kingssleeve cover Bernard hands Percussion - Bernard Goh - For Humanities and Arts

Bernard Goh – For Humanities and Arts

“Today’s society is cold and insensitive to many things,” said Bernard Goh, Artist Director of HANDS Percussion group, and he hopes to use the energy of the drums to convey stories that appeal to people’s emotions.

Founded in 1997, HANDS Percussion is Malaysia’s first artistic percussion group.  Its director, Bernard Goh, would like to lead the team to make it a more professional drumming group.

Since young, Bernard loved art and music. He even formed a drumming group when he was in high school. As he stepped into adulthood, his enthusiasm for drums did not diminish. He gave up his work as a graphic designer to teach the 24-member festive drumming group with hopes that it will get the popularity it deserves. This behind-the-scene hero has a huge mission and he persevered to show that drum beats can reveal multiculturalism and arts and humanities in Malaysia.


kingssleeve cover Bernard hands Percussion profile - Bernard Goh - For Humanities and Arts
Suits | Massimo Dutti

Q:Since HANDS Percussion’s formation 19 years ago, what kind of setbacks or challenges have you dealt with?

We have had a lot of challenges these 19 years and most of it are economic or budget-related problems. But if the whole team is on the same page, then any problems can be overcome. I usually use the frustration as a driving force but realistically, sometimes it is very difficult to feel enthusiastic. However, we must remind ourselves to not forget the original intention of performing arts.

Q:How does one make their drum group stand out?

In recent years, there are more and more drum groups, theatre groups and dance companies, so this genre is definitely flourishing. I think that there is no need to deliberately flaunt their teams but to maintain a sincere heart in performing arts. Don’t plagiarise or follow the crowd but have your own ideas and you’ll go far.

Q:How do you balance your business and artistic ventures?

It is a little difficult but both art and business can coexist together. Art has its own value, so don’t commercialise it. Keep its original intention. We are self-funded and while there are costs to consider, we are very grateful to be able to survive until today. We may need nice things in life but we should consider the importance of arts and humanities as well.

Q:What do you think is the biggest challenge?

Multi-tasking, as you need to take a lot into account in this business. You’ll also need to take care of every member of the group.

Q:What do you think is the characteristic of a successful man?

Someone who is able to bear and have a sense of responsibility.

Q:What is your definition of success?

To me, the definition of success is to have a group of people who are willing to follow and support you through difficult times.

Q:What do you think is the secret to success?

Self-discipline, staying positive and being good in general have been my mantra for over twenty years. Then there’s also emotional management, communication with members, caring and understanding each other. We are not a tool to be handled; our performances are done by people and they are a surge of emotions and sounds. It is about our passion and momentum, and the positive cohesion of emotions and energy that brings success.

Q:Share your life’s motto? 

‘Seize the day’. Give yourself a little more time every day. Live life in the moment, and live life fully.

Q:What do you usually do when you need to rest?

When I need to rest, I will turn off my phone so that I can have a quiet moment to think and focus.

Q:The most indispensable thing in life?

Love, contentment, sharing and giving. Other than managing the HANDS Percussion group, I also teach and give lectures. I find satisfaction in my efforts to contribute and share with the community.

Q:What are your expectations for the future?

The HANDS Percussion group is not mine alone, so I hope that all the members of the group are able to work independently. I also hope that the group can have a more practical business direction in the future.

kingssleeve cover Bernard hands Percussion profile 1 - Bernard Goh - For Humanities and Arts
Shirts & Double Breasted Jacket | Blackbarrett

bernard 2 - Bernard Goh - For Humanities and Arts

interview&text |  Irene
styling | Alison Law
photography |  Xerxes Lee @ Awesome Image
grooming |Zoeys Chen

Further Reading:Ken Lim: Having a Rich Mind is The Key to Success

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