Arnold & Arthur LOH

AugustMan (Malaysia) - - Folks Of Kin -

GROW­ING UP UN­DER THE SAME ROOF FOR BROTH­ERS ARNOLD and Arthur Loh is a sum­ma­tion of the com­monly heard dis­mis­sive proverb: boys will be boys. There were plenty of harm­less bul­ly­ing between the broth­ers of three years’ dif­fer­ence, in­clud­ing the ex­er­tion of se­nior­ity on the older sib­ling’s part̶child­ish an­tics of a broth­erly re­la­tion­ship, as the two em­braced their mas­culin­ity. “When I was around 7, and Arthur was 4, our mom would in­struct us to clean up after din­ner be­fore leav­ing the house,” Arnold re­calls. "I would pull up a stool by the kitchen sink for Arthur, and co­erced him into do­ing the dishes, in­clud­ing my fair share, while I kicked back and watched TV in the liv­ing room.”

“I re­mem­ber watch­ing TV while Arnold was away in school, hav­ing a grand time, but the mo­ment he came home, he would snatch the re­mote con­trol and switch the chan­nel, fi­nal­is­ing his author­ity over me with a smack on the side of my head,” Arthur adds to the walk down mem­ory lane. Much like how ev­ery­one would go through changes dur­ing pu­berty, the ta­bles turned as well for the Loh broth­ers when the changes hap­pened̶not only for them in­di­vid­u­ally, but their re­la­tion­ship as well. When Arthur came back from his high school stud­ies in the United States, he re­alised that things were not the same any­more.

“Of­ten I had to take it from Arnold when we were kids be­cause I was the skin­nier and weaker one, but dur­ing high school, I took up mar­tial arts, and I grew taller and stronger than him,” Arthur says. “Things would get rather messy when­ever Arnold tried to pull the same sh*t he did four years back. I would get him in an arm lock, or chase him around the din­ing ta­ble with a wooden stick, try­ing to beat him up... Our fa­ther had to in­ter­vene a lot dur­ing that time.”

De­spite the ca­ma­raderie (or lack thereof), sib­ling ri­valry did not ex­ist between the broth­ers with re­gard to com­pet­ing to be the bet­ter child in the fam­ily, as Arnold and Arthur grew up to be the polar op­po­sites of each other.

“Arthur turns out to be the more hands-on one, while I, on the other hand is more about con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion than the leg­work, and I think the fact that our par­ents knew we were very dif­fer­ent from the start con­trib­uted to that up­bring­ing,” Arnold says. “They never pit­ted us against each other, and they just let us do our thing, and dealt with us in­di­vid­u­ally in­stead of as a pair.”

In the long run, their dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties would even­tu­ally make them co-part­ners of the thriv­ing mod­ern life­style fash­ion brand, Pes­tle and Mor­tar Cloth­ing, along­side good friend Hugh Koh; much like the dy­namic between a pes­tle and a mor­tar, you could say.

Its hum­ble be­gin­nings in 2010 has taken on a brick and mor­tar store in Bangsar Telawi, as well as the multi-la­bel store Ma­jor Drop in Mid Val­ley Mega­mall and Sun­way Pyra­mid, not to men­tion, var­i­ous col­lab­o­ra­tions that pro­moted the pa­tri­otic spirit to­wards Malaysia, such as the more re­cent ones with Royal Se­lan­gor, renowned il­lus­tra­tor Paul Bush, and Klang Val­ley’s cur­rent favourite burger joint, myBurg­erLab.

“It wasn’t as bad as I ex­pected, to be hon­est. Every­body kept telling us how we should avoid go­ing into busi­ness with fam­ily and friends, but as it turns out, the fact that I had Arnold by my side when we started Pes­tle and Mother Cloth­ing ac­tu­ally made things eas­ier, due to our dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties,” Arthur ex­plains.

“Of course, there were a few bumps along the way, and plenty of bick­er­ing between us both, but we still make it work at the end of the day,” Arnold chimes in. “We were quite clear of our own roles from the start, Hugh in­cluded, and we just have to make sure to stick to them till the end.”

These days, Arnold and Arthur are less in­volved in the com­ings and go­ings at Pes­tle and Mor­tar Cloth­ing, al­beit still pro­vid­ing it sup­port in the form of at­ten­dance at launch events. Arnold has re­sumed his day job as a ra­dio DJ on the Hitz Morn­ing Crew, while Arthur keeps his handy hands busy with the Rid­ers Garage in Subang, not to men­tion, rais­ing his first­born.

While Arnold and Arthur’s re­la­tion­ship as broth­ers may not have brought them closer as they got older, (the kind where they would start call­ing up each other out of the blue, be­sides Arnold ask­ing Arthur if he’s get­ting the right bulb for his light fix­ture), it has at least made them great busi­ness part­ners.

“When I was younger, I hated hang­ing out or be­ing seen with my brother; I al­ways felt he was just a kid, who would prob­a­bly say or do some­thing to em­bar­rass me in front of my friends. But at some point, he grew up and we are now on the same level as adults that we can be friends, get­ting along bet­ter not only as broth­ers,” Arnold di­vulges.

“Be­ing broth­ers, it’s a love/hate re­la­tion­ship,” Arthur says good­hu­mouredly. “You can’t al­ways say what you love about each other, but you can go on and on about what you hate about each other.” AM

out­side world, and ev­ery time we talk, we don’t re­alise that we’re giv­ing away a lot of our en­ergy. We get too dis­tracted with con­ver­sa­tions, ei­ther gos­sip­ing or com­plain­ing ‒ which are things that we tend to do ver­bally, we then over­look cer­tain things that are hap­pen­ing within us. When you come into a space to prac­tise yoga, it’s a time to recharge and re­ju­ve­nate. Treat it as such that it’s sa­cred time̶­time for your­self, to be with your­self, and to con­nect with your­self.

What are your thoughts on the stereo­type of men do­ing yoga, when men are gen­er­ally pre­sumed to hit the gym when want­ing a health­ier life­style?

It’s ironic though, con­sid­er­ing when yoga first started it was strictly for men (laughs)! I sup­pose, we are pro­grammed to go with our mas­culin­ity, which in­ter­twines with the ego. It’s not our fault, we’re brought up that way. We see it through our par­ents, our sib­lings, even through the me­dia, how mas­culin­ity is por­trayed. So, a lot of men just fall into that be­lief, not know­ing that there’s an­other way of look­ing at mas­culin­ity, or defin­ing it. I think that the big­gest thing for men is the will­ing­ness to go within, and dis­cover our own vul­ner­a­bil­ity, as well as re­al­is­ing our own fem­i­nin­ity with­in̶a whole as­pect of our­selves that we may never know ex­ists or un­der­stand. Yoga pro­motes the in­ner union, and al­lows one to har­ness both sides within for a more bal­anced har­mony. I be­lieve that when you have that har­mony within you, you open your­self up to a lot more po­ten­tials and op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence in life. AM

FROM LEFTSide an­gle pose; Hand­stand pose

Hansen was last fea­tured in our Fe­bru­ary 2009 is­sue

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