Brian: The Entrepreneur, Family Man, and the King of Humility
Updated: Nov 1
In this captivating editorial cover story, we present Brian as a figure of royalty, embodying the essence of a highly accomplished entrepreneur, a devoted family man, and an exemplar of humble authenticity. Brian's remarkable distinction lies in his unabashed display of genuine character.
With unwavering humility and a perpetual sense of gratitude, Brian recognizes that his success is indebted to the individuals surrounding him. It is through skateboarding that he has forged authentic connections, propelling the establishment of his business empire. Fearlessly unveiling his true self, his ardor for skateboarding serves as the catalyst, enabling his genuine nature to resonate deeply, forging profound connections with others.
From the inception of 8five2 and the creation of Handsome Factory to his pivotal role in the Hong Kong Skateboarding Association, Brian's entrepreneurial prowess remains unparalleled. Skillfully navigating multiple roles, he retains his authentic allure, paving the way for his remarkable achievements. Despite his extraordinary accomplishments, Brian's modesty remains steadfast. He attributes his triumphs to the support of those around him and graciously acknowledges their instrumental roles in his journey. Expressing sincere gratitude to those who have stood by his side, he cherishes his wife Annie as his most trusted confidante, recognizing her invaluable contributions behind the scenes. Annie's talents as a writer and choreographer have enriched Brian's ventures, adding another dimension to his accomplishments.
Brian's journey stands as a testament to the power of humility, gratitude, and loyalty. Amidst his achievements, he remains grounded, emphasizing the significance of authenticity and the establishment of meaningful relationships. His story serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs, showcasing how authenticity and sincere connections transcend mere commercial success, ultimately constructing a grand empire of purpose and substance.
L: 你是誰? Who are you?
全香港滑板協會是由我創立的，我籌辦許多不同類型的活動、表演和比賽，以推廣滑板運動。如果你問我，我是什麼樣的人？我是一個創作者。我喜歡創作各種事物，並不斷追求和推動它們。這是我最喜愛做的事情。我14歲接觸滑板，我就愛上了這樣的事物。我所有的生活都圍繞著滑板，生活音樂風格時尚都圍繞著滑板。由滑板的經驗，我開了一間滑板店，由滑板的經驗，我聽著嘻哈音樂。我想在香港創造一個嘻哈音樂場景，所以成立了廿四味去推廣嘻哈音樂。都是這個原因，莊文強先生見到我，找我拍了我第一部電影《飛砂風中轉》。2019年我就這樣開始了演員生涯，2015年就開了一家理髮店。因為我們滑板的文化會去理髮店剪頭髮，所以在香港的時候，就想為什麼沒有理髮店呢？我開了一家理髮店叫做Handsome Factory，找了一個叫Jon Roth的人來幫忙，他一點也不吝嗇地伸出援手。我當時覺得很奇怪，為什麼呢？後來成為朋友之後問他，原來是因為他知道我有852滑板店，他知道我的滑板背景，尊重我，所以才願意幫助我。所以這一切都是滑板帶給我的事物，所以我真的要感謝滑板，因為我非常喜歡它。我全力以赴投入其中，反而滑板給了我很多能量。
I am an Indonesian Chinese. I moved to Hong Kong at the age of 11. Hong Kong is my home, and I have been living here for over 30 years. In fact, I have many roles.
I have a skateboard distribution company/skate shop. I co-founded a hairstyling salon called Handsome Factory with my partner. I am also a member of the band 24Herbs. I started my acting career in 2009. I also do a lot of MC (Master of Ceremonies) work, such as hosting various skateboard events. I am also actively involved in various skateboarding activities.
I founded the Hong Kong Skateboarding Association, organizing different events, performances, and competitions to promote skateboarding. If you ask me, what kind of person am I?
I am a creator. I enjoy creating things and constantly pursuing and pushing them. This is what I love to do the most.
I started skateboarding at the age of 14. I fell in love with it. My entire life revolves around skateboarding. Lifestyle, music, style, and fashion, they all revolve around skateboarding. From skateboarding, I opened a skate shop. From skateboarding, I listen to hip-hop music. I want to create a hip-hop scene in Hong Kong. So, I formed 24Herbs to promote Hip Hop. It was for this reason that Mr. Felix Chong noticed me. And approached me to act in my first movie, "Once a Gangster". In 2019, I started my acting career like that. I opened a barbershop in 2015. Because in skateboarding culture, we go to barbershops to get our haircuts. So, when I was in Hong Kong, I wondered why there were no barbershops? I opened a barbershop called Handsome Factory and I found someone named Jon Roth to help me. He is willing to lend a helping hand. At that time, I found it very strange, why is that? After we became friends, I asked him about it. It turns out he knew about my 852 skateboard shop. He knew about my skateboarding background and respected me, that's why he agreed to help me. So, this is also something that skateboarding has brought to me. So I really want to thank skateboarding.
Because I love it so much. I put in 110% of myself. And skateboarding gives me so much energy.
L: 如何平衡不同身分？How do you juggle in between different hats?
在做不同的生意中，很幸運能找到了適合我的朋友、合作夥伴和伙伴，幫助我一起努力。我平均分配時間給他們，因為他們都是我喜歡的人。滑板那邊我有一個很好的經理叫做傑仔，他幫我打理店鋪很妥當，我也非常信任他。他也相信我的眼光，幫我處理管理業務，例如店鋪、倉務、代理等等。我創辦所有的事業，852、Handsome Factory、全香港滑板協會。我有一個很好的兄弟叫Pakkhei，247talk亦有他和我一起做。基本上沒有他，就沒有我現在擁有的事業。真心因為我在腦海中想到的事情，我就和他講，然後他就會幫我實現。例如我有一個很簡陋的草稿圖給他，可不可以幫我轉換成AI / Photoshop等等。247talk他說支持我，我才會去做。他幫我拍照、剪片，他已經知道我想要什麼。所以Pakkhei對我來說的幫助真的很大，而且他是一個不計較的人。所以我和柏琪也有另外一個工作室，是我和我太太做他的 silent partner。當時是因為我看到他幫我這麼多忙，所以我就和他講，嘿，不如你自己開個工作室吧，為何要幫人打工，不如你自己做。然後我們就開了一個工作室。可能就因為這樣他記得這份友情和他老婆對我這樣支持，但我和他之間的情感是無法還還的，總之沒有他，我根本做不到任何事情。去到Handsome Factory，我有Jeff 我的夥伴，我有波波 Head barber，有兩個我非常信任的人。他們又相信我，我又相信他們，大家互相信任才能做到這樣的事情。而且我覺得，我們做任何事情的崗位都很重要，我做著這件事情，Jeff做著管理的事情，Ball看著頭髮的事情。我們都尊重自己崗位上應該做的事情，這才是最重要的。當然家人就不用說了，我父母，從我自己要開第一家店開始，我家人爸爸媽媽兄弟姐妹都支持著我。但真的要 shout out 我的妻子，因為Annie她是真真正正在背後給最多幫助的人。無論我做任何事情，我最信任的就是她。例如8five2好簡單一個介紹，因為我個人好挑剔，可能因為牛津大學出版社出嚟，所以我英文、排版都要做得好正確。但Annie寫得很棒。之前試過有幾份工，人叫我找copywriter，On Lun 9 因為不符合我的方向。我有Annie幫我寫，我最信就是她幫我寫。除此之外，我做這麼多事背後她一直支持我。而她自己也是一位非常厲害的編舞家，幫助開拓了KPOP文化。所以我非常尊重她。她也非常謙卑地在背後支持我。所以我是一個非常幸運的人，Thats why 我身邊有這一班人，才能夠讓我做到現在正在做的事情。如果你問我如何合理分配時間，真的是所有人都很平均。
In different businesses, fortunately, I have found friends, partners, and teammates who are right for me. I distribute time evenly among all of them because I love everything I do. On the skateboarding side, I have a great manager named Kit Jai who takes care of the shop very well, and I trust him. He also believes in my vision and helps me manage aspects such as the shop, warehouse, agency, etc. I founded everything, 852, Handsome Factory, and the Hong Kong Skateboarding Association. I have a great brother named Pakkhei who works with me at 247talk. Without him, I wouldn't have what I have now. Seriously, what I think in my mind, I tell him, and he helps me bring it to reality. For example, I give him a rough sketch, and he helps me convert it to AI/Photoshop, etc. 247talk says they support me, so I can do it. He helps me film, helps me film, helps me edit videos. He already knows what I want. So, for me, Pakkhei's help is really significant. And he is someone who doesn't mind small things. So, Pakkhei and I also have another studio where I am a silent partner with my wife. At that time, because I saw him helping me so much, I suggested him to open his own studio, and we did it. Maybe it's because of that, he remembers this friendship and supports me and his wife. But the gratitude I have for him cannot be repaid. In short, without him, I can't do anything at all. At Handsome Factory, I have Jeff as my partner, and Ball Ball as the Head Barber. There are two people I trust a lot. They trust me, and I trust them. We all trust each other to accomplish this. And I believe that every role we play is important. I'm doing this, Jeff is managing, and Ball Ball is taking care of the hair. We all respect our roles and do what we need to do. And of course, my family at home, my parents, they all supported me. But I really have to shout out to my wife, Annie, who truly helped the most behind the scenes. No matter what I do, she's the one I trust the most. For example, the simple introduction of 8five2, because I'm very picky about English and typesetting, but Annie writes very well. She supports me in everything I do, and she herself is also a talented choreographer. So I'm a very lucky person to have these people around me, and that's how I can do what I'm doing now. If you ask me how to allocate time well, it's really evenly distributed among everyone.
L: 你曾經感到精疲力竭、掙扎或迷失嗎? Have you ever felt burnt out, frustrated or lost?
Let me tell you, it's definitely not possible, I'm just kidding. But because I moved to Hong Kong when I was 11 years old. At that time, I lived in my aunt's house with my older sister. Being dependent on others, without my own home. Being dependent on others is not an easy thing. From a young age, I had to learn to adapt and stay silent. So now, what I have is like a cherry on top for me. Since I was young, I grew up in an Indonesian-Chinese community and was scared to go outside. But after moving to Hong Kong, everyone's the same. And I could comfortably go out at night. Considering where I've come from, you can see what I have now. If there are a few hiccups, obstacles. Or if there are things I want to do but can't. Honestly, for me, it's okay, no big deal. That's how I think, you know what I mean. I would think, why should I push myself so hard if it doesn't work out. But then I think about those kids in India, those who don't have food in Africa. Just give them a cup of water, and they're already happy. That's what I think. So after that, I think mine is no big deal at all. If I'm still complaining about it, it's bullshit. That's what I think. So now, what I have is like a cherry on top for me. You can think the same way. But when I say this, I'm also a very persistent person. In terms of creativity, if the Pantone colors are slightly off. I would say, hey, it's not like that. It's my attention to detail. This thing is very important. But if you have hiccups. I'm fortunate that I currently don't have any. I would be like, it's okay, it's no big deal actually. Then I would move on to do other things. Even though my daughter is really into singing and songwriting now. You guys should pay attention. She's fucking amazing. She's preparing to release an album next year. She plays the guitar herself and writes her own lyrics. She's really good. I wouldn't praise her just because she's my daughter. If she's not good, I would be the first one to let her know. But she's really good, so you guys should check her out. But I told her one thing, if you want to enter this industry. Remember one thing. If someone chooses you today and doesn't choose you the next day. Don't be unhappy for too long. For weeks and months. You can be unhappy for a while. Because this kind of thing will definitely happen. If you can't accept this, it will be difficult. I'm fortunate to have understood this. And I'm fortunate to have entered the industry later. By 2009, I was already quite grown up. Like being a headline act at Clockenflap, for sure confirmed. But two days ago, they canceled. Saying they found someone else. Of course, you would be like, "What the fuck." Super frustrating. So I told her, you can be unhappy for a maximum of two hours, that's it. Afterward, you have to think about the next one. This thing is even more important than everything else.
Q: 如何擁有現在的人生態度？Are you always so optimistic?
Actually, when I was younger, I had a lot of energy. I was fearless, like damn. But my family, especially my relationship with my mother, is great. Amazing people. I'm lucky to have them as my parents. My siblings are really nice. That's how it started. Everything was great, my mom was always happy. But then I moved to Hong Kong and didn't live with them anymore. I lived with my aunt, and she and her husband were always working. I think skateboarding shaped my attitude. Because in the skateboarding world, I interacted with people from different backgrounds. In the skateboarding world. I have a friend who lives in a public housing estate with his grandmother and younger brother. They sleep on bunk beds, and he sleeps on the floor. But when I see him, he's always happy. He skateboards really well, and we respect him. He never complains. So when is it my turn to complain about my situation? Because I believe that if there's a positive vibe, the environment will be more comfortable, and everyone will be happier.
I like this. The set is good, the backstage performance is good. Vibe try to be as positive as possible. I believe in this. Because I believe that if you think positively, your results will be positive too. Even the 'Whats Good' concert where 呀肥 was complaining. Because it was almost canceled for the third time. If it was canceled. We barely made it through. But it could have been canceled anytime. But no, I know it's gonna happen for sure. I'm the only one going crazy. They all say, "Why are you so crazy?" But that's how it is. That's my personality. I want to keep it that way all the way. Let me give you a choice, something positive or negative? Would you choose the negative? That's what I mean. Because in my teenage years, there was a lot of anger. But personally, I always like to joke around. It's all fun. Everything is part of skateboarding culture. No one is better than you, no one is worse than you. We are all the same. Stay humble. Being from a skateboarding background shaped my current personality.
L: 當父親後，人生態度有改變嗎? How did your mindset shift as a father?
Actually, the shift wasn't that significant for me. People look at me and think I'm into drugs, smoking, alcohol, and women. But they're really wrong, never judge a book by its cover for real. I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs at all. I dislike chasing after women. I believe in loyalty the most. Since I was young, I've always felt that as a man, you must be faithful. I believe if you're even slightly disrespectful or unfaithful, you'll end up in trouble. If you're even slightly flirting in the wrong direction, you'll end up in trouble, I believe this. So, I've been involved with skateboarding all along. Just think, in 1988, no one was wearing baggy pants or their boxers showing. There's no way we were walking like that. In 1988, the police took me to the back alley and questioned everyone at my house. Everyone thought skateboarding was a bad influence. I was the epitome of a skater. But I never did the things you might think are bad. If you think using foul language is bad, then I'm bad. Besides using foul language, I try to be the best version of myself. I've always shown it through my actions. People can see it now. Yes, and he's a skater. I've been skating for 34-35 years. By action, see? What you think is all bullshit. Even lawyers or doctors have behaviors that don't match up. After every show, it's my habit to go back to the hotel. This is my habit, even on tour. After every show, to me, there is no after-party. You say I'm boring or whatever, but that's just how I am. After the show, I follow the vibe that I like, and that's it. I want to avoid what happens in clubs or other events. So, you ask me about the transition. When I got married and had a daughter and a wife, I'm very happy because I really wanted a daughter. One day, I had a daughter. It really changed me. I've become more patient. I tone it down a lot when I want to go crazy. Because I have a daughter, I want her to live comfortably. My family members are mostly women, and I want them to be happy. I will loudly condemn anyone who mistreats them. Because I want to be an upright man. If something happens, I will face it firmly. If someone mistreats the women around me. So, if you ask me about the transition, there hasn't been a significant change. I'm very happy being married.
Actually, the things I like are very simple. I really enjoy having meals with my wife and daughter, the three of us. Wherever. Because we try to eat healthily, but once in a while, let's go crazy, then we go crazy. Afterward, we are already very happy. Yeah, very simple, very simple.
L: 分享現在生活中的一個習慣 Share a routine in your life
I try my best to be an obedient and disciplined person. For example, about 5/6 years ago, I decided to start exercising. I have to thank Eddie, our producer, for taking me to do workouts. I was hesitant at first, but okay, okay, let's give it a try. Once I tried it, I never missed a day, bro. I believe that discipline is necessary for people. And doing exercise, for me, is the only way to maintain my health besides eating well. I have discussed with my wife that if our health is the utmost respect for the people around us and the utmost love for them. Why? Because if we are healthy all the time, the people around us won't worry about us, and they don't need to take care of us or our daughter. As children, if our parents are in good health, we don't have to worry either. That's the utmost love parents can give us. For example, if my wife and I can stay healthy until we are 80 or 90 years old and stay healthy all the way, Taylor (our daughter) has nothing to worry about. That's the biggest love we can give. Because she won't have to worry. Worrying is the hardest. For example, when we worry about the people around us, whether they are older sisters, younger sisters, or younger brothers, if they have any problems or illnesses, how would you feel? That's why I always preach about working out, even now it's like I'm preaching to the younger generation. I often talk about it with the younger ones. I'm not saying you have to force yourself. I just want to tell you it's actually better for you—better for your skating, better for your sex life. Real talk, better for everything. If you work out, exercise, besides that, of course, you also have to watch what you eat. This is also difficult because I love to eat. But I have also reduced. Now I'm a pescatarian, I don't even eat meat, right? No beef for about 13 years, no meat for almost 7 years. So I try my best to maintain a healthy lifestyle for my daughter and family.
L: 給新一代的「斜槓族」Share an advice for shashers-to-be
Thank you very much, really nice. I'm far from successful, dude, I'm still grinding. The most important thing is to have passion. Passion. First, you have to love what you do. If you love what you do, you would work on it. If you become proficient in what you love, you'll find opportunities to turn it into a rewarding career. I firmly believe in this principle. Rather than simply talking about it, it's important to take action. I think it's essential not to be afraid of starting from the bottom, as many successful individuals have emphasized. Even if your work requires 10 hours, strive to complete it in just 2 additional hours. Push yourself to finish it, no matter how challenging it may seem. The important thing is to get it done. People will notice your commitment and determination over time. It may take a few instances or even several, but when opportunities arise, they will think of you. For example, someone like Calvin, who consistently puts in an extra 2 hours, will often be the first in line for these opportunities.
Let me clarify that I am not claiming to be an exceptionally hard working person. When I was at Oxford Publishing, my primary role was in marketing. However, my boss also asked me to edit a book, even though it wasn't a typical task for a marketer like myself. Initially, I thought I didn't have time for it and questioned its relevance. But despite that, I decided to read the book. To my surprise, I discovered areas that needed improvement. I brought these issues to my boss's attention, and he instructed me to make the necessary edits. I embraced the challenge and completed the task. As time went on, my boss recognized and acknowledged my efforts.
In a conversation with me, Brian, my boss, expressed his desire to support my studies at Polytechnic University. I was genuinely surprised and asked, "What?" He explained that he believed studying editing for a year would open up new opportunities for me. I saw this as a valuable opportunity because I had consistently demonstrated my willingness to do what he asked. I continued to show dedication in my work, and he noticed. Ultimately, he offered me this opportunity to further my education. However, I decided not to take it, as I had already established my own company, 8five2, and was fully focused on its growth. Nonetheless, I believe it's essential for everyone to remember not to fear starting from the bottom.
If we work diligently and support one another, our efforts will be recognized. Whether it's a boss, an investor, or a supervisor, someone will take notice. And when opportunities arise, they will naturally turn to us first. I believe it's a concept worth considering for everyone. Don't be afraid to start from the bottom and work your way up.