Category Archives: Captains & Legends 传奇

Homage to Art 颂扬艺术

Claire Spencer
Chief Executive Officer of Arts Centre Melbourne

Born and educated in the UK, and swerving from a linear career path, this dimensional power house went from a Cambridge degree in Theology to be a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young before settling down to her vocation in the performing arts. “Performing arts is kinda my thing.”

“Don’t be anxious about starting at the lowest grade in an organisation.  Don’t be afraid to come in at entry level.” 

Spencer switched from accountancy to arts when there was an opportunity to work at the Sydney Opera House.  “Coming from England, it was all very exciting to me. By the third day, I realised that this was an incredibly complex business with many different stakeholders, revenue streams, clients and enormous potential.  That was what attracted me.” What started out as a short assignment turned into 11 years with the Sydney Opera House before Spencer took up the Chief Executive Officer position with the Arts Centre Melbourne (ACM). 

Neither an art nor creative practitioner, Spencer serves as a catalyst that allows artists to showcase their talents to audiences who enjoy and are impacted by the performing arts. “At ACM we try to create a sustainable business that supports creative output. We are fortunate to have assistance from the Victorian and federal government, and generous philanthropists who believe in optimising financial and artistic outcomes. There is creativity in both pursuits.”

Having custody over ACM’s properties is no small feat. The Hamer Hall, State Theatre, Playhouse and Fairfax Studio are symbols of creativity. “Melburnians love these venues and are very invested in what we do and how we look after these buildings. There is also a constant demand for ACM’s world class facilities which are always booked out. It is a great problem to have but juggling the schedules can be quite tricky.” 

“Art is in the eye of the beholder. It can be entertaining and profound or deeply unsettling and make you cry. The impact is what defines it.”

Albeit initial self-doubts, Spencer is successful and effective at the helm of ACM. “There is still much work to be done.  The Victorian state government recently announced a major redevelopment of the art precinct involving ACM and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) – an ambitious ten-year project which involves two new buildings, a complete refurbishment of the old buildings, a new public park that will encircle the ACM and NGV.  My intent is to stay as long as Melbourne will have me and to create an art centre that will serve the next two generations of Melburnians. That’s my passion.” 

在英国出生和受教育,Claire Spencer却偏离了直线性的职业道路,这名多维度的活力人物从取得剑桥神学学位,到成为安永会计师事务所(Ernst & Young)的特许会计师,再涉足表演艺术。“这也确认表演艺术才是我的归宿。”




作为ACM产业的管理人并非易事。Hamer Hall、中心剧院、表演厅和Fairfax Studio皆是艺术创造力的象征。“墨尔本人热爱这些场馆,对我们如何维护与看管这些建筑给与投资和响应。ACM世界级表演场馆设施总是被预订一空,从中可看到源源不断的需求。这里有个棘手问题,就是兼顾时间表的难度非常高。”



By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik

A True MasterChef  真实的大厨

Chef Johnny Jong
Executive Sous Chef of Crown Melbourne

We are probably guilty of taking short cuts whenever we can. It’s human nature to dodge challenges because it’s so much easier to have instant gratification. 

Sometimes, short cuts can be done, but when it comes to a career as a chef, there are no quick pathways but only long and trying rides of one test after another. In the end, the rewards are fruitful as chef Johnny Jong will tell you that hard work certainly pays off. 

As the Executive Sous chef for Crown Melbourne, Johnny has come a long way as a kitchen hand when he started his culinary career as a teenager. 

“When I was in Singapore, I was quite mesmerised by how powerful food is.”

He currently manages the Asian restaurants in Crown which is just one part of their over 20 international repertoire of restaurants. 

“You can’t beat hard work. Popular shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules are very inspiring but may not show the proper ‘preparation’ to become a real working chef. 

“You have to work hard for many years and sometimes work for free to get experience. There are times when you spend what seems like eternity to master a dish to perfection. Unless the contestants are cooks themselves, they don’t experience the gruelling long hours, the years and timeline we really go through to become chefs.”

Originally from Malaysia, Johnny didn’t expect to be a chef when he was a young boy, but had always enjoyed watching his mother cook. “When I was in Singapore, I was quite mesmerised by how powerful food is – it can spark so many emotions when you eat a certain dish, or taste that particular flavour. 

“I was also in awe when I saw the mastery of professional chefs preparing their dishes, so that’s when I became interested in the culinary arts,” he said. 

Johnny is a perfectionist when it comes to putting together his recipes and that’s the reason his customers keep returning. 

His “secret” is in the sesame oil: “My restaurants use Ghee Hiang Sesame Oil which is a pioneer brand and has been around for over 160 years. We’ve sampled so many sesame oils but one day I was shopping at an Asian grocery and found this particular brand, there was no turning back.

“I understand the finer flavours in food and with this sesame oil, the aroma and fragrance is so rich that when you add it to any of your stir fried dishes, it brings out such great flavours that you won’t be able to stop eating!” 

一般上我们尽可能会走捷径,其实躲避挑战就是人类的天性,因为立刻填满欲壑要容易得多。有时候,我们可以利用捷径,但是,一旦涉及厨师职业生涯时,这些都行不通,他们面临的只有漫长的考验和不断的尝试。而大厨Johnny Jong身体力行的告诉你,努力的终点一定是丰盛的回报。

身为墨尔本皇冠 (Crown Melbourne) 的行政副厨师长,Johnny从十几岁时就开始了烹饪生涯,长期埋首于厨房工作。他目前管理皇冠属下的亚洲餐厅,这只是20多家国际餐厅的一部分。“你避免不了必须勤奋用心。类似“厨艺大师” 和 “我的厨房我做主” 等热门美食节目非常鼓舞人心,但可能并没有展现出成为一名真正厨师需要做出的准备。”



Johnny 出生在马来西亚,小时候并没有想过要成为一名厨师,但他一直很喜欢看着母亲做饭。“在新加坡的时候,食物的强大力量深刻折服了我—当你吃某一道菜或品尝某种特殊的味道时,能够激发复杂而多变的情绪。当我看到专业厨师展现精湛技艺时会感到敬畏。因此,这也是我对烹饪艺术产生兴趣的关键点。”


The Language of Bespoke 定制入微

Kok Loong Ho
Couture Designer & Owner of The MOD House
服装设计师兼The MOD House经营者

The latest Couture Fashion Week in New York held a very important element – The MOD House by Malaysian designer KL Ho imprinted on the famous Manhattan runway. Featuring a stunning haute couture collection of Asian-inspired qipao, both shows at the Crowne Plaza Times Square and The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, were fully attended and well received by international fashion buyers, media, socialites and celebrities. The MOD (Malaysian Original Design) House received immediate enquiries and invitations to future couture fashion events in London, Paris and Dubai. With the assistance of Matrade Malaysia and Matrade New York, the label successfully penetrated the US market with its ready-to-wear collection as well.

To me every designer has their personal touch and uniqueness.  I don’t really know how to rank myself, but people are starting to recognise my creations especially in the marriage of the Eastern and Western cultures.

Once an accountant, Ho jokes about venturing from dealing with ‘figures’ on spreadsheets to dressing beautiful feminine ‘figures’ in the glitzy and glamourous world of fashion.

The Seremban boy who studied accountancy and filmmaking started work with KPMG before taking a leap of faith into fashion retail and wholesale. He was soon bosom buddies with top Malaysian designers while the shopping malls were busy clamouring for him. From there on 11 MOD Houses were set up in major shopping centres in Penang and KL.

“Life is all about what you want to do, regardless of your background. I started my fashion journey without any formal education. Relied on my instincts, feelings and horse sense a long way before signing up for a fashion design course very much later.”

While the name KL Ho and The MOD House label soared from local to international recognition, Ho believes that fashion must be practical too. “Currently I’m working on ready-to-wear office attires, available for online purchase and rental. Ladies will now be able to rent work dresses daily.  This will ease dressing woes and benefit them economically.” 

After 15 years in the industry, fashionistas are beginning to trust and revere his creations. Ho was in Melbourne recently to explore possibilities of working with Australian designers and fashion institutes like RMIT.

“I would love to help aspiring fashion designers, if possible. For newcomers, their biggest problem is to get manufacturers to produce for them.  I have a platform where they can contribute their designs while I navigate production and contemplate marketing strategies for them.”

Wearing many hats with ease, this designer extraordinaire will continue to spin bespoke magic, create prêt-à-porter lines and be the commander of his fashion production house with great style and originality. 

在纽约举行的最新时装周展现了一个重要元素 – 由马来西亚设计师KL Ho所带领的The MOD House在著名的曼哈顿T台上绽放光彩。这两场分别在皇冠假日时代广场酒店和皮埃尔泰姬酒店举行的时装表演以亚洲格调的旗袍时装系列为特色,令人赞叹不已。现场汇集了众多国际时尚买家、媒体、社会名流和闻人的高度关注与好评。

来自伦敦、巴黎和迪拜关于未来高级定制时装活动的询问和邀请,犹如雪花般涌向The MOD House (Malaysian Original Design)。在马来西亚外贸促进发展局(Matrade Malaysia)和驻纽约外贸促进发展局(Matrade New York)的推动下,该品牌的成衣系列也成功打入美国市场。

作为会计师开启职业生涯的KL Ho开玩笑表示,自己曾在表格上与“数字”打交道,然后在耀眼魅力的时尚世界里为美丽的女性们“计量”着装。这位出身于芙蓉,具备会计和电影制作专业知识的男人在投身时尚营销行业之前,曾在毕马威(KPMG)会计事务所工作。他迅速与马来西亚顶级设计师打成一片,并成为各大商场的招揽对象。过后分别在槟城和吉隆坡的主要购物商场设立了11家MOD House。

“所谓的人生就是不拘于任何背景,实践你想做的。我没有受过任何正规的教育就开始了时尚设计之旅,仅凭直觉、感觉和常识,直至很长一段时间后,我才报名参加了一项时装设计课程。”虽然KL Ho这名字和The MOD House品牌从杀出本土一路晋级国际市场,但他坚持时尚也必须是实用的想法。“目前,我正在设计一款随时可以在线购买和租赁的办公成衣。女士们现在可以每天租用上班服,除了舒缓服装穿着的烦恼,也减少经济负担。”





By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik