey Yap & Wan Ning; hair by Gavin Soh; words by KC Yap & Celeste Goh.
As social and economic orders continue to experience high-speed change spurred on by the injection of new, digital blood, August Man Malaysia has widened the scope of its search for its latest edition of Men of the Year and is proud to present the following accomplished individuals who we believe reflect the dynamic energy, enterprising spirit, creativity and diversity of the era. This diverse mix also includes a twist in the form of a woman, one who has demonstrated more mettle than most men, one we are proud to count as part of our brethren.
In association with Meredes-Benz, Hennessy X.O, TAG Heuer & Emporio Armani.
The Grim Reaper
It all started with a long-distance relationship—The Long Distance Relationship that was shortlisted as the top-10 finalists at the 2011 BMW Shorties, to be exact. Over the last six years, Jared Lee and his entrepreneurial venture, Grim Film, have garnered a substantial résumé that not only consists of endearing short films that play with the heartstrings, but also comedic YouTube-friendly clips that honoured them with a YouTube Silver Play Button for crossing the 100,000-subscriber mark. This year, all hands are on deck for Jared and his team, as they brace for the next chapter with their brand new short film, The Last 7, (which, if you pay close enough attention, stars our 2013 Men of the Year personality, Nick Davis).
What would you say is your approach to success?
Well, I wouldn’t say that it’s been an endless chase after success. It’s always just been translating into visuals whatever I’d like to say on screen. All these accolades that we have picked up so far are just bonuses that came along the way. For someone who has never been to a film school, but being a film enthusiast who frequents the cinemas, I’m constantly trying to improve myself, with notable influences like Christopher Nolan, Edgar Wright and Martin Scorsese to look up to.
Grim Film has been around for six years. For a creative entrepreneur, how do you keep things fresh after so many years?
It goes without saying that for startups like ours, we have to dabble with projects that we may not have a personal connection with, if only to survive and to finally be able to do projects that we feel closer to. However, some do forget about what matters most; we get caught up with the commitments that tie us down as business entrepreneurs and we spend all the money we earned paying off bills that leave none for our personal projects. That’s why every year, I’m very persistent in putting away a part of our money, so to one day be prepared to work on more personal projects. This year, our hard work has paid off: we have put together a short film, The Last 7, and I’m glad to say that it has been shortlisted as one of the top-10 finalists for the 2017 BMW Shorties! I’m broke now, but you know, after wrapping up the project, we remain content, as compared to earning a lot of money doing commissions that your heart may not be fully committed to. Carrying out personal projects like The Last 7, not only it is a good reminder for my team and I, it is also the main reason why Grim Film exists in the first place—it feeds the soul.
Why do you think it is important to work on personal film projects from time to time?
I believe that the mind is made to be conditioned. There was a point in time when we were just working on commercials back to back. Over time, the mind was unexpectedly conditioned into a box that took me some time to get out of. That whole year, whenever I tried to write something for myself, it came out dry and uninspiring. I was afraid that we couldn’t manage a certain filming effect because we might not afford it, and in return, my creativity was affected. I had set an intangible limitation in my head without realising it. So I decided to take a month off from the commercial projects, and just write scripts without a care in the world, most particularly, the budget. You want a Michael Bay-style explosion? Put it into the script! It was only after the hiatus that I started to get my momentum back.
Figure 8 Out
It has been an eye-opening year for Malaysia, especially on the sports front, with the 2017 Southeast Asian Games held in August, in which the country played host to. It has become apparent to the public that Dato’ Lee Chong Wei is not the only sportsperson representing Malaysia on an international level, as many more younger faces stole the spotlight with their many glimmering medals. One of these faces belongs to the 20-year-old figure skater, who has seen much despite his tender age, being the first Malaysian to compete in the World Figure Skating Championships for two consecutive years. In September, Julian Yee came in sixth in the Men’s Singles category, thus, qualifying him to represent Malaysia and compete with the big boys at the 2018 Winter Olympics in February next year in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
How did you get into figure skating, especially at such a young age?
It’s something that I grew into, for sure. I started when I was four, and of course at that age, who has a clue what they want to do with their lives? My mother was in the Ice Skating Association of Malaysia, and it was only natural that me and my older brother, Ryan, got into figure skating. Initially, it was all pretty much for fun, and I had only competed in ISI-sanctioned (Ice Skating Institute) competitions that were regarded as recreational skating. It wasn’t until I was in primary school that I started seeing it as a challenging sport; I started questioning why there were some spins that I couldn’t get right, and I would spend hours on end practising till I got things right. I’m proud to say that I’ve learned all my double jumps by the age of 12. I’d say that I’m a determined person; I’d keep trying until I get the result I want.
What would you say is your approach to success?
It’s all about setting realistic goals. For me, goals are something calculated and within reach. Not only that, once you have set the goals, you have to put your words into action. You have to be disciplined and work towards them. There is no point in setting goals, within reach or not, if you don’t put in the effort to make them come true.
Paint The Town Red
A Tale Come True
Ahead Of His Time
The Art Of Hosting
A steward of culture, Joe Sidek has been spearheading the annual month-long George Town Festival in Penang since its beginning back in 2010. What initially started as a commemoration of the city’s inauguration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has over the years taken on a life of its own and grown into one of the most anticipated and, more importantly, diverse cultural festivals in the region.
Today, not only does George Town Festival showcase the heritage, culture and talent of the local community, it also serves as a world stage for artistic and musical performances, exhibitions, street art, and theatrical plays by artists, playwrights, actors, photographers, dancers and choreographers from all over the world.
Being most inspired by diversity and people as a whole, regardless of age, gender and background, and to promote dialogue and outreach among exhibitors and visitors, Joe has made a concerted effort to ensure that the festival is accessible to all, with zero to minimal admission fees, and caters for both traditional and contemporary showcases. As a means to give back and foster talent and appreciation for the arts, Joe has also launched several fund-raising initiatives with the aim of giving out grants and free community and student tickets to the festival’s shows, as well as organising educational workshops.
Empowering The Next Generation
Having an experience of over 20 years in social work, mentoring and counselling youth and families, Daniel Tan realises that there is a great need in the community for social services. With his special interest in building positive self-worth and values into the lives of youth at risk, he founded Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG), a not-for-profit organisation, aimed to see under-served children not only break free from the poverty cycle, but be empowered to be a positive contributor to society—to one day give back to their communities and build a better future for their families and the generations to come.
The work at GG is more than just charity; it’s about restoring dignity in humanity. Last year, GG provided for 8,537 children, 18,525 youths and 3,839 adults, across 46 schools, two universities, 12 organisations, seven communities and seven institutions. In Daniel’s own words, “As a Malaysian who loves Malaysia and the people in it, what better way to demonstrate love in action than by serving those whom society has side-lined?”
From The Heart & Soul
SAW TEONG HIN
Over the years, in favour of commercial viability, many original, personal works of art have been left untold on screen. Only on occasion are Malaysians privileged to watch a good feature-length film made locally, of heart and soul. Among those occasions was this year’s biopic You Mean the World to Me by prolific commercial film director and filmmaker Saw Teong Hin of Puteri Gunung Ledang fame.
Filmed in Hokkien, written and directed by Teong Hin, the movie gives insights into the filmmaker’s personal family history and his estranged relationship with his now late mother. According to Teong Hin, the script was conceived at a point of time when he was reflecting on life and felt motivated to create something of personal significance. Due to the initial lack of funding, it was turned into a stage play, which premiered at the George Town Festival. The successful run of the play subsequently opened doors for Teong Hin, and his story eventually made it onto the big screen.
What touches us the most about the film, is the honesty the filmmaker has put into it; the courage to expose his personal side and put himself in a position of vulnerability. In doing so, Teong Hin has also allowed his audience to feel closer to the man behind the masterpiece. Such is the human quality of a true artist that the industry lacks. For his work, Teong Hin was awarded Best Screenplay at the 2017 Malaysia Film Festival.