March 31, 2009

Those events where V.I.Ps are present

I was at an event this afternoon where there are guest of honours who officiated the ground breaking of a new university hospital in Malaysia. There were the Prime Minister, the Higher Education Minister and the University President. We were not really there for the university. My partner and I was not the product of that university. 

We were there as the developer is our client which always demand all of their suppliers, panel of professionals and even staff to fill up all the seats in any events they hosted. We had to be there in order for us to ever get any more jobs from them. In short, we were not there to really honour the VIPs as we are not the type who blink when VIPs walk in front of us. It is not that we are too proud or too daft but we are a company which doesn't kiss any ass just for the sake of it. What is important to us is to deliver on our job and not just knowing people who may not remember us the next time we meet.

The things about these type of events are the tedious nature of it. The need to park at certain area. The security you need to pass. The people you have to show respect too. The need to stand up upon the cue by the Master of Ceremony. The need to shake hands of the VIPs as they walk through the red carpet and you lining up just so to greet them. The whole pretentious demeanor as if you are interested in what was said during the speech. In short, the whole shebang. 

This was the second time the Prime Minister was scheduled to officiate an event at this particular developer's development. The first time he was detained by a visiting dignitaries and he sent one of his minister to officiate the event. This afternoon, he turned up as scheduled. The developer is a subsidiary of one of the most important government linked company in Malaysia and they are one of the earliest Islamic finance institution in Malaysia and some say, in the world. So, it was important for him to show up after a no-show once. Oh, did I tell you the Prime Minister of Malaysia, if according to his admission in news is resigning in a few days and the event just now may be one of his last.

Happy retirement sir...

p/s - the best part which I remembered most was when the State's Chief Minister seems to say goodbye to the Prime Minister as the PM was the one who made him a Chief Minister in the first place. It was kind of funny and not appropriate as the PM still have not give a specific date of retirement

March 30, 2009

Winding down after a day's work

In the book Bourne Identity,one of the sentence which I took to heart when I was reading it, was the one thing Bourne do whenever he is stuck in trying to solve a problem. That advice is simple, Rest Is A Weapon. Never underestimate the need for rest before you go into a fight. You need to have that time to wind down and raring to go again once your battery is recharged. He was willing to find a place to hide just so that he can sleep peacefully before starting running again from his pursuers. I think that saying is best advice anyone can get whatever you are doing, even though you may not be an assassin like Jason Bourne.

I have a lot of phases during my working life on how I recharge my battery. I once collected all my tiredness within a week where I would sleep late every working days of the week trying to finish whatever work needed finishing. During those time, when the weekends arrived, I would switched off and would rarely get up for anything. Then when Monday came, I would be ready for anything. I still do these type of work like a dog, sleep like a log type of week, although I rarely need to as I have learned how to delegate nowadays.The sleep itself is also important as a dreamless sleep have more quality than a sleep where you toss and turn while not really sleeping. A short sleep at intervals of your work can also help you recharge. Nowadays, if I feel too tired, I try to sleep early.

However, to some, going back home to rest is not the best way for them to recharge. They need to go to their favourite hole-in-the-wall, where everyone knows their name, put a few large one into the stomach, only then can they have their rest. Some are weekenders or like Nicholas Cage or Ray Milland, love to have those 'lost weekends' where they go out partying the moment TGIF comes and only comes out of their stupor on Sunday afternoon. Some even are users of designer drugs and believe there will be no tomorrow. Some seek religious activities as their way of resting their soul. There are a lot of way for working people to wind down, every day or every week.

What do you do to make sure you can tackle whatever you have been tasked to?

This is how you REALLY rest your weary body

March 29, 2009

Civic duty

These few years, the word of corporate social responsibility have been bandied around as business people realised that they could not exist in a vacuum while they reap the benefit of doing business. They may not want to but if they do they actually are respected more and even gain new businesses. Especially those who want their electrical devices or gadgets to be used by everyone on earth. They even use these causes as a branding on their products. Never have been the word 'Eco' are more abused than on electrical products. I really hope those products which have this word are really helping us to save the world.

It has been a clarion call last night when Earth Hour was celebrated observed by the city of Kuala Lumpur. It had been done for a few years but this year, through blogs, television and all sort of mediums, it seems to be a big thing. It may not have helped the earth itself as I have written in yesterday's post, humans are the one that need saving. However, one must understand, the website of Earth Hour is there for us, all the people in the world to vote for earth and show a conference at the end of 2009 how much people want for these powerful nations to make a change. Earth Hour is a message and not a supposedly  one hour which will save the earth. The arguments back and forth how much turning ligths off for an hour will help is moot point. 

There were a few companies which owned buildings which jumped on the bandwagon including the owner of the tallest building in the world until a few years ago. Yes, Malaysia once had the tallest building in the world. It was dark yesterday. Did they did it out of civic duty? Who cares? As long as the message goes through, it is the least we can do. Let us hope they will do it again and again as the earth turns and provides for us.

March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

At the time I am writing this, I am not really sure what I will be doing during Earth Hour. As I am left alone to my own device as the wife has a course at one of the hotel in town and as it is a Saturday, most of my friends already have plans either with family or for a night about town. There are a lot of activities in a few places in town and they seem to try to still entertain themselves and their patrons with things that they can do without any electricity. There are even singing and dancing which sparked a debate between my staff and I on Friday as we were trying to figure out how are they going to do it without any electricity. But, since time immemorial they already have theaters and stages so I don't think going medieval is a problem.

Can earth be saved still? I mean, there is a debate in Malaysian newspaper and blogosphere when a few brave (lost) soul shoot off and said that this earth hour is just a gimmick and even contended that power supply will surge at 9.30pm when all the light which were switched off come on all at once. As for me, being a sceptic due to the later Michael Crichton controversial book, State of Fear, which questioned every single events which are said to have happened due to global warming as mere gimmicks (how was that for being sceptical, wrote a book?) I don't believe humans can really kill the earth as it has been here for so long. What can happen is the earth can save itself, humans are the one need saving. Not earth. And I don't think we can even survive another 100 years. Unlike earth...

Even so, as sceptical as I am, it is just too fun and too out of touch of me to not join in. I believe my neighbourhood will not observe this event as the demographic are full of uncaring people. Although I am the resident's association's vice chairman, we didn't plan for anything to observe this event. My parents will just shrug off this event as they are people who can't understand this alien concept. Maybe the best is for the power supply company to lost power during this time so we can just REALLY save power. Why not? Lost in revenue? Getting sued for doing it? If all those factories really care, they should join in. If the government is really serious, just turn of the switch. All the emergency lights can come on and I bet the good samaritans can manned those traffic lights like what happened in 1996 when half of Malaysia plunged into darkness due to a power grid failure.

Anyway, I better get going to see whether this thing is really happening here...

Easier to be in darkness with eyes like cats

March 27, 2009

You think everything gonna be all right now?

I actually am not that keen on commenting on the poilitical situation in my country as I never have real believe in politics although a lawyer actually enforced or interpret whatever law which comes out of the place call Parliament or Senate or whatever place in your country where laws are made. However, the people who worded or wrote the law are not these so call lawmakers. Only a handful of them really read it or are lawyers or care enough to have lawyers advising them on the law that are being debated every day at these places where laws are made. I know some have the interest of the people in their heart but some have it with a mix of their own interest as well and last but not least, some have only their interest in their heart though it may seems to be for the people.

Why I am commenting on this matter is currently, here, in my country, Malaysia, which I love, there is a change of leadership in the biggest and oldest political party, which affect the composition of the government of the day. Why they are such a big deal, legend has it, okay, it is a fact, this party is the political party which had led Malaysia on its quest for independence. Somehow, they lost their way and people start to be hated by everyone except those who gets benefits from those in power. They lost terribly last election and managed to lose a few states where the only governments people ever know were them.

Some say they are oing to lose it all if this party election did not usher in new faces or those who can help them save themselves. They again showed their ignorant of what people wanted when in some of the speeches by delegates they questioned the people's rights in questioning how they behave and how they conducted the affair in their party. I was actually amused at first of the people's interest in them as this political party is still an association however you look at them. As long as they are not planning to do crime or up to no good, they are allow to conduct themselves according to their constitution. The problem is, they then become leaders as their party is the ruling party. That is why people demand they act like leaders. Not like some fraternity where the one who can look the best or is best in sports or are rich are elected.

That is where we are now. Being led by a fraternity which have no idea people want the best for them. They questioned our interest in them. Why the leaders of old impose certain restrictions on how election within the party goes. How they run their party. How there is a check and balance by a disciplinary board, which some say is bias. I am too out of it and too disillusioned by their antics that I actually never believe in them in the first place. Even though a few of them are my friends, I never join them as a member. Just as an observer. I hope they now have real leaders there. And someone who know what to do. There are going to be by-elections in a few places within the next 2 weeks. That will be the test. In legal world, you only know the strength of a law when it is tested in court. These by-elections are their courts. Then we see how they fare...

You think I should run for office? Nah...

March 26, 2009

Have you any plan for retirement?

I had an interesting interview session with someone today. We posted an advertisement at the Bar Council 2 or 3 months back when we were served with a notice of resignation by one of our lawyer. At that time, we thought we might substitute her with a new lawyer. We now have second thought about it, until we met this interesting man.

The man who came to our office has already reached his sixtieth birthday a few months back. He is currently attached with another legal firm which seems to not fully utilising his expertise. His practising certificate was not even renewed as they consider him more of a para-legal than a real lawyer. This man only obtained his status as a lawyer in 2003. He was a bank officer who rised through the rank. He started work in 1970 as a clerk until he retired in 1997 as a Vice President. The bank is not just some local bank but is a foreign bank who had quite a history in Malaysia. Though Malaysian banks nowadays dominate the scene in Malaysia, that is considered a big deal.

As I was interviewing him, looking at him and probing him with relevant question, I have a nagging question at the back of my mind which I finally asked him. Didn't he plan for his retirement? Why is he working and is still looking for new opportunity at his age? Isn't working since you are 21 years of age is enough? He told us that he can actually rest at home and use his savings for a real retirement but he is looking for new challenges. His sons are all grown up and one is even a doctor. His current firm is actually underutilising his real capabilities and he wants to join us if we are willing to pay his asking price.

Hearing his story, I realised that retirement is a concept not for all. Some retire only when they are no longer capable to get out of bed. Some retire early but goes back to work as they grew tored of resting. Some never take a holiday in their whole career and retirement is the time for them to rest. Some never retire at all as they die too early or they never wanted to in the first place. As a business owner myself, I never plan to retire as I think I would love to see how far my firm can go and if it reach the highest plateu, I can see it.

Any thoughts on your retirement?

March 25, 2009

Lawyers are one step down from politicians?

I was talking to my wife yesterday when she said why does people use the word 'advocate' when they are not talking about a lawyer. Isn't advocate means lawyer? How about solicitor? Aren't lawyers in Malaysia called Advocates & Solicitors. In other countries, lawyers are known as barristers and attorney-at-law. The most well known is lawyer. What are actually their function?

As I have mentioned before a few times, lawyers are actually agents. They represent other people in court, in negotiation, in meetings and in most places that they are allowed to. They are supposed to be well versed in law and understand on all procedures where even to talk you have to ask permission. Lawyers are like those people you see in Parliament where people in their constituents have elected them to represent them there. That is the extreme of lawyering. 

I am saying that a Member of Parliament or a People's Representative in Parliament or in the Senate is the same as lawyers. The only different is that those people are elected but lawyers are hired to do their job. Lawyers are private representative but those MP and senators are in public office. We are accountable for any negligence that happen to our client if we did not do our best as much as the MPs and senators.

We may look confident and assuming with our jackets and ties under the hot sun carrying our briefcase looking all important but without clients we are nothing. Same like those MPs. But at least lawyers know who butter the breads but those MPs or senators? Hmmm....

March 24, 2009

A benchmark for you to try to attain..

When you have been in an industry and is trying to be the best, there must be a certain benchmark that you wanted to attain. Either, if like me, you wanted to specialised in certain type of lawyering or you want to own the biggest legal firm, which have your name on it's nameplate and do all sort of legal works, you will want to look at those before you who have done it before. There are so many legal firm in Malaysia before I started my business in 2000. 

I was as clueless in managing a legal firm as any fresh graduate would although I had joined a partnership earlier before in 1999 which specialised in criminal law. That firm was run by an ex-deputy public prosecutor who wanted me to help him manage the firm but resulted on me relying on him more while I was trying to even understand what to do.

When I relocate to Kuala Lumpur to open up with my own where other partner is someone my own age and we did not have a customer base, we never really believe we would amount to anything. We thought we will always be a small firm with two of us there and we would always need to scrap for whatever file that we can find. We managed to strike a goldmine in which we were appointed as one of the panel of lawyers for a developer. We then dared to dream of having a legal firm with all the trimmings and with all the departments that a legal firm should have.

I have seen a few of legal firm who has been like an institution in the legal fratenity that people have forgotten who have founded the firm in the first place. The firm has investments in various places like they have all the money in the world. They are like a corporation and their partners are never in one place as they had to attend to their clients around the world. They even advise Malaysian government on certain matters and the biggest of them had been given the task of advising another government on certain field which Malaysia seems to be good at.

These legal firms are a benchmark to us and we would like to consider we are halfway there with our office looking like a miniature of them when we managed to move to a real office with a reception, an office for each partner and even a pantry. If you had seen us when we had to walk two doors down to reach our other unit as we didn't have enough for a proper office to put everyone in. Or when we started the firm when we were squatting in a client's office. We may have come a long way from a small legal firm with two partners but we are not within striking distance of our benchmark legal firm yet. Give us another 5 to 10 years especially with a few amendments on how legal firm can be registered in this one two years. 

Does your industry has a benchmark?

March 23, 2009

What Milli Vanilli have anything to do with blogging and law

One of the main argument in the blogging and law event which was held on 14.3.09 was about giving credit where credit is due. It is just that a few of the people in that hall may have misunderstood the whole issue. Remember Milli Vanilli? That group which had a few hit songs like Blame It on the Rain and Don't Forget My Number to quote a few. You remember what they did? Claiming to sing their own songs while in reality someone else was actually singing it for them. The fake one never really give credit to the real singers. They were stripped of their career and even have to return the Grammy Awards that they won. Shameful right? What have all of this got to do with the seminar of Blogging and Law?

The first presenter in the seminar, Foong from has presented through his slide the issue of asking permission and giving credit to someone or some organisation when you take whatever is theirs, either its a picture, a quote, an image, a writing or even some art which they have drawn or make. There are a lot of other things, even a program which you can apply this rule. Once you post something on the internet and share it with the whole world, there are a lot of ways where people can basically steal your work and claim it as theirs. They can give credit to you but that does not allow them to do it without asking for your permission. Same as Milli Vanilli. Just because they have given credits to the Real Milli Vanilli, it didn't mean they don't need to pay them.

Here's the rule of the thumb. Remember that anything that comes from your head if written down or done through your skill is yours. Pictures, images, music, songs and arts which are done through your effort, they are yours. Publishers own the things they publish. In Malaysia, the rule of the thumb, whoever pays for the effort are usually the owner. Not necessarily, but its the rule of the thumb. For others to use it, permission must be given. You can deny it without having to give any reason. Even if you know someone has used your effort while crediting it to you, you can still ask for compensation or ask for it to be removed. If you go and see some of the movies trailer which is not given permission to be displayed and when you click on it and nothing come on except the message, The Content Have Been Removed by ...., then you have just seen this rule being enforced. The bigger your company, the more resources you have and that is where you must watch out. 

One question from the audience is on whether it is worth the effort to go against someone who have taken your picture, program or image. Or those who have basically stolen whatever is yours. The presenters in that event have said, as a lawyer they will advice you to do it but as a friend, it wouldn't worth the effort. Remember that the litigation road is long and winding and most importantly, costly. You will need the preseverance to follow it up. As for me, before you go down that road, ask yourself the question : Are you worth anything and will you be able to cover the cost that you have spend to take the guy or girl to court? If the answer is yes, go ahead. If not, try to do the next best thing. Send them an email and ask them nicely. If not, just warn others about them.

So, just crediting someone of their work is not enough, you must still ask permission. Among friends, it may be okay but if you deal with corporations, be forewarned.

March 22, 2009

How to swim in a red ocean

In business, both will require you to gain market share little by little and compete with those who have been in the business for quite some time. The business of legal firm is as red as any red ocean can be (if you subscribed to the blue ocean strategy) but there are still a lot of way for you to have your piece of the pie (Whew!!! That's a lot of saying in one paragraph). You will need to be savvy in getting that share or get burnt in your quest to fight with the big boys or even those who are small but have been there longer than you. You may not get it with one or two years but it you are patience enough, you will at least establish yourself, little by little.

I have been fighting for market share from the day I open up my door for business. My aspiration is to be able to do all type of legal business and not just depend on one source. In the current economic situation, where certain sector such as property is just waiting for the sound of the death knell of a few famous developer (never mind how much they publish stories of managing to sell a few hundreds units of their properties), everybody need to have a different skill sets. My office realised this a few years back when our two partners firm admitted two other partners who are good in their own field.

One was just finishing her company secretarial course then (which she already finished now) making her able to advice clients on corporate matters and secretarial matters on companies. The other is very well verse in banking law and a few other law with connection in most banks in Malaysia. We capitalised on their skills and managed to create new income streams either through our existing clients or new one and even some which they brought on themselves. They capitalised on us being in the business for quite sometimes and the strength of our business which is able to part-finance the advances needed for such files coming from banks.

As for my partner and I, we have adopted the value add-in approach in which we added new skill sets to our resume. Currently, I am taking my masters in Islamic finance and my partner is finishing her masters in law which is skewed towards intellectual property. We believe Islamic finance and intellectual property is the next frontier for legal business in Malaysia. We already have quite a few clients in both type of law although we are still have not finished with our education. Once we can carry the title saying we have eudcated ourselves in those particular branch of law, we believe there are more doors to be opened.

Who says there are no fish in a red ocean?

March 21, 2009

Those employees who become your competitor

It happens to a lot of employer. A bad boss or a boss who is too detached from the feelings of his or her employer can be a motivation to them to open up the same business on their own. If not direct competition, at least to a certain extent competition none the less. There are of course anti-competition rules laid down by the law under Companies Act 1950 in Malaysia for employees not to compete with their company and company asking employees to sign non-competition or confidentiality agreement extending beyond their tenureship in the company, there are a lot of employees who open up a business being in direct competition with their former employer immediately upon their resignation/termination.
Nothing is more apparent in the football field especially in English Premiere League or to a wider scope, the European leagues, where managers and players are fired and then you find them on the opposing side where they will skillfully destroy your team. Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson, the One of Chelsea (Abramovich's blue eye boy, once) and a few others. For the managers, they have to contend with the player whom they have motivated and shouted at while being under their command but then see them score goals against  that manager's team after they left. The team then also have to face facts when the manager or the player got fired then hired to be on another team within the same league. Or those who is 'stolen' by another team. How can the team ensure the skill that was given to them is not pass around to the 'other' side? In a league where the one who can demand is the manager, it will not be as easy.

In the real world, as in everyday working life where you own a company, like me, there are occasions where ex-employees suddenly quit, even some in 24 hours notice, just to see them plying the same route in the marketing rounds. As I am in the legal business, I have employees who rise further upward in their career when they open up on their own. Most practice a different type of lawyering as my firm is more towards the conveyancing and banking business but most of them become trial lawyers and corporate lawyers. Some went into the corporate sector and even can see how I manage my firm as they are the one who supervise companies such as mine. Some do have the courtesy to have ties with my office but most are not. It seems most think they had it bad while they were working for me as I rely on them to much. To me, I have my own style of doing things and it may not be the best way for me to give too much autonomy to my employees in doing things, especially the lawyers but I believe in people making their own way in life, even work. Unless you f#%k up big time, then I have to do something about that.

So, is it good to have former employees as competitors or do you think it is just another normal business practice all around the world?

March 20, 2009

Blogging and Law, a conference by : A Report


Above, are pictures of the two presenters at the inaugural Blogging and Law conference which was spearheaded by eLawyer which is a specialised website for lawyers and anything to do with law in Malaysia. This is not a posting on what I learned on that day. I will be reporting on that in another post. This is about on the event itself and my thought on how it can be more beneficial to bloggers. I would also welcome suggestions and comments especially from those who went there or any general suggestion or comment on this type of event.

One of the owner of the website, Mr. Eddie Law, is a friend and he was hoping to see a huge turnout like don't-have-a-seat type of conference where the bloggers will fill up the hall up to the brim. That was not the case. You can consider the event to be well attended but it was not as what Eddie thought it would be. He was hoping for the attendance to be like a rock concert or at least like the events where people had to stand looking for seats. I reminded him that it was a first event where the issue at hand is law and there was not a popular blogger as the event anchor.

The speakers are well known within their own circle like most blogger are. It must be pointed out that bloggers group are sometimes formed through mutual forums and advertising site which provide avenue for them to then meet. Foong Cheng Leong has a blog  (that is really his blog name) and Nizam Bashir has a blog Poetic Justice. Both are practising lawyers who blog and have been invited to a few other blogging and law event. Visit their site to see what their thoughts on the event itself.

As for me the half-day event was good as a starting point and I now know what is on bloggers mind with the questions that they asked. With regard to trademark and intellectual property, Foong who spoke about it, cover the issue on how one can credit the photograph that they took from the net without being sued. As for Nizam, the issue which is mostly on most of the bloggers mind are how one can protect themselves from being sued or even prosecuted if the say they alleged bad or harmful things. In Malaysia, bloggers have been prosecuted for sedition (to incite hatred against monarch or government) and sued for posting about bad review of something they bought and used. For Foong and Nizam, the conclusion is to remember that the internet is a very powerful tool to reach a wide audience but whatever applies in real life still applies in cyberspace.

After the conference, I mingled with other bloggers whom I got to know through Bloggers United such as Diese, Suresh, Curryegg and flyguy. I also met kuE and Julian Hopkins. Except for Julian, all the others introduced themselves to me. Sorry guys, that was my first meeting of other bloggers ever, other than Fahri and Lee Shih, who were the judges for a blogging contest eLawyer did, whom I met way before I start blogging. Some like curreyegg has posted their own take on the conference and you can read  it here. I am endorsing her more than anybody else as she seems to think I looked smart that day. As for Julian, I was the one who introduced myself to him as he is doing his PhD on blogging which astound me to no end. Take a survey at his site to help him on his research.

It was a great event and I hope eLawyer will do more of such event....

March 19, 2009

Today I celebrate 10 years of being a lawyer

This week have been quite eventful with a conference on blogging and law organised by, the Bar Council of Malaysia Annual General Meeting (which I didn't go), the Legal Aid Dinner (which I was invited at the last minute by Selangor Bar Committee) and a beauty pageant event sponsored by Nuffnang (which was my first ever blogging event). I have only reported on the beauty pageant in my other blog here and here (it shows which of the events stick to my mind more). All these events had made my weekend full to say the least. It was even extended to Monday as the Malaysian Dream Girl Season 2 was on Monday night.

And today, exactly on 20.3.09, I am celebrating my 10 years of being a lawyer. Ten years ago, on a Saturday morning, I was in a courtroom in the Seremban High Court, my hometown which is 50 km from Kuala Lumpur, being robed by my Master (actually my Master was a she but no one ever call a lady lawyer a Mistress when she took a chambering student). Being robed is when you, who is wearing a suit being help into an overcoat-like jacket which lawyers wear (came from the our British colonial masters) as a sign that you are now a part of the legal fraternity. There were 3 other lawyers with me. I just couldn't remember their name but one is them was an Indian girl, one Indian man and a Malay guy. That was also the last that I hear of them. 

My mom was so proud that she sponsored the traditional high-tea after the call to the bar at the only hotel in Seremban then instead of doing it at our Bar Room. And thanks to my very compact camera then (not digital), all the pictures are either blurred or dark. Maybe those programs which can repair such pictures can make it better. Never tried any yet.

That was 10 years ago. For the past 3 year, every time March 20th came, I have made it a tradition to treat all my staff to some lunch at the office, especially since we moved to the new office which has quite a big pantry. However, today, I have planned and told them that I am going to treat them to real meals. 10 years in private practice and nearly 9 of it with the same partner is a big deal. Her 10 years will be this 10th of April. She is going through some tough time but we have been there for each other through thick and thin. 

Here's to 10 years more and then some....

* All those reference to Bar Room and Bar Council are not about bar where you serve drinks but what lawyers association are known. And call to the bar is not people calling me to have drinks but being admitted as a lawyer.

March 18, 2009

How far would you go for a client?

This is one of the basic question of my profession. We are always have been labelled as liars. We have countless jokes made for us just how far we are ready to go for a client. We have been immortalised in movies such as Liar, Liar to show that a lawyer are never far from uttering lies and more lies. According to that movie, you need a child to wish that  you will not be able to lie for the character played by Jim Carrie to stop lying. It was also sobering the extent of him being successful and his ability to lie. If we looked at all the television series from L.A. Law to Ally McBeal to the Practice to Boston Legal, lawyers are never known to be a goody two shoe. If you find one, like that one lawyer in Boston Legal, boy, is he in the wrong profession.

How far would one go for his or her client? Lie? Hmm...all lawyers do that to a certain extent. There are cases where lawyers were willing to be imprisoned and prosecuted for his client. Compare to these, lying is the least that a lawyer would do for a client. You do know that lawyers are actually glorified agents. We acted only on instruction. We start all our letters with, "Under instruction of our client" or "Our client has instructed us to...." or "We are instructed to...". It shows that being able to do what was us, as long as the law allow for it is what all lawyers have been trained for.

When in court, we are no better. All the sentences above are said over and over again by lawyers either they represent a criminal, a suspected criminal (note the different), a corporation, a bank, an individual or even if situation warrants it, whatever can pay us. Whatever as in if it is a parrot which has inherited millions smart enough to direct us to act for it, we would. There are other profession too which will only start work after the instruction is given but for us, we don't actually follow the instruction. It is just a word that we hide behind because if we do really follow our client instruction, then they won't be needing us.

Don't get me wrong. Without us, there would be no innocent people being protected. There will be no one who is willing to help those who are downtrodden. In Malaysia, the lawyers association called the Bar Council finance its own legal aid initiative. Last weekend, we auctioned memorabilia signed by the like of Roger Federer and Daniel Craig which goes to our fund to help those who can't afford lawyers of their own. We are also there when those who are denied their rights couldn't speak for themselves. We are too much everywhere that our government said we should be a political party.

That is my profession. Well known for its 'instruction' laden wordings.

How far would YOU go for a client?

March 17, 2009

Law degree as a second degree

There are a lot of people out there who love to add a law degree as their second degree. There is this perception it will add value to their resume and it is not that tough to get one. In a way, I would like to concur. Getting a law degree is not that hard. You only have to read and remember tons and tons of cases and statutes. And then try to get on the good side of your professors. Oh, then you have to understand how to apply those laws to the cases that happen around the world. For Malaysian, you have to know the Malaysian statutes and the Indian and the British law too.They call the relevance of the other law to us as pari materia. Oh, then the Latin words. Nothing spice up your life than a dead language.

Hmmm...seems that it is not so easy after all. Too many things to remember. But to tell you the truth, all that you learn in law school means nothing unless you have been inside a courtroom and try to convince the judge(s) that your client is right. Especially if your client is dead wrong. Do not be mistaken that each time you step in the court you will be on the right. There are always more than one occasion you will be there to see that your client is treated properly by the law and not just handing over his freedom or his life to be taken away. That is why courts have this thing called the legal aid or public defender office where people are given the help of a lawyer under the payroll of the government. Sometimes, the government do ask private lawyers to represent a suspect who do not have legal representation. In Malaysia, as the pay is quite good, some lawyers line up for them to get the cases.

So, law as a second degree for you to have is kind of a good idea if you really want to have it like a badge of honour so you can tell everyone you have a law degree. You have done all that is required like chugging beer using a hose or having a wild Saturday night with the boys and such. You have managed to finish that assignment just 20 minutes before you need to send it in. What I remember during my student days was how each Saturday nights were fill with us not remembering anything. Wait, was that last Saturday? Don't get me wrong, get that degree and show it to your friends but don't say that you are a lawyer until you do practice law.
This well known Malaysian model, Elaine Daly, is a law degree holder too

March 16, 2009

Why you need lawyers...

I have a department within my small legal firm in which part of its job description is to act as a collecting agency for banks. There are a few banks which have appointed us to help them collect any monies from the defaulters at their bank. I know I shouldn't proud of this fact but being a lawyer, this is one way for us to make money. If you watch an episode of CSI Miami, which was repeated a day before, there is another level of money collection which is far worse than having to meet a lawyer in court asking you to settle your loan with the bank.

Although people hate to deal with lawyers, they have to face the fact that lawyers do play a part in some way to keep the economy goes around. I know I am trying to make my profession sound noble but we do make the economy goes around in a way. If not for all the collected debt, nearly all business will immediately collapse. In Malaysia, lawyers do try to communicate with the person who they have to meet in court. When we have sent the letter of demand, followed by the summons, we will usually be receiving calls from exasperated loan defaulter who would try to explain to us why and how they are going to pay. That is where we have to explained to them, we are just an agent or better yet, the messenger. The people they have to talk to is the bank or whomever they owe the money to. 

When we do arrive in court, they usually will try to convince the magistrate or the court interpreter of their innocence or how they were only the guarantor of the loan. They will explain how they did not know that they have to pay within certain time or what were expected of them. The problem is, this is when crudely put, the shit has hit the fan. I have always contend the business of lawyering is the business of 'shit hits the fan'. It is either you prepare agreement for it to never happen or if it did, it is too late for you to turn back. Even in criminal cases, you are in court as you are in deep trouble. If not, you will be just another good citizen trying to make an honest living.

Okay, I realised I am not painting a good picture of lawyers here. We seems to not care one iota of people feelings as we can be instructed to do anything for a client. But, when people get in trouble personally like having to evict a tenant who does not pay or having to get back a loan given to a once good friend or when you were hauled to court for beating a red light or worse still for killing someone, either intentionally or not, you cannot then deny the fact of our usefulness. If doctor are valued for their skill in saving life, we are the one who help you sleep at night knowing we are at your beck and call if you do get in trouble. We are also the one who do the dirty jobs nobody wants to do and even get blame for it.

March 15, 2009

Viewpoints from different professions

I have this running argument with the wife. It is about the different perspective on the worth of money in my profession and hers. She has always been working in the insurance industry and I have always been a lawyer. Everytime I had a talk with the insurance agent, who is her friend, I will be coming back home and lamenting about how the insurance company is a blood sucking machine which is interested in taking my money.

Never mind the fact that I was the one who wanted to have enough coverage for any medical expenses or if anything ever happen to me, I have always made a stand that insurance company survives only people's money which they then use for their own investment. When the investment goes bad, all that the people are left with is a piece of worthless paper. That's my personal opinion anyway, which is nearly what I felt about banks.

However, the argument that I always had with my wife is the worldview of someone working in different industry. Each time she tells me of someone who has to pay a few hundred thousands as premium to get a coverage of millions, I will say that is a huge some of money. She will then say that millions are nothing to her as in her industry million is just a small number. She has a client who covers themselves in billions and her budget for every month is also quite high.

She always ask me to compare when I handle cases which involve money which run into millions. To me that will be just another court case which is nothing to shout about. She also says that to her going to court in which she is expected to answer to a judge will scare her but to me that will be just like any other day. Same with a doctor, seeing a vroken leg or blood gushing should not send him running away but he should know what to do. As with pilots who suddenly feel afraid when he sees a storm cloud ahead.

It all is just a matter of perspective and of familiarity. Right?

March 14, 2009

For the first time

I have to take a break. For the first time I don't really have a post. After 6 months, I hope it can be considered as a rightful break. I am currently in the midst of finishing my assignment for my Islamic finance Masters class. The dateline was 14.3.09 and this post will be up 1 minute before the clock turn to 15.3.09 and I will be later by at least 3 hours sending in my assignments. The beauty of an open university, the submission is online and I only meet my professors if I choose to which is rare. Usually I only talk to them during seminars which I chose to attend. I survived till now.

I had a full day today, going for a talk by two prominent lawyers who are well verse in Intelectual Property and Defamation. Both relate these legal issue to the blogging world. I will post an update on what happened that day. Met a few bloggers there and to tell the truth I would never started a conversation if not for them saying hello. One of them already blogged about meeting me but let me link to her site later too. After the seminar I went to one my staff who was getting married for the second time. She was a widower who met another widower. 

Then at night, I was at the Bar Council dinner. The new President of the Bar was introduced and the former one, who was recognised by a prominent United States body on woman's achievement bestowed her an award. I am too lazy to look up what award she received but I know she received it from Hillary Clinton, the USA new Secretary of State. I may post something on that later too. The dinner was boring and I was seated at a table with too a few who had one too many. I managed to get away by 11pm.

I actually have many stories to tell from the events today but as I said, I am too tired and is chasing a more important dateline. So, for the first time, my post is more personal and not like my usual one but even a post which is supposed to say I am unavailable looks like I am trying to tell a story...
Till later

March 13, 2009

It pays to know the law even if you are an anonymous blogger

Today (13.3.09) in Malaysia history is made albeit it is not for all. A few bloggers and blogger commentors were hauled to court and charged with sedition. One person was charged, pleaded guilty and had to pay RM10,000-00 or USD$2,800-00 for insulting the monarch in one of the state in Malaysia. A few other were charged all over the country but most pleaded not guilty and posted bail. It maybe amusing to see in the news people running to hide their faces but the charge and the conviction is not something to be taken lightly.

Some may say that sedition is an archaic law but I do believe people need to be control to a certain extent or "we got here what we got last week, which is the way he wants it". Er...for those who don't know, that is from the movie Cool Hand Luke and reused later by the defunct Guns N Roses (the current one don't count) in one of their songs in Use Your Illusion double album. I think it was Civil War.
Ops, sorry to be sidetracked there. Just to make a point, you need to know the law of the land before you do anything stupid. People on the internet still treat it like the wall of the toilet where they can write deragotary remark about other people. They think they cannot be traced like those spy movie where the cops need  a few hours to tack the location they were at. They tend hide behind their anonymonity but they forgot there are smarter people out there. They were hunted and were hauled to court.

Tomorrow, 14.3.09, I will be attending a few meetings and conference. One of the conference is on blogging and law. Held in one of the university in Malaysia, it is going to be one of the first serious discussion by a panel of speakers, both lawyers, about blogging and law. I blogged about the matter in 16.2.09 and a few commented that it is a good thing to have. Access that post here. Maybe if I can ask the organiser to hold another one at a better venue and maybe longer than half a day to be filled with more speakers. But it may not be as free as this one.

I'll be posting about what I learnt from the event later. Here is a flyer for it and from what I told, there may be a few seats left but if not, if it is really well attended, standing room still can be taken up...

 p/s - to visit the event site, go to

March 12, 2009

How to gain more unique visitors to your site

I have been blogging for nearly 6 months now and I have written what my experience is this last 6 months. You can access the two postings of what I have gained here and here. This post is on how I manage to increase my blog traffic from 25 to 50 unique hits per day to 180 to 300 per day. This may seems like cheating but before you accuse me of that please know that I have managed to get a few readers and new friends through these two aggregators. As many of my followers and blog friends have come from these

I also think that there are so many probloggers who says that they have hundreds or even thousands over unique visits use these sites to promote their blog. I may be wrong as I also know a few of them like the former Prime Minister of Malaysia who reached a million unique visits within 5 months of blogging until he had to change his webhost to a bigger capacity. His which refers to his nickname of course is followed by a lot of Malaysian either locally or those who stayed outside of Malaysia. All posting will generate unique comments of 150 to 500+. From what I know his blog sold advertisement space at RM1000-00 (USD$285-00) per spot per day and it is filled up everyday.

There are also a few which I follow such as Lady Java and Mariuca who used their blogs as money generator. Their readers are mostly from USA and every once in a while there will be post paid appearing on their blog. As they have loyal readers and quite a number of them are blog friends, their comment sections are full of the same commentor who use the comment section as a place to chat. They seems to use the same two aggregators to promote their blog. 

These aggregators that I have been mentioning are  ENTRECARD and BLOGEXPLOSION which can be found within the landing page of this blog. For entrecard, there is a widget with an advertisement with the word E at the corner. Some use widget with bigger E but all have the same place for other bloggers to DROP their card. It is like dropping your business card telling that particular blog owner you have come and view their blog. The only complain is that some of the droppers do it too fast and under Goggle Analytic, that is considered as a bounce. A bounce is as if those who view your blog was there for too short a time and was not really reading your blog. In some cases it may be true but that is where your penmanship or good blog postings come into play. The more engaging your blog, the more time that particular visitor will stay. As for me, I got to know many new blogs which have now become a must read when they update.

As for Blogexplosion, they engage you with a directory and the games. The games that they have are those that I go for. I am a regular in their Blog Rockets : which let you be one of the 25 blogs listed and you rocket to the top before somebody add theirs and you are knocked off; their Battle of the Blog where you choose an opponent and others will vote between these two which is the better blog; and finally the Blogexplosion Blog Tycoon where you try to visit as much blogs as possible before being discovered. Blogexplosion had their problems a few months back but it seems they have solve it. Both of these aggregators have helped me to raise my income too.

Try it...and maybe your blog may be the next big thing...

p/s - Visits those sites I mentioned above and see their Page Rank and Alexa Ranking

March 11, 2009

The Watchmen is a reminder to the watchmen

I have read a few review about this movie and I watched it with the expectation to see a comic book adaptation like any other comic book adaptation. Wow, was I wrong, It was a serious adaptation but with a strange presentation. As serious as the Dark Knight and 300 but fun nonetheless. I have never read the comic book. I know that it might not be as campy as X-Men or Superman but at least as 300 was good fun,  so it must be in the same vein. After all, the director for both 300 and the Watchmen is the same person.

The Watchmen is a good movie. Make no mistake about that. Only that it is in the vein of Oscar nominated, full of message, very heavy kind of good movie. Not even half as fun as the Dark Knight which was fun although the message was about how far would a good person (e.g. Batman) goes in order to save the city he loves and was trying to protect. The evil in the Dark Knight (e.g. the Joker) seems to be not that much different than Batman in the end. He believes all man are as evil as him and that final moment when the two ferries' passengers were contemplating the death of the other ferry's passengers were the turning point when he realised that was not the case after all. Even a hard core prisoner can have some goodness in him.

What has the Watchmen got to do with a blog about legal happenings? Do you realised the message that the Watchmen was trying to send? What the comic and film is trying to convey has so many relevant to our time. The tag line was 'Who watches the Watchmen?' Let us look in our society. Who is our watchmen? What if these watchmen in the real world did anything wrong? Should they be allowed to do whatever they want or they are capable of as long as they saved the society from any evil? The Watchmen movie slipped in a lot of political comment and explain the word VIGILANTE. Someone who takes the law into their own hands in the belief they know better than any court of law. They are the judge and the executioner.

In Malaysia, there was a few cases where investigations into crime seems to bring the evil in people. There are so many deaths which have been condemned. I may not agree with my fellow bloggers or those who condemned everyone who wears the tag of watchmen whom they claim to be as always be in the wrong but I can't deny that they are in so deep that they sometimes forget that criminals still have their right, before or after being proven guilty. I disagree with those who say to fight evil we need to be as evil as they are. What the Watchmen through Dr. Manhattan try to teach us is that you cannot lose your humanity how much a god you have become. Dr. Manhattan was so godlike he forgots that he need to have check and balance.

All the names, references and in-jokes in the Watchmen were there to remind us of something. I heard Alan Moore is a hard man to please and all of his movie adaptations were condemned by him. Look at League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta. All are good movies but not to him. In the Watchmen, if that is considered as not so good too, I don't know what will please him as the message is clear and the presentation was so vivid like the comic. The only problem is, will the message really reach the people it intended to reach?

Oh, if you still don't get it, in the real world, the watchmen can be those authority figure either the politicians and the police....

March 10, 2009

What I gain 6 months of intense blogging_Part 2

From yesterday's posting,  click here for  Part 1
I started blogging due to me wanting to publish my own content. I see blogging as a media and not as a revolutionary tool which might change how people live. It is a communication tool, a mass media or a blank page for you to write. As much as what the newspaper or the television or the movie has been doing all along. The only thing about it is how cheap it can be in contrast with other medium. Anybody can blog and it can be done privately and anonymously. Until now no one really know how to control or regulate blogs or more accurately the internet. Some have tried and find that it is too costly. How do you regulate a community nearly as encompassing as the earth and as widespread.

Another thing that I have gain through blogging indirectly are the new friends whom I 'met' and exchange ideas with. Some I know only through blogosphere like Ratty, a guy who blogs everyday under the blog the Everyday Adventurer. Read him for an adventure in the beautiful side of the United State. He never reveal his face and I only have his word that he is a guy living where he said he is. He had given 2 blog awards to me in which one of it I still need to blog about. There are others whom I also met through local forum such as bloggers united or through pure blog visits. I learn to appreciate these 'conversations' although I may not have the same point of view with them. Hey, even in real life you would not agree 100% with everyone. 

There are others whom I kind of met or try to follow when they followed me through my blogs, my Plurks and my Twitter. That follower revamped that Bloggers did suddenly surged my following to a few more. There are also technocrati and feedburner which helps to promote blog and manage to garner me some more readers.  I did not really manage to follow them all for the same reason as above as which is either I may not really interested in what they write or I just don't have the time. However, I do try to visit their blogs at least once a week.

I find that blogging community is much different from a readership if you are publishing the local newspaper or magazine. In blog, people talk back. People will encourage, befriend and there are those whose motive are trying to sell you something. It is a community after all and there those missing pockets around the world as when you choose your language, the other who 'talk' in other language are shut out. I did question once where are the Chinese, the Spanish, the Arabs and all the other lingua franca around the world? We seems to have only English speaker when we connect. Read that take here.

So, in conclusion, what I gain is experience. Experience in publishing. In gaining new friends. In maximizing your readership and some monetary gain. In exploring new business ideas. To the new friends, thanks for coming to my blog, following me and giving me your ideas.  It may not be much but as I posted once it is a way for me to fill up the time...

March 9, 2009

What I gain 6 months of intense blogging_Part 1

I have been posting consistently for the past 6 months on two of my blogs, either this one or my other blog : As Good As Gets. This particular blog evolved from fictions that I am (was?) writing to a blog written mostly on 3 main topics : Legal; Politics; and Business. The fictions that I am writing are based on my life and those who I meet throughout my life. It is actually still in the midst of being written but I am currently concentrating on other parts of my career. Maybe I will start to write them again within this year.

As for my other blog, it is a blog on relationship which I garner through my personal experience being married for the past 5 years plus. It sometimes veered toward personal matter like trying to have children and how my relationship are with the women of my life. Sometimes it even touch on 'touchy' subjects (to some) like sex, sexual relation or my idea of the 'perfect' woman. As this blog sometimes is read by my wife, close relatives and friends who I meet every other day, I sometimes got thrown into hot soup when I touch some raw nerves.

Monetarily, I have not been doing that much from these 2 blogs. I use 2 main monetizers in which one is the popular Goggle Adsense account and the other one is a local blogging advertisement account from a company called Nuffnang. For Goggle adsense, I have only managed to gain USD21 and from Nuffnang, the revenue has only been in the vicinity of USD5. There are other ancillary accounts such as adgitize which pays a certain amount for other blogs or website to advertise on your blog. That have manage to garner me around USD3 for the past 3 months. All in all, I have around USD30 for my blogging effort. Some other advertiser sites like entrecard use points for you to advertise or let other advertise. 

I know there are other ways to gain monetary rewards for blogging like paid post but I am more comfortable in blogging for my own pleasure. Aggregators like the USA based entrecard or blogexplosion and the local bloggers united, innit or petaling street project helps me promote my blogs in their own ways. To gain heavy traffic which may raise your alexa ranking and Page Rank, you can use entrecard and blogexplosion. They may not bring high quality blog readers as their system are to let those who subscribed to them to stay for too short a time which may not translate into a new reader. However, both can at least catch a new reader if you write things which are of interest to other blog owners,

As I have so many stories on blogging for the past few months, the posting for this topic will continue tomorrow...


March 8, 2009

The tree that made news

This maybe the longest title for a post in this blog just to make a point. And I know I have been ranting about the same thing yesterday. Blogging everyday gives me the liberty to schedule my post to be posted at certain time of the day and I am actually not finish with my disillusion of my country political situation against the current economic situation when I posted my post yesterday. You can access it here about how fast novelty of new things are gone. Today, 8th of March 2009 is exactly one year after something happened in Malaysia which was called a political tsunami. Every politician felt it either for the right or the wrong reason. The people of Malaysia today said they are already tired of politics and politicians. As they say, everyone have their own opinion.

What has actually been happening in this one year of Malaysia type 'change'? The ruling political party had to do some soul searching by looking internally in changing itself. The main political party who represented people by the colour of their skin had to think whether that is still the best way to garner political mileage which then translate into votes. They had to go and look for new leaders. Those who have waited in the wings took the chance and propose themselves. Those who have faded into the background either through indiscipline or fading popularity, came back and offer themselves. I think there is no fresh face as this is the party which have 'history' written all over it and they don't believe in new blood as much as the new generation do not believe in old people.

So, is the 'other side' any better? They managed to ensure they have more representation in Parliament. They have managed to get more voices in. They did not manage to change one iota of government policy as there are not enough of them to do that. There were these two times when they managed to make even the current Prime Minister to rush in into the assembly hall when they called a vote for a bill to be passed as failure to do so would have resulted in the bill being taken out. That was only in the early days after the said political tsunami. After that the opposition was harping about taking over the Federal government on a specific date which was 16th September 2008. It didn't happened. They then keep changing the date until people finally decided they have been bluffing all along. So much for promises. 

What happened for the past one month can be call laughable to say the least. At a moment when the ruling political party in that states (in which they are the opposition at federal level) was welcoming a member of the that particular states opposition party into their fold, their own members, along with the one they welcomed 3 days before jumped ship to the other side. Confused? That was not all. Then the other side became the ruling party by default when they command the majority. As the determining factor in our country is our monarch, both went running to meet him and guess who did he chose to be the ruling government? It was the one who have the most members and commands the state assembly. Not before the speaker of the state assembly send to the election commission resignation letters of the three who jumped ship. Now we have two sets of governments and no one wants to say they have lost.

Let me break it down for you. There is this one state in Malaysia who is currently govern by a government whose members are just one more than the opposition. They managed to do it by bringing over 3 of the former member of the former state government. The speaker of the state assembly is still the opposition which they ousted. He still has all his power by definition and the current government actually cannot have an assembly as they do not have the speaker on their side. What did the current opposition did last week? Tried to convene an assembly, denied and did it under A TREE! They say it was legal and all. Was it? Hmmmm... They now want that old tree immortalise no matter how long it takes them to gain back power. 

As a law practitioner, I am glad they took it to court to settle all these differences. Who do I think is the most confused? The civil servants who works in that state. Can they get anything done? Who are they going to listen? Some are already being threaten with their own litigation as they seems to be siding with the current government. Should they listen to the former government? How about contracts and others awarded to private sectors? I think with all this happening, why bother?

Not a tree but much better than the one they did the 'assembly'

March 7, 2009

The novelty has worn off

We still believe in democracy. If not, we would have been at each other throats.There are other places in the world which say they are a democratic country but they are fighting with guns and weapons. For Malaysia, politically, 8th of March 2008 was a historical date to most. Either you are just a normal citizen, an opposition party's follower or the current hanging-by-the-thread government. Some may say there was nothing different between the before and after that date. The people who had followed the development of the change in government in certain states, either casually or fanatically, may want to etch the memory of that night in the conscience. Some may just want to forget it.

There were four states (or is it five?) which are currently being rule by the opposition party. They seem to have lost one but it may not be for long. Politics have been in most people's mind as much as the economy. It was a distraction but people are getting fed up with it. No one is really sure where the economy is heading and now they are not even sure about their government. A business owner, who is known for his arresting advertisements in newspaper to promote his business took a step further by pleading for all political parties to heed the call of the people and cease all the power struggle. Whether these leaders heed this call or not (which I bet my short they will never do) remains to be seen.

I believe we have undesirable leaders in our country due to the quality of leaders who manage to squeeze in as the real leaders are not willing to stand up and be counted. Politics is dirty and no one wants to do the job. People say it is a dirty job but no real leader is willing to do it. It is left to those who see an opportunity and took it. As what was said in Cool Hand Luke, "So we get what we got here last week, which is just the way he wants it". For those who managed to fight and get where you are, I hopw the view from the top is as you imagined it to be. As for those who fails and keep on fighting, I salute you as you seems to be as stubborn as your enemy. But, can you sometimes stop and hear the voice of the masses? Maybe you miss what you really is fighting for when you started your political career. Some may seems to be the 'other side' but some may be just people. I wonder about the most powerful man on earth, Barack Obama, is he faring any better?

As they say, it is lonely is up there on the top, especially when the novelty has worn off....

March 6, 2009

Government now is the shareholders

All business starts with much aplomb and fanfare. At least there will be friends and relatives coming over to see the opening of a shop or the service that you are offering. Some have to do the officiating ceremony months later as they want a VIP who may not be available on the day when they starts their business. For Malaysians, there are some who go to feng shui masters, shamans and all sorts of fortune tellers to see which is the best date for them to start their business. They believe that date will bring them more business than they normally would on any other date.

But it seems that these past few years all business models can be thrown out of the window. The safest financial model, the best company, the all knowing oracle of business and finance, all have been proven wrong. Even those who says they have predicted all these financial debacles are scratching their heads. They keep saying they have known it but on what to do, they are lost. All government are owning business now. They have bought into companies which are in dire need of savings. Even the porn industry is asking for a handout or a bailout.

Welcome to our world, I say. Hope you now will learn how hard it is to raise a penny. It maybe fun to be the boss but it is never easy. Especially of you need to save a dying business. Look at our airline, Malaysia Airline System (MAS). It manage to turn around itself but for the coming years? Hmmm.... Then, maybe you can make your service more efficient for us...and please play fair.

March 5, 2009

Clients nowadays...

Yesterday, I post a question whether the customer is still always right. Meaning, whether you still listen to what your customer wants and try to tailor your business to their needs. My take on it is that most professionals and some other business, like security or those who deals with safety, never really listen to their customers. Some, like the one who commented on my blog, who work on a plane, she said you cannot listen to the passengers when it comes to the issue of safety and security. My conclusion, some do listen to their customers but some just can't. You are the one whom your customer rely on to do work for them or solve problem for them.

However, in this age, not all customers are created equal. As a lawyer, I have to really know my stuff due to this. How many times I have been caught off guard when the client suddenly shoot off his mouth about a particular section in some obscure act which may help his case or his experience when he or she bought his or her first house which the agreement was drafted in a certain way favourable to him or her. Not all quotes are true or important enough to be entertained but you do want to know your law before your meet this type of clients.

There are those who when it comes to the moment of paying their fee, suddenly they quote a second hypothetical bill which they have obtained from some lawyer down the road which they had asked to calculate the fee for that particular transaction. Or they have a brother or sister or uncle or auntie who work at a legal firm in town who had told them to get a certain discount. Again, not all are to be followed but you get the idea.

Even those who wields power nowadays can be caught with their pants down when they try to bluff themselves of the matter at hand. They who are actually there thanks to the support of their fanatical supporter but do not hold positions base on merits can sometimes trip over their words. It even happened (quite a lot) to the former most powerful man on earth who managed to say all sorts of things. Their customers who were easily fooled once have grown wiser and more informative. They also seems to have to be more intelligent and be made of sterner stuff.

Some customers can be fooled if they did not know how to find information but most who have an internet connection can just type a word to get it's meaning and it's usage. 10 years ago, you can sell an insurance scheme to any Tom, Dick and Harry without them really knowing their coverage. Today, you have to explain the exclusion one by one and then they will still do some simple reaserch to see whether you are telling the truth or not. My advice is never take your customer for granted, always be on your toe and at least have the coutersy of explaining why you do what you did, even if you hold all the answer...

March 4, 2009

Is customer STILL always right?

Yes, this is the words of the marketing guru in which people are said to be the epitome of successful business. Listen to your customer. The Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton did it. All those CEOs who wrote how-to books on how to do business have advice you to listen to your customers. That is why we get the behemoth SUVs on the road as a petrol guzzling monster which seems to take space and also the ozone. Yes, yes, I know, it gives you the convenience of carrying all those kids that you have and you do need to do that as a normal car couldn't do it properly.

The question remain, how many businesses nowadays really listen to their clients or customers. The doctors are those who never listen to their clients as they are the one who must know better than all their clients. No one expect to go the the doctor and asked for them to be treated differently if that particular doctor has a  good success rate in saving lives. Health are so important in many people's mind that they are willing to do so many things which they would normally wouldn't do if they are asked by any normal person. Those shamans and witch doctors also managed to convince people that they can cure illnesses. People would drink potions or even do horrible things to themselves to be cured of ailments.

As for my profession, the lawyers, people rarely ask for you to handle yourself differently in court if your success rate is good in getting people from getting into jail or from being punish with capital punishment, you are the one who dictate to the client on how to act. In my experience, we even go to the minutest detail including on how to dress when it comes to trial. And sometimes, that little thing will help in determining your freedom or otherwise. Some lawyers wouldn't start a trial before certain things are done as they have their own way of doing things as trials does not just rely on eloquence to be won. As for agreements and procedures, are not lawyers are the place people refers whether they can sue or get sued for doing something?

Clothes, you say? When was the last time you heard a designer follow a trend? Of course there are those who manage to build on industry by trying to see what the people on the street is wearing or are comfortable in. However, most designers designs from their hearts and not through what people think is good for them. Maybe that is also why there so many fashion victims on red carpets when the time for them these thespians to show their favourite designer. These artistes are not designers themselves and these designers will always design on their whims and fancies.

Politicians? Yeah right, they always dictate their constituents choice of anything.

Civil servants? Hmmm....

Computer programmers or applications designers? They may follow your taste but they still do it their way.

Maybe the real true businesses which still hear the people's voices are the restaurateur who do cooks according to the taste of their customers. This may not be true to famous cooks as they dictate the current taste that people should experience on their palate. Even some, like Jamie Oliver, tried to change the schoolchildren taste by cooking for them. Did it work? 

Wait, I think the last one left are just the porn industry players as they really know what do the people wants but they also seems to be in dire straits as they also have asked congress to save them in the stimulus package. Did they get any?

Or is no one really listening to their customers anymore?

The easiest customers to pleased, or is it?

March 3, 2009


See how heavy time is...
Time is a commodity, an advice I got 10 years ago when I started off as a lawyer. I never really that advice to heart as I live in a small town then where everything was reachable in 5 minutes. I can wake up at 8.45am to get to the office at 9am (just imagine how fast I take a bath) and still reach the courthouse at 9.30am. In the world of trial lawyers, waiting is a skill which need to be in your blood. You need a patience which will rival anyone. You reach the courthouse where all cases are listed as supposed to starts at 9am but they usually made you wait for nearly 2 hours before they tell you the case is deferred to another day. If you are late to court, usually your case will be the first one to be called and you will have to grovel at the magistrate's or judge's feet for the case to be reinstated (getting it back on the roster). So, 9.30am is considered as the safe time to be at the courthouse but this only applies to lawyers as the public who has a case there should never take this rule of the thumb as the norm for every courthouse.

So, during my time as a trial lawyer, time was not something that I took seriously. You can say I took it for granted. Until I met this one punctual client who seems to beat me at arriving precisely on the dot for ALL appointments. The problem is, he was an important person in politics when I first knew him (note the usage of the word 'was'). Logically, he would not have time to be punctual as he would have to attend to various matters which were supposedly important for a poltician. But, if he set a time, he was rarely late. I had to adjust my former lifestyle to accommodate this change. I then was taught by him the value of time as he was always under pressure to reach somewhere within a time frame that was set for him.

This man can have a meeting at his office, which would require a few high ranking government officials to come and brief him on current affairs so that he could make decisions and asked his officers to do something about it. I seen hime berated government officers who were late as he would have reached whatever place they were supposed to meet either right on the dot or at least with 5 minutes to spare. If it was even a social event he would have taken a bath, changed into the required attire and be there enough to know who would sit where so he had the advantage to excuse himself early. Of course, he had  a few trick of the trade but what I want to emphasise, a person can be punctual if he wants to.

Due to him, I have now been quite punctual for a few of my appointments with clients. But due to the nature of doing business in Malaysia, where people are always expecting other people to be late, I usually weight the need to be punctual according to the person I am meeting or what is the occasion. Being punctual is one thing but being punctual and wasting your time waiting is another. Hmmm....maybe that years of waiting in the courtroom has taught me something...

March 2, 2009

Fallibility of profession

There is this tendency for everyone to think that certain profession entails certain privileges. That privileges can be something which they can get from being in that particular profession or they are immune to certain matters which other are susceptible to. What I am saying is when you enter into a privilege profession such as those under the heading of professional, what the profession is suppose to do for other people shouldn't happen to those who has the title of the job on their resume.

A doctor shouldn't fall sick. They do, they are just as human as anyone and they are the one who are more susceptible to sickness than others. Some culture even believe treating patients every day will make you catch disease or you are more prone to disease as you actually transferred whatever the disease brings to you. Nurses and those who works near sick people are also within this category.

A lawyer couldn't get sued. I post two articles on the liability of lawyers (Police report here and there and What if a lawyer gives the wrong advice?) and I even have a reader commenting they thought a lawyer cannot be sued. Lawyers are so susceptible to being sued that our mandatory insurance have increased year to year.

Politician who are immune from all persecution. Most thinks that they are the one who held power in every decision in the country and they are not supposed to be like any other mortal. Those who holds the highest office in the country expect to be treated like a VIP everywhere. Then they went to another country and they are just another citizen in another country. For those who lost their seats in election, when they are not accorded the same respect they got when they were in power, it must be sobering for them. That is why some try to hold to the power as long as they can. I think this apply to civil servant with high office too. I know a few of them who have fade away and only have a few friends who are willing to visit him.

These are all just some sobering thoughts for those who hide behind their profession to feel powerful or immune from any matter that most people have to content with everyday. Whether you are a police officer, a judge, a fireman and all those who face danger everyday. As long as you are on the job, you will have to retire someday or forced to retire. Or you will have to use the service of some of your peers, which you may not like. There were a few Hoolywood movies which dealt with this issues. One is titled the Doctor starring William Hurt which dealt about a doctor who was diagnosed with a fatal disease and became a patient. Another is Regarding Henry with Harrison Ford in it where a lawyer became a gunshot victim who suffered from amnesia. Although both are about medical condition, it is about human conditions...

March 1, 2009

Being vocal

As a lawyer, there is a tendency for people to expect you to be vocal in certain issues. Why become a lawyer if you are going to sit at a corner and do not participate in the ongoing discussion? One of my hated quote is when someone suddenly see me there and conveniently said "There's a lawyer here for us to refer". As I have post once about lawyers giving wrong advice I have said that lawyers are accountable for their advice if they are in the midst of doing their job, but they may not be liable to all free advices that they give. By asking questions at social event or even at official event in which they are not properly appointed, the advice will not make them accountable but it may just might makes them look dumb if they don't know how to answer.

This posting is about people who just keep quiet if they are faced with issues which will affect their livelihood or environment. There are too many people nowadays are what you call the silent majority although they will be huffing and puffing when what ever catasthrophe struck them personally. People don't care about the issue of security at home until they were rob. The issue of environment until there are uncollected rubbish. The issue of health until they don't have adequate area to exercise. Simple issue but it can affect the way you live.

What has me rile up is the issue which is affecting me personally. I was so riled up that it was all I could think about while I was jogging. Usually, I rarely like to think of anything beyond the then and there. As I am in the profession of when the shit hits the fan (going to court, the other part of doing agreements and all people tends to forget) people always assume a lawyer will be a plus in any society or association as they can step up to the plate when the time comes. As I mention, people tend to forgets there are all sorts of lawyers and some never ever seen a courtroom. Being vocal may come naturally to some lawyers but not all are bless with the gift of the gab. Some are just good at other matter that needs a lawyer.

Where do I stand in this? If push come to shove, if the time are appropriate and the matter is something close to my heart, I might, just might shoot of my mouth. The problem is I will turn red if I am a bit flustered by the matter. You can see if I am passionate about a matter or not. Sometimes, if I fancy a fight, whether the matter is something I am passionate about or not, I just get in the ring even if it is a losing battle. In short, I can be a debater if I want to and that was why sometime people get to know that man who was sitting quietly just now at the corner is a lawyer...
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