Growing up financially challenging is never easy for any child. But, for Alan Yun — a distinguished actor, model and founder of two restaurants Limapulo and 45 Speak Vezy Bar – he had to learn to be mature and independent.
Since Yun made his first television appearance for a shampoo commercial at the age of 15, he has been a familiar face in our local entertainment scene. He is known for his good looks, and hence it is to no surprise that he was casted as the face for many major brands.
This friendly and charismatic gentleman has also appeared in the critically acclaimed films Sepet and Gubra which was directed by the late Yasmin Ahmad.
But life has not always been a bed of roses for this man.
On a busy weekday afternoon during lunch, Alan Yun shares with Business Today his story as a model, actor and restauranteur.
“I came from a single parent family and was raised by my late mom, so at a young age I realised it’s not easy for my mom financially,” Yun reminisces. Though I was young, I will look for jobs to lessen my mom’s burden.
“During the weekends, I will get busy helping my friend at a catering company. The hours were long but, the pay was good – RM30 to RM50 per day – back then it was big money.”
“I have this thinking of being independent, and how to earn money quickly,” Yun exhales. I was always on the lookout for better opportunities.
Later through his circle of friends, he was exposed to casting agencies.
“It was not easy, I went through numerous auditions without success,” Yun recollects. But I persevered and learnt to be patient.
One day when his agency called him to go in for a national campaign casting, Yun thought it would be his lucky break. To his dismay, it was not something he had in mind.
“I realised that I needed to think out of the box, be more creative”.
Upon graduation from school, Yun decided to put his college plans on hold and go full swing into modelling. He registered with other talent agencies and participated in modelling competitions.
Yun’s first breakthrough came when he was crowned the first runner-up in a modelling competition. From then onwards, more doors were opened.
“I told myself to continue doing what I’m good at, which is catwalk,” Yun remarks lightly.
Many people have a wrong perception about the modelling industry, but Yun believed it is how you manage it, and how you live by it.
There is no limit to one’s talent. His courageous spirit led him to embark into the acting career. He was given a role in the movie “Sepet” and its sequel “Gubra” which became an award-winning movie.
Since then, Yun’s illustrious career in acting took off. To date, he has been in many dramas and movies.
“I know I cannot depend on this career for the rest of my life and furthermore there’s this inner voice telling me to go further, to try something new,” he murmurs.
With encouragement, strength and tenacity, Yun tried his hand in advertising, F&B, real estate and supplying building materials.
Yun struggled and faced many setbacks over the years. He lost his investments after falling out with a business partner.
It was not easy, I had to start from scratch all over again especially when you have reached a pinnacle of your career,” Yun whispers.
“I have learnt to be humble. A man’s character lies not in his successes but in times of struggles and trials”.
Through courage and confidence, he went on to set up Limapulo – a Baba Nyonya Restaurant located at The Row – in 2013 with his godfather Uncle John, who is the man behind the Peranakan recipes.
“In the beginning, I handled the operations while Uncle John created the recipes,” Yun shares. Over the years, Uncle John has imparted his culinary wisdom to us. Now, I want him to sit back and enjoy the comfort, hence I took over running the operations and the kitchen.
“Running a restaurant is challenging but there are always the good moments and I have big plans to improve the business,” he says candidly.
“I am blessed to have the support of my friends and family”.
Even though Yun is busy running two restaurants, he is still very much involved in acting – his latest movie “Kill Fist” directed by James Lee. The movie was nominated for 7 categories in the AOF Action On Film International Film Festival 2019.
There is no definite limit for this entrepreneur. Early this year, Yun opened his second restaurant 45SpeakVezy Bar which is located a stone’s throw away from Limapulo. Here they serve the signature Fish Head Noodles and special Hotpot.
-By Sharon Chang-