August Man, partnering Volkswagen, continues its exploration of the 2016 A-List in the new Golf, featuring nightlife entrepreneur and avid cultural adventurer Joseph Ryan
Photographed by Kahmun/Myth Studio; styled by Melvin Chan; grooming by Eranthe Loo; words by KC Yap
With a penchant for culture, Joseph Ryan, whose sizeable experience includes running VIP nightclubs in the UK and Formula 1 events, relocated to KL after being approached by contemporaries to spice up the nightlife in Malaysia, and co-established Live House at TREC, offering live performances by international and local bands, DJs and comedians. What attracts Joseph here is Malaysia’s rich history and eclectic mix of people, cultures and ethnic cuisines. Here, featured with the car touted to think outside the box with an emphasis on fun and performance, the Volkswagen Golf, Joseph lets us in on his colourful journey in Malaysia thus far.
How would you describe your life as a journey?
I’ve been in the nightclub business for 12 years before taking off with Formula 1 where I got to travel to Monaco, Abu Dhabi and Singapore in the span of just three years, which played a huge part of my moving to KL because I saw a much bigger world outside of the UK. The three main cultures you have here, Malay, Chinese and Indian, have allowed me to expand my learning further about life and travel. From here, I’ve travelled to Bangkok, Bali, Cambodia, etc. I would say my journey is just only getting started.
What is it about our culture that fascinates you? Do you find some of the customs strange?
I find the way life happens through religions, cultures and beliefs fascinating. I find traditional Chinese medicine and the principle of why things happen fascinating. For example, our dog once came to an area of a hike and it refused to go further. My Chinese friends said that we can’t go there because of some bad spirit. She took what looked like a tear in the dog’s eye, and wiped it under her eye and said that it would open up her “spirit” eye. Chinese New Year, for example, is my favourite time here, learning about the lion dance, the gambling, etc. I want to see more of the world and learn more than I can be taught by white people so to speak.
What do you do when you hit a bump in life?
My brother is a handicap, often afflicted with seizures and epilepsy. My parents were told that he wouldn’t live pass 21 and now he’s 40. Every time I hit a block, I automatically realise that I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself and that life could always be harder. My motto in life is that you’ll never achieve anything without making a mistake first, so you have to be positive and get back up.