Seminar @ Kota Kinabalu, 2013

In June 2013, The Malaysian Bar and Sabah Law Association jointly organised a seminar in Kota Kinabalu and I was invited as a speaker to speak on data protection laws. We had about 50 people.

Sabah Law Association had kindly booked a room for me at Horizon Hotel. It costs RM300 a night. My room was nice and spacious.

View from the hotel

I discovered that it is extremely difficult to grab a taxi in Kota Kinabalu suburbs. Suaran (another lawyer and invited speaker) and I took taxi to Damai to eat at the legendary Fook Yuen at Damai. Our 5 minutes cab ride costs us RM20! Although the ted madras and roti kahwin were worth it, we were stranded in Damai after our delicious meal at Fook Yuen. We couldn’t get a taxi for half an hour.

Fortunately, we managed to flag down one Mr Usman to fetch us back to the hotel at a very reasonable rate.

Suaran and I also wandered around the city and went on an eating rampage. Although I’ve been to Kota Kinabalu many times, I’ve never had the opportunity to see the Filipino market and its surroundings.

I was in Kota Kinabalu for a short time but I managed to squeeze an hour with my in-laws after dinner. They brought me to the legendary and awesome Fook Yuen (again!).

The seminar was fun. It was well organised and the turn out was good. As a token of appreciation, the Sabah Bar presented me with a book consisting of a compilation of cases decided in the Native Court of Appeal, a special Court that deals with Sabah natives’ customary issues. The cases revealed disputes regarding wrongful trespass by animals, destruction of bamboo trees, theft of animals, damages for embarrassing someone, right to harvest bird nests, inheritance of customary lands and also marriage issues. Many of these cases involved the payment of damages by way of sogit – usually a cow or other animals. Failure to pay sogit can put the wrongdoer in jail! Sabah Law Association painstakingly went through many old files to extract the judgments. Many of these cases were presided by local Judges such as Richard Malanjum, Ian Chin and Nurchaya Haji Arshad. It was an interesting read. I finished it while waiting for my flight in the airport.

We later found out that our hotel was charging RM120 to fetch us to the airport (!!!) notwithstanding that it is only a 15 minutes drive. I called Mr Usman to fetch me and he agreed. However, he was uncontactable an hour before he was supposed to pick me up. Fortunately, he turned up on the pick up time and explained that his mobile phone ran out of battery.

My flight back to Kuala Lumpur was delayed for few hours. It was almost midnight and the airport was empty. I wandered around the airport and even went to the empty immigration desks and international departure hall. No one stopped me!

The House of Dancing Water @ City of Dreams, Macau

We took the opportunity to catch this famous show at City of Dreams.

It is Macau’s most expensive show, which combines water stunts, acrobatics, aerial arts and theater. USD250 million was invested in this show.

We bought the cheapest ticket (about 500HKD) thinking that we will need a binoculars to watch the show. However, the venue is pretty small. We were just a few rows away from the stage. We could even feel the water splashing on us (rather mildly).

The show is set on a stage which evolves from a pool to a dry stage. Actors were a mixture of Caucasians, Africans and a few Asians. The show is about a man trying to save a damsel in distress from the clutches of an evil Queen.

No one is allowed to record the show. You’ll get kids armed with a torch light shining on your face telling you to stop recording.

As grand as it looks, I feel that the stunts were not as impressive as the ones I saw in Beijing. Although Beijing’s acrobatic show was set on a rather poorly maintained theater, the acrobatic stunts were amazing. The ladies could bend their bodies in all forms.

They could even merge themselves together and transform into some sort of creature – just like the Transformers!

Compendium of Malaysian Intellectual Property Cases

They say one thing always lead to another.

It all started with a blog post entitled, “All Lawyers should have an iPad!” on LoyarBurok in 2011 which talks about the use of iPad by lawyers.

Immediately after posting that article, I was invited by the Bar Council to speak on the topic, “Use of Technology amongst Lawyers“.

Most of the participants of my talk were practitioners senior to me. However, Gaythri, the Head of Marketing of LexisNexis SEA (as then she was), a multinational legal information provider, attended too. She found out about my talk through Twitter.

After the talk, I was invited by Gaythri to review their upcoming LexisNexis iPad App which I gave input.

In early January 2012, LexisNexis sent me to Fukouka to attend the LexisNexis Customer Engagement Workshop at Fukouka. There I met Norainni, Associate Director of Product Development.

Before that, I started an eGroup on Google Groups called the Malaysian Intellectual Property and Information Technology Practitioner’s eGroup in 2009. I started the group with a purpose of sharing Court judgements relating to Intellectual Property and Information Technology. The eGroup grew and soon, many members started sharing judgements.

One day, in my effort of promoting my blawg, I thought of putting the these judgements online for people to download. I even thought of doing an eBook by compiling the judgements for download for free.

I guess my inspiration came from reading ancient case laws dating back to the early 1800s. A selection of oriental cases decided in the Supreme courts of the Straits’ Settlements by Robert Carr Woods Jr published in 1869 was one of my inspirations. The book was the first organised law report containing 12 cases decided between 1834 and 1869.

I was inspired by the words of James William Norton Kyshe in Cases heard and determined in Her Majesty’s Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements, 1808 – 1885. vol. i, p. i:-

“Upon a question on which the cases decided by the Superior Courts at home, cannot give much assistance, since its determination depends in great measure on local circumstances, I think it is to be regretted that the Recorders did not preserve their judgments by publishing them….. This absence of published judgments is, as I have just said, to be regretted, because much uncertainty will continue to hang over the Administration of Justice in the Settlement. Each Recorder must begin de novo, and solve for himself, as best he may, the question whether this or that Statute is in force here; and the law will fluctuate according as he unconsciously departs from the views of his predecessors, and as his views, again are, in similar unconsciousness, departed from by his successors.” Sir Benson Maxwell, Journal Indian, Archipelago, vol. iii., part i., p. 59

Few months ago, I met Norainni again few months later at a friend’s book launch. I told her about my book and I ended up with my first book deal.

My book, entitled “Compendium of Malaysian Intellectual Property Cases”, is a compilation of reported and unreported Malaysia intellectual property cases. In this book, I’ve prepared catchwords for each cases for easy reading. You do not need to read the entire case to get the important points.

The first volume of my book contains more than 70 trade mark cases. The cases have been divided into sections such as infringement, passing off, rectification and opposition.

If the sale of this book does well, LexisNexis may publish the other volumes which have other topics such as patents, copyright, industrial designs and confidential information.

I get a very small royalty from each book – not enough to sustain me when I retire. But making money is certainly not my priority. All I wanted is to leave an impact and legacy. I want this book to be around for hundred of years.

You can order my book at LexisNexis’ website! You can download an extract of the book here.

Coloane & Vila da Taipa, Macau 2013

We did what many Macau people do, drive to Coloane to eat Lord Stow’s original Portuguese egg tarts. It claims to be the origin of Portuguese egg tarts.

Lord Stow’s has a small little shop in a quaint town in Coloane. It’s a small town consisting of old houses and shops and narrow lanes. Many of them abandoned and at the stage of dilapidation. To get here, one must take a bus or taxi or drive here.

Spot the cat.

We haven’t had breakfast hence we stopped by a random coffeeshop by the name Estabelecimento De Comidas Lou Van Kei. They had loads of customers hence we recon that food must be good.

We were right. Food was great. We had pork chop noodles and polo bun.

The queue at Lord Stow’s was pretty okay.  We got our egg tarts in less than 10 minutes.

The egg tarts were great. It was freshly baked hence the fillings were moist and the crust crispy. We sat at one of the public bench to savour our egg tarts.


We then stopped by a small cafe by the name Hann’s cafe for a cup of espresso. Its run by a young lady with a basic and small espresso machine. It’s strategically located by the sea. Wouldn’t it be great to quit your job to sell coffee by the seaside?

Vila da Taipa was next. It’s a small village with a few streets with shops. It was packed with tourists.

View from Vila da Taipa. A row of apartments.

We stumbled upon a well known pork bun chain store, “Tai Lei Loi Kei”. Tai Lei Loi Kei recently opened a few outlets in Malaysia. I tried the outlet in Damansara Uptown. It’s quite nice as the portion is quite big and their pork is pretty juicy.

The shop in Vila da Taipa is very different from the ones they have in the Klang Valley. The former is a modern fast food restaurant whereas the latter looks quite run down.

We saw one of the lady bosses of Tai Lei Loi Kei at the old shop and we wanted to take a picture with her. Unfortunately, she walked into the kitchen when we wanted to approach her.

Abandoned house

Almond biscuit. Everybody loves this shit. I hate it.

Serradura (Macau sawdust pudding) cake – mixture of ice cream and cream – from Bitter Sweet Cafe. It’s quite expensive. HKD45 for a small piece. But it was quite tasty.

Fong Da Coffee. Small outlet with specialty coffee beans. A small roaster and cold drips coffee were on display. I bought some coffee beans here. And it tasted awesome!

Umeng: Let’s throw this drink into the roaster, turn it on and then we run..okay?

Macau, 2013

In early November, we made a short trip to Macau.

Our Air Asia flight took us 3 hours 45 minutes with no in flight entertainment. I slept throughout the flight.

One of my hengtais, Umeng moved to Macau from Brisbane two months ago to work as an architect. He now works in the casino construction industry which is booming in Macau. I read somewhere that says 1 in 5 locals work in a casino. That’s no surprise as there are now 35 casinos bringing in gross gaming revenue of MOP 304.1 billion (Macau Business, pg 79, October 2013).

Casinos are still being built in Macau. There are currently 6 major casinos in Macau.

When we arrived at the airport, we were supposed to be sent to the hotel with a shutter bus but the bus was delayed. A middle aged couple, who happens to stay in our hotel, suggested that we share a taxi to our hotel.

Umeng then offered to pick us up and we also invited the couple to squeeze into the car with us. However, there was not enough space in the boot hence we had to put our luggage on our laps.

One thing I do whenever I meet new people is to learn something new from them. This middle aged couple was an inspiration to all couples that they can still travel together regardless of age.

On our first night, we stayed at Hotel Royal Macau. It was okay. Nothing to shout about.

For the rest of the holiday, we stayed at Hard Rock Hotel. Its connected with City of Dreams – another casino.

Hard Rock Hotel reception

Our first meal in Macau was street food. Umeng brought us to a night market where we tried takoyaki, curry fish balls, barbecued fish, lamb and cuttlefish, and beef and cow spare parts. We washed them down with a bottle of coke.

A group of people were dancing on the streets. Nice

Umeng ordering barbecued fish, lamb and cuttlefish

Beef and “spare parts” stall

Umeng was back in Kuala Lumpur for a few days few weeks before he came to Macau. We went to Hen’s house for a home karaoke session. I had so much wine that I had a massive hungover. Umeng on the other hand vomited everywhere when he got home.

Me and Umeng in various places taken by my wife.

Umeng borrowed a car from his “future” brother in law and ferried us around.

Getting around Macau with a car is quite a hassle. Although we could get to our destination easily, the hardest part is to find a car park. Carparks were usually full and we had to go round and round to find one.

We also visited Umeng’s “parents in law” (girlfriend’s parents) shop selling precious stones in mainland Macau. It’s a small shop in a quiet neighbourhood.

I quite like the neighbourhood around the shop. It has small roads but tall flats.

Their dog, Fei Mui, lives in the shop.

Me “hamburgering” Fei Mui’s face.

We saw a man cutting and burning some chairs in a shop opposite the shop while we were there. We were later told the shop burnt down at night. /(*O*)\

Fortunately, Fei Mui was unhurt.

On our last day, we visited the Venetian. It’s a large casino cum shopping centre. There’s a large food court inside Venetian. Food sucks big time and very expensive. Avoid it!

There are other restaurants in the Venetian. Lord Stow’s, well known for their Portuguese egg tarts, has a branch here.

We were able to experience the quaint and quiet life of Macau and also rubbing shoulders with tourists and gamblers. It was a short and sweet trip. I don’t mind going back to Macau again.

KL Bar ITPC Startup and Business Law Seminar

The Kuala Lumpur Bar Information Technology and Publications Committee (ITPC) organised a seminar called “Startup and Business Law Seminar” at the KL Bar on 26 November 2013.

It is the KL Bar ITPC’s tradition to hold a yearly IT law forum. The forum usually relates to IT law. However, our IT law forums usually do not attract many participants.

When I took over as the chairman of ITPC this year, I thought of organising something different and current. I initially thought of having a IT fair for lawyers so that they can buy their IT equipment at a cheaper rate. However, I am told that another committee organised an IT fair and the turnout was poor.

Then the Malaysian tech startup buzz came along. I thought it would be a great idea to have a seminar to teach them about Malaysian laws. I’ve met many startup entrepreneurs and many of them have posed many law related questions to me.

However, we initially had a setback. Only 12 people signed up for our event a week before the event!

I had to contact some friends from the tech startup community and also Digital News Asia. The latter had kindly featured our event in one of their articles. BFM radio station also had a short mention of our event. You can scroll to 13:30 at the BFM podcast for our mention.

Fortunately, the number of participants shot up over the weekend and we had 50 over people at our event. I believe about half of them were from the tech startup community! It was the 1st time the KL Bar had something like this.

We covered topics relating to basic company, data protection, e-commerce, tax and cyber laws. Our speakers were a mix pf young and senior lawyers and also a law professor from a local university.

Other than educating the tech startup community on Malaysian laws, I also wanted the event to be a networking event for lawyers to meet people from the tech startup community. I hope that a mutually beneficial business relationship came out from this event.

As the KL Bar IT Chairman, I’m always thinking of ways to improve our legal practice with the use of IT. Sometimes I think of wild ideas like putting bar codes on hard copy documents (e.g agreements or pleadings) so that one can just scan the bar code to obtain the entire text of the document without having to type everything again or scan it using a OCR software or OCR enabled device. Even something simple like case management using emails instead of appearing before the Judge or Registrar (practised in Sarawak). I’m also planning to upload the talks held at KL Bar on YouTube for members’ viewing. Let’s see how it goes!