Monthly Archives: July 2008

Professional enlightenment

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Working in this profession enlightens you more than you really need to be. It’s true how they say ignorance is bliss. Sometimes it’s important that you don’t know everything. I wish that humans could filter out what we to want to know from what we find out but really just wish wasn’t true. If we could just press ctrl+delete (permanent delete function in comps) and it’s gone and you never knew that it existed. Blissfully ignorant and happy…. Why so concerned…. Life is just as you picture it…..

The last few weeks I have had the privilege of doing a family law attachment under one of the best (if not the best) family lawyer in Singapore. It gave me an insight or a better understanding on how messed up people can be even towards someone they vowed to spent the rest of their lives with. An unforgettable experience I had was a few days ago when during the hearing the husband under oath said that he was actually in love with someone else even before this couple got married (this couple dated fro 5 years) and he still hadfeeling for this third party (who btw was a total bitch). Upon hearing this, the wife just got up from her seat and said (this precisely what she said) “ But you promised… till death do us part” which was instantly followed by her crashing to the floor weeping like her heart was gonna stop. The husband and his mistress both stared at her unemotional and he just continued with his story. This was merely one out of 20 plus cases I got to handle while I was there. Most of these cases having the same plot but of course less melodramatic. The funny sad thing is that these divorce couples range from couples who have dated for a few weeks to a few months to even over 10 years (And I handled an arrange marriage divorce proceeding as well so don’t have your hopes up these kinds of marriages either). So, all this did was make me think about how much we really know people even the ones that are really close to us like our parents, best friends, our wives/husbands etc.

With regards to parents, best friends or even close relatives finding out the truth can be painful but for some weird reason (which I shall figure out soon) is no where closer to finding out hidden secrets about your partner. Why ?…. Maybe because end of the day, people really need just one other person to survive and be happy. If not why did God create only Adam and Eve and not Adam, Eve, their parents and a few close friends and relatives!

After these three weeks I have made these observations about the couples that end up in divorce.

Firstly, we are have the wrong perception that we need all these accessories such as parents, relatives, close friends etc to survive. Our whole live we try to make new friends and please the other ones we have. Finding a ‘life long’ partner (as people call it now a gf or bf) is an accessory acitivty or even a past time we do when we find some time off our busy schedules. Note: busy schedules involves: 9am-6pm work day (9-11pm for lawyers), having a few drinks with your friends, visiting you parents on the weekends and spending some alone time. After deducting all this time, we are only left a few hours a week to meet someone who hope to spend the rest of your life with !!!

The people who actually meet that perfect person are like the people who strike the lottery i.e. one person does it and he/she’s just lucky. For all the other ordinary people like you and me we are just buying a ticket (note: translates into – date a girl or guy) and hope that ticket wins. If it does you can always try again and again and again till either your broke or no one else is buying tickets.

Honestly, it saddens to compare the inviolable institution of marriage to a sadist gambling game such as a lottery but that what it has become. I don’t know much about wedding vows but from watching so much TV show I know that the priest during the ceremony does ask: Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and keep [him/her] For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. And forsaking all others, be faithful only to [him/her] so long as you both shall live?”

Which is answered by “I do”. After these three weeks I believe that most couple don’t really understand the gravity of these two words or three charcaters. If they ever did then how on earth can they turn around and file for a divorce a month or a week down the line?……. Yeah yeah…. Most people tell me its cos we just don’t go together or we just drew apart. Well if they had taken some off their freaking busy schedules to spent a little more time trying to find someone who they know they can spend the rest of their live with maybe they won’t be in this mess in the first palce. Of course, someone would say no matter how much time we spend together you can’t know someone 100% right nor be like him 100% right ? True enough but what’s important is that you know enough about your partner that even when unexpected surprises come up getting a divorce is not the first option. End of the day, honestly, if your not ready to stand in front of the whole world, look into her eyes and say “I do” knowing that nothing can ever feel this right then don’t go down that road. Trust me it NEVER ends well….. For me, I have been unfortunate to have fallen in love only once. Back then only a few months down I knew that she was the only one I would say “I do” to and even after so many year there is still a part of me that knows that she would be the only one I could ever say “I Do” to.

Which H is it ?

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A few lucky individuals got the opportunity to actually hear the outgoing NUS president give his final speech at the 2008 Commencement. Others (like me) only had the opportunity to read his speech off the net. I found his speech truly touching and anyone who has a bit of free time (its only 6 pages) should read it at http://www.nus.edu.sg/president/speeches/2008/commencement_1.htm

I specially enjoyed this part and he gave me a perspective on things which I was quite blindful till then.

Head or Heart?

Moving on from NUS, you will have many decisions to make. Which job to take? Finding a life partner? Fulfilling family obligations? Pursuing your dreams? Or just toeing the line?

These are questions that have also gone through my mind. Indeed, a younger colleague asked me recently how I made the choices in my life. She was curious about how one might go about making some of the big decisions in life.

I said to her: “For big decisions, it is not enough to think with your head, listen also to your heart. If you want to buy a car think rationally, with your head – you pay daily for it. If you are deciding on a life partner, go with your heart. You live with that person for a lifetime.”

Someone else in the conversation disagreed with me. He said: “Use your head, be calculating and logical for marriage. You know, the passion ends after the honeymoon. Your spouse is someone you have to put up with daily, and pay for dearly. Now when it comes to buying a car, you want to be passionate and follow your heart. Because you aren’t stuck with it for life and it won’t argue with you.”

The question is: Use your head or listen to your heart? Be logical and calculating, or go with your instincts and intuitions? You most likely would have found yourself in situations where your head and heart were at odds. This is the perennial dilemma – the head or the heart?

Then he tries to provide a way in order to strike a balance between these two:

Each time, I have recalled something my mother taught me: “It’s very good to want something, but you must not want something so much that you can’t bear to live without it. To go far, be ready to give up what you already have.” My mother was a Buddhist, and this was her understanding of the principle of non-attachment.

This principle has helped me through life. It taught me to be passionate, but not obsessed; to be determined, but not to define myself by either my successes or my failures. I have learned that non-attachment gives the mental and emotional resilience to get beyond failures and setbacks. You can also enjoy your successes without taking yourself too seriously.

I take comfort in knowing that ultimately, my decisions at each of the crossroads were not held back by the familiar, the comfortable, or attachment to what I might have accomplished.

After reading his speech I am almost convinced how brilliant people (like he or me) think alike. I just hope his future en devours are as rewarding and successful as it has been so far.

Emotional Backlog…..

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This was post was started to write a few weeks back but never managed to write anything that was in my head. Then, I came across this song on 91.3 morning show (which btw I really enjoy) while on the MRT. After, I got to work I youtubed this song and managed to listen to this artist’s other songs as well. These two songs (first: Its not over, second: Over you) just seems to illustrate how things have changed over the last few months. Two months ago I would posted the first song but now the second song just seems so appropriate.

Its Not Over

I was blown away
What could I say
It all seemed to make sence.
Your takin away everything
And I can’t do without.

I try to see the good in life.
The good things in life are hard to find.
We’re blowin away, blownin away
Can we make this something good?

Well I’ll try to do to it right this time around
It’s not over,
Try to do it right this time around
It’s not over
But a part of me is dead and in the ground.
This love is killin me
But your the only one
It’s not over.

I’ve taken all I can take
And I cannot wait
We’re wastin too much time
Bein strong, holdin on
Can’t let it bring us down

My life with you means everything
So I won’t give up that easily
Blowin away blowin away
Can make this something good?
Cause it’s all misunderstood?

Well I’ll try to do to it right this time around
It’s not over,
Try to do it right this time around
It’s not over
But a part of me is dead and in the ground.
This love is killin me
But your the only one
It’s not over.

You can’t let this get away
Let it out, let it out
Don’t get caught up in yourself
Let it out.

Let’s start over
Well try to do to it right this time around
Its not over
But a part of me is dead and in the ground.
This love is killin me
But your the only one
It’s not over.

Lets start over
Its not over
This love is killin me
But your the only one
It’s not over

Over You

Now that it’s all said and done,
I can’t believe you were the one
To build me up and tear me down,
Like an old abandoned house.
What you said when you left
Just left me cold and out of breath.
I fell too far, was in way too deep.
Guess I let you get the best of me.

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I’m slowly getting closure.
I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
And now I’m picking up the pieces.
I’m spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
‘Cause the day I thought I’d never get through,
I got over you.

You took a hammer to these walls,
Dragged the memories down the hall,
Packed your bags and walked away.
There was nothing I could say.
And when you slammed the front door shut,
A lot of others opened up,
So did my eyes so I could see
That you never were the best for me.

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I’m slowly getting closure.
I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
And now I’m picking up the pieces.
I’m spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
‘Cause the day I thought I’d never get through,
I got over you.

(chorus goes on a few more times)

Interesting precedents ???

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Working at a law firm can fun in more than one way. One of things I enjoy the most is all the funny personal stories I hear from the clients. Unfortuately, I can’t write about them here due to my firm’s confidentiality rules. However, the precedent cases I have to read to do research for my firm can be just as hilarious and amusing. These are some of them I came across:

1. While research on contempt of court (i.e. in layman’s terms: to say something which brings the court into disrespect like insulting a judge or his decision etc)

In September, 2004, Judge A K M Patabendige, in Walasmulla, Sri Lanka (my home country), jailed a man for a year for yawning in court. N V P Ajith, a defendant in a criminal case, stretched out and yawned in a way that so infuriated the judge, the punishment for contempt was immediate

2. Most law students know the quality of Australian decisions. They are very very loong (with over 5 different judgments dragging over 100 pages) and emotional. The judges get caught up in the moment and say the weirdiest stuff:

Sentencing a young woman at the Magistrate’s Court in Port Adelaide, Australia, in 2003, a magistrate Michael Frederick said:

“You’re a druggie and you’ll die in the gutter. That’s your choice… I don’t believe in that social worker crap. You abuse your mother and cause her pain. You can choose to be who you are. You can go to work. Seven million of us do it whilst fourteen million like you sit at home watching Days of Our Lives smoking your crack pipes and using needles and I’m sick of you sucking us dry”.

He then concluded: “It’s your choice to be a junkie and die in the gutter. No one gives a shit, but you’re going to kill that woman who is your mother, damn you to death.”

The funny thing is that after he gave the woman a prison sentence, unaware that that was unlawful in the type of case in question. Later, she appealled which was successful and Chief Justice condenmed the judge’s behavior and he had to make a public apology.

3. While handling some research on appeal cases for murder I came across this case which was quite popular even in the papers.

In 2005, Pavel M., a Romanian prisoner serving 20 years for murder, sued God, founding his claim in contract. He argued that his baptism was an agreement between him and God under which, in exchange for value such as prayer, God would keep him out of trouble.

The amusing thing about this that he had precedent with regards to this matter. There was previous ruling from Italy where Italian atheist Luigi Cascioli was ordered to pay a $1,900 judgment after a court ruled he had filed a fraudulent suit against an Italian priest for saying Jesus Christ existed. Cascioli contended the cleric violated a law that forbids deceiving the public. The atheist said the priest, who had publicly criticized him for casting doubt on the truth of the gospels, had no evidence Jesus ever existed. Specifically, he claimed two Italian laws had been broken: the “abuse of popular belief” – which amounts to intentionally deceiving someone – and “impersonation” – meaning one gains by giving a false name to someone.

However, this guy lost the case because firstly, civil law jurisidctions like Ilaty does have have stare decisis and secondly the prosecutor main defence which was:

“God is not a person in the eyes of the law and does not have a legal address where he could be served with court papers”. So due to technical issues with the requirements under the Rules of Court, God got away from being sued.

4. Finally, my favorite was this case in India where it all came down to definitions. It must be noted that I didn’t come across this while I was doing research rather I was googling ‘law against contraceptives’ and came across this:

In 2007, a court in India was asked to decide whether a vibrating condom is a contraceptive or a sex toy. The condoms contain a battery-operated device, and, for the avoidance of doubt, are marketed as “Crezendo”. Opponents argue it’s a sex toy and thus unlawful in India, whereas the manufacturer says it’s a contraceptive and promotional of public health

Making decisions …..

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For the last three months, I have been trying to decide between doing litigation or corporate work. After my last internship, I was 70% sure litigation was gonna be my thing. Firstly, I have the feeling I get when I am in a court room whether a open court or chambers. Second, the prestige that comes with a good litigator i.e. having S.C at the end of ur name can really raise ur ego. Thirdly, lawyers who are litigator live a more balance lifestyle cos the hours are not as crazy as corporate lawyers. Fourthly, you can help people in trouble (bono work) unlike in corporate work where you make MNCs richer. To sum it up, this career path is rewarding both mentally and monetary wise.

On the other side there is corporate work. Apparently, you can earn your first million by the time ur 35 years old. A five digit salary and six digit quarterly bonus is definitely tempting. Argh…. why do decisions have to be so difficult 🙂

Farewell……

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NUS Commencement finished last week and I had to say ‘farewell’ to my only friend. We have been friends since we were 7 years old. I still can remember the first day I met him in Lower Kinder Garden (LKG) at Belvior when I ate his food and then lied to him saying that the birds ate it 🙂

We have known each other for over 15 years – from primary school to secondary to University…. and when I think about it… it seems that he is the only one  who can handle my annoying personality and say the right things so I dn’t end up in those looong redundant arguments I have with most people. For the first time in my life saying goodbye is gonna be difficult….. having attachments to things sucks…… this is why I dn’t get close to people…. But when reflect on all the great memories we have had together maybe these tears are worth it……

Congradulations Manoj  !!!!

You made it through NUS ALIVE 🙂

You Are Your Choice Of Poison

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This is something I came across while surfing the net instead of working at office 🙂

What you drink says a lot about you..

If Women drink…

1. Beer

Personality: Casual, low maintenance; down to earth.

Approach: Challenge her to a game of pool.

2. Cocktails or Blender drinks with umbrella

Personality: Flaky, annoying, dizzy, and a pain in the ass.

Approach: Avoid her, unless you want to be her cabin boy.

3. Mixed drinks – no umbrellas e.g.; Gin and tonic / Scotch and soda

Personality: Mature, has picky taste; knows what she wants

Approach: If she wants you, she’ll send YOU a drink.

4. Water

Personality: Pretentious and is looking for a serious relationship.

Approach: Don’t. (this is true unless your looking for something like my previous posting then she is worth the effort)

5. Wine – (bottled, not 4 litre cask)

Personality: Conservative and classy, sophisticated.

Approach: Try and weave Paris and clothing into the conversation.

6. Bacardi Breezer, Red Square, Archers Cooler, Smirnoff Ice, Mudshake etc.

Personality: Easy; thinks she is trendy and sophisticated actually has no clue.

Approach: Make her feel smarter than she is… and you’re in.

7. Cape Velvet

Personality: Annoying voice, bit of a tart.

Approach: Stand close and mention the alley next to the pub.

8. Shots and Slammers (Tequila, Vodka, Aftershock etc.)

Personality: Hangs around with male work pals or looking to get drunk…and naked.

Approach: Easiest hit in the pub, Nothing to do but wait…….

If Men Drink…

1. Cider

He’s probably under-aged and wants to get laid.

2. Cheap Domestic Beer

He’s poor / student and wants to get laid.

3. Castle Lager Beer

He likes good beer and wants to get laid.

4. Imported Beer

He’s old; he likes good beer and wants to get laid.

5. Guinness

The man is a rapist and will get laid one way or another.

6. Water

He just threw up and is trying to wash the taste out of his mouth so that he can still get laid

7. Wine

He’s hoping that the wine thing will give him a sophisticated image and help him get laid.

8. Vodka or Brandy

Extremely horny hound, would shag a warm scarf. Desperate to get laid.

9. Port

Thinks he’s sophisticated, secretly likes men and wants to get laid.

10. Whisky

He doesn’t give two shits about anything and will hit anyone who will get in his way of getting laid.

11. Jack Daniels

Not as masculine as the whisky drinker, knows all about feminine activities (knitting, crochet etc.) to weasel himself into getting laid.

12. Rum or Tequila

Likes fighting almost as much as getting laid.

Pause: You get the picture – guys are sooo simple right ????

Finale:

13. Bacardi Breezer, Red Square, Archers Cooler, Smirnoff Ice, etc

He’s gay (blatantly) – don’t turn your back or pick up any dropped change