It was in 2009 that August Man decided to embark on a project that aimed to highlight the success of Malaysians who were making an impact on society in their respective ways. The term ‘project’ is used intentionally here because at the time, we weren’t sure how many individuals we would discover in the process. We were, however, certain that we wanted to focus on authentic stories, not just those of celebrities, because we believed that these stories would inspire others to embark on the path less taken.
It was based on this that the August Man Men of the Year was born. It is something that has come to define the essence of the magazine. The term ‘August’ stems from the Latin term ‘Augustus’ which denotes grandness and the ability to inspire. It has since become an award that we are extremely proud of particularly since we have managed to capture a diverse group of individuals covering a wide range of industries. The Men of the Year has focused on ten main sectors – television, film, community service, intellect, music, entrepreneurship, style, art, sport and activism. Over the past decade, while some of the categories have evolved to suit the changing times, we have nonetheless seen amazing results with the chosen awardees, thereby ensuring that the August Man Men of the Year continues to remain relevant.
Our objective has always been to go beyond the obvious and pay tribute to those who remain under the radar. It is something that we have succeeded to do and we are confident that it is something that we can continue to achieve in the future.
It is based on the publication’s success in showcasing talents that we have teamed up with the pinnacle of Scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, to create four new awards, which celebrate the pinnacle achievers across the last decade of award winners. The inaugural 1-in-10,000 awards take its cue from the philosophy of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, where only 1 in 10,000 casks is deemed of a sufficient character to deliver the smooth signature taste of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Because of the discerning quality of the blend, handpicked by Master Blender Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is perceived to be the pinnacle of the brand.
Created to reflect the style of whiskies of the early 19th century, the blend is hailed as being the rarest of Scotch whiskies. The history of the Blue Label goes back to 1990, when the brand in a bid to ensure consistency reached into their reserve casks to create a blend that guaranteed this due to the rarity of the ingredients. The 1-in-10,000 awards celebrate this rare spirit that positively impacts upon society.
Like the 10,000 casks that have to be scrutinised before the one is found, the Men of the Year to receive the 1-in-10,000 awards represent the very best of their respective industries. In conjunction with our 10th year, August Man and Johnnie Walker take a retrospective look at the past 100 Men of the Year and identify the recipients of the four Johnnie Walker 1-in-10,000 awards. The four new awards include Rare Craft, Rare Legacy, Rare Character and Keep Walking – categories that represent the elements of each Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle.
The first ever Johnnie Walker 1-in-10,000 awards will make its debut at the 10th anniversary celebration of August Man Malaysia on 30th November 2018, presented in addition to the 2018 Men of the Year awards. This will serve as the launching pad for subsequent Men of the Year awards that we hope will take the annual event in a new direction, as we pay tribute to the awardees’ continued success since first receiving the “Men of the Year” title.
The masters of their craft who are disruptors and innovators
Rare Craft encompasses those disruptors and innovators who are masters of their craft. These are business leaders who have demonstrated entrepreneurship and high potential for growth in their category. Previous Men of the Year who demonstrate this quality include Andrew Ngo who under 30 launched his own fashion company while still at college, which has since evolved into a global company thanks to the advent of social media. In the process, he has emerged as a role model to a younger generation keen on doing things their way. Director of Live Events of The Livescape Group Rahul Kukreja is also one who pioneers despite growing volatility in the entertainment industry. But he is steadfast in giving Malaysians the best and through that elevating the entertainment scene to another level.
Individuals who have made an impact on society
The Rare Legacy award focuses on business leaders who have made a social impact through programmes that improve a community’s quality of life, promote altruism and social responsibility. Numerous recipients of the Men of the Year fall under this category. They include Lex Low, an entrepreneur and hair stylists, who attempts to change society “one haircut at a time.” Despite having a fast expanding business, Low spends his free time cutting hair for the homeless while also training refugees to learn the trade. John-Son Oei of EPIC Homes has focused on helping the marginalised and the underprivileged “one home at a time.” Former Miss Malaysia Deborah Henry is the only one to have received a “Woman of the Year” from August Man. At the time, fresh from the Miss Universe pageant, Henry had galvanised the nation in a way that was unprecedented. Since then, she has come to be known as an activist whose Fugee School provides free education to refugee children.
Those who adhere to the highest values and ethics
This award is focused on those who adhere to the highest standards. There has also been a host of Men of the Year who exemplify the values and ethics that deem one to be of rare character. Activist and lawyer Fahri Azzat is driven to use his legal background to correct the injustice he sees around him while lawyer Edmund Bon has sought to ensure that the Malaysian public understand their constitutional rights.
Entrepreneurs who persevered in the face of adversity and successfully turned around businesses
This award acknowledges those who have shown strength and leadership in being able to navigate through the various challenges faced in the course of doing business. The entrepreneurial quality is well represented in all recipients as it takes a pioneering spirit to help one achieve their goals. There are those, however, who have displayed the business acumen to ensure that they remain at the top of their game. When Benjamin Yong was August Man’s Men of the Year in 2010, he had just sold off Delicious, the chain of restaurants that he had started. Many were wondering what the entrepreneur would do next but he has since become synonymous with the local F&B industry and been instrumental in evolving the industry locally. Bryan Loo, who has come to define the term entrepreneur, introduced Chatime to Malaysia. Despite recent legal issues, Bryan has successfully introduced Tealive and is bent on making it an international brand.