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My life: Greg Rafferty

Movember's man in Hong Kong tells Jeanette Wang why he is so keen to persuade the city's chaps to furnish their upper lip

 

THE BIG MO-VE I lived in London for six years, working for a big TV production company as an account manager. In 2009, I returned to Australia and was looking for a change in career. I'd done a reasonable amount of volunteering while I was in London and felt really passionate about it and wanted to combine it with a career. It just so happened that a friend was working at (health-awareness charity) Movember and an opportunity came along. Movember is making a real impact on men's health and I'm proud to be part of that. I'm relatively busy most of the year, either implementing the Movember campaign or working with the team to plan the next one. I do enjoy the time I get to turn the phone off and relax, recharge and not think about moustaches for a week or two. I usually take two weeks in January, as it is the middle of the Australian summer, and head to the coast for a little holiday, which involves long runs, swimming and maybe a little too much time spent watching cricket on TV.

'TACHY SUBJECT My dad has always had a moustache and every male teacher I had through primary and secondary school had one, so I related it to guys of my dad's vintage. But now, you walk around Melbourne or other parts of the world and a lot of younger guys are wearing moustaches. I have a moustache for about six months of the year. My wife's not a big fan of it, so for half a year I'm not very popular at home. It does feel quite nice when I shave it off but, to me, now, the moustache means so much more. It's been such a catalyst for change and an important tool with helping guys with their health. We publish a moustache style guide on our website and although I wish I could claim to have grown all of them, I'm very limited in what my top lip allows me to grow. I have the same face furniture each year, which pretty much looks like a fat, furry slug - not pretty but, I always say, it's not the mo you grow but the confidence you carry yourself with.

SLOW-MO It wasn't till last year, when I travelled to Hong Kong to launch Movember, that I had my first wet shave. It was such a lovely experience, sitting in the barber's chair, having a hot towel on your face, putting the cream on, taking time to shave. It's so different from the way most guys wake up, take two minutes to shave and rush out the door. I think you can draw a parallel between shaving and how guys engage in their health - they often don't take the time to see a doctor or listen to their bodies.

During my 20s, I wasn't particularly good with my health. Like a lot of guys (of that age), I was more interested in having a good time. But as I entered my 30s my attitude changed. I'm better at going to see the doctor when I'm not feeling well and resting when I need to. As you get older, you appreciate the need to slow down. You also have different priorities and you realise that looking after yourself is really an investment in your future. And I guess, if I'm going to be saying to other people to take responsibility for their own health, I'd better be doing it myself.

ON THE RUN I started running when I was living in London and just really got the bug. I found it such a good way to meditate, to have that time on your own and collect your thoughts. I've done the Melbourne Marathon for the last three years. Unfortunately, as work and life get busier - we have a three-month-old baby girl - I haven't been able to train as much as I'd like to. I bought a road bicycle recently so I can ride to and from work, to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. Now that I have a child, I really want to be in good health to set a good example for her. I want to be around for a long time because I just can't wait to see her grow up and positively influence her life.

The one thing my parents - particularly my mum - taught me was you have to take responsibility for yourself and that you don't achieve anything without hard work. That's true about your fitness and health; if you're not going to put the effort in, you're not going to get the results.

MAN ON THE STREET Each year we come up with a different creative take on Movember and this year it's Generation Mo. Last year, we talked about the family and father-son conversation, and a couple of years before it was about what it means to be a gentleman. This year's campaign is more grungy; we're taking the message to the street. Like any social movement in the last 30 or 40 years, it's the people who have to make the change. We're saying that guys have to take responsibility and fight for their own health.

HAIR APPARENT There was a lot of feedback when we first took Movember to Hong Kong and Singapore last year that Asian guys won't be able to grow a mo. But what I've found is that Asian guys can grow pretty good ones. And I guess because moustaches aren't as popular in Asian countries, it becomes quite impactful, because people really notice when someone has a mo and it starts a whole chain of conversation.

 

Movember started in a Melbourne pub in 2003 with just 30 "mo bros" and has since grown into a global movement with more than three million participants in 21 countries. Join this year's campaign by signing up at movember.com.

 

 

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