One generation ago, a man could make a life by pouring himself into one lifelong job. Now if you want to own the day, wearing multiple hats is a given. No longer can anyone lazily drawl, “Sorry, not my department.” Thriving companies expect all members to recognise their collective role in marketing a brand and captivating customers.It is precisely this duality that struck a chord with The Macallan when it came to Jason Lee. Spearhead of Lee Motors Group, a family business, and founder of Kurin, a health-orientated fast food eatery that features all-natural ingredients, Lee has been doubling up ever since his educational days. If you’re starting to imagine what Kurin is, look it up online at Kurin.com.my, or its official Facebook and Instagram accounts @kurin.my. “I choose Economics because it’s more theoretical and applicable towards the decision-making process of the group. Being able to experience different roles from being a car technician to administrating daily operations during my long semester breaks made me learn that business dealings can’t really be learnt or practised straight out from a book,” he adroitly points out.
But photos ever only tell half the story. When it’s time to engage at business meetings or networking events, Lee knows exactly which switch to flip. At the recent Kurin launch in Nu Sentral, he shook hands and bonded like a seasoned businessman. So it surprises me that after the relevant pleasantries, Lee prefers the solitude of his own time in the office to round off a work day.“I’m an extro-introvert. I can be a chatterbox and be crazy passionate about the things I care for, but I prefer to be alone most of the time to keep track on my goals’ progress. When I’m on my own, I get to reflect and decide on plans and changes I should make for what is to come.”Two topics that light him up: strengthening the family business, Lee Motors, which now forges award-winning car dealerships up north, and the health food scene in Malaysia. “I’ve cut my weight from 105kg to 70kg by trying out various extreme methods, from starving myself to eating tasteless boiled food for months. At one point festive celebrations and wedding dinners felt more like a burden than enjoyable moments. It just wasn’t sustainable for me, and I believe for the majority too. Not everyone wants to be a competitive bodybuilder, the goal is being a better version of ourselves. That’s how Kurin came about. My goal is to improve the accessibility of health food. We stand firm with the belief that the key to a healthier lifestyle is a well-balanced and sustainable one. By adding some margin of flexibility to our diet by blending in sauces and flavours isn’t going to distance anyone from a healthier life,” he adds.
Lee’s guiding principle still remains his company motto, “Trusted for Generations”. “As an organisation we are defined by many distinctive characteristics that we demonstrate every day in our dealings—honesty, unsurpassed attention to detail, reliable performance and the knowledge to source and represent superior products. However, it is a combination of all the above that sets us apart as a trusted partner to our customers. It is also what our brand value stands for and the way we have always conducted our business. To our customers, it means transparency, confidence, and an always approachable platform where they can seek help and guidance throughout their vehicle ownership with us.”Handling several businesses at the same time, he tells me, “Be clear and focus on the outcome of your meetings, leading the team to churn out solutions rather than listening to storytelling or finger pointing is going to help cut your meeting by at least half most of the time.” Asked for his credo, Lee says to be purpose driven. “Set reasonable goals and never be afraid to face poor results. Be open to criticism and digest them positively.”
And when it’s time to kick back, Lee has an idea or two about what constitutes a good night out which usually involves close friends and good food. “The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, in a room like the Astor Bar, is just the best pairing,” he says, referring to our shoot at St. Regis’ signature lounge. Of the Double Cask, Lee says he was pleasantly surprised that it bridges the gap between Fine Oak and Sherry Cask expressions, for an incredibly smooth whisky, still imbued with the signature Macallan aroma.
Dual Personality The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old is a tasteful marvel. The distillers begin by filling new American oak with sherry, seasoning it for an amount of time. After the right flavours have seeped into the wood, these casks are then used to age new Macallan whisky for 12 years. The next step is to blend this whisky with traditional Macallan elixirs from European oak sherry casks. It’s won universal praise as a satisfying dram from start to finish, with aromas of creamy butterscotch and vanilla custard, a palate of woody spices and a long, warm finish.