Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Dear All,
May you have a truly blessed year 2011, filled with health, joy and peace.

(This is a auto-publish post. I'm on holiday abroad with the family right now)

Best wishes,

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Best wishes for the season and the coming new year, everyone! I hope you're with your loved ones and are having lots of good times together.

Last Thursday, the day after I typed out this post, I found out my brother's eyes has cataracts and so they need surgery. Life has a funny way of throwing ironic spanners at you, doesn't it? It's probably linked with his Down's syndrome, and I'm not overly worried as it's only minor surgery, (apparently it just takes 15 minutes) but still, I can't imagine it being pleasant in any sense of the word.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks.

Also, I'll be off to Turkey with my family from next Tuesday night till early next year! 

Till I'm back, take care out there!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Dear Santa

The obligatory year-end contemplative post. (For last year's post, see here).

Recently, I drew up a Christmas wish list of stuff I wanted. Yet, as I thought about each item a little more carefully, I crossed-out those I did not truly want, until eventually almost nothing was left. Mind you, I was a little startled at what that exercise revealed to me.

There are undoubtedly a few things I would like: a Canon 550D, a 1TB external HDD, some DVDs and albums, a few more books (not that I don't have plenty already), some new clothes, a shinny tie clip, cufflinks and watch, etc. But I asked myself: "Do I want, really, really want these things?" No. They’re just things, objects. Any joy I would gain will be fleeting. I don't constantly think about or long for these or anything else.

Well, except maybe two things.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A Kurang Manis Christmas Songlist

Too many repetitions of over-the-top Christmas songs, symphonies, hymns, carols, choruses, canticles, duets, riffs, ditties, dingles and jingles can drive anyone a little mad (as if the ubiquitous tackiness isn't enough!).

As a little gift, I've curated a small selection of new and/or less-known Christmas songs that will not give your head diabetes. Well, except maybe the last one.

"Always in Season" by Pomplamoose
First up, from the talented duo of Nataly Dawn and Jack Comte, an original Christmas song which has plenty of sentiment without sentimentality. Check out their other songs!

"Put the Lights on the Tree" by Sufjan Stevens
Here's a cute little song by one of my faves, complete with cute video.
Incidentally, I have his Christmas album. 

"Christmas, Christmas" by Gerald Ko feat Jackie Kim
Another original by talented YouTube singers. Earnest, in a good way. Again, check out his other songs!

For amazing folksy covers of Christmas song, visit Caleb & the Caroling Caravan's page here, where you can download part of their 2009 album for free. "Christmas Don't Be Late" by Alvin & The Chipmunks is given a completely new (and amazingly good) spin by them, I could not imagine it was actually a cover! It's definitely worth a listen.

"Grown Up Christmas List" by Natalie Cole
Lastly, a song that is actually naive and sickly sweet. I didn't  like it when I first heard it, but it grew on me after hearing it being practiced a dozen times for my office's Christmas lunch show (I am proud to say that in the name of entertainment, I made a complete fool of myself singing the Wondergirl's "Nobody" with a band while 4 of my female colleagues danced the moves—ah, the things I do for my firm!). It was written originally by David Foster and has been covered by many from Clay Aiken to Michael Bublé, but Ms. Cole was the one who first popularised it.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Baby It's Hot Outside

My yuletide spirit got on a horrendous start this year (fiasco with the tree, long story). I thought: sod it, I am too old for any of this ridiculous Christmas schmaltz. 

Yet the past few days I've been buying prezzies for more people than I can afford, searching for mince pies, listening to songs about white snow and cold air (when instead it's blazing hot/raining cats and dogs outside) and generally getting into the spirit of spreading joy and love and peace and all those other year-end buzzwords.

Sigh, what is it about this time of year, so easy to hate, so easy to put down, so tempting to ignore, that still manages to creep up to us?

(For a very long Christmas post I wrote last year, see here. Warning: some things have changed since then!)

P.S. Oh, it's Human Rights Day today, well yesterday, so Happy Human Rights Day to all humans out there!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

World Aids Day

It's not just about today. It's about tomorrow. Our tomorrow.
Spread the awareness people!

Click on the post title to visit the official website.

All Good Things

Roses fade,
Plays end their runs,
Coklat habis kena makan,
Long days out come to a close, 
Concerts stop after the encore,
And bank accounts eventually dry up...
but memories, well, they last a little longer, thankfully.

It was a good, nay, wonderful holiday.
I did much that I had wanted to do, although of course not everything that I had wanted.
Alack, tomorrow, I put on my rat suit again.
At least it'll be December, a (reputedly) relaxed month.
Christmas, then Turkey (the country, not the bird).
Must keep those things in mind. Must.

And here's a little musical distraction from my current indie It Girl Yuna.

Bon Nuit, peeps.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

At Last!

After 5 years of grappling, wearying and sacrificial dedication to this unfathomable, elusive, ever-changing, frustrating, abstract thing called "Law", I will finally be called as an advocate and solicitor of the Bar tomorrow morning. After that, you can officially label me scum of humanity. Just don't forget to settle my bill.

The ceremony will be at 10.00am Friday, 26th November 2010.
The venue: Mahkamah Rayuan & Kuasa-kuasa Khas 3, Level 3, Right Wing of the Jalan Duta Court Complex.
The presiding judge: Y.A. Pesuruhjaya Kehakiman Pn. Hadhariah bt. Syed Ismail.

If you're free, do drop by! It's probably be the only time you'll see everyone in a court in a happy mood.

In the evening, I will be celebrating the happy day at Apartment KLCC, around 10.00pm onwards. Reza Salleh will be launching his album "Realize" there, so there'll be live music from him and guests:
David Knight
Liyana Fizi
Zalila Lee
Isaac Entry
Mia Palencia
An extremely impressive line-up, if you ask me!

Come share with me the joy of joining the dark side; after all, they say it goes downhill from here on. Even if you don't like me (what with my new "lawyer" status and all), I'm sure you'll love the awesome music from these talented performers. See you there!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Hey Normal Day!

by Mary Jean Iron

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.
One day I will dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut,
or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Le Sigh...

This video made me want to buy a ticket to the UK. Seriously.

And this video made me want to walk around London waiting for something to happen.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Quote of the Week

"Why are lawyers miserable: want a list?"

Sathnam Sanghera writes about London lawyers. Click on the post title to visit the article, on the Times Online website.

A lot of what he states applies to KL lawyers and firms too, because I was nodding and smirking on almost every sentence.
There is one point that doesn't apply though: most KL lawyers are not, I repeat are NOT well paid. The sooner the public dispels that notion the better. The chauffeur driven, Rolex toting, Bukit Tunku swinging ones: they are few compared to the the thousands out there who are still struggling to settle the rent.

Thanks to Vince for the heads up. Now he's a lawyer whom I know truly enjoys his work. Hehe.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Better Late

Happy Belated Deepavali, Guy Fawkes Day, and a belated birthday wishes to the Sister.

Sorry this is uber-lambat, I was busy with Lost & Found.

Please Read This: Generation Why?

Zadie Smith reflects on the film "The Social Network" (directed by David Fincher, screenplay by Aaron Sorkin), "You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto", a book by Jaron Lanier and the phenomenon that is facebook.

Click on the post title above to visit the article, on the New York Review of Books site.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Lost & Found, Over & Out

Today, we had the last show for Lost & Found at The Actor's Studio Lot 10, and a cast party after. The rehearsal process felt like it took ages (especially considering I was juggling my job), but the run itself? It was four shows and it felt like the blink of an eye. Or should I say, the snap of a finger?

Ok, I can't resist getting a little emo about this. You have been warned.

To the rest of the world, it was just another short-run play, but for me personally, it was a journey.

And I cannot even begin to tell you how challenging a path it has been. I had to juggle work, had my car door smashed at KLPac, had to find time to write, had to come for endless rehearsals (even one after I drove to and fro from KL to Kluang for work) and I even lost my phone at a KLPac toilet. Yet, I have been blessed, because it's ridiculous I got this far: all the late nights at the firm didn't clash with rehearsals, and I finished my pupillage just as rehearsals went back-to-back. I really have to thank God for these happy coincidences.

I will of course remember also what a rewarding journey it has been, not only in terms of the play's script and performances, of which I am proud, but also in terms of what happened along the way. I have gained confidence in myself, I have had a ball of a time, I have done something I never thought I was able to and I have met wonderful, funny, loving and truly inspiring individuals, and very importantly, I made a communication breakthrough with my family. Even if the show was a complete flop, all that would have been worth the trouble.

And it wasn't a flop. Thank yous are in order.

To all those who came to watch, thank you so much, it meant a lot to me that you took the time, money and effort. I hope you've been rewarded not just with entertainment, but with things to ponder and chew on, which hopefully will last long after the show. For those of you who didn't come, well, your loss, really. No pun intended.

A big thank you Gavin and Joe, for giving all of us the opportunity to do this, and for trusting us as performers and individuals, and to Faridah, for producing.

Major props to SM Marta, publicist Val, lighting guy Azhar and all the backstage/office/admin crew for helping us out.

Thank you too to all the previous Platformers of 2009, in particular Marina, Wan Azhar, Alex, Adel and Calvin, for helping me on my way. I owe you guys.

Lots of love and thanks to my family, for coming round and supporting me.

Last but not least, thank you and thank you and thank you again to intense Toby, macha Niktia, lawyer Jeremy and towering Ian, my original Platform actors awesome Khai, sexy Amanda and even sexier Aizat, and not to forget mummy Malin, ever-healthy Muna, underage Marvin and thoughtful Justin, for sharing this amazing experience with me so generously and so graciously. Thank you for the support, concern and love. I cannot even begin to say how much this experience has meant to me and how much I will miss you guys. I won't forget, I won't forget.

Special mention goes to Ash, my muse from way back in the day.

Thank you, everyone, a million times thank you.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Lost & Found Plug #2

How was your Halloween? Mine was scary. I was a Hakka Association dinner in Klang. The second in a month. I never felt less Cina in my life. I donno whether I should be proud or embarrassed.

Lost & Found rehearsals are coming along well (see previous post). Here's the facebook event page. And here's a short interview on Clive with one of my directors, Gavin Yap.

I hope you're coming. It would mean a lot to me.

1 hour 15 minutes. No intermission.
You need to pay attention. You need to listen.
Because it's minimalist.
No giants, monsters or dragons.
No falling chandeliers, lasers, explosions, stunt doubles or ships.
No mother-in-laws. No villains. No superheroes. No tokens.
No set. No costumes. No props.
No, not even actors.
Just us. On stage.
With our stories and our truth.

Come with an open mind, and I hope you'll leave with a moved heart.

Ok, off to my last studio rehearsal. Tomorrow we bump-in to TAS Lot 10!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lost & Found

I'd like to say that the plan to rob a bank and move to the Dominican Republic after my pupillage was a great success, but that is not the reason why I haven't updated this blog. The truth is far less palatable. My dear friends, if you have not figured out already from my mentions of "rehearsals", I ACTOR (cue dramatic voice and hand gestures). I can hear the gasps already.

I am currently on a short break from work after my pupillage and I've been busy with rehearsals and so have not really given much time or attention to this space, but for the most part I am enjoying the process of putting up a play. It's called "Lost & Found", and I hope you can come watch; tickets are ridiculously cheap anyway.  It's running over the Deepavali weekend at the Actor's Studio Lot 10 (on the rooftop yo!).

I have very few lines in it, but I am proud to say I wrote a huge chunk of the script with the rest of the team (I did originally join as a writer anyway.) It really is gratifying as a writer to see others perform your words. It is also a privilege to work under Joe Hasham and Gavin Yap, both of whom have been in theatre for many years.

You can click on the promo poster below to enlarge it.

If you notice that I have long, curly hair from the back, no, it is not my new hairstyle, nor a wig. That's another guy's body with my head photoshopped on the front; I was not there during the shoot. Yeah, a pretty funny boo-boo.

On another note, I will also be officially called to the Bar as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya this Friday, 26th November at the KL High Court, Jalan Duta, at 10am. If you happen to be nearby and free, do come celebrate with me. (But if you had to choose only one, come for my play instead!)

After nine months of working in a law firm's litigation department, I can say I'm very happy to be have completed my pupillage and I've learnt much.

For example, I've learnt that many lawyers really are dicks. Not all of them by any means, but a large enough percentage to justify the stereotype.

I've also learnt that all lawyers are sadistic, masochistic or sadomasochistic to some degree. No, really, all of them are: why else would they stay in the profession.

I've learnt that a "work-life balance" is not realistically attainable within the first few years in this profession, and by "work-life balance", I mean career advancement, development of technical skills, preservation of health (adequate sleep, exercise, good nutrition), time for friends, time for family, time for spouses/partners, time for personal pursuits (spiritual, artistic, athletic, etc).

Let's be realistic. Few professional careers allow for such balance, and you can bet my arse legal practice isn't one of them. Even during my pupillage I've hurt a lot of people and have at times struggled to keep my life in balance. But you should still try, because letting work consume you, become you, is a very bad idea, unless your work happens to be saving poor kids or turtles or something. You don't want to wake up 5 years down the road and realise it's too late to even try by then, and all that's defining you as a person is how much you can bill your client.

As for my next career step, I'm staying with my firm, and we'll see how it goes from there. Honestly, now is not the time I want to think too much about my future. I'm far more looking forward to enjoying and utilising my break to fullest.

Until next time, take care out there.

P.S. Yesterday was my birthday! It was crap, but better than last year's. Actually, it's hard to beat last year's in terms of crappiness. 

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Day 186: THE END

As I drove home earlier, cruising on the Federal Highway, my tummy filled with unhealthy post-rehearsal mamak food, my car clock showed midnight, and I thought, "Oh my gosh, I'm no longer a pupil-in-chambers. I've actually survived 9 months of working in a law firm!" And you know what? I felt really, really good.

More updates tomorrow, I'm tired now. I think I'll sleep very, very well tonight.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

It's the Final Countdown

My very, very last batch of daily notes from my pupillage. Tomorrow's my last day and yes, I can smell it: the air of freedom.

D175 (27th September): Honesty>Breakthrough>Catharsis>Unexpected Lightness of Being.

D176: Petition hearing for grant of Letter of Administration.

D177: Teaching anything to an older lawyer feels weird.

D178: Bar Council Secretariat, I am deeply, deeply disappointed in you.

D179: Sayonara Betty & Veronika!

D176 (4th October): The answer's "Yes".

D177: Life's a musical. What songs are you choosing?

D178: And then it hit me like a brick wall.

D179: This moving business is extremely disruptive.

D180: Dinner, with entertainment.

D181 (11th October): The day I lost my phone. :(

D182: The day I got upset I lost my phone. :'(

D183: The day night we got our final scripts, and debated at the mamak. :S

D184: The day I remembered I have plenty to be happy about. :)

D185: The day off. :D

Friday, 15 October 2010


Too good not to share.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Pour Tu

Do you feel like running? No, not resuming your jogging plan. No, not rushing to catch the train.  Not rushing at all. Just running. Away. Now. Fast. Not stopping. Until you reach somewhere. Until you reach into somewhere.

A place where you can exhale and lie on the grass and release, where you can forget the person you've become and meet again the person you were.

Where you can speak openly with your past and your present because no one there will make you doubt or fear or shy away. A place where you can swim in the river and let the fish tickle your toes. A place where you can cry and scratch and scream and laugh and jump and tumble and fall.

A place where you can scrub off the layers and layers of dirt and grime and pain and hate and grief and fear that's surrounded your heart, where you can just look at it for what it is, let it be and wear it on your sleeve without being afraid.

A place where you can fly. A place where you can hide. A place where you can rest. A place where you can be. A dream. A state of mind. A lake by a valley by a hill with a river. A free place. A place for us. Come, run with me, and we'll find that place together.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Guardian Critics Give Advice

To those who think they make good critics (which is to say, almost everyone), please click on the post title above to read some advice from people who actually do it for a living, written in 2008.

My two cents: if you know the difference between reviewing, criticizing and critiquing, you're on your way

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Into Every Life a Little Rain Must Fall

Daily notes from my pupillage, which is coming to an end soon. Yay!

D166 (13th September): Rosemary's Bites. Yum yum.

D167: The missing Rolex.

D168: "Where are my rolling papers?"

September 16: Malaysia Day!

D169: Marmalade@BVII.

Over the weekend, I went to Azura & Fariz's wedding, rehearsal, T4YP's Twelth Night, and had a chat with Sam, who's leaving for Exeter.

D170 (20th September): Though this be madness - yet there is method in't.

D171: Shopping for undergarments while being stared at -awkward and funny. Trying not to laugh so that they don't think you're crazy - challenging.

D172: The Talk II.

D173: Decisions, decisions.

D174: I'm green and a little Irish today, aye Arthur?

Sam, all the best in Exeter. I wish I was in your position, starting uni. We'll miss you loads! Keep in touch!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Blog & Roll: Don Kern

Post-It Genius.

Click on post title to visit site. 

Thanks Ash for the heads up. I hope you're well.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Selamat Hari Malaysia

Dear fellow Malaysians,
Let us move towards unity, peace, equality and prosperity for all, and continue what we had started in 1963. Selamat Hari Malaysia to all Malaysians, wherever you are today.


Sunday, 12 September 2010

Shall I Compare Thee? Nay, for it Would Hurt Me More

Oh TM Net, how I do hate thee,
Thy name, a misrepresentation! For thy bands are not broad, but anorexic.
Thy fees a fetter; they be daylight, nay, gov'ment sanctioned robbery!
Thou turnest the joys of YouTube to pain, thou makest photoblogs to be hangmen, and thy download speeds are comparable to a tortoise on stroke from a summer's day.
My country crawls back 10 years because of thee.
The politicians would rather the c'moners stay away from disagreeable blogs, I s'pose.
Vision 2020, oh how it is fogged up in thy shameful claim: Malaysia's No. 1 Internet Provider.


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Rest Your Weary Head and Let Your Heart Decide.

Although the past few weeks I have enjoyed days off on Nuzul Quran and Merdeka Day, I am still immensely glad for this Raya Break, because I seriously need rest. Work, theatre, friends, church activities, visitors, family—these have taken up huge amounts of time and energy.

D154 (23rd August): First matter called at Sessions for CM.

D155: 5 Magistrates' files + 1 Sessions file = total bedlam.

D156: Matter settled, trial called off. Anticlimax to the max. Stayed in office till 10.30 for nothing.

D157: Got the talk today.

27th August: Nuzul Quaran. Gone fishing! Woot!

D158 (30th August): Merdeka Eve, in the office at 10.30pm eating McD's. Pathetic, yes, but hey, it's a free country.

D159: Waiting for Godot performed by two Mak Nyah. A surprisingly brilliant production.

D160: Dinner+Pud with my old muse.

D161: Why do litigators always give you work at the last minute? Why?!

D162 (6th September): A true roller coaster of a day.

D163: Uh-oh. Did I inadvertently breach a rule?

D164: KL Courts' Basement flooded today. Hilarity and annoyance ensue in equal measure as court staff run amok to save their cars and stand down matters.

D165: No rest for the wicked.

I've been looking forward to this long weekend...until I was given work to do over the weekend (yes, I'm looking at you, LMY). Already two thirds of it is gone, and I've given up doing every item on the To-Do List I had mentally prepared, just as I knew I would.

Oh well, at least my pupillage is ending soon. Can.not.wait. Woot!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Selamat Hari Raya / Eid Mubarak!

Dear World,
Happy Raya / Eid Mubarak!
Remember, it's your duty to spread love when others spread hate, so go visit your friends this festive season! (Isn't the kuih raya reason enough anyway?).


Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Selamat Hari Merdeka ke-53.

To my fellow Malaysians,
I wish you a very 53rd Happy Merdeka/Independence/National Day.
Keranamu 1Malaysia Menjana Transformasi Truly Asia Boleh Berkhidmat Majulah Sukan Untuk Negara Bersih Cekap Amanah Buat Kerja

Forgive the photo's clichéd-ness but at least I took it myself. On Merdeka Eve. While returning from work. At 11.30pm. Man I love this country.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

So Much to Do in One Life Time

The past two weeks has been a mini roller-coaster: I moved from happy revelation to near-depression to elation again. 

Here are the notes to my pupillage, August 9th to 20th.

D144 (August 9th): You call this a Mega Sale? Sale my arse!

D145: Half day Legal Aid and half day Exit Evaluation at KL Bar.

D146: Half Day Internal End Evaluation at Tenaganita. Ramadan and fasting begins for Muslims.

D147: Farewell dinner for Regina and Birthday dinner for Wayne, with special appearances.

D148: Bible class, pizza after.

On Saturday 14th, things started to go downhill. 

At the first meeting for a theatre project I was involved in, I was given a "relaxed" schedule which I had doubts I could fully commit to due to the unpredictable nature of my job.  I had to make a very difficult decision of whether or not to pull out, as I did not want to be the one missing rehearsals, showing up late and making excuses. It would not be fair to everyone else in the team who was fully committed.

After leaving the first meeting with those doubts, my already tiddly heart sank to my feet when I saw my (mum's) car.  The driver's door had been smashed by some twat who left no trace of his identity, and could not be traced since there were no CCTVs in the open air parking lot. Yeah well, it happens. Thankfully neither the side fender nor the window system needed replacing. It still cost a bomb to fix though.

I was not happy. at. all. I couldn't sleep on Saturday and Sunday, and was very moody till Thursday night.

D149 (August 16th): Monday blue-hoo-hoos.

D150: Legal Aid. Not a happy bunny.

D151: I'm running out of distractions.

D152: Last Legal Aid duty day. Touched by an angel. Farewell for Senator Gursky. 

D153: Buka puasa with firm staff and farewell for Ruth.

By Wednesday, I finally decided to pull out of the project. On Thursday I met up with the man in charge. Turns out he was some kind of angel and gave me a lifeline. I'm still in. Thank God. I'm happy again. :)

(But don't get me started on the Bar Council Secretariat and Legal Qualifying Board. The attitudes of some people there is disgusting).


According to a farmer in the show "Kill It, Cook It, Eat it", most male calves in the UK are killed (by being shot in the head) and then a small portion of that is fed to wildlife reserves. The rest are simply incinerated. Why? Farmers don't need them: they only need a few bulls to impregnate cows, bulls produce no milk and their market value is lower than their rearing costs. There is simply no market for veal in the UK because most people feel it is cruel to eat young animals. Talk about irony. 
I admit that the text above is pretty random so to give you a little context: I wrote it shortly after I watched a documentary when I was studying in Manchester, circa January 2008. I know the date because I wrote it as an email message and saved it as a draft. Why I chose to write it, I can't quite remember (perhaps there was no real reason).

I also can't remember everything about the documentary, but I do remember it was about the ethical issues surrounding eating meat (which was a hot topic when I was there), in particular meat from young animals. I remember members of the audience were offered cooked suckling pig, veal, foie gras, etc, and some people adamantly refused to eat some things. I particularly remember I was shocked to see on screen how a cute little calf was just shot in with a gun by a farmer, then sent to be incinerated. It seemed ridiculous to me! Yeah, I know pretty random stuff to remember. 

There's no real reason I'm posting this, except to get it out of my email drafts and put it here for posterity...but perhaps I'm compelled to do this now because I found out today that two of my friends will be going to Exeter and Imperial to study next month. 

It brings me back to 4 years ago about this time, when I was scurrying to get my student visa, air ticket, uni accommodation and other things all sorted, filed with gut-wrenching excitement, mortifying apprehension, delirious confusion and just flat-out exhaustion before I left for the UK to pursue my degree. 

It's been 2 years since I've returned, and honestly, there are still days when I miss the place, or rather, the people there.

I can't believe it's been so long. How time flies.

Justin and Samuel, I wish you all the best. I do envy you guys. 

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Yes Please!

Unfortunately for me, and all other Malaysians who enjoy music not found on the American Top 40, many great albums are not published in "Malaysian Editions" and sell for RM50 and above per CD. And you wonder why piracy flourishes?

As for some of the albums below, heck, I'd be lucky to find any edition in the stores.

Mumford & Sons
Sigh No More

Rufus Wainwright
All the Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu

Ray LaMontange & The Pariah Dogs
God Willing & The Creek Don't Rise

Arcade Fire
The Suburbs

Scissor Sisters
Night Work

Bilalah rakyat Malaysia akan dapat nikmati

Here's to the Future for the Dreams of Youth

Note from my pupillage, July 26th to August 2nd.

D134 (July 26th): The things we do for our firm!

D135: SA>KL>Putrajaya>SA.

D136: Tonight someone told me I had a "happening" life. I wish she knew better.

D137: Favouritism can go both ways.

D138: Hmm...haven't had that in a while!

D139 (August 2nd): Late night bondage.

D140: Today at Legal Aid, I had lunch with someone who was actually detained under Operasi Lalang.

D141: "Typewriter a bit cracko today". LOL!

D142: Civil Litigation Workshop at KLBC.

D143: "Lunch Break" made it to the final showcase. Yay!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Through Every Precious Day

Nota keterangan latihan dalam kamar saya, dari tarikh 12hb Julai hingga 23hb Julai, 2010.

D124 (12th July): I got a feeling it's gonna be a good week.

D125: Legal Aid, then homecoming-cum-birthday celebration for A-S.

D126: Arrrrrrggggggh!!!

D127: Ethics & Professional Standards Exam at LPPKN Building (I hope I pass!), then lunch at the Royal Selangor Club.

D128: Seeking balance.

D129 (19th July): I barely remember the weekend happening.

D130: A mentally stimulating day, in the non-law sense.

D131: I miss authentic pub grub served in authentic pubs.

D132: My story is still in the writing.

D133: Another restless, lonely, pathetic Friday night in an endless stream of restless, lonely, pathetic Friday nights.

This Friday, I shall not be a victim again. This Friday, I'm going to leave the office on time. This Friday, I shall have somewhere to go and something to do. This Friday, I'm gonna paint the town red. And ain't nobody gonna stop me.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Can Barely Stand On My Feet

More notes from the dark side.

D114 (28th June): "Please don't go to Malik Imtiaz and ask him for an autograph. Jatuh standard man."

D115: Legal Aid at Tenaganita. Truly, I am blessed.

D116: Work will never end, but your life may, today.

D117: New love is fleeting, but old hate festers.

D118: Introductory session with Ms. Pushpa at Brickfields.

D119 (5th July): "Well, it looks benign, but if it doesn't go away by next Monday, we'll have to take a sample for tests."

D120: Legal Aid. This country scares me sometimes.

D121: The meds are making me weak.

D122: Very sick. At work. Yeah, hardcore, I know.

D123: Regret is life's best and most useless teacher; you'll always learn the lesson—after it's too late.


The past week was one of the most challenging work weeks for me, as the antibiotics I took to combat an ulcer (500mg!) wrecked havoc on my body, leading to coughing, a dry throat, phlegm build up and a very bad fever. I had not been that sick since I came back from the UK. Thankfully, I'm much better now.

I realised that when you're really sick, the world just seems like an awful place to be in, nobody cares and life just seems to suck. It was very hard to remain positive about anything. I thank God that for most of the time, I am blessed with good health.

As for the ulcer itself, it has subsided, but I still need to follow up with the doc about it. I guess we'll see what he says tomorrow?

(On a different note, when I googled "somebody to love lyrics", the first result was Justin Beiber's song, the second Glee Cast's cover, the third Leighton Meester's and the fourth, yes, FOURTH was Queen's. This is say, I sad, sad.)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Quote of the Week

"The way to start writing isn't to start writing at all, but by living. It isn't about creating something from thin air, but about documenting our personal feelings about the things that we see, or to put it crudely, how are you going to be a storyteller if you have no story to tell? Perhaps, in the end, there are not such things as creative people; there are only sharp observers with sensitive hearts."
Yasmin Ahmad (January 7, 1958 - July 25, 2009), Malaysian director, writer, scriptwriter, ad-woman, and sorely missed storyteller.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Blog & Roll: Stuff No One Told Me

I know, it's been a while since the last feature. Work saps away so much of me.

Anyway, I discovered this via another blog. Still in it's early stages, but already showing a lot of promise. Click on the title post to visit the blog.

Sepuluh Haiku untuk Memandu di KL

One of the reasons I think Amir Muhammad is da man. Click on the post title to read his hilarious poetry.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

I Wanna Make a Supersonic Man Out of You

I've finished my play for Short+Sweet. It just needs some proof-reading and then I'll send it off, fingers crossed it'll get picked. Next week is going to be really long, 2 days in court, 1 day at legal aid, half a day for an introductory session with a KL Bar Committee member, and for those days when I'm actually in the office: a photoshoot (don't ask), 6 bills to prepare (all overdue), a capital reduction petition, case summary for submissions, research on credit letters...yes, you're right...there's no way I can do all that!

Notes from my pupillage, from 21st to 25th June.

D109 (21st June): Be careful, cause word gets around.

D110: "I won't even donate blood to help them!" (Yes, referring to the KLBar's Blood Donation Drive).

D111: "Don't be so cynical Josh!"

D112: Such a drag.

D113: Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or kill.

God help me, I hope I'll survive next week!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Happy Father's & International Refugee's Day!

This weekend was breathless: a Bible class on Friday and today,  song-leading today, a youth meeting yesterday and Adam the Musical at Actor's Studio Lot 10 Rooftop this evening, which was quite an experience. It feels like I've used the weekend well, and there's a sense of satisfaction in that. Yet, there are books waiting to be read, DVDs meant to be watched, and pieces swimming in my head, waiting to be written down. In particular I would like to write a play for Short+Sweet, but finding the time to do so before the deadline may be tricky. Time, we all need more of it.

Anyway, here are notes from my pupillage, 7th to 18th June.

D99 (7th June): It's always good to get out of your box once in a while.

D100: Conspicuously not at Legal Aid today.

D101: Jaya Grocer's at Empire Subang. I am one happy bunny.

D102: Capital Reduction has reduced me to tears.

D103: I don't remember about this being in my employment contract. Oh wait, I don't have a contract.

D104 (14th June): Stamp duty calls!

D105: Legal Aid Duty #3. A bad day that turned out well in the end.

D106: Ethics & Professional Standards Course: what a drag!

D107: Sometimes, all you can expect is apathy.

D108: Q: What, you have no life ah? A: No, I was working for you.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very (late) Happy Father's Day, and Happy Refugee's Day too! I hope you had a great weekend.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

indicinelive! Episode 2

I watched the first episode of indicinelive! at KLPAC last April 13th and had the time of my life! indicinelive! is a high-energy collection of live short comedy skits presented one after another, and  the writing team's fearless and blindingly humourous take on modern Malaysian life sent me laughing till I literally cried; if you've never watched live theatre before, this would be an excellent, light-hearted introduction.

Episode 2 will be playing July 21st - 25th and if the skits are as good as those in Episode 1, then trust me when I say it will be money well spent. Admittedly, I know half the cast/crew/writing team, so this little advert may be seen as a bit of a plug-in, but really, if you don't laugh at the show, come see me and I'll recommend a therapist.

Tickets are already on sale at RM23 flat. You can buy them at KLPAC's box office in Sentul (or call 03 4047 9000), The Actor's Studio Lot 10 Rooftop box office (or call 03 4242 2009/03 4243 2009) or at Axcess Ticketing Booths (Jalan Semangat PJ, One Utama or Alamanda Putrajaya) or at

"Real life, fun sized!"

Do yourself/your mum/dad/better half/sibling/BFF/boss/trainer/postman a favour: buy tickets for the show and get a healthy dose of heart-healing, stress-busting laughter. See you there!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Dear World,
I believe I forgot to wish everyone a Happy Wesak, Happy Gawai Keamatan and erm, Happy Yang di-Pertuan Agong's yeah, sorry about that, been busy.

Take care out there,

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Take a Look at All the Suffering We Breed

I am re-wired at home now that the spoilt router has been replaced, but work truly has taken much of my time and attention, so blogging has taken a back-seat so to speak.

People know how busy I am; some basically give me the impression that they think I've sold my soul to the devil (sometimes I myself wonder if there's merit to that claim), but the worse thing for me is that the invitations stop coming after a while. If the answer's always "No", why bother right?

Soon my only friends will be lawyers...From the firm I work in. I shudder at the thought...too late! too late! In for a penny, in for a pound.

More notes from my pupillage, 24th May to 4th June.

D91 (24th May): New shoes! Same crap...

D92: Legal Aid Session #1.

D93: "Will your principles and morals feed you?"

D94: Air cond down. Can.not.breathe.

D95 (31st May):  Goodbye Kenwayne!

D96: Legal Aid Session #2. My country is so screwed up.

D97: JID to death.

D98: Birthday celebrations for Emily and Vivian. Yay!

D98: "Everyday you can be tired, but not everyday you can meet up." True dat Daron!

I've done 2 out of my requisite 10 sessions at Tenaganita (every Tuesday), and I've already read and seen enough to conclude that there are some aspects of my country that are truly deplorable. I'm talking about stuff we as Malaysians should be utterly ashamed off, stuff we should shout about everywhere...but no, because we are (choose to be?) ignorant. And even if we cared, the truth is unknown because it is rarely told, and when told, suppressed by those in whose interests it is to keep us ignorant.

We have no qualms highlighting and condemning the evils of others: the past imperialists and colonialists of Britain and Japan, the "Zionist regime" of Israel, the self-serving Americans, the hypocritical West, the tyrants of failed states, etc. etc. etc. Yet in our own backyard, migrant workers and exploited over and over and over again, refugees are whipped, tortured, detained and trafficked, people are being sold as slaves and prostitutes. Yes, by our very own countrymen.

Parts of our country seem to be run by gang lords, criminals, runners, syndicates, agents, middle-men and corrupt politicians who don't want you to know this. It all makes me sick sometimes...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

It's the Terror of Knowing What the World Is About

Sorry I've not posted often; been busy and the router at home has gone kaput. Anyway, here are my daily pupillage notes, from 10th to 21st May.

D81 (10th May): Dreams can turn into nightmares, and nightmares into dreams.

D82: "If you're moving towards peace, you're moving away from money. If you're moving towards money, you're moving away from peace."

D83: Going to the High Court nearby is almost like working from home!

D84: Goodbye Gordon! Hello David! And, err...Nick I suppose.

D85: All bets off. Back to war.

D86 (17th May): The audacity of some lawyers!

D87: Tenaganita Legal Aid Training Day 1. (I'm missing a trial I've prepared months for and it's raining buckets!).

D88: Day 2 of Legal Aid Training. Daniel Lo says, "If you always fight for truth and justice, you will never lose a case".

D89: Friends make my world go round.

D90: I was fortunate enough to hear Y.A. Dato' Azhar's landmark decision on Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal's case. I'd never guess the "Law, Literature & Art" course I took at uni would come to life so soon!

P.S. In case you haven't notice yet, all my posts viz. pupillage are titled with lines from Queen songs.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Insanity Laughs Under Pressure We're Cracking

D71 (26th April) : "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end, We'd sing and dance forever and a day."

D72: The highlight of my day: Old Town French Toast. Sad, no?

D73: I'm hungry tonight, but have no appetite to eat.

D74: People may seem unassuming, but never assume that they are.

D75: Fact: all lawyers are sadomasochistic.

D76 (3rd May): It's hard to think of others when you're all alone.

D77: Maps have traps. Both figuratively and literally

D78: Boss says, "Don't panic!"

D79: Why is it that when I'm free, everyone ignores me, but when I'm dying from the workload, I get loads of invites?! Why?

D80: What doesn't kill you only makes you balder.

D80A (Sat 8th May): Now I know why they bolt the windows: so no one can attempt suicide.

D80B (Sun 9th): No words.

Last week was a nightmare. I went home past midnight 4 out of the 5 weeknights, and over the weekend I went to the office for about 8 hours on both days, all this in preparation for an upcoming trial which will not even proceed due to settlement.

At one point I was swear delirious: it was so un-funny that it became funny and I laughed to myself in the office like a madman for half a minute. No kidding.

To makes matters worst I got lost and was therefore late for an event, missed Mother's Day dinner tonight and couldn't make it for a friend's welcome-home-cum-birthday party.

But through it all, I surprised myself—I survived (with help from above), and I realise I'm a lot stronger than I thought.

On a separate note, the 15-year old who was fatally shot by the police recently is my sister's junior and studied at my alma mater. Students there are of course reeling from the tragedy.
The fact that it happened shocked me, the fact that it happened 2 minutes away from my house makes me shudder, and the fact that the police are not just unwilling to apologise but are implicating the innocent victim makes me want to vomit. Why can't any public body take some responsibility in this country instead of trying to cover things up and play the blame game?

Sunday, 25 April 2010


  • am older but am not old—this is an awkward stage to be in at social settings.
  • need new work shoes—the right sole tore on my old pair.
  • miss the UK intermittently—it's surprising how random scenes, people, places from uni days pop up in my head suddenly.
  • am unsure about many things, but am not altogether too bothered about it for now, thankfully.
  • am not looking forward to leaving for work at 7.30am tomorrow.
  • need a new phone—current one hasn't be working properly for more than a year.
  • detest the fact that everyone's disgustingly busy.
  • wish I had more time for myself: to read, to write, to watch movies, to bake, to run, to swim, to paint, to go to the gym, to people-watch, to dream.
  • am looking forward to dinner with an old friend tomorrow night.
  • do love my country, despite it's many, many flaws.
  • am okay.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Scaramouche! Scaramouche! Will You Do The Fandango?

Friends are becoming increasingly hard to contact, let alone meet up with. I call them at 9 in the evening and they whisper back, "Sorry, I'm in a meeting. Call you back. Bye." More and more of them are working late nights and weekends. Office politics in some firms (not mine, thank God) is becoming unbearable for some.

Then today I found out some guy who did a viral video on YouTube now has his own Cartoon Network series. Life clearly is not fair. I should just quit my job and try to do that. In the meantime, more notes from my slavery, I mean my pupillage, 12th to 23rd April.

D61 (12th April): You know what I hate most about my job? The Federal Highway.

D62: Legal Aid Orientation, then 17 durians at Sentul.

D63: My first mention at the Industrial Court was...a bit of a let-down, really.

D64: Q: If A fraudulent doctor is are called a 'quack', what is a fraudulent lawyer called? A: A lawyer.

D65: Another Friday night in the office feeling alienated. C'est la vie, eh?

D65A (Sat 17th April): I'll dance to the tune my own trumpet, thank you very much.

D66: I took Panadol for my migraine but there aren't any pills for Monday Blues.

D67: Today was a productive day. So why do I feel so crappy at the end of it?

D68: Work kills but litigation murders.

D69: "Destiny is a demoness." Ramli Ibrahim, my hat goes off to you. You should have got a Datukship years ago.

D70: I'm tired of hearing the words "I'm tired".

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Happy Earth Day

Dear Earth,
Happy Earth Day! Go green people!


Monday, 19 April 2010

Jukebox: Real Men

...can make you cry.

Ray LaMontagne. Digging the beard?

Chet Baker.

Rufus Wainright.

The incomparable Jeff Buckley.

David Gray.

In The Wee Small Hours

I am, by inclination, a very reflective person. I am also, by nature I suppose, nocturnal when it comes to cerebral alertness. My mind is most lucid and wide open at night, and so I usually question, ponder and philosophise on life's vagaries, mysteries and "big questions" when most people around me are sound asleep.

It's really no surprise then that I'm typing this to myself in the middle of the night. The week has past, and in a few hours I'll be driving off to the office again (I hope I won't be late). I suppose it has been an normal week—nothing extraordinarily horrid or fantastic happened, work was hectic as usual, I had a nice meet up with a friend, I bought stuff, I ate stuff, I slept, I cursed at the traffic jams, I tried to convince myself to exercise, I ate cheesecake instead, etc.

Yet as the week passed, I was often consciously aware of how little control I had over time, how it was rushing past me as I worked/slept/drove/lived, and how, so many times in my past, I had wasted it away. I don't mean I to say I regret anything that I did, in fact in my past I did do a lot of things which I felt were worthwhile or necessary at the time, but perhaps I did not use time as effectively and efficiently as I could have. The bits in between events, the spare minutes I spent napping, stoning, reading silly magazines, watching pointless videos—I could have used those lost moments to learn new skills or sharpen existing ones. Of course, this realisation is too little too late now.

Now my life seems to be a gushing stream of activity that I have little control over. Work saps all of my time and energy on weekdays (and occasionally weekends too), and during weekends I usually take things easy to recover from the previous week's strain, which usually means I end up achieving very little on Saturday and Sunday and regretting it on Sunday night. After a while, my mental list of things to do, places to visit, pieces to write, books to read, people to meet up with, movies to watch, chores to complete, etc. grows so large that I lose track of it all and I think: where's the time?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Happy Indian New Year

Happy Vaisaki/New Year to all Sikh and Hindu friends! 

P.S. If you have a chance to watch IndiCine Live! tonight at KLPAC, 8.30pm, PLEASE GO! It'll be RM23 well spent! 


Saturday, 10 April 2010

I'm Easy Come, Easy Go, Little High, Little Low

More musings on the road to being called to the Bar, March 29th to April 9th.

D55 (29th March): Why must the courts be soooo anal?!

D56: Sometimes I wonder why we have a "Constitution" at all.

D57: Dear Older Generation, thank you for destroying my planet, ruining my country and parenting all these jerks around me. RESPECT yo!

D58: Another new pupil.

D59: I think that sometimes, it's best not to think at all.

D60 (5th April): My play got performed today! Thank you to all who helped out and to those who came.

D61: Watch your step. It's a minefield out there.

D62: Rooftops are good for dreaming on, and apparently restaurants, gyms, theatres and clubs too.

D63: "It's all about the money."

D64: Reckless restlessness redux.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter

I wish I had a basket of Creme Eggs in front of me. Yum. Have a nice one everyone!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Have Fun!

I'm comfortable with any April Fool's Day hoax outside of a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Read and Weep

Today I read news that disturbed and angered me. Another instance where the rule of law has been flagrantly disregarded, police power shamelessly abused and draconian law used to justify contemtous denial of a citizen's basic constitutional rights. What's new you say? This time it hit a little closer to home. Khaeryll Benjamin Ibrahim@Benjy is brother to Elza Irdalynna, a friend of mine. You may have heard about him in the news, but here is my friend's own account, reproduced here in full.

Have we come to a point where news like this no longer shocks our public? I hope not. Read Elza's account by clicking below.
(Attached also is a message from Edmund Bon concerning a memo of protest at Bukit Aman tomorrow noon. All are free to join.)

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Blog & Roll: Unhappy Hipsters

Ironic, self-conscious humour. But of course. Click on the post title to visit the link. Have a good week ahead everyone!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Does Anybody Know What We Are Looking For?

More daily notes from my pupillage.  How is your's going?

D45 (15th March): Short call today. 'Twas supposed to be a happy occassion but the whole world decided to screw me today.

D46: My friend told me everyday at 6 o'clock I turn into a creature she doesn't want to talk to.

D47: Finally, some good news! My play is on its way to staging at The Platform@KLPAC, 5th April. Come!

D48: Illegal parking touts: parasitic scum of the city.

D49: He dropped the bomb at 7 and I felt my heart sink

D49A (Sun 17th): There's just no pleasing some people.

D50: Sayonara Yasu!

D51: Don't try to change anyone other than yourself.

D52: If you ask me, we should cull some of these impatient douches off the roads.

D53: I saw Bae Yoon Joon today.

D54: I think I'll try defying gravity...someday. ;-) SKMC

Monday, 22 March 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Sondheim!

Stephen Sondheim turns 80 today. The Broadway composer and lyricist has been a huge influence on the way I see musical theatre: that it doesn't need to be camp and obtuse, but has the capacity to be cerebral, challenging and artistic. This post is dedicated to the awesomeness that is his genius.

Did you know he wrote all the lyrics to West Side Story? The New York cast is coming to KL soon, by the way. If you are going to watch it, please don't tell me, because I'll probably hate you forever.

Mr. Sondheim isn't famous for simple, hummable tunes nor simple, family friendly musicals. His oeuvre covers many challenging, disparate, and at times unpleasant themes. "A Little Night Music" is about unfaithful aristocrats in turn of the century Sweden.

In "Sunday in the Park with George", he studies through music the struggles of a socially inept artist, George Seurat, trying to connect with the world and realise his creative vision as he paints his masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Jatte.

He's also done killer barbers and cannibalistic pie bakers. Yup, he wrote the words and music to Sweeney Todd, which Tim Burton turned into an awesome movie.

In Company, the lead character is a commitment-phobic 30-something, Bobby.

He also wrote the music and lyrics for Dick Tracey's soundtrack.  Here, Ol' Madge sings "Sooner or Later" with flair at the 1991 Oscars.

This is just a small snippet of his work (19 musicals!), but he is, without dispute, one of the greatest composers and lyricists of musical theatre history.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

I Wish My Office...

looked like this. These creative types really now how to create inspiring workplaces, don't they?
Then again, shouldn't I wish my home looked like this? Nah, I spend more time in my the office nowadays.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Happy St. Patrick's!

Och, someone bring me a pint, aye? Better yet, someone bring me a leprechaun! Have a nice one everybody!


Sunday, 14 March 2010

On With The Show

More daily jots from my pupillage, for the first half of March. For past entries, click on the "Updates" category link.

D36 (1st March): Evening thunderstorm in KL. Traffic MAYHEM!!! But I made it to The Platform@KLPAC!

D37: It takes all sorts to make the world go round.

D38: Goodbye Carole and Liyana!

D39: If you don't have time for your friends, how long will they stay your friends?

D40: People change: some for better, some for worse, most for both. Accept this without too much thought, disquiet or regret. If you manage to do so, tell me how.

D41 (8th March): Goodbye PCK! Good luck at the A/G's Chambers.

D44: Time: fleeting. True friends: few. Life: short. Appreciate all three.

D43: How much paper do you have to dump on a man to kill him? Hmmm...

D43: I had eight servings of EMP's Jambalaya@Central Market. It was great fun at the time but I'll probably suffer tomorrow.

D44: To completely forget about work, even for a while, is pure bliss. Thank you MPO, Stephen Rahman Hughes and everyone who came tonight. (I have to add though: going back to the office afterward is an unwelcome anticlimax.)

Tomorrow's my short call date!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Actors and Directors Ahoy!

If you are interested in trying out acting and/or directing, I have a short play called "Lunch Break" in need of a director and 3 actors (2M 1F). You can even try directing and acting simultaneously.

It was written for KLPAC's Platform, a monthly open mike night for theatre, and I am hoping to have it performed on the 5th of April there. A performance will be picked from every month's line-up to be featured in KLPAC's year end Platform showcase: a full length, full budget, tickets-for-sale and your-name-on-the-playbill showcase. So yes, this may be your first step to stardom.

You do not need prior experience but you will need some time to rehearse. If you've not tried this before, it's an excellent opportunity to do so (trust me, it's great fun!). Note that I will leave the direction of the play entirely to the director, so obsessive-compulsives are free to apply. (Megalomaniacs, however, should refrain: no big budget side effects, moving sets, elaborate costumes, make up or pyrotechnics I'm afraid.)

If you are interested and would like to look at the script, please contact me. My Google address is "joshychong".

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Quote of the Week

"Human life. Duration: momentary. Nature: changeable. Perception: dim. Condition of Body: decaying. Soul: spinning around. Fortune: unpredictable. Lasting Fame: uncertain. Sum Up: The body and its parts are a river, the soul a dream and mist, life is warfare and a journey far from home, lasting reputation is oblivion."
Marcus Aurelius (26 April 121 – 17 March 180), Roman emperor (161–180).


Monday, 1 March 2010

Sooner or Later...

W says: [...] its a cut-throat race to the top
J says: [...]
J says: yeah it is a race
J says: a rat race
J says: but even if you win it
W says: [...]
J says: you're still a rat
W says: yup, but you can be a rich rat
W says: and have lots of power to step on other lesser rats
J says: [...]
W says: then again the cat might go for the biggest rat first

Have a rat-free week guys.

Friday, 26 February 2010

This Month's Notes

Every day of my pupillage, I jot down a few words to remember the day by.
February has been a short due to its 28 days and many holidays. These are my notes for my second month, starting from the 2nd (the 1st was Federal Territories Day).

D20 (2nd February): New chambie in today.

D21: Forms 3, 4 & 5 extracted today. Short call date: 15th March 2010, 2.30pm.

D22: Do not cast aspersions.

D23: Pagination is a dirty word.

D23A & D23B (Sat 5th & Sun 6th): Came to the office. Was not the only one.

D24: Another new chambie!

D25: I think I killed about 2 large trees today.

D26: 29 bundles. 5 letters. 3 different locations. 2 pupils. 1 Proton Persona and 1 wonky trolley.

D27: You have to fight to have any semblance of a life outside of the office, you have to fight for you.

D28: Off work till next Thursday for CNY. Hurrah!

D29 (Thur 18th February): Back from CNY holiday (which was no fun). Quiet office. Highly unusual.

D30: I left on time today. Everybody was shocked.

D31: I think I'll get by with a little help from my friends.

D32: Time is of the essence.

D34: My partner asked me: why so serious?

D35: Long weekend, hurrah! Paycheck coming soon, double hurrah!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Quote of the Week

"They, that unnamed “they”, they’ve knocked me down but I got up. I always get up — and I swear when I went down quite often I took the fall; nothing moves a mountain but itself. They, I’ve long ago named them me."
Gregory Corso (March 26, 1930 – January 17, 2001), American Beat Poet.
From A-S.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho

Work begins tomorrow. I both loathe it and long for it, because my CNY "break" (an utterly inappropriate term) has been at various times frustrating, tiring, lacklustre and at one moment downright depressing. I hope you had more fun.

Enjoy this song, to all those who are returning to work with me tomorrow morning.

You See...

You think you care about people, but really, you just care about what people think.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Cold Cold Hamburg

For SKR.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Double Happiness

Dear World,
Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.
May the year of the tiger usher in much fulfillment, peace, health, wealth and happiness for you.
To all you lovebirds out there, have a nice Valentine's.


P.S. I'm terribly sorry for the lack of posts—I have been working practically everyday, including last weekend and today I had to do chores in preparation for CNY.

Monday, 1 February 2010

You Know You're A REAL Lawyer When...

You stock more food in the office fridge than in your home fridge.

You have seriously considered installing some sort of sofa bed in the empty cubicle at the back of the office.

Your regular lunch hour spot serves you first because you told them how much you lost on your hourly rate when their food came late.

Your idea of a pleasant dream is your client paying your bill promptly without disputing anything.

Your idea of a nightmare is losing a case...then getting sued for professional negligence.

You call your secretary to check your email when you're out, just in case.

Your drawers contain more than 3 of these: paracetamol, sachets of sugar,  ketchup, instant coffee, energy bars, file ribbons, a spare tie, a spare shirt, small bottles of shower gel and shampoo, breath mints, periodicals from the Bar Council or other law firms, multivitamins, the Contracts Act, the Companies Act, the National Land Code, the Penal Code, the Evidence Act, the Sale of Goods Act, the Banking and Financial Institutes Act and a voodoo doll of your managing partner.

You invite lawyers from your firm over for Sunday dinner....

....then talk about work.

You have read both Adorna Properties v Boonsom Boonyanit and Boonsom Boonyanit v Adorna Properties...and you know which came first.

You have to be pre-booked 2 months in advance for anything.

You print everything with a one inch margin.

You take longer to answer "Who's your favourite actor?" than "Who's your favourite judge?".

You have broken at least two Practice & Etiquette Rules.

You know the corresponding High Court and Sub Court Rules by heart.

You have been to the Bilik Jilid of the Court Complex more than 3 times.

You spend your weekends planning how to spend your work week.

You know the difference between Letters of Administration, Letters of Administration with Will Annexed and Letters of Administration de bonis non.

You use Latin even when unnecessary.

When your friend promises you something, you ask "Can you give me that in black and white...with a time-frame?".

Sunday, 31 January 2010

One Bit At A Time

One extra hour.
One long meeting.
One ass kissed.
One deal brokered.
One project completed.
One inching deadline.
One skipped meal.
One sleepless night.
One cheque received.
One bigger risk.
One higher target.
One tougher goal.
One award won.
One enviable bonus.
That is how wealth is gained: one bit at a time.

One canceled dinner.
One forgotten birthday.
One unreplied letter.
One movie missed.
One gig passed.
One book left unread.
One unwritten poem.
One less night out.
One reunion unattended.
One record not played.
One song not sung.
One invitation declined.
One promise broken.
One friend left adrift.
That is how a life is lost: one bit at a time.

So Far So Good...

...but it's not good that my office is so far away. :(

Anyway, since I started work, I've written a short quip every day to encapsulate my day at work. A daily lesson, question, remark or observation.

So here's what I have for the month of January, starting from Tuesday 5th up to Friday January 29th.

Day 1 (5th January): Appearances are meant to be deceiving.

D2: The dark side is actually bright—blindingly bright!

D3: Irony is funny. Embrace it.

D4: Can you work in black, live in grey and then die in white?

D5 (11th January): My first Monday blues! Hurray!

D6: Everything is urgent here.

D7: Conscience, can you please shut up? I'm trying to work here.

D8: If you're the last one out of the office, make sure you dance to the exit, or at least frolic.

D9: TGIF does not apply to everyone.

D10 (18th January): Petition filed at High Court. Nine months countdown starts today.

D11: The only thing scarier than losing all your current friends is knowing that soon, your only friends will be your colleagues.

D12: Suits and ties were not designed to be worn in tropical climates.

D13: There're agents everywhere! Arrrgggh!

D14: Goodbye Li Chen!

D15 (25th January): You can choose not to your work back in your briefcase, but can you choose not to bring it back in your head?

D16: Try not to judge humanity by the conduct of KL's rush hour drivers.

D17: "The only guide to a man is his conscience, the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and the sincerity of his action." Justice Muhammad Kamil Awang

D18: Work is worship.

D19: Black and tan cake at DOME makes everything ok...for 10 minutes.

I'll see if I can keep this up for all 9 months of my pupillage period. I'm wondering though, should I use Twitter to do this? It seems sensible, but I always feel Twitter is meant for a)famous people, b) people with interesting lives, c)pundits and wits or d) narcissistic people...none of which I am (ok, so I am a tiny bit narcissistic).

What do you think? To tweet or not to tweet?

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Happy Thaipusam

Dear World,
I forgot to wish Happy Pongal to my Hindu friends. Anyway, I hope you had a Happy Thaipusam!

And to those in KL, Putrajaya (what are you doing there?) and Labuan, have a Happy Federal Territory Day on Feb 1st.

Best wishes,

Holden At Fifty

Louis Menand writes on "The Catcher in the Rye" for New Yorker magazine, October 1st 2001. Click on the post title to read the essay.

In memory of Jerome David Salinger, (1919-2010).

Thursday, 28 January 2010

For Your Consideration

It has been said by many that the problem with my generation is that we don't know what we want. For a long time, I believed that to be true...but it isn't.
We know what we want: everything. We want it all.
We want wealth and health. Families and personal fulfillment. Freedom and stability. Long-term love and endless excitement.
We want to have our cake and eat it, and in this life, we can't.
That's the problem with my generation.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Mrs. Boonsom Boonyanit?

You can come back to Malaysia now.

Well, ok, the poor lady is long dead, but at least a black mark in Malaysian land law has been removed.

Click on the post title to read Business Times Singapore's short write-up on the reversal of the Federal Court decision of "Adorna Properties vs Boonsom Boonyanit".

While I applaud the change initiated by Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi, I have to wonder though: what took the Malaysian judiciary so long?!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Retro Cool

Penguin has reissued an impressive range of fiction and non-fiction titles in its iconic original orange colour-band covers. They're selling for considerably less than ones with the glossier covers. Nice.

Unfortunately, only a small range is available in Malaysia (as far as I noticed). Not nice.

Click on the image above to see the full range.

When The Going Gets Tough...

Yes, your job is crap, but try to remember that you have not lost hundreds of family, friends, neighbours, leaders and colleagues to a natural disaster. You have not witnessed your entire country come to ruins. You do not deal with civil strife and unrest on a daily basis. You do not live in a country that needs to be run by UN peacekeepers because half the population wants to kill the other half. You are not dying, starving and fighting for medicine and food.
You have a job. You are alive.
You are blessed.

Please pray and aid the people of Haiti, in whatever way you can.

Have a grateful week ahead!

Monday, 11 January 2010


These past few days, I can say without reservation that I am embarrassed, and more than that, ashamed of being a citizen of this country. That country whose name is printed on my passport, Identity Card and other documents I uphold without pride.

The spate of attacks on churches and schools around our country have made me truly sad to be Malaysian, not only because they are inherently objectionable in their use of violence but because of what they say about us and our society.

It says that we do not respect the rule of law, or respect it only when it meets our needs. This is a mindset that is prevalent among many Malaysians on every level of soceity: the courts, the legal system, the law and enacted regulations, democracy and its institutions are only to be followed or respected when their outcomes and effects fit our personal ends. Otherwise, we take things into our own hands.

It says we cannot talk, but must fight. We cannot use civil, rational, reasonable discourse and debate to voice our grievances and settle conflicts. We must use Molotov cocktails, bombs, clubs, terror, intimidation and crime to "solve" problems. How does this solve problems? When one party succumbs to fear and prosecution and simply gives in.

It says we are base, we are cowardly, we are impulsive, given to anger and hate. It says we cannot think for ourselves. It says peace is only to be maintained when things go our way.

It says our talk and empty boasting of national and inter-racial/religious harmony, tolerance, understanding, equality and peace is at best shallow and at worse utter lies and deceit, even self-deceit.

And yes, I generalise with 'us' and 'we'. You may say, "I do not agree to what they do". You may say, "I am a Christian, this is in fact an attack against my faith". You may say, "I am a Buddhist. I never use violence." You may say, "I am not religious, this does not concern me." But you should feel ashamed all the same. Indeed, these actions have been perpetrated by a small minority, but remember that they are our fellow Malaysians, however despicable their actions and however much we disagree with their methods. Do not say they are not one of us. The mere fact that they can do this means as a collective, we have failed in educating and socialising them with our supposed shared values of peace and respect.

Yes, as a Christian, I am upset. But I would be equally upset even if I were a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Baha'i practitioner, an agnostic or atheist, because I don't need to be of any particular faith to know that violence and terror is not the answer to disagreements, and that respect and observance for the rule of law should cut across all countrymen, irrespective of creed or wealth or ethnicity. When such acts are done by our fellow Malaysians, you don't have to be religious to know it can only bring shame and disrepute to us as members of the same community.

Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, CNN, BBC: practically every major news network and syndicate has picked up on this. We ought to feel utterly embarrassed that our country makes headlines this way. If such a trend continues, it will turn away foreign investors. Yes, you may say that the large majority of this country lives in peace, but if you are not a long-time resident, would you know any better? Malaysia my second home? I don't think so.

Please, do not blame the government. Do not blame the politicians. Remember that the government is there because Malaysians voted them in. Even if we do not support them personally, their mandate is given within the system of governance which we uphold and live with. The responsibility to maintain peace in this country is not theirs alone. Do not blame the police. Do not blame "the Muslims" or "the Malays" or "the Catholics" or "the Christians" or "the far right" or "the extremists". Lets us start blaming ourselves.

Blame ourselves for letting things to even come to this. Blame ourselves for even allowing some of our children, friends, family members to think that doing such acts is an acceptable way of protest. Blame ourselves for not understanding each others' religions better. Blame ourselves for not opening up our own religions to others. Blame ourselves for not respecting people of other cultures and beliefs.

Every insult, insinuation, swear and scornful act you throw at someone for being black-skinned, for wearing the headscarf, for eating pork, for not eating meat or for going to his place of worship adds to a pervasive culture of mutual disrespect and distrust, which allows for people to start thinking that attempting such attacks is acceptable. Every stereotype you uphold and spread exacerbates this culture. Blame ourselves for being too proud to the point we become delusional.

Please, let us stop blaming others, and let us start changing our own thoughts and actions. Maybe it's time we stop telling the world (and ourselves) how wonderful our country is, and actually start to work on making it better.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

I'll Sleep When I Die... actually a very good motto for a litigation lawyer.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Oh Dear

Tomorrow I start my pupillage orientation.
Rat race, here I come!

Sunday, 3 January 2010


I watched Talentime on DVD recently, and this song has been stuck in my head since. It's written by Pete Teo and recorded by Atilia, (Pamela Chong plays Melur who sing it in the movie). Yasmin Ahmad truly was an angel, and it still saddens me she left us so soon.

The movie was a joy to watch, and unfortunately for us, we can only imagine what other stories Yasmin would have continued to tell had she lived on.

I have one HUGE problem with the DVD though: it has absolutely no subtitles! Now, the fact that it has no extras and no chapter divisions is already really bad, but having no subtitles is utterly ridiculous considering the movie has about 6 spoken languages and sign language as well. If you ask me, it makes no economic sense (how to export la?) and is a disfavour to Yasmin's legacy. Grand Brilliance, you are going to hear from me about this soon.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

Dear World,
I got back from Pangkor at 6.30pm today, but only got into my house two hours later because (unbeknownst to any of us) one of the front door latches which had a spring had locked itself from the inside. We had to get a locksmith who tried to crack the lock (which was spoilt anyway), and when that didn't work we pried the knob, then tried the french window, then finally pried open the smaller panel of the door. All this while the alarm was blaring, and we were already late for the church countdown in Klang. Thankfully, we made it. Oh, our car got bumped by an Unser on the way back from Pangkor. I also just found out my air-conditioner is dripping too.

Talk about the year's bad luck catching up on you! I hope your new year's eve was less traumatising!

Oh well, Happy New Year 2010 everybody! What a year 2009 has been: challenging (I've got battle scars to show for it), and as far as I'm concerned: LOOOONG! I'm more than happy to see it pass. It's time to move on and look ahead to better things!

January 1st also marks this blog's first birthday. I think this has been my most consistent blogging effort to date, but I doubt I can keep it up when work starts. Nonetheless, Happy Birthday INTHITH!

Make it a good year, alright guys? And let's try to make some time for each other this year, ok? In the end, it's how much love you give out that matters most, right?