January 31, 2009

Competition among colleagues

Nope, this is not about those times where you and a colleague try to see how many beer you can drink within a space of 10 minutes. Or that time where you bet on how many time your boss will call you in a day. Or how many MC you can chalk up before you get called in to see the management.

This is about sports.

About those sport events held by your office supposedly to let the staff to know each other and to embarass those who can't play any sports at all to save their lives. Bowling nights. Badminton. Fly fishing ala Boston Legal. Corporate social responsibility events disguised as a sport event. In Kuala Lumpur, there's one which are called 'The Rat Race' where participants wear offices attire while running the street as if in a marathon. My office never really participate or have these thype of events. We do sometimes join bankers who sometimes extend invitations to us to participate for bowling tournaments or other not too taxing sports. As my office mostly consist of female office workers, we rarely have enough participants and had to 'import' our player among the staff's friends and spouses.

Another sports related event which came to light among lawyers here in Malaysia a few years back was the badminton game between a Public Prosecutor and a judge which ends in the Prosecutor being taken off a case he is handling in front of the judge. That case involve a very high ranking government official hence the treatment of such insensitive conduct. It is actually a normal practice for Malaysian lawyers to have sports event with the court staff and judges. So, when we heard this, we actually question the rationale for it as rarely does a judge have anyone to talk to except with us lawyers as their conduct outside of the courtrooms are usually under scrutiny.

So, sports among colleague or rivals in court may turn into a career changing event...

January 30, 2009

The investor...

They say, which may include a few famous people, including Azizi Ali and Donald Trump, the best investment is to invest in land as they don't make them anymore. It is cliche but everyone knows that it is true. You can buy a piece of land at a cheap price, then turn it into something stuff of dreams are made off and make loads of money out of it. So, it is true if you are patient enough.

Just one of the many lands that she has

This happens to one of the closest person in my life. My mother. My mother invested in a lot of lands in 1970s and 1980s using the advice of her father in law, my father's dad. She bought pieces of lands around the place where Kuala Lumpur International Airport is now way before the idea of it was ever conceived by the former Prime Minister. It does not have anything to do with her wanting to make money out of it but more for her to cultivate fruit trees and some other small plantation enough for her to play with. It now has made millions for her which allow her to retire a contented person (in a way).

It is not that my dad didn't also play a part in all this plan but she is the real master planner for turning her land into bungalow plots of 5000 to 7000 square feet by entering a joint venture with a developer which in turn gave her nearly half a million of profit after buying the same piece of land for RM5,000-00 (USD1,400) per acre in the late 70s. The final piece of that bungalow plot is still in my name which I plan to turn into a small bungalow for both my parents to live in one of this day.

That is why my mother has always been my business idol as she always planned way ahead of everyone as she has been around the block a few times in term of being an investor. She has played the equity market. Invested in houses. Travel around the world farther than me including driving the whole of north America in 1990 and backpacking in Mediterranean countries in 1993. I have this love/hate relationship with her but she has also invested in my company in it's early days and this small legal firm still owe her some money although we have been quite stable for the past 5 years.

Some built their business by borrowing money from banks. Some by mortgaging their properties. I started mine with some loan from my parent's and thanks to them I am where I am now. So, here's to the belief my investors have in me.

p/s : As a yardstick, my brother who is a doctor also opened his first clinic using her money...

January 29, 2009

The world according to lawyers

This title have been used to death as people use the title of the book 'The World According to Garp' as the premise to show how they think the world looks like in their view. I, myself, have never read the book and only managed halfway to watch the movie which starred Robin William. So, I only use the title with the intention on how to explain on how would a professional practising lawyer who practise all type of businesses would see the world. I have been accused of my wife as being heartless when I see something and start telling her how much that would get me in lawyer's fee and that, my friend, couldn't be nearer to the truth.

When I see a divorce on TV, either between internationally recognised celebrities or your run-of-the-mill local politicians or artistes, I would start telling my wife how the husband can get away with what he did, if he was the one who cheated (which is always the case) and how the wife can squeeze all the money that guy is worth. During this few weeks, a local celebrity is being accused of being in close proximity (which is a  crime for Muslims in Malaysia) with his co-star while his wife, who is also an actress, is left home alone to tend to her kids. So, I explained how he could get out of it or whether he just should plead guilty then pay the fine.

When I passed an accident on the road, I will look at it on the angle of who is involved in it. If it is a grown man, I will assess which part of his body is affected and then I would say how much his case is worth in court. The best civil litigation movie you can refer on how a lawyer assess a human's suffering due to accident is 'A Civil Action' starring John Travolta. My business partner was a runner lawyer (lawyer who specialise in claims due to road accident) and can quote the worth of each bone in a human's body. She can even quote the worth of each fingers and toes on your feet.

When I see a construction site, I will imagine how much the contract of building the property.

When I see a house, I will look at how much it is worth in legal fees.

When I see a criminal being apprehended, I will straight away calculated how long he will spend in jail or will he gets the capital punishment and what defence can be used to get him off.

When I see a drug raid by the police, I will see whether the police holding the packet of drugs use a glove to handle the evidence.

A judgement in a prominent court case will make my mind race on how much it will impact the cases I myself have in the court.

An economic recession? How many of the banks have problem getting people to pay their loans and what my firm can do to help them collect it.

The list goes on and on as we are trained to do that...

So, it is not fun anymore. Nowadays, I just look at it like any other people. Being a lawyer is a business. Unless I am at work, then I am just a fellow human being.

Unless you ask my opinion that is

January 28, 2009

Where's the other people?

Where are the billions of people which supposedly are also connected by internet throughout the world? The people in China, Arab countries, Japanese, Germans,  and all those other races which dominate our televisions and movies. Then I realised something, they may not blog in English or their website are dominantly in other language. They have their own language and we may never get to know them unless those who list their blog as dominantly in English but they actually have their own fanbase and may even be as popular as the one that is known throughout the blogging world as the ultimate blog.

Can you attest that there is no Chinese blogger out there who are as famous as you? Their raking may not be known to you as they may localise their content to their part of the world. Europe? Most that I see are from Britain or those expatriate who are currently residing in European countries but still use English as their everyday language.

I am an avid fan of Haruki Muarakami whom I never knew exist if not for his translatred work. How do I know I am not attracted to a blog which is in a different language? In Malaysia, the Malays have their own aggregator and the Chinese do blog in their own language. Some don't install the babel fish translator but even if they do, I wouldn't have the time to sift through all their work to see whether they are good or not.

I consider myself as quite new in this blogging world so this maybe a dumb question, but do you ever wonder of the same issue?

January 27, 2009

The town close down

Every year it happens like a clockwork. The city will be left empty for the miscreants, the immigrants and those who don't really have any where else to go. The people who comes from all over Malaysia, to work in the big city of Kuala Lumpur, to find that piece of heaven by toiling away the whole year which turn into a struggle to make end meets, have all go back to the place which they called their hometown. Whether their friends and family consider them a part of them or not. Whether they have really made it or not. For the students, of course they will be rushing back home expecing to receive those red packets which will sustain whatever lifestyle they are living back in the city.

This migration of city dwellers to their hometown whether it's another town albeit smaller or a real village with rice fields and vintage kampung house, is a never ending cycle that people the whole world do either because it is a long holiday or they are celebrating whatever festival which is being celebrated. Whether it is just to be with their love ones or just for them to show off whatever they have attain while they were in the city.

In Malaysia, there are a lot of different type of festivals celebrated differently by different type of people, either due to their religious affiliation or due to their race. The earliest sign of a festival being near is the banks filling to the brim with people queuing up to take out their hard earned money. The malls starting to decorate their halls and shops with various decorations. The shops offering sales reserved for that particular festival and the theme that particular fashion brand carries. Don't forget the songs that are being played on radio by all the radio stations. All will make you feel like you are a part of the celebration although you are not in any particular way are associated with the festival.

This Chinese New Year, again, the shops will really close down again. It has been going on for years. It shows who really control the economy. Only those shops affiliated with it's western counterparts which are determined to keep on doing business no matter what the occasion will be open. Year after year, the amount of these shops are getting more and more. Now, the locals are also the doing the same. Staying open although there is a festivity going on. Maybe business is brisk during this time or maybe it is the sign of change in time.

January 26, 2009

Gifts for festive seasons

My office is currently migrating from our manual system of doing work to a better networking platform where many can share the same documents to ensure less mistake and one time data entry. This system also alert us on a client's birthday other than any time-sensitive event which need to be tended to by the person-in-charge. It just remind of the subject of festive seasons which have past and we are going to celebrate in Malaysia. Being of diverse culture, we have celebrated the second Eid for Muslim, a new year for Muslim, the anniversary of the birth of Christ for Christians, a new year for everyone and in a few days, Chinese New Year followed by Thaipusam for those who celebrates it.

For businesses, we sometime need to mark these events on calendar as we send gifts and hampers to our clients to show them we remember them during these times which are important to them and sometimes to us too. These gifts have been lesser in value now from the first time we sent them out due to economic reasons or the little significants that they now have in value for our business than they were once. Some people also just don't value the gifts that were sent to them as they receive so many everytime the festive season comes that we only give those who acknowledge our gift the next time we see them.

Some of those we make ourselves

We also changed on how we obtained the gifts. Once, we relied on premium gifts company such as Noel and bloomings.com in Malaysia where we just look at the catalog, tell them our budget then they will do all. Nowadays, we ourselves do the hampers and sent it using our despatches. To those who we value more, the partners will make our way to their offices and give them personally. Those who have their open houses during the season, we just bring it when we attend them.

As much as these gestures are just a small part in our relationship with our clients, it sometime make sure that our client realise that we appreciate the business they give and we know what event is important to them.

January 25, 2009

First class all the way

I had a few chances to experience what luxury mean to the chosen few. I have been to a few trips where there are VIPs in the group and the treatment that we received can be said to be first class all the way. I have been to London in a business class flight (which I know is not as great as a first class seats but close enough) and there we were driven around everyday we were there in an Alphard way before it was considered as a luxury transportation by the elite in Malaysia. We were also given theatre tickets every night to whichever West End show that was being shown.

Our accommodation? The Le Meridien Grosvernor Park where BAFTA is usually held as this hotel have the largest ballroom in town. This particular luxury travel was done for business sake and as much as I enjoyed it, it was still business. Imagine at one of the night we were there in London, my business partner and I were having a drink at the top of Hilton Park Lane and both of us were thinking of our own partners here in Malaysia.

So, last May 2008 was different. It was a holiday for my wife and I to the Pangkor Laut Resort which is considered as one of the most luxurious island in Malaysia and was endorsed by the late Pavarotti as one of the most beautiful island in the world. How did I find it? Being Malaysian, I actually knew better places in term of beauty but in term of luxury, it does have a lot to offer. Their food are well stock and if you are from outside of town, you would have been satisfied. That is the problem of doing luxury travel in your own country. It is hard to impress when you know what your country has to offer. If you never heard of Pangkor Laut Resort and planning a holiday around this area, do try it. If you enjoy sparse accommodation like what I did experience in Phi Phi Island, then that is the best and most beautiful island in my mind.
Here are some pictures :
In case you are wondering, this is sooooo not a paid post. Just to show the beauty of my country...

January 24, 2009

Cheap travel

I am currently on a trip to Jakarta Indonesia with a few days being spend in Bandung,. Bandung is another town east of Jakarta, which is like Jakarta's twin town. The trip here is made possible with the advent of cheap travel on offered by, surprise, surprise, not the lowfare airline of AirAsia but it's closest rival, Malaysia Airline System or MAS. I was one of the lucky one who had the chance of buying tickets at less than 30% of it's normal price due to the price war between this two airlines.

AirAsia of course is the original low fare leader in air travel in Malaysia and is even well known among Indonesian as the cheap airlines which they can use to reach the promise land of Malaysia where they can work either legally or otherwise. Cheap though the seats on the plane of AirAsia, they promote their fares extensively through the advertisements that they run in local newspaper, on billboards and even on the jersey of the world's favourite soccer team (though not me), Manchester United. Their marketing campaign alone cost millions of Ringgits but their returns are tenfold.

Along came the failed first mover, MAS, which knows that they need to get their act together and tap this market which they had lost. First they offered the unsold seats through various offers as these seats are just dead loads which can turn a small profit even if it is not sold in it's original price. Then MAS starts to play the dirty game by using advertisements which at first glance will look like it was made for AirAsia. They used the same font and the same typeface. The only glaring different is the colour.

I was not impressed at first as I am an advantage taker. In June '08, I travelled Sabah, a state which I never been to before by taking a flight in using MAS but returning to Kuala Lumpur using AirAsia. I did that as I could get cheaper priced seats than if I use either one of the airlines exclusively. Even when I was booking this trip to Jakarta, I did a comparison. Only when I was satisfied that I was getting the best deal did I pay for the seats. As a few people had commented, the benefits of price war should be the people regardless of who owns the airlines (MAS is still a government supported airline, whatever they say). Thanks to them, cheap travel is now possible.

January 23, 2009

Health farm dream...

I had an idea of a spa business once. My parents own this piece of land with undulating contour and a water source with some bamboo bushes overhanging it. There are also four abandon ponds which were used by my mother when she had this one phase where she was trying to rear some fishes commercially. Needless to say, it was a failure but the fishes are still there albeit in small quantity due to natural predators and humans who just can't resist free food. 

My spa business was supposed to be a health farm with a country farm home like what you would see in a ranch in America. Just a two storey building with an outside patio, where the people who stayed in it can have breakfast and at the end of it, a small pool which is will look more like a pond than an Olympic size one. The idea of the building came to me one day when I was watching Secret Window (the one where Johnny Depp had split personality disorder).

As the land is nearly 9 acres, which is enough for other buildings which are mostly chalets where the massage can be offered there. These buildings will be like the old Malay village house, build on stilts and there is a bath at the back. We would rope in local talent to offer real Malay massage where the pressure point is your blood veins and most who have experience it can attest rarely you will not scream if the thumb of the masseuse touch places where you withhold pain. That spa is not going to be a tranquill place only but we would also offer real massage which are known throughout the world as the sport massage.

As for marketing, the land is just 10 kilometres or 5 miles away from Malaysia main airport, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Using the KLIA as a point and by tying up with hotels around town, the spa can tap the market of those who wants to have a relaxing massage while waiting for their plane. Or they can actually stay there if they want to.
Alas, the plan for the spa is currently on hold due to the current economic situation with a luxury spa being the a not so viable project for now. Trying to maintain a legal firm is one thing and starting a new business with a certain amount of capital expenditure is another. For now, it is just a dream...

For now, the land will be left alone with it's rubber trees and the ponds

January 22, 2009


I have a crest at the plate number of my car showing that I am a member of the Bar Council. The Bar Council is licensing body for lawyers which is equivalent to any State Bar in the USA. Although it actually meant to not carry any weight and is actually illegal for it to be there, it has helped me out from a few 'sticky' situations. My partner has a story of her own too.

Once, it was sold openly to just about anybody. Then, when those who have crest such as us abused it by getting away with crime such as theft and even murder, having a crest, unless you are government official or legitimate politician, has been viewed as a big no, no by our Department of Motor Vehicle or the police. This does not stop me from using it. As the issue had died down long ago and no enforcement for it to be removed was forthcoming, I kept it as it was.

I have been pulled aside by police a few time for speeding and using handphone while driving. Both are crime on the road which usually entails a ticket. Once, I was pulled over as I was driving on the highway at excessive speed and I didn't even notice I had been noticed until I arrived at a road block nearly 10 kilometres ahead. One of the police who manned the roadblock flagged me down and as he was walking towards my car from the back, I see him smiling. I was already fumbling with my wallet to get my driving license and identity card. When he finally arrive at my window, I say to him Good Evening and he asked me where I was going before asking me to not speed. He then say I could go and I finally realised why he had smiled. He saw the crest.

Once, as I was driving with my wife, I was pulled over when two policemen in a police car saw me talking on my handphone. They called me over to their car and asked me why did I talked on the phone. When they glanced and saw the crest they asked me whether I am a lawyer or not. Expecting a lecture, they asked me for my business card. When they really saw that I am really a lawyer, they let me go.

It is not that I like using the crest as an excuse for doing misdemeanors but after those episodes, I did keep it just to get out of  getting some tickets. Hey, I didn't ask to be let go when I was caught doing them. I would gladly pay the fines but if I think I am not guilty, I would rather have my day in court...

January 21, 2009

Business lunch

Once, I when the expense account was something new and we don't really have that much money, my partner and I would use any excuse to have lunch with client, eat as much as we want at expensive places and then at the end of the month, if the firm have money, pay us back the money for the lunch. It was the nearest to a free lunch that we could get. That was if we manage to collect enough fee to cover our other overhead.

A Malaysian lunch with rice

That was years ago. Nowadays, we don't really ask people out to lunch unless we consider them worthwhile to be taken out to lunch.  I even have this one client who like to schedule appointments during lunch, extend it through it but will only serve us Chinese tea. As for the others, most of our clients would only experience having lunch once or twice a year with us as we have lawyers who actually meet them more than us. As for me, I do breakfast a lot more than I do lunch...

Anyway, just a question. What is the perfect business lunch? It actually vary from one client to another. In Malaysia, where lunch can sometimes mean rice with gravy and some proteins in the form of beef, chicken or fish, if business lunch are not chosen carefully, it can be very messy. Some VIPs do choose to have their lunch as such and if I have to be a part of that lunch, I always let them choose. I will then follow suit whether I would use my hand to really enjoy the food or if I need to control my demeanor while eating. Some do see the lack of us enjoying our food as being rude and business lunch, if need be, need to be at the behest of the client.
A western lunch

If the client choose a western food setting, either Tex-Mex or a steak place, then I would say that it would be easy for the lunch participants to be at ease. You just need to know how to use your fork and knife while keeping the din of your eating down. If it is a Chinese lunch, I have trained myself to use the chopstick as if I am a Chinese. I can eat a fish down to it's bone using chopsticks. I have a few Chinese clients in my earlier years as a lawyer who taught me how to use chopsticks like a pro. Of course, the easiest would be to eat like a Malay, with hand and without any decorum. I had lunch with fried catfishes and spicy anchovies on top of rice using my hands while managing to close deals.

So, business lunch can be a stiff affairs which may just waste your money or a satisfying lunch to your stomach and pocket.

January 20, 2009

My blog Top 5 (ala High Fidelity)

It seems that I have past my 100th post nearly more than 20 posts ago. It may have been the norm of writing everyday for the past 3 months had made unaware that I have past that milestone which I see many bloggers take as a significant milestone. I blog to have a space to tell my side of the story and more as an avenue to channel my own view than for any other reason. All the other things such as making money through it or having a readership by the thousands are just ancillary. Knowing me, this fad might not last.

So, I have managed to last for quite some time in this space called blogosphere. Here are the Top 5 post that I think worth mentioning :-

1) My first post titled 'Writing' published on 11 June 2008 - It is a rambling of a mind who just want to put what in his head on paper. No proper paragraph then but I edited it later to make it look good. My reader then was only my Facebook regular who I know in real life. If you have been there when it was first published, there was not even a feedburner or a hit counter on the page;

2) A story of how my kampung was lost to development published on 27th September 2008 - A kampung is a village and is one of the most significant place all Malaysian will know and rave about no matter they are in the world. I never been far from it more than a few months as my life revolves around it;

3) My first take on current economic climate published on 6th October 2008 - This piece was republished by eLawyer.com.my, a website specialising in legal jobs and information dissemination on law in Malaysia. It is actually my take on the greed of banks;

4) A posting which I did while driving using my Blackberry published on 29th October 2008 - This was about an event I attended in which the Malaysia Prime Minister and the Bar Council President traded barbs and amused an international audience who came for a law conference on Asia Pacific;

5) One of the most voted posting in a local aggregator site published on 3rd December 2008 where I list out the significant event that my firm had experience since its inception in 2000.

January 19, 2009

Phone interview

A call was placed to me on Wednesday last week where I was asked to give my opinion on self-defence as alleged by Israel in it's current offensive against Gaza. I would not want to elaborate on my answer here as I don't think it merit a discussion. Enough for me to make a stand in other ways at other platform.

What I want to elaborate was how the interview was conducted in a simple manner and took just 10 minutes of my time. As I was on my way out from my office and was trying to finish off my work for the day, I was also the one who tried to cut it as short as possible.

My friend called me earlier in the morning of the same day telling me that a reporter was looking for a lawyer to be interviewed and I actually decline at first as I am not really a trial lawyer. I asked him to call up a mutual friend who is a lecturer and is very well known for his involvement with Malaysia initiative on eradicating war.  My friend said they need a lawyer and a lecturer. As they were desperate for any lawyer and the standings of the newspaper was more of the tabloid kind than a 'real' newspaper, my friend convinced me and I relented. I promised myself to look-up the word self defence later. I forgotten totally about it when the call finally came at 3pm.

The reporter explained that she just need me to answer a few question through the phone. I was relieved as I didn't really have time to see anyone that day. She asked me the question I was expecting and I gave her a non-satisfactory answer. She asked me elaborate further. She was still not satisfied with my second answer. I asked her how can I elaborate on something which is very much different from each other? A war and a self-defence in a criminal context. So, I gave an example. Finally, I made a breakthrough and she was satisfied. She asked me my full name and age. She said she will use the word 'legal practitioner' to describe my profession.

That was how I know how those short statements in newspaper comes into being. All this while, I thought an interview must be through a face to face meeting and a tape recorder being placed on the table. Maybe in this age where eveything is fast paced not all interviews can be done as such. Even Ministers sometimes can only have time for phone interview than a full one.

January 18, 2009

Business of putting the dead to rest

As a Muslim, the business of burying the dead would always fall on the nearest next of kin unless it happens in some far-off land with none of your kin manage to get to you in time. 'In time' can be relative but for a Muslim, 24-hours is already too long. We are required to bury our deads as soon as possible. Those who insist of doing otherwise are just flouting the rules and is answerable to a higher power. For Muslims I mean.

Last week, I witnessed one of my father's elder brother being laid to rest. When he was put down into his grave, it was done by his 3 sons who went into the grave and then do all the necessary procedure for it too be perfect. It is far from what is ever film or shown as there are certain procedures which need to be observed. Doing it yourself, wow, that's another whole different level. There were a few of those who are elder and guided the brothers but they did it all by themselves. Until their father was properly put to ground.

Anyway, it was sobering to see them do it and as I am also one of 3 brothers, I suddenly imagine of doing it for mine when their time comes. Will I be as strong or will I let what others have been doing, leaving this morbid job to someone who are well verse in it. Will I have enough strength to do like they did? Then, what about keeping the straight face, welcoming the well-wishers and asking the crowd if any of them have any claim to make against the dead. Any debt to be paid off? It is not easy of course but someone have to do it.

In my uncle's case, he had to be admitted to the hospital a day before then he was found to be suffering from a fatal attack of stroke. He passed away the next day. In my family, I have a brother who is a doctor. It's a blessing as he will always of help when we want to know the real situation of any patient at any hospital, whether the doctor is telling the truth and whether the patient has a chance or not. The curse is knowing the real situation. Do you really want to know? So, when my uncle was said to pass the stage of anything helping him, the family decide to take him back to his house and he passed away the next day. He was 74...

January 17, 2009

Everybody is doing it, why can't I?

I find this statement sometimes are used by lawyers to get their clients off from cases which can be compounded or the smart one (or know how to bend the rule) use it for even big cases involving lost lives or significant damages. It basically means that if you are the only one who get caught whilst you were in a crowd of people who was doing the same thing, why were you the only one who was brought to court to be tried. How about other people? Don't they deserve to be charged too and if you still have not caught them yet, shouldn't you let me go first then wait for them to be caught so we can be tried together.

It is basically a herd mentality which let us to believe that what we do have merits when there are other people who are doing it. If someone drives in the emergency lane (a daily occurance on ur highways), why did the policeman select those that they could see and allow others to pass by. If I am in a crowd, why didn't the whole crowd caught and then put on trial. I bet the hundreds of certain political parties' members in Malaysia had used this defence one time or another.

Selective prosecution they say. Lemmings mentality I say. Who don't know the trick of one person looking at the sky and muttering to himself or whoever within hearing questioning, hey! what's that? Huh? The next person asked? Can't you see it? The first guy ask. Then you have a crowd looking up at the sky, being made a fool of.

This post don't have nothing to do with any one significant event either locally or internationally. It's just a question to be pondered on how gullible people can sometimes be. In a crowd, you always feel safe. Either on the grandstand of a football match or on the street partying with your friends on new years eve. In short, it can happen to anyone and some of these people who can make educated decisions by themselves. Better to think before you do anything. Peer pressure is one thing but running off when all the people on the street are also running may save your life but shouldn't you be asking why are they running? A clear perspective can sometimes save your life. Or just make a fool out of you....

p/s - by the way, the title was taken (with a bit of a literary creative license thrown in) from an old Cranberries album, a band from Ireland long ago...

January 16, 2009

Business I (nearly) lost

I have a few businesses which I lost along the year due to many reasons. Either there are other lawyers who have beaten me to the punch or a connected person suddenly have an idea to steal a project which was promised to me. Recently, I have the most significant moment in my career when one of my business friend whom I have done quite a few business deal with has suddenly decide I am not 'brave' enough to do his work.

I was with him on Tuesday this week as we were settling a few business transactions at his part of town. Suddenly, he turned to me and asked "Why did you refuse to do the job for the housing development I am doing?". I was flabbergasted but control myself and ask him back simply "Huh?". He then explained that the person who is entrusted to manage his project told him that I am not willing to flout the law a little by doing any Sale & Purchase Agreement before his company got the developer's license. When I ask him why he allowed it although he did say once (when his profession was another) that he will never do such a thing, he said subtlely that sometimes you have to bend the law to make money. Then he said, all this is handled and managed by that particular project manager (as I know him quite well, that was his cue of not wanting to talk about it, no matter what)

So, before we parted that day I conveyed the message that we are still interested in doing the job provided that it is done accordingly and within the law. I also told him I am going to have a talk with all the concern parties and I hope he won't shoot down any suggestion of me asserting myself on everbody else. He did not reply so I take it as an assent. As a former politician, he knows that as long as he does not commit himself, he can't be held accountable for whatever happens.

I went to work upon arriving at the office by calling my friend's son who was left to be the director of the development company. He is younger than me but I mined as much information as I can and got to know that they have at least four confirmed bookings for the properties they are selling. I ask him to make sure that the person who have start this whole backstabbing saga knows that I want in, still, but only after they have a license. For now, I won't be held accountable if something goes wrong. Then I called my friend's brother who is a big time contractor who knows most of the stories in his brother's company. Again, it was alleged that I don't want the job as I was never present in any of their meeting. I rectify all the information with him and ask him to stand back me up if I needed him. I owe both of them, the son and a brother, a drink, one of this day, as promised.

Then I worked on the outsiders. I called up the said project manager who did not answer and then send him an SMS, both which he did not answer. The next morning on Wednesday, I called and called the project manager handphone. He did not answer. I also called the bank officer of the bank I know they were planning on using as their end-financier for their development. I talked to her setting an appointment but she let slip that she was willing to process loans given by developer which has not any license yet. Then it hit me. It was her all along. She was the one who suggested this whole idea and the project manager was also in cahoot. At exactly 1 o'clock, the project manager answered and we talked. I beat around the bush asking him whether he will still honour his promise to pass me cases and he committed. He also kept on saying he would not sell any house without a proper license.

I know that I have covered all the bases but I would be meeting my friend on Saturday as we are going to meet one of his tenant who pays his rent through my office. During lunch I will make sure he commits to my firm again. This time I will do it with my partner.

Who says marketing is easy?

January 15, 2009

Why I became a lawyer

It was actually a very embarrasing thing to admit I am a lawyer due to a part-time job I did when I was waiting for my SPM result. Why is it embarrasing? I am now a rival of the person who made me decided to be a lawyer and he would never give me the time of the day even if we are in the same room. That would be like having to fight your own Tok Guru (teacher). He may not even know that I have a quite successful business. His wife does work in a bank where my firm is a panel of, though and we do chat once a year during the bank's hari raya do. She has been with the bank since she graduated and now even her youngest son whom I met once when he was 6 years old is already a university student.

I would love to say that I became a lawyer not due to him at all. He was (kind of) an inspiration but was never a part of my education life. I was working for him as an office boy who got paid RM300 per month and was told to type and paste the Hari Raya envelopes of that 1991 year. I was brought there by the accountant who was working for that guy. The accountant was commuting from Seremban to Kuala Lumpur everyday and I was a kind of a pet brother to his wife (I was a pet brother to a whole bunch of people between the age of 5 to 17 before I became too big to be term 'cute')

I was doing nothing after my SPM and decided a minimum wage job is just the perfect way to spend my holiday. My mother encouraged me to do so as I would be preoccupied with something. At least she could have her rest after ensuring I took my SPM with a semblance of an A student. I was one of the most laziest person whom my mother had constant arguments with to ensure I studied well for my SPM. And of course, when my mom see me having a hard time not to argue with anything she said and also I seem to have a big mouth everywhere I went to, the obvious choice as my undergraduate study that she said I should take is a law degree.

I never really learnt anything with regards to law in that office but seeing the high-flying life that seemed to be lived by the partners of the firm was the thing that I coveted. As the man I was following manage th account of the firm, I also 'learnt' a few things about his work including the lavish spendings and the expense account that all the partners have. So, it may have been the money that lawyers could command was the deciding factor for me to become a lawyer. I was not really a follower of any TV show where lawyers traded barbs and arguments in courts which was then spearheaded by L.A. Law. I was not impressed or even have any knowledge what Bar Council did, then. I was not even aware that there was a judicial crisis in Malaysia 3 years before I became a law students. I was just attracted to the money...

So, that was the start of my fascination with law. Or is it still the money? Hmmmm....

January 14, 2009

Tag is the new handshake?

I have been tagged by the Ratty of the blog The Everyday Adventurer who can be considered as one of my first blog buddy (who I had fleetingly thought was a woman, for some reason or another, but is not) who updates his blog like I do mine, which is every day. His is more organise and is more on the beauty around his area.

Tag is a game which seems to be making it's round on the blogsphere where you are tagged then you choose whether you want to play the game or not. I am a virgin in this game. This is my first time so I hope to get it right. The tag thing maybe simple but tagging another 6 bloggers maybe a bit harder as the blogs I follow does not really do this kind of stuff. I mean, some don't even know I am following them and some are not for the faint at heart...

6 random thing about me :

1) I have quite a temper although I will never admit it to anyone and I alawys like to smile. My parents, siblings and my wife knows it and hate me for it.

2) I sometimes do impulse shopping when I am at a sale although I hate shopping as much as the next guy especially buying clothes where I have to try out the item

3) I drive fast when I am alone. Sometimes my wife is in the car. I am a road bully at heart but sometimes I let all those small car past by although mine can go much faster. Much, much faster...

4) I never really smoke a cigarette, ever (as in inhaling it like a real smoker) but I do smoke cigars, on occasions and I never drink any alcoholic drink ever, intentionally although I suspected I did drank unintentionally a few of it when I was in university during those Saturday nights.

5) I was dating eight women at once, once, and if not for that I may never have met my wife.

6) I am so in love with women since I know them that I am surrounded by them at work, at home and when I was a bachelor, some of my best friends were women...

So, that's the 6 random thing about me which some may seems unbelieveable but true.

So, I tagged -

1) Curryegg - a new blog friend found on Bloggers United a blog aggregator site handles by a Malaysian;

2) Mem Aluyah - a very old friend who I met again through Facebook;

3) Relax - a straight A student (he claims) who has a very good website dealing with money whom I got to know through plurks and Bloggers United;

4) Chewak - who is a hardworking MBA student

That's it. That is the only one I dare to tag as I don't really have that many friends in the blogsphere unless someone came along and say that they should be listed here. Most I know wouldn't want it which make me ask, is tag the new handshake, as you won't really shake someone's hand unless you want to know more about him, especially at a party...

Just a thought

p/s - I won't be sending out email or comment on the 4 blogs/names I listed above as I don't think they would want to play...

January 13, 2009

My personal economic indicator

McDonald's and Twisties...That's what I mean by my personal indicator...

For me, the best economic indicator to see how well Malaysia are doing economically is by looking at the price of the fast food and the junk food that I usually eat. This has been my personal indicator for years. Before 2005, the price of magazine was also an indicator for me but when they discontinue the Premiere magazine, I don't buy any other foreign magazine which cost a bomb like it. Premiere magazine had been a personal favourite since it was sold for RM10.90 in 1990 then became RM27.90 then finally RM32.00 before it finally die a natural death in 2006. Just right after X-Men 3 was released.

One of the last Premiere that I have

Now, for me to see, how well or how bad Malaysia have it, either in good times or bad times, either when it's we are faced with recession or the economy is so good that all investments have to take account of infaltion, the indicators will always be how much price I have to pay for a Big Mac or how much I have to pay for my favourite snack Like Twisties. Nowadays, you pay the McValue meal at the price of nearly RM10.00 whilst in 1990s when McDonalds was fairly new, the value meal was just nearing RM5.00. Yeah, guy, you don't have to explain the work of inflation to me. Or if you have been deceived by my RM56,000-00 bungalow post which made my day as it was when my blog was the most visited by Malaysian blog-owners.

It is just that by looking at the going rate of something as simple as a McDonald McValue Meal (or whatever it's call in your part of the world) where you get a fries and a drink with your either Filet, Big Mac, Quarter Pounder or your cheeseburger, you will know that inflation has crept up and the value of your money is not what it was maybe a year before. As for the junk food, it is the same. A packet of Twisties in 1980s when I was still a kid was just RM0.90 for a big packet which would have satisfied a kid. Now, it is nearing RM4.00 for a smaller packet which past for a big one. Of course, it's the old snake oil merchant trick where you sell something in smaller portion for a higher price.

Of course, in 1980s, Malaysia was said to be 20 years behind USA as we can only dream of eating MickeyDees then but now the Golden Arches (which is not even 100% owned by Americans anymore in Malaysia) is everywhere. And of course, looking at the bigger picture, we can see what development has meant for Malaysia with us being a more prosperous country than some of our neighbour (keyword here : some)

This is my personal indicators. What is yours?

January 12, 2009

How air travel will destroy my kampung (again)

I wrote in the early chapter of this blog that I have lost my kampung (hometown) due to intense development that had happened for the past 15 years. You can read that entry here - http://kruel-legalcat.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-i-lost-my-kampung.html. In that entry, I basically tell the story about my kampung in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, where most people will recognise as the adjacent town to KLIA other than Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi. Both in Nilai and Salak Tinggi, there are still my parents' relatives living around that area. Some of them even work with KLIA and LCCT itself. 

Before someone accuse me of being against development, let me say that I am not. My firm even have clients which are developers of housing projects around KLIA and LCCT. It made it easier for me to entertain them as I bring them out to my kampung when the trees at my mom's orchard bear fruits. I have used the advantage of having my clients around the town that I grew up as I can basically tell them certain insider's information to impress them on how much I know of their development. So, no, I have no problem per se about having another airport at my hometown.

Let me make it clear how far does the word 'my hometown' encompass in relation to the existence of KLIA and LCCT (and to some extent the new airport). My mom was born in Nilai. My dad's old kampung house is in Salak Tinggi. Both are just 10km from each other although at different states. My mom's ply the road between Nilai and Seremban when she was still a little girl with my late grandfather. My father's father work as a clerk at the Sepang Land Office which basically guards over all the lands in the KLIA and LCCT vicinity. My parents have lands just 5 km outside of KLIA. We managed to 'not' get the golden opportunity to get millions when KLIA was built as our lands were spared from being taken over by the government to built KLIA. Then in 1979, my mom bought a house in Seremban. I went to primary school for 2 years in Seremban between 1982 and 1984. I also went to secondary school in Labu (a town said to be associated with the new airport) between 1987 to 1990 before I continue in Seremban for my SPM. I also work in Seremban after my graduation between 1999 and 2000. So, just imagine how far intertwine is my family's life and these airports.

Now, they are going to built another airport which is just 30 kilometres from the first airport. It is a need for the air travel industry. Clear and simple. To them at least. The people there, who might or might not like it, are just collateral damages (if any).

Do they know what happened to a kampung when new airports are built near it? The durians in my mom's orchard had to adjust to bear fruits again after KLIA was completed as the noise from the planes taking off made them a bit affected (which we of course can't hear). I may be wrong as there maybe a thesis on how an airport actually didn't affect anything at all within certain radius and that radius has been factored in when they built the facilities. These modern development of course will always impact the lifestyle of simple kampung people who can now see airplanes flying off at speed unimaginable on land and they can now can even fly off to lands they seen on TV. I do wonder if there are really no repercussion when airports are near housing estates then why did those people in Britain, one of the most advance country in the world, protested when they wanted to expand Heathrow?

* glossary - kampung = village

January 11, 2009

Ongoing projects

I started something in 2008 and I still have not finished it until now. I still consider it a possibility in the early year of this new year to finish it within the first quarter  of this year as I have not received an offer to continue my lecturing engagement at a local university near my house. Although between September and November 2008, I had only 6 hours of lecture and tutorial, it didn't take too much of my time as I still managed to finish five out of eight modules in the course I take as my Master program.

So, one of my project have to do with my continuing education in Islamic finance which I believe is where my firm can have a niche in. As it is still just a very small part of the economy in Malaysia and in the world, there is still a lot of uncharted territory in Islamic finance. The ever popular personal loan and housing loan have led the way here in Malaysia and the winning of a Nobel prize by someone who use micro financing in Bangladesh have put Islamic finance in the eye of the world as one of the solution to the 'failure' of Western banking system. We may conquer the world yet, albeit in a more peaceful way, like in the time of the Ottoman.

My other project is the book I am writing which in this first week of 2009 is still in the back burner, where it was left since November 2008. I intend to finish that book and then finish the fictions that I am writing before I started on the other non-fiction which I already have in my head. Watching the news everyday, I know there is still a market for what I am about to publish. The publishers who have shown interest in it will be my next stop after I have finish it.

Those are just two of the personal projects I am to finish early this year. On top of the project which I have just started in my office which is to modernise my office with the file management system which we had invested RM30,000-00 of our money in last year. It is currently being use to its full potential by the department I am directly in charge with and not the other department which have nearly 70% of the bulk of the files in my office. If this system is fully implemented, worrying about staff or lawyer leaving us and taking their knowledge with them will be a thing of the past.

The whole of this week is about planning and as I have met the staff for the matter at the office and have my books in my pendrive for easy transmission and is just waiting for my result to register for the new semester to start at my university, I now just need the motivation...

Here we go, again...

January 10, 2009

What the Matrix can teach you about management

This shows how much I love the Matrix
(ignore the surf board)

I was watching the cult classic movie, the Matrix (the first movie is way much cooler than the 2nd or 3rd) for the umpteenth time last Saturday when I realised there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from the movie. It may just be too farfetched but just hear me out and give me your two sens on it :-

1) Do not trust stranger. Trust yourself - Neo shouldn't have believe whoever send the message to go and find the white rabbit. He should have just stay put and just do his work. He needs to go to work tomorrow and perform his best...

2) He should not just answer a phone without knowing who gave him the phone. Imagine if that phone is a trigger to a bomb or something. You just cannot take something nowadays in this day and age where a handphone can be a trigger to something big. Maybe in 1999, they still did not imagine the consequence of a ringing handphone.

3) There is always an option - This is in reference to the blue pill or red pill dilemma.

4) Wearing a rayban in a dark place make you vulverable, unless you are Mr. Smith...

5) Never be distracted if you are in training - This is to the girl in the red dress when Neo was training in the Matrix simulator

6) Everything taste like chicken at one time or another and you don't need machine to tell you that.

7) You can learn kung-fu, if you train for it really, really well...

8) In the end, all that matters in a company is the numbers. Yes, after all you have work for for your company, all that is important is how much you have made and what you can bring home for yourself. The brand, the perks at office and the respect from staff? All are just the icing on the cake...

Ok, all these are not necessary apply to management or business per se, but it does seem interesting that a film like Matrix has so many things inside of it which seems to be an underlying message.

Till there is Matrix 4 -


January 9, 2009


In the army, the first thing that they teach you is to listen to your superior and one of the biggest mistake that a lower raking officer can do is insubordination. Of course, in the army, if you are in a battlefield, not listening to your superior can get you kill or you may lose your country or the war. Whatever it is, in the army, which is built on thousands of years of practice of men killing each other from the Roman times to the first seige of Jerusalem to the current merciless killing of the Palestinean, the subordinates must follow whatever instruction given by their superior.

In an office, that is not as easy. I have found out the hard way after 8 years of owning my own company and managing it day to day from when it has only one staff to the current 15 people. Totalling all of them, at least there were nearly close to 50 people who had come to work for me, left or still working for me from 8 years ago. The legal profession in Malaysia has a very high turnover and nurturing or keeping talent is one of the most difficult task for the management of any legal firm.

However, the issue here is not about the top talent. That may be an issue for another posting. This is about the employees at the clerical level or those who can be considered as the logistic part of a legal firm, which are the despatches. They are the blood and vein of a legal firm as they are basically the front line of the legal firm as they meet clients or send documents to other legal firms. The one who do the real work for a conveyancing firm like mine. They may not be the best person to gauge the competency of a firm but some firm do rely on these employees to do everything. Some only have these and just the owner who does the signing of documents and taking the credits.

Back to the issue of insubordination in an office. It happen sometimes without people planning to do so. You may feel down that day due to something outside of work and then you bring it to the office. You may have been harbouring an ill-will towards your fellow employee or even your superior and something happen that day which break the camel's back. So you snapped. You shouted and walked out of the office. It may be in your nature to do such. You are known to have a temper. So, you don't care whether you were shouting to a superior or another fellow employee. What you want is to just let off steam.

How do us as employer handle this? As a lawyer, I always goes back to the letter of the law. There's the Employment Act and there is also the letter of offer which binds the staff to our office. If their blowout leads to any monetary loss, they will have to bear it. If work is not completed, they will receive a black mark on their record with a memo and if the black mark is more than the 3 notices which we have carefully explained in their letter of offer, they need not come back for work anymore.

I have learned long ago, in an institution, as small as us, the best employee(s) are the owner(s)...

January 8, 2009

Open season for Islamic finance sceptics in Malaysia?

There was a High Court judgement last July in Malaysia which had basically questioned the validity of the Bai' Bithamin Ajil concept which is widely use by Islamic banks in Malaysia for financing of housing properties. There is also a misconception by various people that the concept that these banks have been using is wrong due to this judgement. Its not going to be easy to convince people otherwise as the judgement is still being appeal and still to be decided by a higher court in the land. The judge who made the judegment had made a few other judgements which question the validity of the same instrument and he had made a few judgements which tweak the amount that the bank could get from the customer.

I am not going to comment on these judgements as the only people who are really interested in it will be the lawyers who are handling the case, who will be more knowledgeable about the matter than me. This blog is more of a personal opinion, unless stated otherwise, like my post on What is Islamic finance?, which you can read it here - http://kruel-legalcat.blogspot.com/2008/11/what-is-islamic-finance-1st-posting.html, in which I will delve into the the matter seriously. This post is more of what happen at work recently.

I am a panel of a bank which one of the job which had been entrusted to us is to do debt collection for them. One of their popular product is personal loan which is lending money without any collateral to individuals with secure jobs especially with government or government agencies. They have expanded this offer to include public companies. It is called a loan by definition but is not a loan in all actuallity as in Islamic finance there must be a transaction between the two parties involve.

The basic of the personal loan is under a concept called Bai' Al-Inah or Sale buyback. You sell something to the bank and the bank gives you money in cash, then you buy back the subject matter, then you gives back the money in instalments. Sounds confusing? Let us not question its rational or Islamic explanation. It has been approved to be permissible in Malaysia under our Mazhab Shafie. It may not be permissable elsewhere but it will be easier to be understood that in Islam, you are allow to agree to disagree as long as you hold to the Quran and the Hadith.

As a legal practitioner, I am at the front of a kind of upheaval due to the earlier judgement that I mention. I had just finished a discussion with my litigation lawyer who is well trained in commercial matter but not in Islamic finance per se. I had to crash course him through the words such as ibra', riba' and the concept of bai' al-inah itself. And also I have to give it to the defendant who has chosen a good lawyer to question basically every issue in the document of contract and even whether the contract is permissible in Islam.

Its not that I am not prepared for this as making a stand on something for a client is a nut and bolt of a lawyer's business. Its just that I am wondering whether how far will this be a turning point for Malaysian Islamic finance aspiration which need to adapt itself to be more accepted internationally.

Maybe that judge, whether he intend it or not, had just done the Islamic banking community a favour...

January 7, 2009

Easy passing mark

I was told the stories of how hard it was to past certain papers in the course that I am taking. The lecturer kept saying "If you don't know this, you deserve to not get any mark" in the Pre-Examination sessions which I attended a few months ago. It seems that the lecturers were warned by the Head of Academic to be not too strict in their marking and their expectations of the students as most of the students in my class are part-timers who are working at various financial institutions which are supporting this university which was built under the initiative of Malaysian monetary authority. Most of them are also mature students who are already knowledgeable in their field but just taking the course to add weight to their resume. Heck, I found out during the seminar, one of my coursemate is an Islamic finance Shariah advisor for a few banks.

Its not that I am not appreciative of the lowering of expectations by the lecturers of us. Its just that I need the motivation to study more than the other as I come from my own firm which does not really doing Islamic finance per se with financial institution. This makes me out of touch with the people whom I meet more often at conference than any other places. These people also has their own clique from their company as most are sent by their company for this course which help them master Islamic finance more. Or at least gives them certification of it. As for easy passing mark, I don't think all the lecturers heeded the 'advise' by the Head of Academic as they seem to have minds of their own especially they were invited from various institutions to lecture on what they know best.

I also had experience in being the one who gives mark and believe me when I say if you put nothing on the examination answer sheets, it would not be easy for an examiner to just give any mark to anyone who turn up for exams but did not write anything. I was lecturing Business Law in a local public university last year for awhile and I found out as much as I want to let all my students pass, I had to fail a few as they turn in empty papers. Some I knew didn't even make the effort of turning up in class and was just barely there the whole semester. These students are better off somewhere else, if you ask me.

As for my own exam, I did my best in the examinations last December and I hope I can still maintain my never fail a test or exam record...

January 6, 2009

RM56,000 bungalow in Bangsar?

My mother told me of a story of lost opportunity when she past the chance to own a bungalow house in Bangsar in 1967. The price of the house? RM56,000-00 for a bungalow. That bungalow was offered to her comes complete with furniture. Now, a bungalow in Bangsar would have cost anyone from a minimum of RM1 Million to whatever price you can think of.

Everytime we hear her story we will say to her that we would have made a killing in real estate price if she had bought that property then. However, as she is living in Seremban now in a quiet neighbourhood with the surau just down the road and the neighbours are all her old friends, I believe, the choice she made was just as good. Its just that maybe it would have been a good investment too if she had bought both.

Again and again, investment gurus had remind us to buy properties as part of our long term investment. During my mother's time, I believe there was only one type of property. That type was landed property and there was also no real enforcement on the property sector. Some people may scoff at the idea of the same thing happening now. Some may say you can only see that happen if you had buy property during the time that Malaysia was still known as Malaya. I beg to differ as there are still some opportunity to be made in real estate if you just study well the place that you are going to make your real estate investment in.

There are always potentials even now. Who would have imagine a place where horses were race can become KLCC. Who would know that Kota Damansara which was just a township started off by PKNS can be so jammed up as people flock to the Curve, day in, day out to experience its dining area and its ambiance. All these had made the property around Kota Damansara skyrocket and worth very, very much higher than the amount that people had paid for it earlier. These happen in just within 10 years time. So, it still can happen in these modern time.

There are still places out there which are hidden gem if you can at least see where the flocks are flocking too. Places such as Bandar Baru Bangi, Bandar Mahkota, Pinggiran Putrajaya, to name a few are still considered suburb but may changed to a proper township with hidden value in just 5 to 6 years. I would never have guess that 20 years ago, my own kampung in Salak Tinggi would have an airport as its neighbour and Seremban became so filled up to the brim that they have to make Seremban 2 as the new administrative hub for a few government office.

So, where is your Bangsar?

January 5, 2009

Calling-in sick

On Mondays, it is well known that there are a lot of salaried persons will look for an excuse to not come to the office and the most favourite excuse is by calling in sick. Of course, we cannot say this is still the norm as in this new modern era, work itself has evolve into a different creature altogether. People can work from home and still be millionaires. People can invent one thing, either arts or an invention, then stay home after selling that one item to big corporation for millions. I know these people and even I who can come and go to my office at anytime, envy them.

Let us go back to those who loves to call in sick. Some of these people are not even sick but the momentum of weekend will seeped into their subconcious that they will want to extend the feeling that they felt then. Mondays are well known for its Monday blues and even popularise by the cat name Garfield who never had to work a day in its life. By the way, why does that cat feeling the blues? My cat sleeps the whole night and then continue to sleep after they finish bothering us when they see we start preparing ourselves for work.

There are a few occasion when I have to go to the hospital or clinic on Mondays. And I will regret doing that the minute I see a row of patients waiting at the waiting room of the place. I will try to schedule the appointment for another time or just buy the medicine from the pharmacy. It's just not worth the wait. Or if I feel really sick, I just call my brother in Johor to diagnose my sickness through the phone and prescribe me a medicine.

My own Garfield...

In my office, any medical certificate is receive with a pinch of salt. Those who call-in sick must be able to produce their MC the next day that they come for work. If not, that sick day is treated as part of their annual leave. Some manage to produce it and some don't. In an office where most are female, if there is suddenly a need for an extended leave of absence due to woman problem, as I have a few female partners, it shouldn't have been a problem for any one of the staff to talk to them. We even extend the rule to having to sent children to the doctors. They even have to produce a chit to show that they really go to the doctor.

Its not that we don't have compassion, my partner and I, as we still have no children. It's just that we believe in running a tight ship and even with all these rules, there are deliquency. I bet there are a lot of other employers having the same situation. So, make sure that Monday blues does not impede the work as I bet all employers notice that ingenuity of yours...

January 4, 2009

Everything return to normal

Tomorrow is the second working day of 2009 for some people or the first for some other. It is the first day of school in Malaysia and in some part is the second day. For the stock market and the financial sector, the first day of business was on Friday and it was said that there was a rally at the stock market which may change its momentum for the better.

Time to hit the road again early in the morning...

With the return of business communities to their work, the parents sending their children to school at the designated ungodly hour of 6.45am for most and the return of the traffic jam, everything will be back to normal. People will flock back to their favourite stalls in the morning ordering their favourite drinks. Working people will again lament about Monday blues and thanking god again when it's Friday. They will again feel that they are stuck at dead end jobs and wishing for better jobs. Politicians will be congregating to the Parliament and fight for the people that have elected them there or at least for those who have put their money in them.

Everything will be back to normal. Or are they?

January 3, 2009

Give it to me one more time

I wrote before that 2008 was the year of the comeback. The link can be found here - http://kruel-legalcat.blogspot.com/2009/01/2008-comeback-year.html. Most media seems to say otherwise when they call 2008 as the year of Change. Huh? They gave example of Obama taking over the Whitehouse and the change of UMNO presidency. I still think these 2 events does not merit in labelling 2008 as the year of change. All these two events are to happen in 2009, not 2008, so why did they hail these events as happening in 2008? 

Even the ruling government of Malaysia is the same although they were supposedly toppled in the 2008 General Election. There were only 5 states which had changed its government from the previous political party to a new one. Oh, make that four. One was already in the opposition's hand even before 8.3.08. Even after these change, it seems to me politics are just like it was before. Just as the ferociously vomit inducing fights between the oppositions and the ruling political party in the Parliament is the same. The opposition showed that although the opposition had control in 5 states, they are just as good in playing with the people's heart and soul as the old political party which controls the federal government. Just ask the estate workers and the NGOs. Did their fight become less harder after that eventful date of 8.3.08?

Internationally, Palestine and Israel still did not see eye to eye. USA is still a bully as ever. Iraq still being bomb left and right. Islam is still feared. That 70s Show is still on television. USA still control the economy of the world. USA still controls the United Nation which is more known as a toothless tiger than anything else. Football in the EPL is still being dominated by the same team. As is the Champion League. As is Euro 2008. As is the NBA and the NFL.

Maybe its the economy in Malaysia and even USA, which they hailed as changed from the euphoric high of the stock market which became just like what it was before in early 2007. Maybe its the oil price from a nose bleed high to the real price that it is supposed to be. Maybe its the way prices of essential goods keep on climbing until people cannot afford them anymore.

Maybe the change is the same way Malaysia underachieve in every front, be it sports, football, economically, politically or in managing our resources as a whole, although it seems that our youth is good in adapting to the way of Western life even in achieving spiritual enlightenment through modern religions and not those that their parents or the parents before their parents had embraced. Through internet and openness, youth are more open than their parents. Sex party are rampant, free porn from artistes and their partners, uncensored photos and even drugs related offences.

Sheesh.. if only they knew what their parents had experience in the 70s or even 50s when flower power and rock n roll had just made their presence known then. Even the song that Obama used as his clarion call for Change came from the 70s.

So, again, I ask, what Change? Nothing's change in 2008 except the for the hope of the people (which actually is the same like they have been hoping since the French revolution).

Maybe it is true what they say,

the more things change, the more things remain the same.

January 2, 2009

2008, the comeback year_ Part 2

from yesterday's posting :-

8) The return of Liverpool by being a strong contender in the English Premier League and even holding off Chelsea and Manchester United. Will they go all the way? That remain to be seen;

9) The revisit to an age-old issue in Malaysian judiciary with the judges fired in 1988 under a sweeping move by the then government, which was said to be a blatant abuse of power, said various quarters, received a recognition of sort. In April 2008, the Bar Council and the federal government threw a dinner, attended by me as one of the insignificant invitees, to witness the government saying sort of an apology by giving them money. It did not stop the matter from being used as an issue to attack the present federal government;

10) The return of Malaysian former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, on the poltical front, after the lost of the 2/3 majority by the Barisan Nasional government, in which he launched his own blog as a platform to attack his predecessor and managed to make him quit, although it will never be admitted by anyone that he is the influencing factor enough to make the change;

11) The return of the Malaysian football team to oblivion after losing game after game to lesser known opponents, years before, who would have been whacked by the Malaysia team of 70s and 80s. Teams from Vietnam and Myanmar to name a few;

12) The return of Malaysia on the Olympic medal tally board when Lee Chong Wei managed to get a silver medal in the men's badminton single;

13) The return of the notorious Malaysian Bar Council to being a thorn in Malaysian government side like it did in the 80s when it raised so many issues that the politicians on the government side for them to join a political party so the politician would know how to deal with them properly;

14) The return of the recession in United States, Japan and other part of the world like in 1987 and even is said to be as bad as 1939. Unwanted by all but it did drive the necessary point of better money management and government intervention;

15) The return of the pirates to the real world. If the Pirates of the Caribbean was a box office hit on screen in 2007, the year of 2008 will be remembered for its Pirates of the Somalia who managed to elude even the most advance warship at the Straits of Aden;

16) Back in Malaysia, the return of glamorous court case like in 1998 (where the ex-Deputy Prime Minister was charged in court for various criminal charges in which he was later acquitted off) when all eyes were trained to Shah Alam court for the trial of Abdul Razak Baginda who was also acquitted of playing a part in the murder of a Monglian model;

17) The return of the importance of the sultanate to the Malaysian scene when they flexed their muscle either collectively or individually to ensure continuity in Malaysian politics by ensuring the people comes first;

These 2 days lists are just some that I remember vividly. Have you got yours?

January 1, 2009

2008, the comeback year

For me and many other people, 2008 will be known as the comeback year. There was a lot of comeback that it is the most overused word to some. Here is my list :

1) Locally, the 8th of March 2008 will always be known as the comeback date for the opposition from oblivian. Led by the comeback kid of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, they swept through the Malaysian political landscape in one swoop and won 5 states which no one, not even themselves, had predicted. They are as stunned as the governing political party and the warmonger had predicted chaos but no such things happened. Long live democracy! Then Anwar Ibrahim had to revisit his 1998 case when he was hit with another allegation of sodomisation;

2) At the other end, due to the failure of the young Turks who had made their presence felt in 2004 when they became the new faces of a 50 year old political party, elderly political bosses who ranged from former Chief Minister to those who was allegedly had scandals either of the money and sexual in nature, offered themselves for the party election in 2009. They garnered enough votes to show they still have it in them and proving that they never went away for good. For better or for worse, or even as the final nail in the coffin of that party, it remain to be seen;

3) The return of a politician who had to resign when he was literally caught with his pant down with the whole of Malaysia watching through CCTV. It shows that charisma and leadership have nothing to do with what is brewing in the bedroom and people will forgive your indiscretion if it doesn't affect them, too much...

4) At the movie, old characters were revived and given a new lease of life. Some like the X-Files barely made a dent but Indiana Jones, who people had write off as has been managed to garner a top ten number in box office collection, the Dark Knight saw the return of Batman which became the 2nd highest grossing movie of all time and James Bond still has the license to kill anything in sight albeit with lesser sexual escapades and gadgets;

5) At the music scene, the comeback of Britney is widely anticipated with varying degree of success from the overworked and over-sensationalised singer. Still, people buy her CDs;

6) As the international scene, protests and demonstrations made a comeback like in the 70s and this also spilled over to Malaysia with various NGOs used it as platform to make a point and then some. NGOs are now also known as the vehicles for politicians who lost states to the oppositions to show their leader that they are still serving the people, whether the people ask for it or not;

7) The return of the landslide at the same area in Malaysia. Bukit Antarabangsa residents which were hit by the Highland Tower tragedy in 1993 was hit again on December 6, 2008 when a section of a hill gave way and forced nearly 3,000 residents to evacuate. Fingers are pointed all around with politician using it as leverage to garner support;

To be continued tomorrow....
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