Thursday, May 17, 2018

still the coolest people on earth!

The euphoria is still in the air, and Malaysians continue to be the coolest people on earth, one week after 9th May 2018, as our nation seeks to rebuild, reconfigure, rebrand.

I decided that today I would delete all the old junk that has been floating around in our servers. The firm is 19 years old this year, and I've deleted stuff from 2002 today that I didn't realise we've been storing. In the midst of this, I found an old file, with answers to a questionnaire that I had filled up and saved on 20th August 2007. It made me smile because today I feel we're all a few steps closer to becoming a Bangsa Malaysia. Here are the questions and answers.

(Note: 
The questions are not mine. I do not know who drafted the questionnaire, or who I submitted the answers to. I know it was something online. I don't know who compiled the answers or what they did with it. The only things I know are that the answers are mine and that it was saved in our server on 20th August 2007. I have not edited this in anyway since 20th August 2007.)

 In the words of Malaysian rock queen, Ella, "I hope you enjoys!"




BANGSA MALAYSIA MERDEKA QUESTIONAIRE




  1. What does ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ mean to you?


Sadly, to me, it means the Malaysia I can remember in my childhood in the seventies, when “muhibbah” didn’t have to be defined nor urged on.


Ideally it means that race should no longer be an issue. It should mean that being a Malaysian is enough. That I’m not discriminated against in my own country by my own people. That I’m given the same treatment in my country, that I would be given anywhere else internationally. That the column stating “race” in all official forms be deleted.

That politics based on racial lines be eradicated/banned. That the Sedition Act be amended to make it seditious for anyone to talk of any race other than the Malaysian race.

That race be taken out of sports, and education entirely, and that these things be judged purely on merit.

That the quota system becomes an urban legend.

That the NEP is acknowledged as the dinosaur it is, and buried – no perhaps kept in museums to remind us of where we went wrong.



  1. If ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ means ‘One Nation One People’ to you, do you think we have achieved this in the last fifty years? If not, what do you suppose have been the obstacles in the last fifty years to our realizing ‘Bangsa Malaysia’?

I think that in the last 30 years or so, we have taken several giant steps backwards – we are further away today from reaching a Bangsa Malaysia than we were in 1957.

The obstacles have been mainly, UMNO, MCA and MIC. I suppose due credit should be given to PAS for pushing UMNO to become holier than PAS.

The ongoing myth that is being continuously perpetuated that my muslim counterparts are not as good as me, not as bright as me, and certainly not as hard working as me.

The education system.
The way Malaysian sports have been handled in the last 25 years.

The way the quota system has crept in insidiously everywhere. I mean surely, when you’re judging a football player, the most important thing is how he plays the game, not the colour of his skin.

When we hear of children being hurt, we are all equally outraged, regardless of the child’s race. Why does this commonality stop at children? Why is it that growing up equates to being racially discriminated?




  1. If you think we have as a nation failed in the last fifty years to realize ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ as a national identity, what, in your view, are the obstacles, if any, that confronts us a nation in pursuing ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ as a national agenda?


Racial politics. Racial polarization. The NEP. An opposition without any bite. Elected officials who are too busy toeing party line to worry about my needs. Lack of check and balance. No separation of powers. The judiciary system. The fact that increasingly justice is not seen to be done.



  1. I love Malaysia because …. (in less than 50 words)

Of the food. All of the glorious food. The corner mamak. The all night hawker centres. The nasi lemak early in the morning. The nasi dagang, the char koay teow, the banana leaf rice. And the people who eat them together. Because it’s the only home I know.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Zhongshan Building



It's been a year since we moved into our new home at the Zhongshan Building, y'all.

I don't know if you know this but we decided to move here, after spending 18 years in Jalan Bangsar because we fell in love with the space and the building - which had been updated and restored without compromising on functionality or quirkiness. The space, the light, the air continues to draw us in. Makes it a joy to come in to work. We realise that we're more productive, more focused.

However in the last one year, we've realised that more than the physical space - it is the people at the Zhongshan Building who have made a difference to the way we work. We've become part of the arts community here and the semangat kampung that exists among this community .

You may not know this, BUT - the practice of law is not for the faint-hearted. Nor is it for those who desire tedium and monotony (at least this is the case for those of us who practice law in Muhendaran Sri).

People bring us their problems, their despair, their fears - and they hope that we can somehow make it better. [Of course some people do bring us their corporate problems, their agreements and their sale and purchase transactions: these doesn't usually include any despair but come with an occasional fear of lawyers :)]

Most days we alternate between severe stress (from taking on other people's burdens and from meeting crazy deadlines) and a feeling that we're superheroes (out to save Tokyo from the monsters, armed only with a flashing light on our chests and a zip at the back of our costumes). When it all becomes a little too much - we step out and go hang out with our lovely neighbours who provide us conversations, music, coffee, more conversations - and then we go back to the law all rejuvenated and restored...


If you're yet to pop by to discover the public spaces at the Zhongshan Building - which include Our Art Projects (who hold free art exhibitions which are open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays), the Tandang Store (which is our independant record store that stocks mainly vinyl records, and occasionally host gigs, Fono (our DJ collective who host a listening room, a rare music library and a collaborative space), Tintabudi (our hidden bookstore with gems waiting to be discovered), Piu Piu Piu (where you can have the best latte and burnt cheesecake in town), TLB (our artisanal baker who specialises in sourdough and conversations), Naiise Malaysia (our retail shop that specialises in great design from around the world) and Punarvasu (our secret bookstore, which stocks not only rare books but also antiques) - do come by, and have a conversation. There are many to be had.

And although we're not a public space, if you ring our bell and tell us that you've read our blog, you might even score a conversation with us...no promises though as we may be out killing them monsters...


Do note however that all the public spaces are generally closed on Mondays (we're open of course), but they're all on social media, and update regularly on their activities.


This video gives you a sneak peek into the offices of Muhendaran Sri @ the Zhongshan Building... (It also has a bit where I talk about our community here at the Zhongshan and look cute). In the words of Ella, rock queen, Enjois!




Thursday, February 01, 2018

Vasantha


I read in the papers, with regards to what happened to the late M. Vasantha Piriya (who passed away today- the First of February). According to a report,  on the 24th of January, her class teacher accused Vasantha of stealing her phone. After accusing her, she was confined in a room for approximately 5 hours whereby, two other teachers were present. She was interrogated by the three teachers, and even slapped. Vasantha denied the accusation, but her teacher, unsatisfied, went to Vasantha's house to speak to her parents. The newspaper reported that Vasantha's parents asked the  teacher to talk outside their house in order to resolve the matter. When her father went back inside, he realised that her room was locked, and when he called for her, there was no reply. He broke the door open to find her hanging, unconscious.

She was rushed to the hospital. She was in a coma for the last few days but passed on today.

This should not have happened in the first place.

Teachers are paid by tax-payers not only to educate our children but also to protect and take care of  our children when there is a need. Teachers are not supposed to bully, accuse. or physically assault any children. They are not to behave like gangsters. If there is a problem regarding a student, it is incumbent upon the teacher to raise such matters to the principal of their school, and to take appropriate, matured steps to resolve the issue, without harming the child, emotionally, or physically.

I'm not sure how and what the criteria is to employ a teacher or the training provided to a teacher, but in this instance, the Education Ministry as well as the Malaysian Government should take full responsibility for the untimely death of this young girl.

The best part is that the Education Minstry has been silent. The only thing they have done is transfer the teacher to a desk-job. this seems to be their standard modus-operandi.

As for the three teachers involved, they should be charged for man-slaughter so that all teachers will learn and respect children, because children have rights too.

Article 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution protects the rights of children to live.

I've also read that Mr. David Marshel of the Malaysian Tamilar Kural is advising Vasantha's family.  I'm sure he's doing a great job in making sure Vasantha's family is taking the correct steps.

We are so used to hearing and reading about Indians dying in police custody. Now it seems, in the spirit of Malaysia Boleh, we have opened up a new chapter, where schoolchildren are dying due to their teachers' abusive behaviour, including criminal assault.

With condolences, to her family, I leave you with this:
No parent should ever have to endure the loss of their child.

Rest In Peace Vasantha.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I'm so sad....

This morning, I was in the office, listening to Absolute Radio, when the deejay announced that Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of the famous band Cranberries had passed on.  She was a great singer, and I used to listen to them in the '90s. Just for the record, here's a link to their most popular song, Zombie.

In the past couple years, we have lost many amazing singers/songwriters, such as but not limited to; Prince-When Doves Cry,  George Michael-Careless Whisper, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)-Numb & David Bowie-Dancing in the street.

I'm very sure that most of you were born in the '90's or '00s (millennials), and haven't heard most of these singers. Please listen to these songs. I'm sure you'll appreciate them.

However, if you aspire to be a rock-star lawyer, you've got to listen to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin and/or Metallica...

To end this short post, I leave you with this song:
Before I go to bed, this is also for you:
 
Glory glory man united!

Monday, January 15, 2018

I learnt how to SWIM!


OH YEAH!  After a hiatus of almost four years, I am BACK!

Let's do a recap on the last four years.

Things that have happened in our country:
1) The allegation of an increase in coruption
2) The sudden increase in crimes against children (extremely saddening)
3) I've been wondering where our prime minister is...
4) The mystery behind Masih Hilang 370
5) And the others that have gone missing (you should know la what I'm talking about)
* I'm also accepting a donation of  ringgit malaysia 2.60 from any foreigners
6) Bad boy Anwar Ibrahim
7) Water Water Water- we either have way too much or none at all
8) MACC
9) Police brutality
10) The oil price tumble
11) GST!!
12) Judges can live forever- Federal Court
13) The Teoh Beng Hock saga
14) Discrimination against Malaysian-Indians
15) BERSIH!
16) Government handouts
17) The mass graves in Kedah
18) Malaysian football
19) Bank Negara Forex Saga
20) Finally, it snowed in Ipoh!
(haha, caught you there!)

There are many more but unfortunately I've forgotten them, but I will update you guys if I remember them.

On a more personal note:
1) In 2015, my all -time favourite associate, Jayashree, decided to quit legal practice
2) I lost one of my dogs in 2016 but was compensated by her sister with her litter of three.
3) After 17 years of having our chambers in Jalan Bangsar, we moved in mid-March 2017 to Kampung Attap.
* Our new office was descibed by my wife in an earlier blogpost
4) We have a new legal associate called Chong Wan Loo (she's from Triang-only god knows where that is)
5) On a very personal note, I was appointed as the Assistant of the Honorary Secretary of the Malaysian Hockey Foundation in January 2016.
6) I was promoted to Honorary Secretary of the Malaysian Hockey Foundation in July 2016
7)In May 2017, I was also appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Malaysian Hockey Foundation.
8)In February 2017, I was re-elected as the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee member and pursuent to this, I was also elected as the Honorary Secretary of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee.
9)I was also invited to participate in the Industrial Court Consultative Committee;
  * The above are the additional responsibilities i have undertaken apart from the other positions that I still hold in the Bar Council and the Malaysian Indian Business Corporative Society.
10) I have qualified as a Sports Arbitrator.
11)Oh, by the way, I have obtained a Sailing Crew Liscense but I have not been allowed to buy a Sailing Boat until I become a GREAT swimmer. Thus far, I am able to sink in the pool better than I  can swim.

I need to stop blowing my own trumpet.

I am grateful to God for keeping me alive, in one piece, sane and healthy.

Looking forward to rebuild the firm and to create an afformidable team of lawyers in the firm and hopefully, one day, a few of them, or at least one of them, can take over from me.

On another note, our 2018 team consists of:
Adrina Meor Saarani (our all-rounder), Ponnie Govindasamy (pupil in chambers) and Chong Wan Loo (Legal Associate).

I learnt how to swim the last four years, with a slowdown in business, the fact that my all-time favourite associate left and the difficulty of finding the right legal associate (hopefully Wan Loo can fullfill this).

I'm stopping here because I have to walk my abundance of dogs.

Oh, by the way, from not having a room, I've graduated, and now am co-sharing a room with Gitanjali Muhendaran. It's called The Lions' Lair.
                                                           Here's a picture of our door:
                                                      It's the one with Darth Vader on it
                                        

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

We're in the news!


Check out this story on the Zhongshan Building and our little community.

Friday, June 16, 2017

the adventures of a retired signboard



















I hope you enjoyed these glimpses of our new office at the Zhongshan Building. Come meet us and the signboard.

This pictorial essay has been brought to you by the letters Z and B and the numbers 84 and 82.

#thezhongshanbuilding
#thepeopleseemtobemissing
#cannibalsignboarddevoursstaffoflawfirm
#isthesignboardactuallyanalienlifeform



Bullying can kill

Nhaveen and his friend, T. Previin, 19, were at a burger stall in Taman Tun Sardon, Gelugor in the early hours of June 10 when they bumped into two other teenagers. A fight broke out after insults were thrown.
Previin escaped with injuries. Nhaveen was hauled off to a field in Jalan Kaki Bukit where three other teenagers, believed to be friends of the initial two, and brutalised with crash helmets and burnt with cigarette butts. He was also assaulted anally.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-teen-nhaveen-dies#sthash.OaAuxMKX.dpuf
Nhaveen and his friend, T. Previin, 19, were at a burger stall in Taman Tun Sardon, Gelugor in the early hours of June 10 when they bumped into two other teenagers. A fight broke out after insults were thrown.
Previin escaped with injuries. Nhaveen was hauled off to a field in Jalan Kaki Bukit where three other teenagers, believed to be friends of the initial two, and brutalised with crash helmets and burnt with cigarette butts. He was also assaulted anally.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-teen-nhaveen-dies#sthash.OaAuxMKX.dpuf

Nhaveen and his friend, T. Previin, 19, were at a burger stall in Taman Tun Sardon, Gelugor in the early hours of June 10 when they bumped into two other teenagers. A fight broke out after insults were thrown. Previin escaped with injuries. Nhaveen was hauled off to a field in Jalan Kaki Bukit where three other teenagers, believed to be friends of the initial two, and brutalised with crash helmets and burnt with cigarette butts. He was also assaulted anally. Nhaveen was unconscious upon admission. The media later reported that he had been declared brain dead, and the news that he had died at 6pm yesterday evening (15th June 2017) resulted in an outpouring of grief and rage on social media.

haveen and his friend, T. Previin, 19, were at a burger stall in Taman Tun Sardon, Gelugor in the early hours of June 10 when they bumped into two other teenagers. A fight broke out after insults were thrown.
Previin escaped with injuries. Nhaveen was hauled off to a field in Jalan Kaki Bukit where three other teenagers, believed to be friends of the initial two, and brutalised with crash helmets and burnt with cigarette butts. He was also assaulted anally.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-teen-nhaveen-dies#sthash.OaAuxMKX.dpuf
Nhaveen's story has horrified and outraged all who have heard it. The sheer scale of the brutality and violence inflicted on him, is magnified when we consider that these atrocities were committed by other children and young persons.

 Thousands of children go through brutal bullying on a daily basis. 

It happens in all schools. It happens to children you know. It happens every day. One of the leading reasons why a child is driven to suicide is bullying. 

The only way to make Nhaveen's story better is to learn from it. And to immediately call for action. It is not only prosecutions against the perpetrators of this crime that we should be calling for. 
We should set in place and in practice measures to ensure that children are better protected against bullying. This includes asking schools to set up anti- bullying measures, educating children on positive steps that they can take if they are being bullied, educating children (and parents and teachers) that bullying is wrong and will not be tolerated. 

This includes educating everyone on the dangers of gender stereotyping and pressuring politicians and the education ministry to come up with compulsory anti bullying policies and measures. Educating the media on responsible reporting would be an added bonus (was there any need at all to repeat the insults and derogatory words that had been used by the perpetrators on Nhaveen?). 

It's correct to be OUTRAGED. I am outraged too. 

But it's not enough.

If you want to make sure that this doesn't happen again - you (and I) have to do more. 

Let's make enough noise to make a difference to the lives of the children who are going to school daily knowing that they're going to be bullied.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

We're Moving!


After 18 years in Jalan Bangsar, we're moving next week to The Zhongshan Building (a circa 1950s building that has been newly restored) in Kampung Attap. With the restoration, The Zhongshan Building has become a sort of arts commune and our neighbours will include Malaysia Design Archive, The Ricecooker Archives, Tandang Store, Bogus Merchandise, Artist Studio, Reading Library by Amateur Collective and others.


We're very excited about the move - it's going to be a very real change from what we've become accustomed to in Jalan Bangsar.

Our new offices are full of windows!!! and light!! and green views!!! We have rooms!!! and a courtyard!!! (The exclamation marks are a clear sign of insanity I know - but what can I say - we're in the midst of moving office. It's mad here. I will post pictures soon once we have got over the insanity of the actual packing and actual moving).
 
Most of our clients, friends, neighbours and ex-staff however have greeted this news with sadness and dismay, with the most common statement being, "how can you move out?" and I can see you looking at me with dismay in your eyes as you read this and think the same thing...

to which, I have this piece of advice dear reader - DON'T PANIC!

You know, to be honest, we're going to miss Jalan Bangsar too. I bet there're going to be many days in the coming weeks when we automatically drive here only to realise that we've moved office.

We're going to miss (in no order of preference):
-our neighbours (the mamak shop downstairs that delivers food and drinks to us,the clinic where we can pop in for a chat or a panadol, the motor bike mechanics, shoe guy and various loafers and hangers on who keep an eye out for us and tell us when our car numbers have struck big on the 4D,
the chinese restaurant uncles who've now got hip bicycle neighbours, paneer's stall at the food court, the people over at the corner nasi lemak joint.

- people popping in to say hello because they were just around the corner or at the clinic or the speedmart

- the orange colour reception.

But that's about it really. We're not going to miss the parking problems and the dirty staircase and the fact that it's pretty lonely after 6.30p.m. Plus we've got some nice new neighbours, and different kinds of food, and a place that you can really pop into.


We're officially moving in on 11th March 2017. Come unload a box if you're in the neighbourhood.

Business as usual on 13th March 2017.

It's all to the good.  Come visit ya.

Change of Address and Contact Numbers



We are pleased to inform that with effect from 13th March 2017, we shall be moving to our new premises:


Muhendaran Sri @ The Zhongshan Building

84A Jalan Rotan

off Jalan Kampung Attap

50460 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 603.2260 2611/2811

Fax: 603.2260 2711