BURO 24/7 Malaysia Presents
Jonathan Putra and Bella Kuan on living life to the fullest
Seize the moment
Why be one thing when you can be many? Jonathan Putra and Bella Kuan are two shining examples of having a multifaceted career, and diverse interests.
Studying law doesn't mean you can only become a lawyer, likewise having a 9-to-5 desk job doesn't mean you can't also be a photographer, dancer, or a DJ, or anything else you want to be. Society has shaped many of us to seek perfection over braving the countless possibilities of our potential, some of which we have yet to unlock. Think about it. Ten years from today, would you regret not having pursued those childhood dreams, visited the places on your bucket list, or tried new experiences?

You only have one life, so seize opportunities and make the most of it. At Rémy Martin, the finest cognac requires a blend of many things—exceptional eaux-de-vie, the expertise of the cellar masters, and the use of modern technology to produce cognac of the highest quality - one that's smooth in texture and bold in taste. They call it the 'slash'—Man/ nature/ nose/ mouth/ crus/ blends/ generations/ talents. This same belief extends to people. People who should be made up of work/ life/ passion, and more. People like Jonathan Putra and Bella Kuan.
"After my hosting stint on NTV7's breakfast show, I was soon invited to take part in a telemovie called Pengancam Perkhawinan. They needed a mixed white dude who could speak Malay, and that was the start of my career as an actor! Acting is incredibly fun. You get to use your imagination; I enjoy the challenge of putting myself in someone else's shoes. You learn a lot about yourself and human nature in the process. I like to think of it as getting a taste of a life that could have been."
"My family is the non-traditional sort who appreciates anything to do with creativity. My mum was a contemporary dancer/ pianist and my stepdad, a drummer. Growing up, we would go watch our stepdad play at the local café on the weekends so that meant spending a lot of time around creative people, dancing with the waitresses, and singing along with the band. But I found my calling to be an artist not too long after I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. I could never sit still so my parents got me comic books to keep me entertained. I loved the artwork so I started drawing the characters and creating my own ones. From there, I started expanding my techniques and it has made me appreciate the incredible beauty in the world—and its people—better."
"I've always loved working with my hands and in a way, it's like creating art. I grew up in the US and when I was 16, I didn't want to depend on my parents for money so I got a job. Trades like carpentry there are good, high paying stable jobs. It's honest work too. No office, no politics. It's either the house is built properly or it isn't. I still do it from time to time since coming to Malaysia but it's mostly for charity. I've worked a few times with Epic Homes, which is a non-profit initiative that builds homes for underprivileged Malaysians."
"People love to say, 'A Jack of all trades is a master of none.' Interestingly, the complete saying is actually, 'A Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.' I love that phrase and that's why I will always be a work in progress."
"I love to cook, write, compose and play music. I've directed digital content videos and TV commercials. I was a stockbroker before. I make jewellery. I've got a green thumb. I also have a massage therapy license and am learning tripsichore yoga. There's more (laughs)."

"As they say, YOLO. Don't be afraid of failure. People have a tendency to decide in advance that they can't do something before they even try. Life is here to be lived. If you want to do something, go for it. If life is tough, it's only to make you grow. Only you can make your own happiness."

"I have no idea yet but that's part of the fun. Life is full of opportunities. We have this idea that we are supposed to do one thing and be great at that, but that's not necessarily true. People love to say, 'A Jack of all trades is a master of none.' Interestingly, the complete saying is actually, 'A Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.' I love that phrase and that's why I will always be a work in progress."

"It was the right timing. My friend, then-business partner, introduced the natural beauty brand, Handmade Heroes, to me and I really loved the product. He suggested that I give running a business a try since I already have an 'influence' and can use it as a marketing tool. It was a product I believed in so I thought, 'Yes, let's do it!' We tested the market, did a lot of consignments, distributed to pharmacies and launched it on Instagram. The official launch only happened some two years later. Now, three years later, my current business partner is coming onboard full time and we have plans to expand."

"When people tell me they've heard of Handmade Heroes and that they use it. Recently, a girl came up to me and told me how she had a lip allergy and for six months, she used all kinds of products and nothing worked—until she tried ours. And now she's going to buy the whole range. I think these are the kind of small things that matters the most. It makes me feel that I didn't choose the wrong product to bring in."
"I discovered spin when I was in Hong Kong and fell in love with it. After I came back, I started telling everyone how much I wished someone would open a cycle studio because it was so much fun. Jason was the only one who was intrigued enough to actually do it. He would ask me about my experience in Hong Kong and eventually he asked if I would be keen to take up a course and try being an instructor at Flycycle. I was like, 'Why not?' It's nice to work out and get paid for it (laughs)."
"I started playing the piano when I was a kid because my mum used to be a piano teacher. Then, I joined the choir team and realised how much I love singing as well. That was in primary school. I jumped at the chance at anything music-related after that and even studied classical music in college. Specifically piano and opera. Opera is actually very fun and I might pursue studying it in Italy one day."
"It's okay if it's uncomfortable or if it may seem embarrassing—just do it. Don't hold back because of what people might think."
"Just go with your gut. If you never try, you'll never know. It boils down to having courage and an optimistic mindset. I can be overly positive sometimes. My friends tell me that I'm stubborn but I think I'm just determined. It depends on how you see it. I never get discouraged. I'm actually very shy when it comes to meeting new people but I think it's good to make yourself uncomfortable sometimes. It forces you out of your comfort zone—just do it. Don't hold back because of what people might think. Flycycle really helped me a lot in this."

"My grandmother. I complain a lot sometimes, even over small issues but my grandmother is the type to just 'do'. She never complains. No matter how hard it is, she would suck it up and that's never easy for anybody. She's done it for 90 years and that's very selfless in a way. I hope I can have that same attitude towards my family, friends, work; in everything I do."
Videography: Shepherd Pictures
Photography: Jena Yek/Shepherd Pictures
Coordination: Rachel Au
Art Direction: Yi Suen Chong
Hair: Juno Ko
Makeup: Shiyo Joo
Assisted by: Lim Lee Ann
Location: Pan & Tamper, Ben's @ Publika, Me.Reka Makerspace, La Juiceria Superfoods @ Verve Suites, Flycycle

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