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The Balvenie presents: how three leaders use the power of craftsmanship

In celebration of the unveiling of The Balvenie x Royal Selangor ultra limited edition collector’s box, we speak to three leaders about the power of patience and passion.

Six days is an eternity in today’s fast-paced world. But the rite of time yields outcomes that you would not otherwise get if you rush the process. Case in point: The Balvenie x Royal Selangor ultra limited edition collector’s box, of which only 15 exist in the world, individually numbered, of course.

Unveiled this month, the vessel is made from high grade walnut wood encased in handcrafted pewter and takes, you guessed it, six days to finish. The exterior of the box showcases Royal Selangor’s signature dimple design and hammering technique and provides a sneak peek into its contents – three signature bottles of The Balvenie 30 Year Old (or older, depending on your preferences).

The Balvenie x Royal Selanger ultra limited edition collector's box.

The Balvenie x Royal Selanger ultra limited edition collector’s box.

Both the box and its liquid gold inhabitants are a testament to craftsmanship, passion and patience. In celebration of the power of these three qualities, we speak to three business leaders and whisky aficionados and get their own takes about the rite of time.

(Related: How hospitality industry veteran Mark Tay uses time to craft perfect cocktails)

Shirley Crystal Chua
Founder and CEO of Golden Equator

Shirley Crystal Chua with The Balvenie x Royal Selangor limited edition collector's box.

Shirley Crystal Chua with The Balvenie x Royal Selangor limited edition collector’s box.

What drives you to be better?

I enjoy solving problems and have a strong sense of curiosity to do things better and learn about human behaviour. Ultimately, it is about leaving a legacy that’s meaningful for my family and loved ones by inspiring the future generation.

Collaboration and partnerships elevate the normal to the extraordinary. How do you apply these two qualities to your own life?

Collaboration and partnerships must be mutually beneficial and elevating.
There must be aligned goals or outcome and clear expectations from the beginning that will help ensure successful results.

For me, I’ve learnt that good, open, honest and transparent communication is key. It is fine to disagree, but it is important to listen to the other party and try to understand from the other party’s point of view.

Time is a valuable commodity. How did the passage of time make you become who you are today?

In the past, I underestimated the importance of giving something time to let nature take its course.

Time itself doesn’t change things naturally, but people must decide to change themselves and their surroundings. Over the years, it has helped me to be empathetic and patient towards myself and understand circumstances and people.

(Related: Shirley Crystal Chua is making it as a woman in a male-dominated tech world)

Dr Karen Soh
Medical director of Prive Clinic

Dr Karen Soh with The Balvenie x Royal Selangor limited edition collector's box.

Dr Karen Soh with The Balvenie x Royal Selangor limited edition collector’s box.

What does craftsmanship and being meticulous mean to you?

Being an aesthetic doctor definitely means being super meticulous and having an eye for beauty! I always tell my patients that our lasers and products like fillers are our tools – we craft the results we want to achieve for our patients.

At home, I have learnt how to bake sourdough bread on my own. It is amazing that three simple ingredients – flour, salt and water – can become such delicious tasting bread if you pay attention to the handling and shaping of the dough and the details of fermentation.

What do you think elevates handcraft over machines?

It takes time to be a good doctor. I believe that applies for all disciplines of medicine. A good doctor also has a healthy intuition and makes judgement calls all day long. The day will come when machines can relieve the doctor of the more mundane tasks, but true healing and relationship building still requires the human touch and sincerity.

How did the passage of time make you become who you are today in your professional life?

I am happier today in my professional life than I have ever been. I feel confident in meeting the challenges that come with running my practice and derive great joy and satisfaction in my interactions with my patients. Giving time and energy into developing and honing my skills as a doctor has given me a deeper understanding of my craft.

Ruchdi Hajjar
Founder of The Ring Boxing Community

Ruchdi Hajjar with his partner Mary Rose, pictured with The Balvenie x Royal Selangor collector's box.

Ruchdi Hajjar with his partner Mary Rose, pictured with The Balvenie x Royal Selangor limited edition collector’s box.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?

I would give anything to have dinner with my grandfather, Roger Hajjar. He was a researcher for IBM and dedicated his entire life to develop and invent coding to allow Arabic language in computers. He was so enigmatic and confident each time I visited him during school holidays. Everything around him was about precision and elegance. I loved talking to him about his vision, dedication and loyalty to the projects he was undertaking.

I’ll always remember his evening ritual. After coming home from the office, he would light up a cigarette and sip a glass of whiskey on the rocks in the middle of the living room and I will stand there admiring him.

How do you apply the power of craftsmanship to your own life?

Craftsmanship is the art of having a skill. I honestly don’t know how skilled I am, I only know that my dedication to overcome challenges and create a unique product or experience is limitless.

At work, I am definitely meticulous. My attention to details is sometimes extreme and I believe we must always be rigorous in order to maintain quality. In my personal life, I am more spontaneous, which gives me balance, and the only craftsmanship I curate is spreading laughter to my wife and kids. Actually, this is my talent [laughs].

What is time to you?

Time has forged me to be the person I am today, crafted some professional traits I need to confront challenges, and revealed the most important values I live by. My favourite quote in relation to this is: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

When everything is said and done, what would you like people to remember you for?

My chicken mushroom cream recipe and: “He taught me how to throw a jab, walk elegantly, talk with integrity, raise the belt, respect adversity and offer a hand to the needy.”

(Related: Ruchdi Hajjar is plotting a strategy to reform boxing in Singapore)

If you’re interested in the collector’s box, you can find more information here.

The Balvenie Gift Packs

The Balvenie x Royal Selangor gift pack with the 12 Year Old and a special whisky glass.

The Balvenie x Royal Selangor gift pack with the 12 Year Old and a special whisky glass.

The Balvenie and Royal Selangor also created three gift packs for that whisky lover in your life. Each pack contains one whisky – choose between the 12 Year Old DoubleWood, the 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask or the 17 Year Old DoubleWood single malt – and a delicately handcrafted pewter based whisky glass. You can purchase the gift packs at the William Grant & Sons flagship store on LazMall here.