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?