All posts by theartofcontemporary

Own The Sea

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42

From the very beginning in 1905, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf set out to make wristwatches that would carry the rich heritage that has bound Rolex and the world of sailing. Rolex naturally became associated with activities that shared its excellence, precision and team spirit. The brand formed its first alliance with the world of yachting in the late 1950s with the New York Yacht Club, founder of the America’s Cup and a creative influence on the sport of yachting and its rules. 

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master range was launched in 1992, with a first model designed specifically for intrepid navigators and professionnal race skippers. This year, Rolex is extending its Yacht-Master range with a new 42 mm model, the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42. Yacht-Master sailing watches are recognisable thanks to their distinctive bidirectional rotatable bezel with a raised 60-minute graduation. The Yacht-Master 42 is fitted with a Cerachrom insert in matt black ceramic that perfectly complements its black lacquer dial. Created from 18 ct white gold, this new watch heralds the arrival of this precious metal on a Yacht-Master model. The light reflections on the case sides and lugs highlight the profile of the Oyster case. 

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42

Like all Rolex watches, the Yacht-Master 42 is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015 and is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). The Yacht-Master 42 is fitted with an Oysterflex bracelet, which singularly combines the robustness and reliability of a metal bracelet with the flexibility, comfort and aesthetics of an elastomer strap. For enhanced comfort, the inside of the Oysterflex bracelet is equipped with longitudinal cushions that stabilize the watch on the wrist.

Yachting is steeped in tradition, nurtures a spirit of fair play and thrives on a congenial atmosphere. And for six decades, Rolex has harnessed the passion for yachting and its popularity by establishing deep-rooted ties with influential yacht clubs across the globe. 

Welcoming A New Year 2020

Welcome the year 2020 with a celebration meal at Maple Palace

The flair that truly put Maple Palace on the world map of Asian delicacies are found in its ability to serve an intricate recipe using fish maw. A signature and traditional dish in Chinese cuisine, it warrants hyperbolic merits for its distinctive aromas known to have been passed on from generations ending with eastern dynasties centuries before. Its ingredients may still mystify the modern tasters of today.  

Fish Maw Soup with Crab Meat & Dry Scallop

This mouth-watering dish wraps the most festive of sea delicacies, the abalone, matched with the buttery meat of the Grouper – are much tastier than the title suggests. The trick may well be the sauce, or gravy, which is prepared to dress this match made in heaven. Extracted from the essence of stewed abalones, the sauce blends fermented beans, fresh eastern condiments and sweet baby bakchoy converging and heightening its flavors just from steaming these beautiful ingredients together. If you are hungry, indulge it with a bowl of piping hot rice.

Steamed Estuary Grouper with Fresh Abalone

Rice cooked to perfection using claypots, fired up with intense heat from charcoal, are found to taste simply glorious. A method that continues to be many’s favorite, today, its supporting ingredient play an equally important role; the demands in its precision as a soulfully satisfying dish. Paired with juicy stewed mushrooms and sweetness from the Chinese sausages, it’s a heartening dish that stirs the soul for all things wistful and good. 

The Powers That Be

Dato’ Mark Yeoh
Director of YTL Hotels and Resorts


Good hotels are everywhere. The edge is always customer service. You can have gold taps and diamond chandeliers.  At the end, what matters in hospitality is always the service. 

Scion of the formidable YTL empire, Dato’ Mark Yeoh is the youngest son of the late Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay, a billionaire and philanthropist who founded YTL Corporation.  Executive director of YTL Hotels and Resorts, Dato’ Mark Yeoh is also part of YTL Power International’s mergers and acquisitions team involved in the acquisition of ElectraNet SA (Australia), Wessex Water Limited (UK), PT Jawa Power (Indonesia) and PowerSeraya Limited (Singapore). 

Born in Klang, young Yeoh grew up in Kuala Selangor with his early education at Pasar Road School before attending Victoria Institution.  Completing his A Levels at Brighton College UK, he went on to read law at King’s College London and passed the bar exams at Grace Inn.  “I was the only son who was not gainfully employed at that time, therefore was summoned back to help the family.  I started the hotel business without knowing a single thing.”   

At his first ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair in 1988, Malaysia was unheard of and often confused with Malawi.  Dato’ Yeoh took steps to place Malaysia on the map with the help of the Ministry of Tourism which launched many projects to promote Malaysia.  Three decades and many welcoming slogans later, YTL Hotels and Malaysia finally established a respectable position on the world tourism barometer.  “Competition is very tough now. Vietnam which never used to be a market is now an aggressive player.  My first trip to Maldives, there were hardly any resorts, and I still remember the pillows made from coconut husks.”

There is a secret formula that holds YTL Hotels in good stead.  “Our tagline ‘treasured moments, treasured places’ means that we are the purveyors of dreams and fantasies.  We have every moment count.  That’s the mantra we’ve been driving into our staff.  Our hotels’ high occupancy rates reflect the popularity of our properties and our abilities to fulfil guests’ wishes.”

Hotel business is like fashion, there is no cookie cutter approach.  You need to reinvest and reimage every seven years, to stay relevant and profitable.

For someone who started with not knowing a single thing in the hospitality industry, Dato’ Yeoh certainly has been put through the wringer.  Yet he emerged an effective and revered leader and entrepreneur.  “We call our staff stars.  In most leadership structures the boss is the head of the pyramid.  Ours is a reverse pyramid.  I’m the most unimportant person in the company because I don’t see the customers.  The moment my team wear the uniform when they start work, they are on parade.  The show starts and they must smile, greet, be courteous.  The challenge is to produce stars who understand our philosophies.  That’s why we have the YTL International College of Hotel Management where we invest in training and hotel development programmes.  Youth is the future of our business.”  

With properties in Asia and UK, Dato’ Yeoh’s brand of management is holistic and immersive.  “Working with partners like The Marriot and Hilton allows us to be more focussed, where we can dissect and segmentise our areas of expertise.  The universal distribution system in the world is such that the big will get bigger so it’s good to have partnerships with these giants.”

Dato’ Yeoh’s superpowers in the hospitality realm are evident in some of his latest triumphs.  One of them the Monkey Island Estate, a centuries-old retreat in Bray-on-Thames, Berkshire that nestles on an island in the River Thames;  The Academy, London is a charming collection of five restored Georgian townhouses centrally located in London’s West End and finally the Higashiyama Niseko Village will be opening in December 2020, channelling unparalleled luxury to Japanese skiing in a hand-selected hideaway destination.  

Never Stop Learning

Koong Wai Seng
CEO of Quill Group


“Change is like the wind and there’s no stopping it. Therefore, it’s imperative that we continuously evolve for the better.” 

Humility is important for all of us, and more so for people who are successful and highly revered. 

The belief that once you’ve achieved everything (or most things) you’ve strived for, you’ve lived and learned life. But that’s quite the opposite for Quill Group’s new Chief Executive Officer, Koong Wai Seng because he never stops learning and doesn’t limit himself to only what he’s good at. 

“Regardless of your position or level in your company, I believe that you shouldn’t stick to what you know, rather, explore what you don’t know. If you only practice within your expertise, you’ll never expand your knowledge. Continue to learn, because the more you learn and immerse yourself in the areas outside of your abilities and skills, the more you’ll grow,” explained Koong. 

Perhaps, that’s the “secret” to his success with an impressive accolade of more than 20 years of experience in a variety of industries including audit, financial advisory, leisure, hospitality, healthcare, property development and property investment in a number of listed property development companies. 

He is a member of the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). Koong started his career at Arthur Andersen & Co before joining a public-listed property group for 13 years, where he served as chief financial officer and later as the group finance director. He was also the executive director of Sunway Group and Tropicana before assuming his position in Sunsuria in 2016 and moving to his most recent at Quill.

But he doesn’t boast about these C-Suite positions, rather, he would prefer to be known as a Change Leader because “Change is like the wind and there’s no stopping it. Therefore, it’s imperative that we continuously evolve for the better,” he said, adding that this is the core of his management philosophy.

According to Koong, part of growing and becoming a good leader is being curious, or in local layman’s term, a “busy body”. 

“I make myself participate in various departmental meetings like marketing, finance, HR and logistics as it helps me to acquire knowledge of the company’s operations in its entirety. 

Part of all this is also to be present and be part of your team regardless of their positions – talk to them, take them out for lunch or coffee and really get to know them. It builds meaningful relationships and trust.” 

Koong made it all by merit and hard work as he was born in a low-income family where his mother would sell fruits by the roadside to support the family. 

“Regardless of your position or level in your company, I believe that you shouldn’t stick to what you know, rather, explore what you don’t know. If you only practice within your expertise, you’ll never expand your knowledge…”

“I studied very hard and always set high standards for myself. I met my wife (then girlfriend) and we now have three boys,” he said. 

Koong will be 62 in 10 years but he is not aiming to retire by then. In fact, he wants to be more involved with his work on a deeper level taking on a more philanthropic mission so that he can leave a legacy for his kids. 

“For the new generation who want to be successful, it’s imperative that you associate yourself with high achievers because birds of a feather flock together – you will all lift each other up to reach your milestones sooner, so that you can achieve financial freedom earlier.”  

Aligning The Way of Life

Dr Hayden Pooke
Chief Executive Officer of Tonic Asia Group


My own personal purpose is to be the vessel for transformation, that is the reason I get up in the mornings, to try and make a difference

There is a higher purpose in life and for chiropractor, Dr Hayden Pooke, it is to transform people’s lives and make a difference. Not one to letthe small things irritate him, he believes strongly in being the light that brings changes to people and in any situation. This was translated into his profession of helping his patients gain pain-free lives. “My own personal purpose is to be the vessel for transformation, that is the reason I get up in the mornings, to try and make a difference,” he said.

Pooke and his wife, Dr Tamara Gien Pooke, came to Malaysia a decade ago when he was headhunted by Tonic Asia Group’s founder, Dato’ Dr Thomas Ong. Ong, who founded Tonic Asia Group in 1997, wanted Pooke to help him transform his clinics and expand throughout Malaysia. South African-born Pooke, had wanted to migrate to Australia when he came to Malaysia. He arrived here in 2009 and is now in the midst of applying for permanent residency here. “My wife and I love it here. There are a lot of opportunities especially to introduce chiropractic and integrative physical medicine in Malaysia,” he said.

The brand, TAGS for Tonic Asia Group, was developed after Pooke joined the company and in a few years, the group has expanded to include 11 centres and two hospitals in Malaysia, including East Malaysia. “It put chiropractic medicine on the map as a serious healthcare provider in Malaysia,” Pooke said. Soon, the TAGS clinics that started out as spine and joint specialist centres, integrated the centres to include physiotherapy. As Pooke puts it, chiropractic and physiotherapy services work hand-in-hand as one deals with the body’s alignment while the other on the core muscles.

The TAGS Spine and Joint Specialists Centres nationwide were proven to be successful with its focus on providing low-risk, healthier and non-invasive care for issues involving the joint and spine. Pooke said they meet their patients’ expectations 90 per cent of the time. “Seeing a chiropractor and being adjusted is not invasive and it facilitates and optimises movements for the patients,” he said. In many cases, he said patients find themselves pain-free after a few sessions at TAGS but stressed that treatment for each individual patient is different as it involves various factors that includes lifestyle, posture and diet.

“Treating Asians are different from caucasians as their physiology makeup are different.”

The recent popularity for chiropractic treatments mean that there is a future in this profession and the International Medical University Malaysia (IMU) is the only university in the country to offer a Chiropractic Bachelor’s Degree. Dr Tamara is a programme director for the degree in IMU and Pooke said this spells a bright future for the industry in Malaysia. He said chiropractic degrees offered by universities outside of Malaysia are focused on treating Westerners so most chiropractors learn how to treat Westerners and not Asians. “Treating Asians are different from caucasians as their physiology makeup are different,” he said. He said chiropractors who graduate from IMU will be trained to treat Malaysians and this will give them the advantage over foreign-trained chiropractors.

When he is not adjusting a patient’s alignment, Pooke is an avid wine collector with a growing collection at home. He also likes to spend his time in the kitchen whipping up creations to entertain his guests, family and friends. “I love to cook, I learnt to cook since I was six years old,” he said. He said his love for cooking has become something that he can use for business networking too where he brings business associates home and treats them to delicious home-cooked meals. 

WHEN STARS Glitter

EZ Australia was launched 5 years ago and it was the initial trust and support of the Melburnians that made this magazine where it is today. Hence we have decided to acknowledge the selected few Melburnians that have contributed and shaped this beautiful society as ‘Faces Of Melbourne’. 

It was as if the universe conspired to make the CHT Gala Dinner 2019 one of the most celebrated events in Melbourne this season.  Held at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, the event saw to the attendance of more than 300 socialites, entrepreneurs, tycoons and the well-heeled, in their finest attire. Designer evening wear, sequins, tuxedos were the order of the night, while some even spotted capes and lacey trains.  

Master of ceremonies Ian Goldsmith started the glittering event by introducing the CEO of CHTNetwork Australia Ping Ch’ng who gave an inspiring speech. The audience was also held captive by brother and founder of CHTNetwork Ch’ng Huck Theng who concluded his speech with flair and panache, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, I am Ch’ng Huck Theng.”

Performances by Voci Classiche opera singers Cosimo Ciccone and Rada Tochalna

The evening took on a high note with spell-binding performances by Voci Classiche opera singers Cosimo Ciccone and Rada Tochalna who delivered an unforgettable and moving repertoire that left the audience in awe. Reigning over the runway was the creative and talented international designer KL Ho who recently showcased his collection at the New York Fashion Week. In Melbourne his work is nothing short of spectacular.  

Winners of the Best Dressed Awards, Nicole Yap, Penny Sun, Nicole Pugsley, Christina Chia, Mazita, Nicole Chow & Ping

Winners of the Best Dressed Awards, Nicole Yap, Penny Sun, Nicole Pugsley, Christina Chia, Mazita and Nicole Chow, paraded on the runway for all to admire and emulate their ensemble of the evening. Ripples of excitement floated through the glitterati when famous auctioneer Toni El-Helou from Biggin & Scott took the floor to auction off art masterpieces, dinners cooked by celebrity chefs, media and photography services from KMT Events and DLX Creative respectively.

Just when the guests thought things could not get anymore exciting, the latest issue of EZ Australia magazine was unveiled featuring Kim Lowman from Rothelowman Architects on the cover. This was followed by a rousing and boisterous raffle draw offering prizes like air tickets from Odyssey Travel, high tea and hotel accommodation from Sofitel, eight-course degustation meal from Silks at Crown, beautiful songket fabric from the Malaysian Consulate office, electrical goods from Buffalo, wines from Rochford Estate, Royal Selangor pewter, OMI dining vouchers, and beauty treatments from Secret De Beaute. 

The exquisite menu for the night was specially designed by celebrity chef Jeffrey Tan (OAM) who paired beautiful wines with Sofitel’s delectable cuisine of salmon, duck, lamb, fine cheeses, pastries and desserts.  

Finally, when the curtains closed, a great night was declared by all, with many exchanging contacts and promises to keep in touch, venturing into new social and business partnerships. 

KL Ho

Penang Fashion Week 2019 Opening Gala

The 5th edition of the fashion week, which took place at Gurney Paragon Mall from 3rd to 5th May 2019, launched with a grand opening gala and had a large audience which included international celebrities, fashion designers, key opinion leaders in the fashion industry, social elites and members of the media.

Dancers from Euphoria Penang raised the curtain during the opening gala with their spectacular performance. It was then followed by a cameo from Christinna Kuan, the uprising fashion and beauty blogger. The 21-year-old presented her new cover song “Room” in front of approximately 300 invited guests. 

The main focus of the Penang Fashion Week 2019 was the collaboration between Gurney Paragon Mall and the ASEAN Fashion Designers Showcase. Twelve reputable designers from ASEAN countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippine, Brunei, Myanmar and China who have accelerated the fashion dialogue in their respective countries showcased their masterpieces during the second day of the 

Penang Fashion Week. The 12 designers are:
• Hayden Ng   (Singapore) – HAYDEN
• Sylvia Lim & Jennifer Neo (Singapore) – TRIOLOGIE
• Natacha Van (Cambodia) – NATACHA VAN COLLECTION
• Lenny Agustin (Indonesia) – LENNY AGUSTIN
• Bandid Lasavong (Laos) – MEN Folder
• Micheal Ooi (Malaysia) – MOFactory
• Pitnapat Yotinratanachai (Thailand) – PITNAPAT
• Ho Thu Dang Thao (Vietnam) – TSAFARI
• Pat Santos (Philippines) – PAT  SANTOS COUTURE
• Fadzil Hadin (Brunei) – CHANTIQUE BRUNEI
• Zin Myat Myat Win (Myanmar) – ZIN
• Li Zhen (China) – The ZRSH 

Emerging designers form an essential part of the fashion industry, and they need to be supported and encouraged through a platform like Penang Fashion Week.