November 30, 2008

"20 years I work, now I want to take it easy...."

The quote above was uttered by a politician I met at a wedding last weekend. He is one of the politician who had to retire when he was not chosen as a candidate in the last election and he was spared the humiliation of being defeated at his stronghold, although the defeat of his successor was also due to a rumored sabotage by his 'people'. Although they were in the same political party, there were strong rumors about his hidden hands behind the sabotage that contribute to the new candidate demise.

I got to know him in 2002 when I was on a trip with him to China. In that trip he was the co-leader of the trip with another state exco where they were both representatives in the same state assembly. The trip was hosted by Ministry of International Trade and Industry. The state was just considered as another participant in the trip.

When I got to know him, this then state representative was a warlord in his area. No one dare to do anything without his consent. He had been the representative ever since he was living at a place within his area was moved from a slum to a low cost flat. He had fight alongside the men that he leads through thick and thin.

What he meant when he said the headline above was that he had been serving the people of his area and never miss a wedding or an event held within his area. Now, he can pick and choose the wedding that he wants to attend and he can also relax on Sundays. According to him , he had served the people well and now he deserves the rest.

I smiled at him when he said it but in my mind I was wondering about his intention when he became an elected representative. He did sound a bit sore, either for not being chosen as a candidate or his party was not the ruling party of the state that he is living now. His sincerity was also in suspicion.

Another point I am raising is the 20 years that he said was the time he had to work day in and day out. Isn't working 20 years but retiring to a life of wealth which include two bungalows as he has two wives and with luxury cars to rival any Hollywood film stars with a rumored businesses running up and down his area, is considered as the best way to 'go'? Some people work until they die and still cannot even dream to own their own house.

20 years....

That's a joke....

November 29, 2008

Do we want a recession?

There was an article in the Star on Thursday, 27.11.08 on the issue of the Great Depression in 1929 in the United States. The question that was asked was whether we really want it to happen? The employment rate spiked up to nearly 25% and the trading between nations nearly became a standstill. It was bad and it didn't just affect those who were in business but affect the whole nation including the poor. The poor became poorer and the reach became a bit poorer.

In reference to my earlier posting title Appetite for Destruction (, I think some people are so afraid of failure that they think when something bad happens especially economically, the world would end. Just to make a point, the Great Depression didn't kill or shut down the whole world. It just hit the biggest country who was strong financially but was so into themselves that they were taught a lesson in humiliation. The world did not revolve around them. They have the biggest PR machine in the form of movies, tv shows, radio, porno, sport stars and anything that you can imagine which could generated publicity for itself. That particular country sells an idea. And it work...

People believe what they sold and what they are still selling. Yes, they even call it the American Dream...

Read Michael Crichton's State of Fear in which he had a theory about the environmentalist and he was commenting on the doomsday scenario promoted by so many people. They were saying that the world is in a downward spiral and the end is nigh. Crichton presented the fact that what the environmentalist is saying had happened thousands of years before and the world is still here. It is not too farfetch to think that a large economy may one day be cut into pieces and another large economy takes its place. There are other civilisations which had flourished before and still surviving now. They may be called the new economic frontiers but they have been around for a lot longer than the one we call a superpower now.

Again, people need something shocking to happen before they realised there are better alternative than a free market where the term 'market forces' is everything. Free will has never been in question as much as now. How about Islamic finance? Isn't there a chance salvation may come from the most unlikeliest place?

As a final morsel in this food for thought - Where is Rome now? What they always say is Rome wasn't built in a day. What they forget is that it also took some time for Rome to be destroyed. When it was destroyed, it was not in decline, it was flourishing...

November 28, 2008

My invited public speaking experience

Being a lawyer, everyone would expect me to have a few experience in public speaking. Truth be told, I am one of those lawyer who have forgotten how to talk in public. I did started off my legal career as a criminal litigation lawyer and being shy or uninitiated in the public speaking is a big no, no. That was nearly 9 years ago when I was an eager lad who wanted to make my mark in the world. At least I didn't loose any one of my client to the noose.

Now, I am more of a business owner than a lawyer. I have forgotten the feeling of cold feet the moment you step inside a courtroom. I have forgotten how to address a judge. I have forgotten the stammer that happened to you when you forgotten a piece of the law which you should remember. I have forgotten the best feature of any courtroom date - THE WAIT!!! (That's a story for another day)

Thanks to my former schoolmate who is now a lecturer in a university somewhere down south of Klang Valley, I was invited to give a talk on the issue of how did I started my firm under the heading : Membuat Keputusan / Making the Decision. I was given no information on the demographic of my audience, the number of my audience and how big was the place I was supposed to make the presentation. The only thing I know was I need only to bring a presentation, preferably in Microsoft Powerpoint version. I thought it out and made a simple note of 8 slides which were just an accumulation of ideas I had for me to disseminate to the students.

When I arrived quite late as there were 2 roadblocks which I had to passed through but was relieved to see the presenter before me was still at it. When he came out, he told me he was also caught in the roadblocks. Something must be afoot but no one knew what. As it was a holiday, the university was quite empty and I had to look for the secretariat room. My friend was still on his way there but arrived just as I was supposed to go in.

There was just around 25 students from various faculty at various stages of their study. They were briefed by the facilitator on how to prepare working paper to source for funds and how to get the help they needed when they graduated. All of them were of one gender which was female and I wondered on why didn't any male took the seminar. Maybe they have better programs to keep themselves occupied. When I looked at their 9 days schedules and asked them a bit of what they have learned, I decided to abandon the slides and bullshit my way through.

Okay, not really bullshit but I told them on what I have experienced the whole 9 years being a business owner and what I have been through. I told them to expected the unexpected and to be aware of the situation in the real world. It was more of me telling my experience, which I love to do than a real 'talk'. It was a change from the lectures that I gave to my Business Law class in UiTM and it was a new experience.

Maybe I do have what it takes to be a motivator. Even my partner say I rarely pass an opportunity to talk in any situation be it in a forum with the BNM Governor in attendance or even in a foreign country where I am the lone Malaysian.

Maybe its time my big mouth get a boost. Another feather in my cap or another cap to be worn as and when? Hmmm.....

November 27, 2008

Sold Soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues...

The Turkish businessman was first introduced to us as an investor who was looking for opportunities in Malaysia to make more money out of his already high nett worth. He was loud, big, unapologetic and demanding. Just like any other businessman who know what he wanted. The first time we met him, he was staying at a hotel I didn't even know existed fronting the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. It was owned by a Singaporean group and was actually a service apartment. It was expensive and as the bill was footed by the conglomerate where our funder was working, the guy was treated like a king.

He was with his wife who was as big as him but spoke softly belying her look. She does look pretty but was hidden under the layer of clothing that she wore. As hot as Kuala Lumpur, she never took off her hijab as her headscarf was known in her country. We were rarely graced by her company except for dinner and breakfast. Dinner were usually held at various places as our Turkish couple loved to taste the various food that Kuala Lumpur had to offer. Be it Thai seafood, Indian cuisine, Malay cuisine under a tree or even the stalls lining up the parking lot at the back of KLCC.

Our day after we were introduced to this Turkish would start with breakfast on the 10th floor of the hotel/apartment that he stayed. We would gorged ourselves on the food which could satisfy any tastebud from Chinese to Western offering. Omellette were cooked on order and as the view was of KLCC which was then very new, we would never miss the chance to have breakfast with him the whole two weeks he was here. It became a routine with the business of the day outlined and discussed before we moved to tackle that day's appointments.

The first order of business for him was to find an office. As the service apartment had an impressive service office in which they offered the use of individual office complete with an executive table and chair but a common reception and meeting room, he used it as a starting point. When Mr. N saw where he was doing his work, Mr N suggested a cheaper alternative at the then Menara Lion where the charges were more reasonable.

Meanwhile, our hunt for a proper office brought us from the Ampang area to Hartamas to Shah Alam. We went up and down small offices on top of shop to offices in tall office tower. From the shabby type of office where the street wouldn't guarantee the safety of your car to those offices where you were escorted all the time you were checking the unit you wanted to rent. It was tiring but was also exhilarating for me as I learned about how fussy one should be when choosing your office location which may determined the fortune of your business. Mrs. N being a Chinese also looked at the feng shui element who was alien for me then.

My loud mouth did asked the question to the Turkish guy why is so hard for him to choose an office and what was all the fuss about where his office would be situated. He said I took for granted Kuala Lumpur as a place I have known all my life. For him, a foreigner, Kuala Lumpur was a strange town where not all places would be perfect for him. He need to ensure he would be able to reach the place as easy as he was able to do at that moment. The logistic of reaching places of interest or the city centre must also be taken into account. He also would like to ensure his office would be accessible from Kuala Lumpur International Airport easily as he may need to reach it straight away upon landing.

I was actually given a lecture on the importance of being patience and careful when setting up an office in a foreign country. It was humiliating but enlightening. That question was also what made him decided to give me further responsibilities which opened up new business opportunities for me...

November 26, 2008

Before you buy that house, ask your lawyer this....Part 1

I have actually drafted a book which a few publishers have shown their interest in and where one of the publisher is a self-published author quite well-known in Malaysia who writes about property. As he seems to put his money where his mouth is and is successful at that, it was a kind of an endorsement when he expressed his interest on the subject that I wanted to write. So, I did write the book and have actually finished writing two chapters before I lost my momentum and blogging took up my time. Its not an excuse as I can actually merged both (hobby?) work and finish what I have started. It took me sometime to start this series as I have written the book in a series of Question and Answer. Before I delve into the book proper, consider this as its synopsis and introduction.

The idea for the book that I wanted to write starts off with just that one book then expanded into a series. The name of the book is in the vein of the title of this blog posting but more catchy. The idea is to see the question that any normal housebuyer would ask his or her lawyer when he or she would want to buy a house. The perspective will be from a lawyer but the book is divided to a few parties who plays a part when one buys a house. As to date, I haven't finish dividing the topics for the book properly yet but here are some rough outline :-

1. The Lawyer : Who governs them, What is the law applicable to them, How much can they charge you,  Where do you take your grievance to if your lawyer does an unsatisfactory job, Can you NOT use the lawyer suggested by the developer, Can you ask for a discount

2. The Developer : Who governs them, What law is applicable to them, Can you cancel your purchase, How are housebuyers protected, How much are they allowed to charge interest

3. The Authority : A kind of a redundancy but important to highlight the other authorities other than Housing and Local Government Ministry which licensed the developer such as the local authority where the development is situated, the fire department, the land office, the stamp office and such

4. Landed property : This is mostly on how one buys a property with title where there involves more cost than a stratified title but the beauty of it the piece of land where the house is build is yours when the transfer is done properly

5. Stratified title property : The cost that is cheaper in the initial stage but will be quite a headache to maintain with maintenance charges, unscrupulous developer charging water or cutting off water, the meaning of sinking fund and whether the developer can sell you the extra parking that you crave or is it a given thing in a condo

These are just some of the questions that I would tackle in my book with a few tweaking to help make it an easier companion for housebuyers in Malaysia. This first of the series will tackle residential property before going to explain about housing loans, commercial property and then litigatious matter.

Do stop by this blog to know more later...

November 25, 2008

While people talk about recession, the wealthy party...

This is not a story in a foreign country. This is in Malaysia.

I had the opportunity to attend a few events which show that the buying power in Malaysia and all over the world still resides in the 20% of people which was said to hold 80% of the wealth of the world. The events were lavish with wine and cocktails of various type being served generously. Food were in abundance. Money was not an object and no one blink if you act silly or naughty...

The first event was an I event I attended with my wife due to certain privileges that you get when you use a certain type of product. It was the Rolex showcase in Pavilion by one of its vendor in Malaysia. Swiss Watch was feting and making sure the guest would try a bit of looking at, taking photos and trying their hands on the latest range on offer by Rolex.

The boutique store

My wife and I made sure we try on some Rolexes which we couldn't afford while bantering with the salesperson on the value of Rolexes once they are bought and held for a few years. The sale staff told us that the value of Rolex will be the same 20 years ahead as the day you buy it. It doesn't necessarily increase but at least it doesn't depreciate. We found out nowadays there are other watches out there which will increase in value like certain sport brands associated with certain sports personality. Tag Heuer came to my mind then...

The photos posted on makeshift walls were interesting though...
Big cigar you have there...
On Saturday 22.11.08 and Monday, 24.11.08, I had another chance to attend events of a different magnitude held for the owner of most of the luxury product shops in town. It was his youngest son wedding held at JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur on the 22nd and Shangri-la Hotel Kuala Lumpur on the 24th. Both events were a part of a seven days celebration which would peak on the 25th at his house.
On the 22nd, the party was a sort of a final bachelor farewell party by the family where guests were treated to a show by the bride's family and the groom's family. The ballroom had an island bar in the middle, the whole floor was closed for the function in which each seminar room serving different kind of food such as dessert in one and the mains in another, and the party started at 6pm and closed at 6am. Breakfast was served at 3am and I lasted only until 2.30am. Ice cream was Baskin Robbins, chocolate truffles were in abundance and stalls served food from Malay delicacies to Indian briyani to Chinese yong tau foo.

On the 24th, the invitees were more affluent with a proper wedding ceremony where vows were exchanged between the bride and the groom. The guests lined up to congratulate the couple after having their dinner served buffet style with another smaller ballroom served as a place for VVIP to mingle and dined properly. Again, there was an island bar in the middle of the ballroom but this time the dessert buffet line was bigger and was in the middle of the lobby area. This time the reception was at a proper time of 7pm and by 11pm, the guest had dwindled down.
The island bar in one of the hotels

I was told that the other hotels which they had their other receptions were the Ritz-Carlton and the Mandarin Oriental. Each reception cost nearly a cool million or maybe even more. I can only wish to ever achieve such stature to waste my money in such ways. Maybe to a person who sell luxury goods, showing how luxurious one can be is a way for him to market his products and his shops. Who knows...

November 24, 2008

Hari-hari Terakhir Seorang YB (sebuah novel Malaysia) Episod 15

Kami ke Dubai kerana menyertai rombongan kerajaan negeri untuk mempromosi negeri tersebut dan cuba mencari pelbagai peluang perniagaan di sana untuk usahawan negeri tersebut. Pertemuan pemadanan bisnes (business matching) dengan peniaga di sana dan makan malam rasmi dianjurkan bersama konsul Malaysia di Dubai, diadakan sepanjang lawatan 5 hari tersebut. Itu adalah aturcara yang rasmi. Aturcara tak rasmi termasuk ber'shopping' sakan serta melawat pelbagai tempat peranginan di Dubai dan sekitarnya.

Nak dijadikan cerita, ketika aku di sana, rakankongsi aku pun berada di sana juga tetapi bukan kerana urusan rasmi. Rakankongsi aku itu akan berkahwin di penghujung tahun 2004 itu dan bakal ibu mertuanya bermastautin di Dubai setelah berkahwin dengan seorang Mat Salleh dari England yang bekerja di sana. Dia telah pergi ke sana satu minggu sebelum itu lagi dan aku pula telah meminta dia datang mengambil aku di lapangan terbang Dubai setibanya aku di sana. Kenapa aku tak ikut sekali rombongan rasmi yang YB dan bossnya ada sekali? Semuanya aku ucapkan terima kasih kepada usahawan lampin aku itu, yang sepatutnya membawa aku ke sana.

Dia telah meminta aku pergi ke Dubai dengannya tetapi dia minta aku beli tiket aku sendiri, tidak mengikut rombongan rasmi itu dan jangan membeli tiket kapalterbang dahulu untuk balik ke Malaysia. Aku terbang ke Dubai menaiki MAS sehari selepas rombongan rasmi tiba di sana dan dia akan tiba 2 hari selepas rombongan itu berada di Dubai. Aku, yang selalunya dilayan oleh usahawan-usahawan berbangsa Cina, yang akan menempah kapalterbang dan hotel serta memberi wang belanja kepada ku awal-awal lagi, pada mulanya meminta kepada YB supaya aku tidak perlu ikut untuk rombongan kali itu tetapi YB berkeras agar aku memastikan yang aku akan berada di sana. Aku akur tetapi menunjukkan yang aku tidak puas hati terpaksa dilayan macam aku meminta sedekah. YB seperti biasa menyalahkan aku kerana tak pandai meminta apa yang patut dan bertanya aku semula samada usahawan lampin itu, "Miskin sangat ke?". Aku yang sudah biasa dengan perangai YB pada masa itu, bertanya dia semula, "Takkan bini tiga takde duit?". Kami tersenyum dan terus membuat perbandingan antara usahawan Melayu dan Cina.

Sebenarnya tiada beza jika dilihat betul-betul. Semua akan sanggup berbelanja jika mereka dijamin akan mendapat pulangan, hasil dari apa yang dibelanjakan. Ada yang sanggup berbelanja di padang golf. Ada yang sanggup berbelanja di spa atau karaoke. Ada yang sanggup memberikan pelbagai hadiah yang tidak diminta ataupun diminta secara 'tidak langsung'. Ada yang sanggup 'membekalkan' apa sahaja yang dipinta termasuklah perempuan atau lelaki (bergantung kepada jantina si penerima). Yang pandai dan berpengalaman akan memberi tunai yang boleh digunakan untuk apa sahaja.

Antara usahawan lampin itu dengan YB aku sebenarnya tidak tahu apa yang diberi olehnya atau apa diterima oleh YB. Yang aku tahu, apabila YB memerlukan aku ada bersama dengannya untuk apa-apa rombongan rasmi atau tidak rasmi, sesiapa yang pada masa itu ingin merapati YB akan terpaksa menanggung tambang dan perbelanjaan aku. Aku pula mudah saja, aku takkan meminta dibawa bersama tetapi tidak akan membelanjakan duit aku sendiri sekiranya aku diperlukan untuk berada di mana YB akan berada. Ini mungkin menunjukkan sifat aku sebagai seorang peguam yang hanya akan mengangkat tangan sekiranya dibayar.

Malam pertama aku di Dubai, aku tidur di ruang tamu rumah yang disewa oleh bakal ibu mertua rakankongsi aku dan pukul 10 pagi aku dihantar ke hotel dimana rombongan rasmi itu menginap. Setiba di sana aku dan rakankongsiku, S, pergi berjumpa dengan YB yang sedang bersarapan dengan ahli-ahli exco kerajaan negeri yang lain. Mereka nampak relaks sikit sebab bos mereka hanya akan tiba pada keesokan harinya. Dia terkejut melihat kami berdua dan bertanyakan tentang usahawan lampin itu. Aku bercerita kepadanya tentang mengapa S ada sekali dan macamana usahawan lampin itu hanya akan tiba di keesokan harinya. Aku bertanyakan YB samada ada tempat untuk aku mengikut rombongan itu pada hari itu dan dia memberitahu yang pada hari itu mereka tidak mempunyai apa-apa jadual tetap. Mereka hanya akan pergi bersiar-siar dan membeli belah.

Kami bertemu dengan seorang rakan YB yang pernah diperkenalkan YB satu masa dahulu dan minum pagi bersamanya. Dia seorang usahawan balak di utara negeri YB dan dia pun mempunyai strategi yang sama dengan usahawan lampin itu. Dia tinggal di hotel lain dan hanya mengikuti program yang dia rasa akan memberi faedah kepadanya. Jika dia terpaksa mengikut rombongan itu ke tempat lain, dia akan mengikut dengan kereta yang disewanya.

Agaknya memang begitu caranya untuk sesetengah orang. Bukannya mereka tidak mampu tetapi caj yang dikenakan oleh pengendali rombongan rasmi kerajaan negeri atau kerajaan Malaysia, menjadikan hanya sesetengah orang sahaja yang mampu atau ingin membelanja sebanyak itu. Pengendali perjalanan ini pula memberi alasan yang mereka terpaksa mengeluarkan wang mereka sendiri dahulu sebelum dibayar dengan waran kerajaan, yang hanya mereka terima setelah 2 atau 3 bulan selepas rombongan itu tamat. Yang terpaksa keluar duit seperti usahawan-usahawan inilah yang digunakan sebagai modal pusingan mereka. Macamana mereka nak hidup jika hanya mengharapkan waran yang lambat dibayar itu.

Lumrah manusia, jika boleh dapat duit cara mudah, kenapa nak susahkan diri sendiri. Itulah yang diamalkan oleh pemandu pelancong itu. Aku bukan kisah sangat. Bukan aku yang keluar duit...

November 23, 2008

Lawyers don't do what they preach...

There are a lot of politicians from the legal background either as a graduate of law school but never practice law or famous law practitioners who are fodder for their soundbites in or out of Parliament. They are well-known to be hardliners and don't care what people say about them. Either to their face or behind them. Some of the best politicians, which are subjective (I mean, what is a good politician? A good bullshitter?) are lawyers. Either in the opposition side or the current government side. Either in the Parliament of Malaysia or as a state assemblyman. All are known for being very good in talking the talk. But do they walk the walk?

Currently, there is a kind of a upheavel among lawyers on the lack of lawyers willing to take the mantel of a presidency of the Bar Council or being on the council itself. There are a few articles in newspaper like in the Star newspaper on 21.11.08 by the Putik Lada columnist or a campaign by aboth the lack of voting papers being returned to the Bar Council secretariat. We vote by post you see.

If any one of the candidate want to rig the voting, I think its plausible as it is just a piece of paper with the name of the candidate and a column for you to tick your choice. This year, there are 23 candidates for 12 post. Everyody remember the fiasco of last year's Bar Council election? I think, but am not sure, the case on that election is still on appeal. That what's I love about the Bar Council, half of our yearly fees go to defending the Bar from litigations due to some members not being satisfied with the Council's decision.

Choose me as the next Bar Council President and I will act cute to get what I want

According to that article in the Star newspaper (pg. N55) by Janet Chai Pei Ying, it is said that out of the 13,000 current registered Bar Council member, only 3,500 will return their ballot paper. The other ballot paper will be recycled as rough paper (that's what I usually do with all the circular sent by the Bar Council before they started to send me emails) or even worse just thrown out into the trash. If the list of candidates of this year is anything to go by, nearly 80% of it are the same candidate you see year in, year out.

Why you say? Like what Janet said in her article, the Bar members who will always itching for a fight and argument during the Annual General Meeting, have no interest in being leaders or charts the course of the Bar Council. They were willing to let a few who sometimes have to sacrifice their time to sleep to fight for all the things the Bar Council stands for. Some I may not even agree with but I have just realised the power of my vote and I voted this year. I even sent SMSes to a few of my lawyer friends and asked all the lawyers in my firm to vote.

I have experienced the localised version of the Bar by being a member of a Committee in a Bar Committee of a state in Malaysia. My partner is a chairperson of one of the Committee in the same Bar Committee and we have found out the hardship and the sacrifice that we have to make worthwhile. It was great to learn about being a member of a society like we did once in university but it is a different ballgame althogether. Next year, we may do a role reversal...

Back to my comment on lawyers in general especially with regard to the Bar Council. Lawyers just don't want to care when they are supposed to. They should vote and don't just bitch about the lack of support or the fights that the Bar is fighting is not up their alley or they don't agree on it. Vote and determine who leads. Then you can make a change. Like that guy in a country halfway across the world says,

"Yes, we can...!!!"

November 22, 2008

Sold Soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues...

Mr. N was trying to have an office of emminent stature with not just a place to work but more of a place to show-off his choice of furnitures and finishings. Our Chinese funder had promised Mr. N that he would pay for the renovations and everything for the company to have a best corporate office that money could buy. There was this furniture shop on the ground floor of the building where our new office was situated and that was where Mr. N managed to convince the owner of the shop to supply us all the furniture just by paying less than RM2,000-00 for a RM30,000-00 worth of furnitures.

This new office was just a phase for Mr. N before the building which would house a bigger corporate office on the fourth floor of the corner unit across the street with a clinic at the ground level would be built. The building was owned by our Chinese funder and he was willing to give the whole corner unit as part of his contribution to the company which would, of course, be capitalised later. The only snag was the popular Chinese coffeeshop at the ground floor of the unit which was giving our funder an income of RM15,000-00 per month. When Mr. N met the owner of the coffee shop, he said he was pulling in RM3,000-00 to RM5,000-00 per day according to the day of the week and he was not going to let some guy chase him away from his feng shui spot. Mr. N was determined to influence the funder to allow him to take over the unit including the coffeeshop and he promised to replace the coffeeshop with an upscale coffee shop such as a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf franchise (Starbucks was still 2,3 years in the future, then)

That Chinese coffee shop was amazingly run as they only use the inside of the shop during the day where they sell economy rice and such but during the night, the whole area outside the shop became a one big night market with everything under the sun (or moon) including Japanese food stall, VCD vendor and a magazine stand. For each stall, the owner would charge these people who use his space a fee of RM200 per night. It may be steep but they were more than willing to pay as they did brisk business which more than cover the charge. Just imagine 30 stalls around the restaurant and how much the owner make per night. By the way, he controlled the most important component of the so-called food court, which was the selling of beverages. That alone netted him some more income.

That was what Mr. N was up against in trying to convince our funder of the viability of his business of a franchise clinic. He ran the figure again with the funder and he promised to open up 15 clinics around the Klang Valley to recover any investment the funder would sunk into. His figures were attractive but he was still lacking the manpower and the locations. Our meetings with the funder were nearly every day and it would be either at his office, which we have to wait for a few hours or at some place where he had a meeting before, which we would also have to wait for some times before sitting down with him.

After office hour, nearly every day, Mr. N would asked us to go to a club near Bukit Kiara where we would have a karaoke session and sometimes meetings with certain people. Mr. N had this weird concept of not needing to be a member of a club to enjoy the facilities of the club. As the club opened its doors to just about anybody but with a two tiered systems of payment for member and non-member, we would sometimes conquer the bar where the members usually ignore at this particular club. When we arrived there, Mrs. N would have already waited for us and well into her second glass of ice lemon tea.

This was what we did for nearly the whole of 2000 until our Chinese funder introduced us to a Turkish businessman who he got to know as his capacity as CFO of the conglomerate which he was working. That was when the demise of our partnership became apparent...

November 21, 2008

McDonald is now a factory line?

Have you notice the way McDonald's cashier treat the McDonald customer nowadays? They will attend to the queue by asking what would you want for that day but they would have put the tray where they would put the food you ordered oln their right side or your left side. After you pay, they would ask you to wait for your food on the left. Some would even ask you to do it by saying "Wait here on the left". Reminded me of Beyonce's song "To the left, to the left" (many things reminded me of her nowadays, including how she will look in a Wonder Woman custome)

Anyway, when you come to think of it, isn't what McDonald is practising (which I can only attest to in Malaysia) since middle of this year, as I am their loyal Big Breakfast customer, is just one level down of a factory line. Queue, order, pay, go to the left, wait, get the food, get sauce and cutleries, eat and go. Even their drive-thru have been more automated with you having to talk to a talking post. I had to reverse back to it when it was first introduced and still saw a few cars having to do it as Golden Arches (McDonald Malaysia's parent company) started to be Americanised, more.

They have been cutting cost (from observation with no facts to back this up whatsoever) since they don't give out sauce in packets anymore and utilising deliveries and drive-thru more. I read somewhere (unverified again) that their profit in Malaysia dipped a bit 2,3 years ago and that was why they changed their campaign, their advertising agency and even closed some non-performing McDonald's. They were also offering the chance of people taking up their franchise and opened up their own McDonald in their area, especially at place they have no presence yet.

When they opened up one in Banting, I made a faux pas one day when I mentioned to a local that I never seen a McDonald open up a branch in backwater town as the one in Banting was a standalone building with a drive-thru to boot. From my own analysis, McDonald of old didn't have the business plan of KFC which opened up a branch in any small town in Malaysia. That's why their branches have more presence than any other franchise in Malaysia.

So, business-wise, is McDonald trying to play catch-up and feeling the heat of globalising too much or is it still the success story of yore? They may adapt fast but are they fast enough? They did try to introduce weird concoction which some had a degeree of success like the Prosperity Burger, which is currenly like a limited issued timepiece which when it is sold, everyone will try to eat as much during its issuance.

McDonald's for now is very succesful but may not be that invincible. There are a lot of institution which we have thought to be invincible has crumbled or slowly crumbling. Lehman Brothers? Citibank? Just because McDonald's sell food doesn't mean that they won't feel the pinch or goes belly up like these financial giants. Don't get me start on Starbucks...

Just a thought, is this so-called globalisation a failure? Or is it just a phase?

November 20, 2008

How my firm starts_3

When we graduated from the university, we have spent our life for 6 years to gain a scroll to ensure we have half a chance to serve the community by being lawyers who defends those who allegedly did something they are not willing to admit to being guilty to. Some went to become the decider, meaning magistrates. Some decided to fight on behalf of the government meaning, the prosecutors or drafters. Some own business like me and a few others, whose intention was rarely noble.

J was the guy who didn't seem to be ready to take on the world by being a business owner. Flashy and was dating the only mixed parentage girl in my batch, he was quite a charmer but quiet. He was popular with all the girls as he was quite a looker and he was a guy's guy as he played sports of all kind, have a car and knew how to play the social circle game. He was so unlike me but we were okay as I was also quite a people's person, only I hate being pretentious which sometimes cause friction with some people. This J guy was so popular a girl had once scolded me because he used my computer to print his thesis and the thesis couldn't print properly which resulted in him sending his thesis late. See, I remember the most trivial things making me a bit of a not so nice person.

As this post is about business, you may be wondering why I am going on and on about a person who was my partner once but not anymore. That's the point, CHOOSE YOUR PARTNER WELL!!!

Or, as lawyers must never discount a disclaimer or an exception, make sure you have a good agreement to start your business with, unless the partner is your wife or husband, then good luck to you.

This second partnership of mine, which I entered in 2001 and parted way from in 2002, was the biggest mistake S and I had ever made. From KAS&Co. we became J&Co. as we shut down our old firm, joined J&Co. as partners with our office as the new branch or J&Co. We didn't shut down our firm literally but dissolved the partnership of KAS&Co. and signed a new partnership agreement with J.

J's firm was a continuation of a very old firm, KS&Co. who had to shut down when KS was discovered to have squandered a few millions in the stock market just before 1997 and lost quite a few million more. He was only discovered to have done this in 2000 after 3 years of his ghastly deed. That was when J became his chambering student and he proposed for J to open up a new business which would take over his old firm. He would help him along with files, the staff and the office. J agreed with a few conditions including a better than average salary.

When I came in, J was already up to his neck with problem and we were supposed to help him fight off KS's proxy in the form of the office manager left behind by KS to oversee his interest. KS seemed to be running J&Co. long after he was gone. Well, not so long, but his hands seems to be everywhere. J, didn't approached me or anything but I was stopping by in his office one day and he told me his story. J also had this other university friend, S as his partner, but only in name. J ran the show in the firm but S lent his name, which was not even displayed but to gain more panel for the firm.

When we have discussed the nitty gritty issue of having separate office, autonomy and liabilities, we embarked on the new setup with us having an office in Bandar Sunway and J having his office in Shah Alam. We rarely went to his office as we were always trying to not having to meet the said office manager. We were a legal firm with two branches which actually have the partners as the lawyers in the firm. Our letterheads differ from each other as we have our address in Sunway on top and his would be at the bottom. For his office, its vice versa. Our account were different and the only thing that we shared was the auditor.

This arrangement didn't last long as we discovered a few discrepancies in the account which we queried and had discussion with J. During this time, J had already moved to Klang after a big fall-out with KS's office manager. The fall-out resulted in all the files of KS being pulled out of J&Co. Shah Alam and given to another firm, in which the lawyer had agreed to assume control of KS's interest in a more 'subdued' manner. J was quite devastated at first but we managed to convince him to not give up and he took two of his trusted staff and moved to Klang.

In Klang, we thought the situation would be different but discovered that J also had a very weird philosophy in running a business which made us parted way in September 2002...

November 19, 2008

Hari-hari Terakhir Seorang YB (sebuah novel Malaysia) Episod 14

Pada pilihanraya 2004, aku telah diminta oleh YB untuk hadir ke rumahnya apabila Parlimen dibubarkan. Aku yang baru bertukar kereta dari sebuah Proton Iswara kepada Proton Waja telah bergegas ke rumahnya yang telah lama tidak aku kunjungi kerana pada tahun itu aku banyak ke luar negeri dengan YB. Pilihanraya telah ditetapkan pada awal Mac dan aku telah ke Dubai dengan YB pada pertengahan Februari. Shopping sakan. Dubai Shopping Festival lah katakan.

Yang paling aku ingat masa pegi Dubai tu, aku telah di'sponsor' oleh seorang usahawan yang mempunyai kilang lampin di Kelang. Dia usahawan yang menjalankan sistem 'payung' di mana dia membekalkan lampin bayi ke kedai-kedai yang membayarnya secara consignment di mana bayaran hanya dibuat selepas lampin dijual. Melalui sistem ini, dia memberi harga yang lebih murah dari harga di pasaran dan dia mempunyai sebab tersendiri untuk mendekati YB. YB pun ada sebabnya kenapa dia berminat melayan usahawan lampin ini.

Usahawan lampin ini telah berjumpa dengan YB kerana dua tujuan. Yang pertama adalah untuk mencadangkan kepada YB membuka bisnes menjual lampin dan mempromosi jenama-jenama lampin-lampin yang dikilang olehnya secara pengilangan kontrak (contract manufacturing) dengan pelbagai syarikat ternama. Tujuannya yang kedua adalah untuk mendapatkan apa-apa bantuan kewangan dari pelbagai tabung yang dipegang YB dibawah portfolionya sebagai Exco yang terlibat dalam membantu usahawan.

YB pulak memang gemar melayan usahawan-usahawan yang telah berjaya dan sanggup berkongsi pengalaman dengannya. YB satu ketika dahulu pernah berniaga sebagai pembekal barang kepada pejabat-pejabat kerajaan dan perniagaannya amat berjaya tetapi terpaksa ditutup kerana dia akan dilantik sebagai seorang exco oleh bossnya pada masa itu. Dia menutup kedainya yang telah dibina selama 10 tahun dari zaman bujangnya tanpa banyak soal kerana mementingkan karier politiknya. Ketidakpercayaannya kepada sesiapa menyebabkan dia tidak terfikir untuk terus memajukan kedai itu melalui cara proksi. Cuma setelah berjumpa dengan aku dia semakin pandai mempunyai perniagaan tanpa nampak namanya sebagai tuanpunya.

Usahawan lampin ini diminta memajukan satu kedai baru di kawasan YB di kedai kepunyaan YB dan menjadi mentor untuk salah satu program yang dijalankan oleh anak syarikat kerajaan negeri untuk usahawan-usahawan yang baru bertapak. YB juga meminta dia membuat program untuk ibu-ibu tunggal di kawasan YB supaya dapat diserap menjadi usahawan yang akan dididik oleh usahawan tersebut.

Cuma secara berseloroh YB mengingatkan dia agar tidak menambah isteri lagi yang pada masa itu sudah mencapai angka tiga. Kesemua isterinya bekerja dengannya sebagai akauntan, ketua pemasaran dan ketua pegawai operasi. Sudah tentu dia melantik yang paling tua sebagai jawatan terpenting sebagai ketua pegawai operasi untuk memastikan yang lain akan mengikut cakapnya. Pada masa itu, anaknya yang paling sulung dari isterinya yang paling tua telah berumur 15 tahun dan jumlah keseluruhan anak-anaknya telah mencapai 15 orang dari tiga isterinya itu.

Lawatan ke Dubai yang aku ikut itu bukan hanya untuk berbelanja di Pesta Berbelanja Dubai sahaja. Boss YB telah memaksanya mengikut rombongan belajar ke Dubai itu untuk melihat peluang perniagaan di sana. Hampir setiap hari ada sesi 'business matching'. Di akhir lawatan itu diadakan pula satu makan malam besar-besaran dianjurkan oleh kerajaan Malaysia untuk rombongan itu dan akan dihadiri oleh ramai pemastautin Malaysia di Dubai.

Usahawan lampin itu telah bersetuju untuk menaja aku dan meminta aku mewakili syarikatnya di pelbagai mesyuarat yang perlu dihadiri oleh setiap peserta rombongan itu. Melalui penerangan pertama yang aku hadiri, yang sebenarnya satu-satunya penerangan yang diadakan di Malaysia, aku mendapat tahu bahawa setiap peserta perlu berdaftar dahulu dengan MITI dan MIDA sebelum dapat menyertai rombongan itu. Terdapat bayaran yang perlu dibayar untuk mendapat hak istimewa mengikuti semua program.

Tiket penerbangan, pengangkutan yang disediakan di sana dan tempat tinggal dikendalikan oleh seorang pemandu pelancong yang mempunyai hubungan dengan isteri 'boss'. Aku diberitahu oleh kawan aku yang juga pemandu pelancong, harga bagi pakej yang disediakan oleh pemandu pelancong 'tetap' boss itu kebiasaannya tiga kali ganda lebih mahal kerana dia dibayar secara waran oleh kerajaan negeri. Yang menjadi perbalahan dengan orang-orang yang bukan pegawai kerajaan negeri atau ahli parti politik adalah kenapa mereka yang membayar tunai terpaksa membayar harga yang mahal. Dia biasanya membenarkan peniaga-peniaga ini membuat urusan pelancongan mereka sendiri dan membenarkan mereka menaiki bas yang disediakan oleh syarikatnya walaupun mereka tidak membayar apa-apa kepadanya. Walaupun aku menyampah dengan cara dia mendapat bisnes apabila aku mengenalinya di Dubai dan di pelbagai rombongan lain, dia seorang yang ok.

Di Dubai, aku rasa nak tergelak mengenangkan macamana usahawan lampin ini membuat aku terkejar-kejar dari satu hotel ke satu hotel yang lain dan hampir menyebabkan aku tertinggal kapalterbang balik ke Malaysia. Mungkin aku ceritakan di entri yang lain...

November 18, 2008

Sold Soul (fiction of epic proportions) continues...

On the business side, I was enjoying a new income stream when Mr. N brought a new member to his business. Since day one, it seems that he had a funder whom he had known since his high-flying days as a corporate mover and shaker. This Chinese guy was the Chief Financial Officer of one of the biggest conglomerate in Malaysia. We sometimes have to go for meetings at his office which was at the penthouse of the conglomerate's building in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. I never imagined myself to be mixing with such people if I had stayed in Seremban.

From these meetings, I learnt the terms such as capital expenditure (Capex), cost overrun, human resource development, zero coupon, discounted issuances and various other terms. Some were taught to me but some were terms I overheard Mr. N used when talking to other people. The exposure made me read more books on management and finance.

In the earlier days of the business of the franchise clinic, my uncle's sister was supposed to be the funder of the company. When Mr. N started to demand a substantial amount as capital expenditures which came up to a cool million, my uncle sister balked and they started to haggle on the cost of operation of the clinic. That was when Mr. N brought in his own funder but asked for my uncle's sister to liquidate a part of her shares. She took one glance at the name of the would-be shareholder, who was the Chinese guy, and she started to demand a sum which was ridiculous.

As for me, I was too excited of the introduction of the eye-opening corporate world and the riches it promises. I was spending nearly everyday in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. N and a guy who was their neighbour's son, and I lost touch with my Seremban-based legal firm. I was even given a room to myself in the clinic to help them with their drafting and managing all the legal needs of the company. They were also planning to open an office somewhere in Sunway in which I would be given my own room and even my own secretary. I just couldn't wait to move into the promised office.

As my partner then was adamant in staying in not opening a branch anywhere in the Klang Valley as I could just easily drive everyday up and down to and from Seremban to service do legal work for this guy. I finally asked for us to be separated and went our own separate way. I managed to convince a friend of mine to consider and became my partner. As she was also on the look-out for a way to get out of her then employment, she agreed.

I went to the same university as my new partner but was not that close to her. She was a beautiful lady and was always draping herself on some cute guy'sshoulder that I didn't have the interest in her per se, although if I was ever given half the chance, who knows. When she became my partner, Mr. N was too interested in her but as we worked in the same office as Mrs. N, he backed out. He knew when not to piss in a pool where he was swimming...

As I knew I couldn't commute forever, I went to look for an accommodation and I found one when I met a friend of a friend who was looking for housemates. I knew I wouldn't stay long with them when I got to know that there were nearly 6 other housemates in a 3-bedroom condominium. That was when I met a few girls who would just enter and sleep over at the house as if they were living there. Our sexual escapades every week would vary according to the club which we would hop from one to another. These girls vary from students to excutives and even divorcees. My housemates seems to attract all kind of girls as they mostly worked with banks and have many disposable income with sports cars to boot.

It was like living in a free-for-all harem...

November 17, 2008

Why driving like a maniac will help stimulate the economy

We were driving from Shah Alam to Seremban on Saturday night after both of us had a very tiring day. Right from the word go!, when we exited at the USJ exit from Shah Alam, there were cars racing with each other on the ELITE highway then down to the south on the PLUS highway. There were modified Kancils, Proton Saga, Japanese cars, Proton Wira and four wheel drives. There were not many luxury cars which join the race. Most Mercedes, Audi, Lexus and BMW that night seem to be on their best behaviour.

As they weaved in and out in front of me, I looked at my wife and we smiled. She then said "Let them be. There are a few business they could help. Tyre company. Workshop to service their car and not forgetting, god forbid, if they are involve in an accident...". "Yes, that's true. Come to think of it, we can list quite a few business. Even professional one" I said.

Don't let this happen to you, but if it happened, you can call those on the list below

Here is the list which we manage to come up with :-

1) Workshop - for servicing the car and repairing or 'knocking' (to use a Malaysian term) the dented parts;

2) Tyre shop - which change the worn and well-used tyres;

3) Spare parts shop - for various reasons;

4) Insurance company - for claims and higher car premium. From the CEO, shareholders and the officers;

5) Adjuster - to estimate damages;

6) Tow truck operator - to tow the car which breaks down or involve in an accident;

7) Banks - to finance the new car which will benefit all the people said in (4) and the public when the bank make money as the bank will lend more for other economic activity such as buying a house etc;

8) Lawyers - to sue and defend the driver/owner of the car according to their guilt;

9) Judges - to decide who's wrong;

10) Hospital or clinics or bomohs - to heal;

11) Nurses - to marry the dumbass;

12) Doctors - to euthanised the bastard;

13) Police - to summon the parties involved and delay in issuing their reports;

14) Politicians and top civil servants - to do various campaign and waste public money with regards to cars and accidents;

15) Firemen - to operate the jaws of life to save the buggers life;

16) TV and newspaper - to show the accidents in its full glory;

17) Radio - to warn off oncoming vehicle of the accident ahead;

18) Car dealers, tinting shop, rim shop and all those shops in relation to new car to replace the one involve in accident;

19) Crematoriums, funeral houses and Imam at the mosques to help bury the dead; and

20) Mamak, makcik kantin tepi balai - to serve those involve in accident drinks and food;

21) Bloggers - who bitch about them

Come to think about it, let them race as they do make the economy better with all these contributions.

As for me, I'll stay on the left lane unless I'm driving my other car....

November 16, 2008

Another research house, another bank

Last week, on 11.11.08 and 12.11.08, I saw another history being made in Malaysia. I had the opportunity to witness the launching of a research house dedicated to Islamic finance and the launch of a new Islamic banking institution (more historical for the former). Both were supposed to be launched by the Prime Minister but he only came for the latter as during the former, he sent Datuk Zahid Hamidi as his replacement as he had to entertain some delegates from Iran.

I am currently a student of INCEIF which is a university under the auspice of Bank Negara Malaysia. INCEIF is a university to further develop the human capital in Islamic banking in which its courses are tailored for bankers and as my legal firm deals a lot with banker, I need to understand them more.

All the students of INCEIF were invited by the research house, ISRA', for a one day seminar which would end with the launching of ISRA'. ISRA' is the acronym for International Shari'ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance. It was supposed to complement the Islamic finance development in Malaysia especially Islamic finance product developments. The seminar helped me to understand more about Islamic banking and the issues at hand including the long standing arguments between the middle eastern scholars and the Malaysian scholars especially with regard to secondary market. It was actually a session of comparing our achievements in the world with the middle eastern's countries and it seems that we are quite at par with them. During the launch D. Zahid seemed to be quite perky as he just clinched the highest number of nominations in his UMNO bid for a place in the Majlis Tertinggi. Good for him...!?!

On Wednesday, I was invited by a friend who had worked with another bank to see her new workplace being launched by the PM, who this time came on time at 9am, to launch a new Islamic bank called Standard Chartered Saddique. They had operated Islamic banking window in Malaysia since the 90s but this is a totally new entity concentrating on Islamic banking. The CEO of Standard Chartered gave his speech before Pak Lah and they celebrated the new bank's first 3 customers by giving them a Islamic credit card (which allow them to get back their money). There were some plaques signing and a tour of the bank's business centre.

From these 2 events I believe the best statement that show the benefit of Islamic finance were when in both speeches, Pak Lah said that Islamic finance may be the saviour in the current economic conundrum. Hmmm...sometimes this guy does make sense if you really willing to listen to him. With Tan Sri Zeti presence in both events, I hope she will make something out of these new institutions especially ISRA'. As for me, I have decided to take all that INCEIF and ISRA' have to offer as I have nothing to loose except time which I have a lot.

Here's to learning...

November 15, 2008

Sold Soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues...

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

When I was on the dangdut club dance floor, I learned about a lot of things. I learned on how to look as if you are dancing but you actually are not. On how to grope the person you are dancing with but make it look as if it is unintentional. Take advantage of the girl that you are dancing with when the light was turn off for the slow dance. Between the dance sequence and the band playing, you could rest and cuddled with the girl you had chosen and tried to fondle her as much as possible.

That one girl that I met the first time I went into the club gave me her phone number at the end of our session together. I was taught by Z on the hourly rate of each club and the minimum that was always set by the club. The minimum hour for the club was 4 hours but Z was given the special deal by the Papa in which he was only charged on the exact time he spend inside the club and the key was to be in the club after 12pm. As clubs then were imposed with a 3am curfew, the club could only charge us 3 hours for the girls that we chose.

On that first day, Z had already secured himself a girl which he offered to send back to her house. She was an Indonesian with a PR status and was living quite near the club. We sent her home and I remembered how Z managed to ask for a kiss. A full kiss on the lip and not your garden variety peck on the cheek.

The girl was enjoying some sweets and Z asked her whether she has some more for him. When she answered in the negative, Z asked whether he can have the one she was chewing. She giggled at first then Z said what was wrong with that. They did dance and fondling each other before and sharing the same sweet was just taking it on another level. Z asked for her to passed it "like a bird giving its hatchlings some food".

I smiled hearing the exchange as I was driving and Z was riding shotgun. The girl leaned over from the back and seems to pass the sweet from her mouth straight to Z's mouth. He grabbed her and held her for sometimes before letting her go. That was how he stole a kiss from someone who wasn't really willing to kiss him.

From that day onwards, we frequented the club a few times and I also tried to have dates with the girl outside of the club. It seems that it was not that easy. Z explained to me that their acts were always deceptive. The idea was to get you to frequent them at the club. They would let you to fondle them, kiss them and even if you are good enough, make you sexually satisfied with their hands or mouth, but you will rarely get to date them properly. They could tell whether you are really from the moneyed crowd or just a poser with one glance. They will also exchange information with each other on the 'benefits' that you can give them.

Discovering all this didn't stop me from trying and I was left out cold a few times when I made dates with the girl and went to the appointed place that we were supposed to meet but discovered she had switched off her phone when she didn't turn up and I was frantically calling her for nearly 2 hours. When I went to club that night, she said that she had an emergency at home. I just smiled....

When after a few times she never turn up for the dates set, I asked her frankly whether she really wanted to date me and she told me frankly that do I want to have an affair with someone who is divorced and have 2 kids to feed. I understood at that moment what these ladies of the night had to bear, day in, day out. I was just a customer who was willing to pay for her time and she was working, trying to make ends meet, unlike me who was trying to have fun. There was also the prejudice of them willing to sleep around for whatever money they can make out of it. The first thing that they lost working at a place like that was humanity...

Reality bites..... Hard

November 14, 2008

Hari-hari Terakhir Seorang YB (sebuah novel Malaysia) Episod 13

Tahun kami mengenali YB adalah tahun selepas parti politik YB menghadapi cabaran yang paling mencabar dalam sejarah parti politik itu sejak dipimpin oleh Presiden yang sama sejak 1980-an. Tahun 1999, terjadi pemecatan Timbalan Presiden parti politik YB yang amat popular. Ia menyebabkan terjadi pelbagai tunjuk perasaan dan populariti parti politik yang dianggotai YB merundum jatuh.

YB sendiri dikatakan hampir diragui kesetiaannya oleh Presiden parti politiknya kerana YB memang rapat dengan Timbalan Presiden itu. Malahan nama salah seorang anak YB adalah nama Timbalan Presiden itu. Dia pernah bertanding Ketua Pemuda parti politiknya atas desakan Timbalan Presiden itu. Di saat terakhir, dia menarik diri atas nasihat rakan-rakannya yang lain.

Hanya kerana dari pertandingan yang tidak berlangsung itu, YB sebenarnya boleh bersara sebagai seorang jutawan. Malahan lebih lagi. Banyak penajanya yang membiarkan dia terus memegang semua wang yang telah mereka sumbangkan kerana dia masih diberi kepercayaan untuk menganggotai exco kerajaan negeri di mana dia menjadi ahli dewan undangan negeri. YB masih muda masa itu dan dia adalah exco Pemuda parti politiknya yang paling cerah bintangnya.

Ketika aku mengenali YB, zaman Pemudanya telah lama berlalu tetapi dia tetap berhubung dengan barisan exco Pemuda parti politiknya yang dulu. Dari sini dia mengatur karier politiknya. Ada yang membantu dia dari segi kewangan dan ada yang membantunya untuk memastikan dia sentiasa mempunyai jawatan di peringkat negeri samada di peringkat parti politiknya atau di peringkat kerajaan negeri.

Sebagai exco, pada masa aku mula mengenalinya, dia memegang portfolio sebagai exco yang menjaga belia dan pembangunan usahawan. Di sini dia meminta kami membantunya untuk menggunakan kuasanya dalam memajukan industri kerepek di kawasannya. Ia nampak mudah dan tidak mungkin gagal. Dia boleh memperkenalkan apa-apa syarikat yang kami gunakan kepada pelbagai kemudahan yang ditawarkan oleh kerajaan pada masa itu. Pintu pelbagai bantuan kewangan dianggap telah separuh terbuka. Pengusaha-pengusaha yang mempunyai produk yang menarik dan sedap ada senarainya di ofisnya. Yang perlu dilakukan adalah untuk aku siapkan satu program yang mampu mengeksploitasi semua kemudahan-kemudahan ini.

Sebagai peguam yang hanya keluar universiti dua tahun sebelum itu, aku bukanlah banyak pengalaman sangat. Rakankongsi ku, S, pun lebih menumpukan kepada melakukan kerja-kerja guaman conveyancing yang berlainan dari apa yang YB ingin kami lakukan. S meminta aku menjadi peguam yang bertanggungjawab untuk menguruskan syarikat yang diinginkan YB tersebut. YB juga ada meminta seorang dari kawasannya aku gunakan sebagai yang bertanggungjawab untuk kerja-kerja harian di syarikat itu. Dia adalah seorang guru silat di kawasan YB yang juga anggota parti politik YB. Dia memang tidak bekerja sepenuh masa di mana-mana tempat dan sentiasa bertanya kepada YB jika ada apa-apa yang boleh menjana sedikit wang untuknya. Oleh kerana dia adalah salah seorang ketua cawangan di kawasan YB, YB perlu memberi sesuatu untuk meraih undinya nanti, bila perlu.

Dari permintaan YB ini, tumpuan YB beralih dari ingin mengurat S menjadi satu hubungan profesional dengan aku dan firma aku. Aku mengendalikan penubuhan syarikatnya, menjadi pengarah syarikatnya dengan S, melantik setiausaha syarikat yang YB sendiri tidak bertanya siapakah dia dan membuka akaun bank. Akaun bank itu adalah di sebuah bank di kawasan YB kerana YB kenal dengan pengurus cawangan di kawasannya itu. Mudah agaknya untuk dia menyelia akaun itu dan memastikan aku boleh dipercayai. Sekiranya aku ingin kaya sekejap, aku sebenarnya boleh melarikan semua wang yang ada di dalam akaun itu tanpa banyak soal.

Namun, pemikiran ku adalah untuk masa depan dan bukan untuk sekejap sahaja....

November 13, 2008

How my firm starts_2

In August of 2000, I separated myself from my old firm in Seremban and I asked for a loan from my long time funder, who were my parents. I had to pay my old partner around RM10,000-00 for the unpaid portion of my overhead. I also asked them to bless me on my new endeavour. They agreed but told me to be careful in dealings with anyone as there were so many conmen trying to use lawyers as their front.

We incorporated our firm when we got the letter from the Bar Council in early September and the date of 20.9.00 is still fresh in my mind as the date we opened for business. The name of that firm was KAS&Co.

I introduced my parents to my new partner which made my mom raised her eyebrow as she dressed more like a model than a lawyer. I explained that I have been her friend for so long that I didn't think we would be more than that. I think my mom was relieved when I married someone else in 2003 as she really believed business and marriage shouldn't mix.

Anyway, we started small by using the address of our would-be office in Sunway but started our operation in Kuala Lumpur Satellite Centre in Wangsa Maju, sharing the office of M&S. We didn't even have a desk with computer and such but kind of hang around their small reception area which had a sofa and a small desk. We even borrowed their computer for the small amount of work that we have. I was still commuting from Seremban and it was tiring sometimes which made me slept over at either M's or S's houses which were just 10 minutes drive from their office.

As M&S was also new then, we kind of supported each other and even helped with work. Most of the time, we just hung around either in the office, playing computer games and even playing pool or snooker at a snooker centre at the back of the office building. I was actually being supported by my parents in two ways which were with an allowance of RM1,000-00 per month and a supplementary credit card worth a thousand. Spoilt brat, huh? My partner was surviving from a bit of her savings but she was living in her parent's house which was paid for. Only her car is her liability. She drove a Proton Satria then and I was driving a sponsored Proton Iswara.

When the client who promised us an office space managed to complete his office, we moved to Sunway. The office was an open concept office where everyone was within each other sight and ear. There was a wall to separate us from a pantry and a room, which was built-in, where my client use as his main office. We shared their fax, phone and mailbox. I even used the office as my place to sleep on days I was too lazy to go back to Seremban.

Please be in mind, both, the sharing of one legal firm with another and the sharing of a legal firm office with their client, is not allowed by the Legal Profession Act, 1976. My client allowed me to use his room as if it was my firm's office to show the separation of our offices. As for when we were in M&S office, we were already using the address of the office in Sunway.

Time was hard then for us that the only thing that we worried about was how much money we need to pay off our liability but the office was not one of it. I am now kind of in a bad terms with my then client but I am always thankful he was there then when we needed him. He paid for everything first but the office rental and the other overhead like electricity and water supply were totally borne by him. We only paid for phone calls and the courier service. Most of the despatching were done by either me or my partner. I even asked a girl woman I knew then who worked in a dangdut club who moonlighted as a despatch (not the other around) for a big firm in KL to help me to file certain documents in the land office (this is a true story which may sound ridiculous to some)

We actually suffered losses in our first 5 months until I met with a friend of mine who was from the same university, like my partner, and we decided to partner together, merging our firm, to create a new legal firm. He was having problems to get into banks as panels and he had baggages which he took over when he took over a big legal firm.

That was in March 2001, when a new chapter was entered...

November 12, 2008

A milestone as a blogger

Today mark a milestone for me as one of the most underrated blogger who is still trying to get the hang of blogging. I have finally neared the 1000 hits after 2 months of intense blogging. That hits are from 2 blogs that I maintain and the voyage started from this blog.

As much as 1000 is a drop in the ocean, these 2 blogs are my walls to write my would-be books. They are just an excuse and to see whether I have an audience. Seems that there are. So, it is a milestone, nonetheless.

I read someone's blog yesterday ( on the amazing growth of which is nearing its 10,000,000 hits. Let me break it down for you, since its inception 7 months ago, is nearing its 10 Million hits and it has impacted nearly 50,000 lives per day. Now, there are an average of 200 comments per posting. The comments were not encouraging in its early days but increases after. What is most amazing is that it reached a Million hits within 30 days. 30 DAYS!!!

I was also told by my wife Tun's the 'snippets' type of postings are according to a Press Kit. So, it is easier for the press to quote him which he did notify that he allowed as long credits are given. I bet one all reporter of each news agency in Malaysia the world check his posting everyday.

Our 'mantan' PM (really love the word 'mantan', sounds a lot like a aristocratic word, if there such a thing) had celebrated his 1 Million hits which just took 2 months for his site to reach but after that I think he had stopped counting as he concentrated on other important matter like bringing down our current PM. Go Tun Mahathir!!!!

The blog

My only comment is the setting of his blog which held comments and publish it in one go which made you sometimes think you are the first commentator. Just go and see the comments area where some thought they were the first commentator. Happened to me too but I wised up when the final page after the comment said that my comment will only be approved after the blog owner's approval. Lo and behold, mine became the 15th of 200 comments on one of his posting.

Back to little old me. I am but a speck in the billion sands shifting in cyberspace. I updated my blog every day with Legal Cat-asthrophe ( which is updated at 11.59pm everday and As Good As It Gets ( is updated at 7am in the morning. Don't ask me why, I just love those two moments. One signify the end of the day and the other one is the start of the day, for me. Legal Cat-asthrophe contains my writing and comments on events or happenings or information on legal business, law societies in Malaysia and legal matters. As Good As It Gets is on relationship and the dynamic between men and women.

I promote my blogs using a few aggregators such as Petaling Street Project, Negaraku,, Innit from Nuffnang and my Facebook buddies, which currently stands at 307. All these managed to garner me the most 71 readers and the least of 5 readers per day. I experimented at certain times of the day the best time to update these websites of my updates. Updating people in Nuffnang is best at late evening or night time and some of the others loved to open their favourite blogs during office hours. Mondays are always bad readership day as people are in Monday blues mood and weekends are best as people have more time. This little experiment of mine might not even be accurate.

These facts are just interesting facts that I collected and its not going to have bearing on my momentum ...yet. You would just have to bear with me with my updates through all those aggregators I mentioned above especially NuffNang's Innit which are filled with the younger sets whose interest differ greatly with mine (I think).

As for now, the speck of sand will keep on blogging...

November 11, 2008

Sold Soul (a fiction of epic proportion) continues...

(This is an ongoing online novel started as a fictionalised events of my life. Its based on true events not all experienced by me but there were some total fictions too)

I am now in a Thailand prison where it is said that you only get a 50 :50 chances of survival at the end of your term. For me, who is a lifer, this does not matter. I longed for companionship but just not having somebody harass me by making me his pet brother who would be more like a sex slave, more than anything else, has made me thankful. I remember the joke about "dropping the soap" which my friends like to make in school about being someone's 'biatch...'. Its not a joke anymore once you are in unforgiving place like this.

It reminded me of that dangdut years when I frequented a place which I considered as seedy during those years. If I could turn back time, I would have done things differently by taking the chances that were presented to me whatever the repercussion. I was so cowardly then that I just let events passed me by...

It was in that place in Sentul I learned what was all the hoopla about dangdut was. Before that night, the only thing that I know about dangdut was name such as Amalina and it was originated in Indonesia. Roma Irama was even using dangdut as a way to promote Islam in Indonesia.

So, Z was determined to get me to come up with him to see this dangdut place that he had frequented once. I did tell you that his family have their own gang in Seremban right? It seems that there was this one time he needed to 'disappear' from Seremban for a while due to some unfortunate 'accident' which made the police looked for him. What he did was during his 'out' time, he was hiding at this girl's house in Sentul while working at this particular dangdut club as a bouncer. That was why he knew everyone there when we went there.

The place was on the second floor of a shophouse which took the whole of two units of the building. It seems that the ground floor were also rented by the owner of the dangdut but the shutters at the front of the ground floor units were never raised, even during the day. Those units could only be accessed from the second floor. Z explained that they were used as illegal gambling dens. It was also a lookout for any police raid on the dangdut...

When we were climbing the stairs of the dangdut there was this one girl who was walking past us and climbed the stairs in front of us. I commented to Z in a whisper that she was a looker and her ass looked nice as if there was no undies. Z immediately called up to her and said that I would like to sit with her. He also added that I was admiring her beautiful behind and it seems to Z she was wearing a g-string. At that moment, I was red in the face, but she was smiling at me as if I had given her a flattering compliment. She winked at me and walked up with a bit more swing to her hip. Wow, I thought, this must be a dream come true, to have a girl who was willing to accept a compliment with confidence.

When we got through the front door of the dangdut, we were ushered to a seat which was more like a circular couch which fronted an open space. There were mirror on the side walls and a live band at one end. The other end seems to be where the bar was and some other normal long sofa. We were given special treatments as Z knew the owner.

A man came over our couch and talked to Z. Z introduced me to him as 'Papa'. He was such a short man just bordering on being a dwarf but has a full hair and a good toned body. From his look, I knew he was not someone I could mess with.

Z explained I can asked any one of the girls as my partner for the night. I said no thanks as I was good. Z smiled and explained that you didn't come in a dangdut unless you take a partner. I relented and said to Z to just to get the girl we met just now. Z turned to Papa and explained to him the girl we had seen just now. He said we were being vague as we must have seen her in her 'normal' attire and as today was the day they have to wear a dinner dress, the girl must have changed.

He called out on a walkie talkie that he was holding for someone to "bring them out" and suddenly we were treated to a parade of 10 girls walking to the front of our table before going back to wear they were sitting at the back. I saw the girl from before and pointed at her. She was wearing this green blouse with a matching short skirt.I could just imagine what she was wearing under the skirt. Papa was complimenting me as he said that I had chosen a 'Top Girl'. I just smiled although I didn't understand the term and thanked him.

Z chose another girl who was tall and was wearing this black bareback gown with a slit high up until her thigh. We ordered some drinks from a waiter and asked for the girls to order theirs. They each ordered a glass of whiskey on a rock and a box of cigarettes. Z and I exchanged looks as we both don't drink.

All the while the music was blaring from the speakers and at around 11pm, there were these girls who come out of nowhere and started to dance to the music. It seems that the music came from the band who was on the raised stage and they were alternating through a few type of dance music like cha cha, rumba, dangdut and joget. All were music that you could dance slowly too. There were even a 'slow dance' number where the lights were switched off. That was supposed for the cue for those who wanted to cuddle as lovers to do whatever they wanted in the dark...

I was enthralled by these show of  various dances until the girl who I was fondling through her skirt and blouse asked me to go and dance. I declined but was finally coerced by her. I saw Z was already on the dance floor and he smiled at my courage.

That was the first time ever I was on a dance floor for whatever reason. The night was just starting...

November 10, 2008

Hari-hari Terakhir Seorang YB (sebuah novel Malaysia) Episod 12

Setelah beberapa minggu, Dato' A akhirnya meluluskan firma kami sebagai salah satu panel peguamnya yang dibenarkan bertindak untuk menangani fail-fail jual beli rumah di syarikatnya. Kami diperkenalkan dengan pegawainya yang mentadbir bahagian jualan dan kami dipanggil berjumpa dengan Dato' A sebelum dia membenarkan kami mendapat apa-apa fail. Kena syarahan panjang lagi....

Kami berjumpa dengan Dato' A di pejabatnya yang baru di Shah Alam. Dia menyewa satu blok bangunan dan ofisnya adalah yang paling atas menghadap panorama kota Shah Alam. Aku senyum kepada pembantu peribadinya sebelum masuk berjumpa dengannya dan pembantu peribadi Dato' A memberi pandangan kepada S yang jelas menampakkan kekagumannya dengan kecantikan S. Muka aku pula boleh nampak bangga dengan kecantikan S yang tiada kena mengena denganku.

Dato' A berada di dalam biliknya dan memandang ke atas apabila kami masuk. Biliknya cukup besar untuk memuatkan 5 pejabat kami. Di atas meja Dato' A ada sebuah komputer yang sentiasa menunjukkan nombor-nombor kecil berwarna hijau yang sesekali berkelip-kelip. Bila aku tanya Dato' A tersenyum dan menerangkan ini adalah hobinya yang mampu membuat duit jika pandai. Bila aku pandang skrin itu betul-betul baru aku faham yang ia menunjukkan pasaran saham Malaysia. Main saham rupanya orang tua ni.

Setelah kami didudukkan di sebuah sofa di satu sudut di bilik itu, Dato' A datang menyertai kami dan duduk di sofa untuk seorang di sebelah kami. Dia memandang kami dari atas ke bawah dan hanya mengangguk apabila kami bertanyakan khabarnya.

"Korang ni agaknya berapa lama boleh tahan jadi partner huh? Aku dah banyak jumpa lawyer semua bila dah 2,3 tahun pecah partnership bukak firm baru. Tak pun berhenti jadi lawyer dan masuk government lah, syarikat besar lah", dia memulakan ceramahnya. Aku dan S hanya diam mendengar. Orang nak bagi kerja, takkan nak bantah-bantah pulak. Dengar je lah...

Dia menceritakan bagaimana dia bermula dengan berniaga di kawasan pendalaman sebelum dia berjaya seperti sekarang. Dia memberitahu yang dahulu dia hanya mempunyai sebuah pasaraya kecil menjual pelbagai barang. Dia kemudiannya membeli sebidang tanah di kampungnya sekuas 3 ekar dan atas saranan kawannya dia memajukannya menjadi projek perumahan.

Dia dengan sendirinya turun naik pejabat tanah membuat permohonan pertukaran syarat, memecah bahagian dan semua yang perlu untuk membangunkan rumah teres. Dia kemudiannya melantik kontraktor yang menipunya setelah dia membayar setengah dari bayaran yang dituntut. Dia hampir putus asa. Kawannya yang memberangsangkan dirinya pada awal itu memujuknya. Dia menjadi tekad dan melakukan semuanya sendiri. Dia akhirnya berjaya menjual semua unit rumah yang dibangunnya sendiri dan dia berjaya membuat untung.

"Kau tahu sapa kawan yang sibuk bagi aku encouragement tu?", kami menggeleng kepada soalannya itu.

"YB korang tu lah... Tu sebab aku terhutang budi kepada dia", kami mengangguk dan memahami kenapa dia seperti terhutang budi dengan YB.

"So, kalau dia bawak korang, aku tolonglah. Tapi, kalau korang menyusahkan aku, tutup firm lah, bawak lari duit lah, aku tak kira, korang ni anak YB ke, sapa ke, aku bantai aje.... Ok?", dia minta kepastian.

S berengsot ke hadapan di tempat duduknya dan berkata "Dato', kami ni memang nak berniaga lama. Mungkin lawyer lain tu bila berkongsi niaga tak kenal sama satu lain. Kami dah kenal 8 tahun lepas, sejak hari pertama matrikulasi. Insyaallah, kami takkan abaikan amanah Dato' dan kami pun tak nak kecewakan YB", aku mengiakan telahan S.

"Ok lah, korang dah paham apa aku nak beritahu, korang buat lah habis baik dan jangan sampai aku dengar apa-apa complain", dia duduk di mejanya semula dan terus membuat panggilan telefon. Kami anggap kami dah selesai dengannya.

"Fuh, penat dengar syarahan dia. Tapi takpelah, kita jadikan cabarannya tu sebagai inspirasi. Kau kalau nak gaduh-gaduh dengan aku, gaitau awal-awal tau...", seloroh aku yangdisambut dengan tamparan ke bahu ku.

Kami ketawa bersama-sama dan merenung jauh ke masa hadapan. Cerah nampaknya kalau berkawan dengan YB ni...

November 9, 2008

How my firm starts_1

(This was how I start my business of owning a legal firm based on true events)

You may have heard about it from me in fragments or you may have heard of it through the grapevines or even if you really read my story, how my firm came to be. I fictionalised parts of my real life and use it as the premise of Sold Soul, my first novel.

It started with an invitation by someone who would have lost everything if she didn't make it in business. I was already in a comfort zone then in which I was a partner with an ex-Deputy Public Prosecutor who opened his firm a year before, alone. I was living in Seremban sheltered by my parent's house and given a car and an allowance to boot to help me survive the real world even when I was already a partner in a small legal firm in Seremban. The youngest of three boys, my parents were then left with nobody to support and just this final one who seems to have a future but still need a bit of a push. Like a penguin starting to hunt for fish or a tweety bird starting to learn to fly...

So, I was hanging around one of my junior's legal firm which opened in June 2000. There was this restaurant there, just within the Kuala Lumpur Satellite Centre, which was quite empty then, unlike now. My junior, M & S opened their business without any business plan and they were using a quarter of an office rented by S's cousin. The office was big and no one was at the office as S's cousin need it as a base which he use as a business address. They were doing cleaning services for LRT lines and others and they don't need a real office. So, M & S got the office to themselves.

I was always hanging around at their office as I was servicing this client in Shah Alam, SS2 and Sunway as I was still commuting from Seremban. I didn't have an office yet in the Klang Valley and I didn't think that I need one. I loved the fact I could drive at anytime of the day to do work in those places and called up people later whether I could sleep over at their places. As most of the girls I was dating either lived with their parents or with housemates, and I was such a good boy (yeah, right!), I bunked a lot in my university's friends house. As they were also living with their parents, it was not a problem. It got so routine that I once came back from a trip with one of the girl I was dating at 8am to my friend's house and his father helped opened the front door of the house as my friend was a heavy sleeeper!!

Back to the story, I was having lunch when my would be partner asked me whether I consider opening up a firm in the Klang Valley. I told her that was an interesting idea but where? I did talked with my client whom I was servicing to sponsor me an office as I was nearly everyday at his house (he was also office-less) but he asked me to wait for his office to be ready and I could use a part of it. He was going to opened an office in Sunway.

That was our first meeting and from there we talked and talked until I had the confidence to approach my then partner and proposed to him to open a branch in KL. He rejected it outright as he don't want to have to pay fees to the Bar Committee of another state (you have to pay at all states that you have a branch).

In the end I change tactics and that was how on 20.9.00, a new legal firm was born...

(to be continued...)

November 8, 2008

What lawyers do when they are not billing you (a Selangor Bar Dinner & Dance '08 update)

With my staff at the entrance before the dinner
Usually I rarely involve myself with the Selangor Bar or the Bar Council for that matter, except for their Annual Meetings. This year, I had the oppurtunity to be involved in this year Selangor Bar Dinner & Dance as the chairperson of my Young Lawyers, Pupils Affair and IT Committees was out of commission as she had just gave birth to her third child. I am the sub-committee member, who had to do 'real' work for a change other than just saying 'aye!' at meetings when I need to oversee the soft launch of the Selangor Bar website which will be fully launch in January 2009.

For the past 2 weeks I was also chasing the deadline of my assignments in my post-graduate course at INCEIF that I had to juggle the two jobs together. As the chair of my Committee, Tina still oversees and approves everything but I was expected to liase with the vendor, which is to ensure the smooth transition from the old vendor to them. There was also the launch presentation to contend with.

Our table

At 3pm on Saturday, 8.10.08, I was already at the Crystal Crown ballroom, somewhere in PJ where the Dinner & Dance was supposed to happened. Eddie Law of was nowhere to be seen and Suraj the Social Event Committee Chairman was already asking me where is he. I called him and he arrived some 20 minutes later as he was going to straight away be there for the dinner. I had to go fetch my wife after.

While I was waiting, I watched the other performers rehearsing and doing sound-check which include Leina Hangat (back from the dead) who slipped in a line or two commenting on my bald head, the rock group, Reborn and some dancers.

We tested the presentation and seems to hit a wall when the sound from the Power Point presentation wouldn't come out. We had to go to the Digital Mall in PJ to burn the sound to a CD and give the CD to the AV unit which had coordinate with Eddie Law. When I sent him back it was already 5.45pm and I had to drop him at the hotel's entrance and hoped for the best.

My wife dressing was inspired by Mrs Field in Quantum of Solace...and I, the villain
When I arrived back at 7.45pm, I was greeted by the whole Selangor Bar Committee who was waiting for the VIPs which include the new Chief Judge and a few others from the judiciary. I checked with Eddie and he assured me that everything was okay. I checked with the secretariat on the coordination and hang-out with my partner who was the chaiperson of the Conveyancing Committees. She had to ushered the judges and overlook certain matters.

The night actually went on smoothly except when the hotel staff was heard arguing among themselves at the kitchen adjoining the hall when the Chief Judge was giving his speech. His speech started with him thanking that there was no reporter as he said the misquote him quite a lot. He then when on to tell the audience on how he plan to clear the courts backlog. Good luck to him who was also a lawyers.

Through the night there were four speeches including one by the Chief Judge, Tan Sri Dato' Seri Zaki;

The Chief Judge giving his speech

the Chairman of the Selangor Bar, Mr. Rajpal Singh;


the Committee of Social Event, Mr. Suraj; and the speech on behalf of Tina, by Sumathi who is the Honarary Secretary of Selangor Bar. These speeches were interlaced with performance by the dancers in Madri Gras style, after Michael Jackson opened the stage performance, followed by Leina Hangat (who had people go up the stage to be her dancers), some lawyer public bulletin by the team called the LegalAiders who want lawyers to help out in legal aids, the Comedy Court (who act out Parliamentarians in Malaysia to a T) and finally Reborn, the rock band (which I didn't watch as I had to send someone home).

Leina Hangat and her impromptu dancers
Opening Act dancers
Comedy Court holding court

The launch of the website happened after Sumathi's speech and it went off without a hitch. It was launched when the CJ and our Chairman pointed a laser pointer to the screen and the presentation was shown. You can take a look at the site at

The launch of the website
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