DATO’ SRI JEFFREY RAYMOND & KIM RAYMOND
Executive Chairman & Managing Director at OEM Autoseats Malaysia Sdn. Bhd & Mother and Social Media Inﬂuencer
The mechanical timepiece is undeniably one of humanity’s greatest achievements of engineering and not a small feat in the grand scheme of history. So, it’s no surprise that many watch enthusiasts develop a real passion for wearing these technological marvels on the wrist, with the hundreds of tiny components that seamlessly work together packaged in one beautiful case. But the drive behind the passion makes it different for every collector, and the main force for Dato’ Sri Jeffrey Raymond is joy and happiness.
A spark shows up in Dato’ Sri Jeffrey’s eyes when he speaks about his watch collection, and it’s evident to see that the joy he seeks out when choosing which timepiece to buy and wear is something tangible to him. He firmly denies labelling himself a watch collector and, instead, thinks of his collection as a way to own things that simply make him happy.
“I won’t use the word watch collecting because that is the wrong word to use. To me, watch collectors are people who collect ancient watches (with historical value), but all I want is a watch that makes me happy.” Dato’ Sri Jeffrey’s love affair with watches started at the age of 14, when his mother bought him a Timex watch, the first he ever owned. “I’m not sure why she decided to buy me that watch because it was quite expensive for us at the time. I don’t know whether she saw the joy, the excitement in my face when I got it, but I was utterly fascinated with it and I wouldn’t take it off. That’s where it all started.”
That joy and excitement spurred him on his journey into the watch world. The first horological piece he bought was a TAG Heuer. “I was in my 20s and I met a TAG Heuer salesman. He had really nice watches that he was selling for about MYR800 each, but he said, ‘If you agree to buy one from me, I’ll give you a good price’. I managed to pick one off him for MYR650. That was my first real watch.”
Years later, Dato’ Sri Jeffrey passed on that excitement and joy down to his children. Speaking to Kim Raymond, it’s clear that her father’s inﬂuence plays a big part in driving her love for watches today.
“Most of my watches are passed down from (my father). My first-ever watch was also a TAG Heuer, the TAG Heuer Formula 1, which he bought for me when I was around 15 or 16. I still have it today. He’s actually brought all of us into the watch game.” Kim says, referring to her brothers when speaking on what started her foray into the horology world.
“The first luxury watch that I bought myself was an early Chanel J12, the black ceramic version with rubies on the dial. Now, I have two more J12s, which are the white ceramic and the limited edition Chanel J12 Mademoiselle that has a small Coco Chanel in it as the hands, which my dad bought for me as a gift after I had my baby.” But like her dad, Kim also doesn’t consider herself a collector, as she gravitates towards buying pieces that attract her eye and fit her style, and not necessarily with the intention of building a collection.
“Her love for watches was actually driven by me. Seeing me have a new watch every time gave my children the additional push to go and buy nice timepieces for themselves, and this includes my sons as well,” Dato’ Sri Jeffrey adds.
Though spurred on by her father’s interest, Kim has a distinct personal style when choosing timepieces for herself that differs from that of her dad. Kim is more inclined to classic watchmaking brands, while Dato’ Sri Jeffrey is pulled to the unconventional and bold watches that are demonstrated by Richard Mille and other independent Swiss watchmaking houses. Even colour-wise, the mostly white, black and gold tones of Kim’s timepieces contrasts with the unique dials and rainbow-hued customs straps that you’re likely to find in Dato’ Sri Jeffrey’s collection.
“I like mostly watches with classic, simple designs, and for daily use, I normally wear my Rolex, Richard Mille, or Cartier because it is easy to match with my outfits,” Kim says, and for the fashionable young woman that she is, her watches play a big role as part of a coherent and expressive look.
It is great to see that a shared love of time telling instruments allows this father and daughter duo to spend even more quality time doing things they love together.
DR ELIZABETH LEE & KENNETH TAN
CEO of the Sunway Education Group & President of Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra
“If music be the food of love, play on.” Duke Orsino’s quote from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is meant to denote that an excess of music cures one’s need for love, when the opposite is more likely true. A medium that connects and brings its audience together, Dr Elizabeth Lee, CEO of the Sunway Education Group, and Kenneth Tan, President of Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra, have long been steadfast friends due to their shared passion for the classics.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Kenneth from church. Both our families worship at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, where Kenneth actively leads in the worship services, and I have also had the pleasure of teaching his son in Sunday School. It has been such an immense pleasure to watch both his children grow up to be such accomplished musicians,” said Dr Lee.
Through their close friendship, the Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra was provided a chance to collaborate with Sunway University through a connection of Dr Lee’s – Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Chairman of the Sunway Group and a fellow patron of the arts. Dr Lee further explained how the uniting of establishments came about: “The Sunway Education Group is owned and governed by the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF), which believes that music and arts have strong links to education as they enrich lives. To share and encourage the love, beauty and discipline of music with a wider audience, both within and outside the confines of the University, resonate absolutely with our guiding principles of the JCF.”
The Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra, albeit large in talent, is young in terms of worldly presence, having been founded by Maestro Chan Ling Chee in 2012. Presently, the orchestra boasts approximately 200 musicians. Tan stepped into the role of the President of the Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra in 2015, where his musical experience in both the violin and piano affords him unique insight into how best to take the ensemble to new heights and a wider audience reach.
Describing the draw of music, Tan said: “There is something profoundly satisfying in playing music with friends. When a group of musicians achieve harmony, the tones and intervals which define the music have the capacity to transcendentally lift individual and group to a different plane, sometimes just for a while and, at other times, with echoes that last long after the music has stopped.” The product of the collaboration between Sunway University and the Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra came to fruition in 2018, when the Dean of the Sunway University’s School of Arts, Professor Don Bowyer, debuted a Trombone Concerto with the orchestra. This year, the two parties came together again to present the Chapter 16 Concert on 8 September. Aside from being a full-time supporter of encouraging the arts in Malaysia, Dr Lee herself has also dabbled in the musician’s side of life with her experience playing the classical guitar.
“I did not have any formal training in classical music until my late teens, when I learnt the classical guitar at Yamaha Music. I believe I could have been one of their pioneer students and took part in their first-ever Yamaha Musical Concert in the mid’70s. My beloved guitars travelled with me all over the world, but as my academic studies became more serious, they were left behind, serving rather sadly as a reminder of a bygone era.”
Still, both Dr Lee and Tan are committed to sharing their passion for music with the world, and Malaysia is better off for it.
LING HUA KEONG & JONATHAN KHONG
Lawyer & Co-Founder of Virdos Lima Consultancy
In the world of whisky, brands seek to convey some value linked to luxury, like sophistication, elegance and exclusivity. But there’s also one more important element – camaraderie. Yes, the true joy of a dram of exceptional whisky is unlocked when the experience is shared with a fellow aficionado.
Ling Hua Keong is a renowned lawyer and one of the principals at local firm Ling & Mok, based in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, Jonathan Khong is the co-founder of Virdos Lima Consultancy, the provider of a wide range of anti-fraud services for a multitude of companies in Malaysia and regionally. While it’s not impossible, perhaps, to find some areas of shared interest in their two fields, a much easier exercise would be to get the two talking about whisky together. Suddenly, everything connects!
The two friends have embarked on a journey together, discovering whiskies from all corners of the globe, and not just the world-conquering Scotch. But Ling agrees that the ﬂavour of Scotland’s most popular export did leave a lasting impression on him.
“In fact, I started to appreciate whisky about 20 years ago when I was first introduced to The Macallan and Laphroaig,” reveals Ling. “But of course, whisky doesn’t merely mean Scotch. There are many fine whiskies, like Japan’s Yamazaki and Hibiki by the Suntory distillery. People also tend to overlook the Japanese pure malt whisky known as Takesuru from the Nikka distillery. And for bourbon, there are so many of them – Evan Williams, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Elijah Craig, Larceny, Knob Creek and Booker’s – these American whiskies are also very reasonably priced. There are also many good whiskies produced in Ireland, Taiwan, India, Australia and Canada.”
And suppose asking a whisky journeyman to name a favourite is indeed diﬃ cult, but Ling obliges and continues: “If pressed, then I guess I would say that my favourite drams are Springbank from Campbeltown and Glenfarclas from Speyside. But in my collection, there’s my most treasured bottle of Tomintoul 1968. It’s a private bottling by Luc Timmermans, a noted independent whisky bottler, and I particularly treasure this because 1968 is my birth year!”
Khong is the late starter among the two, but he has also had the time of his life catching up to his ‘mentor’ of sorts! “It started back in 2015, when I was given the opportunity to learn the basics of appreciating whisky. Then, I met Mr Ling, who was very generous in sharing his knowledge and collection of whiskies. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel far in the name of whisky, maybe just to Mr Ling’s home and to whisky functions within Kuala Lumpur. But there’s no doubt I will travel for that perfect bottle in the near future,” he says with a smile.
From personal observation, the more experienced Ling believes that the whisky craze that has engulfed this part of the world has indeed stabilised, and fans are benefitting from this. “I would never dream that whisky could be an investment item 10 years ago. But the hype has not passed; it has just slowed down. You’ll find fewer willing to pay MYR3,500 for a bottle of, say, Yamazaki 18. For that kind of money, I can buy maybe five bottles of Springbank 18, or many other types of Scotch that are as good, if not better.”
Khong, on the other hand, has this to say: “I think that the craze is going to get bigger – more so with demand from China galvanising things nicely. However, I’d also like to point out that while the craze for single-malt whisky is growing, so has the knowledge for appreciating the art and depth of blended whiskies as well.”
But even the vastly experienced whisky journeyman like Ling has kind things to note about blends. “I do like blended whisky. Whoever said that blends are inferior will miss a lot about appreciating good whiskies. On the other hand, without a doubt, something like the Royal Salute 38 Year Old Stone of Destiny is a fine blended whisky, but its high price keeps a lot of drinkers at bay. In contrast, something like the Johnnie Walker Blue Label would have a wider public acceptance in comparison. But yes, there are many more high-end blends to experience as well – you may want try the Johnnie Walker King George V and Douglas Laing’s Big Peat 26, just to name a few. For those who don’t intend to burn a hole in their pockets, the Old Parr 18, The Famous Grouse and Monkey Shoulder could also be very good choices, indeed!”