Asian Patent Attorneys Association Council Meeting @ Penang 2014 – Part I

It’s been a while since I attended the Asian Patent Attorneys Association Council Meeting. The last one that I attended was in 2009 in Hong Kong. I stopped after my previous firm decided that I should only attend INTA and my other colleague will take over my spot in APAA.

I’ve always preferred APAA than INTA. The people attending the former is friendlier and meetings are impromptu. In fact, I dreaded attending the meetings I fixed not because I didn’t want to meet those people but I wanted to be flexible.

This year’s APAA was held in Batu Ferringhi, Penang. It was attended by more than 1,500 IP attorneys. I drove there. I left home about 445pm and got stuck in a jam for hours.

It was raining quite heavily but I raced there anyway. I think I got caught by the speed trap.

I took the new second Penang Bridge to the Island. The drive was a breeze and it was almost empty. The wind was very strong as well. I soon realised I was in the middle of the Penang Straits.

The problem with second Penang Bridge is that it brought me to middle of no where. The road condition was bad and it was dark. Soon my GPS went dead for no reason. I used my gut feeling to get to Batu Ferringhi. I got so lost.


I made a random stop at this place for dinner. It looked bright hence I stopped here. However, Google had no recommendations for me here.

I went around the stalls to see what’s good. I was peeping at people’s table to see what they ordered but most of them looked bland.

I like Mee Sua especially when it comes with herbal chicken drumstick.

With the herbal chicken drumstick on my mind, I ordered mee sua.


WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS WHERE THE FUCK IS MY HERBAL CHICKEN DRUMSTICK!!!????

I ate the mee sua anyway. It was disappointing.


As I was about to walk to my car, I saw this old uncle selling newspapers and pao. I got myself a kao yuk pao. It was awesome. It came with a big piece of pork belly. Yum.

I usually don’t splurge on hotels when I go for conferences. Instead of staying at Shangri-la and the like, I am staying in a place called EQ Ferringhi.


Bloody place looks like a prison cell!


However, the room looks pretty clean. Spacious. But there’s no WiFi in the room and no chair for me to sit on!


The hotel doesn’t trust their guests with their TV and aircon remote controls. I got them at the counter.

Although the hotel room came with breakfast, it was not very good. I ended up eating McDonalds breakfast everyday (which I like very much).

Since I drove to Penang, I made it an effort to drive my friends to eat around Penang.

I brought Takeshi (from Japan) and Edmund (from Singapore) to Pulau Tikus to eat hawker food. Edmund and I ordered various dishes such as prawn noodles (didn’t know they call it Hokkien mee here), char koay teow, chicken rice etc. They said the dishes were awesome.

Best thing about these conferences is the impromptu plans. Fix one or two meetings a day and the rest is spent running around.

There was once I bumped into Nitin from India and Edmund and I had some beers with him. Thereafter, Edmund had to go for a meeting. Nitin and I were then joined by Caroline from Thailand for ice cream.

The organisers did a street food fair for the participants. We had char kuay teow, assam laksa, murtabak, prawn noodles etc. The food was just okay. Many foreigners loved them since its their first time trying them. The locals like me were like, “It’s okay lah. Edible”.

Rock Climbing @ Jesselton Park

Prior to the conference, I was told that there are participants who had organise climbing sessions in the previous conference. I got in touch with them and agreed to bring them to climb in Penang.

I brought my new friends from Canada and Japan to climb outdoor at Jesselton Park. I have never climbed outdoor in Penang before hence I was eager to try it too.

Penang’s only bolted walls are located at Jesselton Park, which is accessible through a housing area. We relied solely on the directions of local climbing website climb.my.

We had to hike into the spot. After half an hour, we realised we were going through the wrong direction!

By that time, my legs were filled with mosquito bites. I even fell down after stepping on a slipper log. I had ants crawling all over my slippers after I stepped on a rotten log! I was a terrible experience hiking this jungle.


We did see some rubber trees here. Someone taps them during the day time I guess.


Found a wall but it was not bolted.

We made a u-turn to get to where we came from. We eventually found the spot after re-reading the directions. It was just few minutes from my car!


The place was empty. It was just the 3 of us. It was filled with mosquitoes until I put on the mosquito coil.


Miho and Kohji

The routes of the granite wall was tough. Although graded 6a, it felt much tougher. Fortunately, our Japanese friend did it easily.


There’s a small stream along the walls. I washed my hands here few times. My hands felt muddy after that.


We did 3 routes before wrapping up. We were pretty tired by then.


View from the top!


#firstletmetake

After being covered with rotten wood, ants and spiders, we headed back to the hotel to shower. We picked up another Thai friend and headed straight to Lorong Selamat for food. Since its my Japanese and Canadian friends’ first time trying Penang food, they liked them.

I wanted to bring them to eat Assam Laksa too but we ran out of time.


We bought some Tambun biscuits nearby. Didn’t know they got sambal version of Tambun biscuits now.

Penang Hill Hike

One of the perks of APAA is the excursions organised by the organising committee. We are given various choices to go and for Penang, I chose the Penang Hill Hike.

We gathered at 630am at the hotel. I had to be there early to help out because the organising committee asked for help. Fortunately, I slept early hence I felt okay.


A quick warm up before our hike. I had to use to loo and another friend also felt the same. We “watered” some plants at the bushes.


We traveled in groups and the guides lead us up. The 3 hour hike was okay for me. Not too tiring.


The guide said the plant can be used as soup. Just add water.


Great view of the city and sea.


Private property. This place may make way for development one day.


Pitcher plants. Eat insects. Yum. Plenty of them on this hill.


Rest stop. Quite nicely done. They even have a gym and a park here.


I think it’s run by volunteers. They even have donation drive to build and repair things. One Datuk here is pretty generous.


A park next stop the rest stop. I think build by volunteers too.


Anyone from Penang remembers this rock?

Apparently, a lot of Penang kia used to make out here. Heh


Rest stop 84. A stop before going up the hill using the tarred road. I heard volunteers used to serve coffee here but it’s abandoned now.


I guess it’s because the floor collapsed. No free coffee!


Extremely steep 5km hike up to the hill.


Saw this beautiful bungalow by the hillside. Built in 192 by Mr. Khoo Heng Pan, a wealthy Penang Chinese who died in 1934 at the age of 43. He was the owner of a cinema and other properties. There’s a scholarship fund set up under his name. The scholarship fund ran out of money in 2011 (according to the Penang State Audited Report) – almost 70 years after his death!


Another view of the house.


Lunch at David Brown Cafe. Another bungalow turned into a cafe.


Too bad the place didn’t milk enough of David Brown’s name. There was nothing about the history of the place. I had to google it.

David Brown, a Scotman, is the pioneer in nutmeg planting in Penang in the 1800s. He made it big with his business and became a well know philanthropist.


The house has a damn ancient looking urinal.


Great view of the city!


We took the train back down to the foothill. Saw this frog stuck to the train.

We finished our tour at about 130pm and I went back to the hotel to sleep.

Overall the hike wasn’t difficult. I brought the right shoes (I climbed Mont Kinabalu with slippers and had terrible blisters after that). A Korean participant wore slacks and leather shoes. I think he suffered a bit.

My Birthday 2014

I had a quiet birthday celebration this year (it was on 24th September 2014_. My wife’s cousin, CS, baked me a red velvet cake. It was a little bit bitter but it was the gesture that counts.

Here’s #LiviaFoong and me when we were cutting my cake. She likes being carried on my shoulder. But she will eat my hair sometimes.

Wife brought #LiviaFoong and I to Hyatt 38 to celebrate my birthday in advance.

We were here few months ago to celebrate Mummy’s day for my wife.

I must say this place is expensive. We had to pretend to be rich to be here.

Sparkling or still?, asked the waiter.

“Still”, I replied.

Then came the RM22 bottle of Aqua Panna mineral water. Must have came from an extinct mountain in Italy.

My RM170 lamb ribs. It was pretty good!


This is their signature cake. Apparently a must have in Hyatt 38. Chocolate mousse topped with caramel. Tasted abit like Mars bar. It also came with yummy banana ice cream.


Great view of the city.


#LiviaFoong on a baby chair. Apparently this baby chair costs RM1200. Made of wood and it looks like a stair. Wtf.


RM20 parking fee. I can eat 3 – 4 plates of wan tan mee with this amount!!!

One thing about Hyatt is that it doesn’t have a diaper change room. So we have to change #LiviaFoong on the car boot. She seems to like it there.

On my birthday, my parents and I had dinner at Canton-i, Mid Valley. Purple Cane, Our usual place to celebrate birthdays, was closed for renovation. Mum was a little bit disappointed.

Before dinner, Dad came early to see #LiviaFoong. He spent couple of hours with her. This is the first time he spent such a long time with her.

I’m starting to dislike my birthday celebrations. So much so that I hid my birth date on Facebook so that no one knows it’s my birthday. But some great friends still remember it!

One special thing about this year’s birthday is that it’s my first birthday as a father. Hope for many more ones to come!

Walk for Justice and Peace – 16.10.2014

It’s a much smaller crowd than the one had for Walk for Justice in Putrajaya few years back. But it’s to see lawyers show up in force.


President of the Malaysian Bar, Christopher Leong, addressing the crowd before marching to Parliament.

I brought along my sister in law, CA, to attend the walk. She passed her CLP exams and was looking for a place to do her pupillage at that time. I thought it would be interesting for her to attend one of these rallies.

Thinking that the place will be packed, we parked at Dayabumi and walked to Padang Merbok under the hot sun at 1030am. I think the distance from Dayabumi to Padang Merbok was longer than Dayabumi to Parliament.

Lawyers were asked to wear a jacket to the walk but I gave it up as soon as I stepped out from the car. It was a wise decision. Even without a jacket, I had a waterfall of sweat coming from my head.

The event was also great to meet up with old friends. We also got to see some Members of Parliament from the Federal Opposition side like Sivarasa, Gobind, Wong Chen, etc.


Ravin Singh addressing the crowd.


Even an Orang Asli group came


Solidarity for Azmi Sharom – a law lecturer who was charged for sedition recently over a legal opinion

At about 1130am, we marched towards the Parliament. It was a rather uneventful one and chants and shouts were pretty mild.


One thing we did cause was a traffic jam. Cars couldn’t come to the road in front of Parliament.

Upon reaching Parliament, some members entered it to present a memorandum asking the Sedition Act 1948 to be repealed and all sedition charges be withdrawn. The memorandum was received by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Datuk Mah Siew Keong aka Handsome Mah.

CA and I didn’t wait long and left early for lunch. The walk back to the car was torturous. But we were fortunate that it did not rain.

YB RSN Rayer of Penang. He was charged with sedition because he uttered the words, “UMNO celaka” in the State Assembly. His prosecution was a surprise to me as words uttered in State Assemblies are protected by privilege.


There were loads of banners and cards. This one is the winner.

My only complaint about this walk is that there had been too many walk. The last walk was in 2011 when the Bar organised a walk to protest against the Peaceful Assembly Bill. Before that, it was 2007 when the Bar organised “Walk for Justice” to urge the Government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the state of judiciary and to establish a judicial appointments and promotion commission. I think “walks” should be used sparingly and we should adopt other means of protest. It “walks” becomes a norm for us, the public won’t take it seriously anymore.

Nevertheless, I think there is a slight impact from this walk. I don’t recall anyone being charged for sedition after the walk but there was reports of people being investigated for it.