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

Makan @ Penang

I met up with Dr Khoo and his wife Irene for dinner at Pulau Tikus market. Dr Khoo is born in Penang but now works as a Patent Attorney in Singapore. He recommended this place to me.


While waiting for them to arrive, I started my dinner with apom! It tasted okay.


It started raining heavily.


My first dish – duck kuay teow teng. We don’t have this in KL as far as I know. It’s rather bland though.

There are two shops selling the same thing but one says Established 1983. Guess which one I ordered from?

Finally get to eat Assam Laksa!


It was sweet and not spicy.


I must say this Muar Chi is damn awesome. It’s sold by the stall selling Assam Laksa.


Oh chien (oyster with fried eggs) was good too.

After dinner, Dr Khoo suggested that we have cakes at ChinaHouse at Beach Street.


We parked at this famous mural by a Lithuanian artist. Very rarely you get to be alone with this mural.


The kid with a kite mural has faded.


China House at Beach Street. It’s a very narrow shop but it’s connected with the shop directly behind it.


There’s a Honesty Shop near the courtyard. Nobody mans the place. Just take your product and leave your cash there. I wonder if it works.

In my area, there’s someone who gets his kid to steal newspaper on the news stand wtf.


A huge variety of cakes here.


We ordered 3 cakes. I didn’t like them much cause they were a little bit dry / too much cream.

I ordered gula melaka milk shake. It was nice in the beginning but the sweetness became a little bit unbearable thereafter. I didn’t finish it.


There’s a small bar adjoined to the cafe.


First time seeing this. You can test the wine using this machine. It will keep the wine thereafter so that it doesn’t turn bad- I think.

Gala Night
We celebrated the last night of the conference with a Gala dinner. I never remembered them to be enjoyable but this time round it was quite fun. It was held in Straits Quay. I drove there with some friends while the rest of the participants took the conference bus under the rain. Heh

I sat with my friends from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau, US and my ex colleagues.


This is Manu from Spain. He does my trade mark work in Europe. I met him at San Francisco few years ago and he brought me around SF including the well known gay street, Castro Street. We blended in quiet well there.

Like many other guai lou, he can’t take spicy food. I planted some sambal on his food when he stepped out. His expression was priceless.


Takeshi from Japan and Caroline from Thailand. I met the both of them in Hong Kong back in 2009.

Takeshi is a patent attorney and he works in a firm belonging to his uncle. He said 1st year patent attorneys make USD5000 a month. In Malaysia, they make around RM3000.


(L – R) On from US, Bahari my ex colleague, Caroline and Jonathan from Singapore.

After the Gala Night, we headed to the Hospitality Suite for drinks.

As I was about to head back, some of them wanted to go to Hard Rock for more drinks. Since it’s the last night, I followed them.

I was dead tired by then.


We ended the night at McDonalds. I fit all these people here in my car in one single journey. Heh.

Takeshi was supposed to sleep early to catch his early departure from the hotel at 5am. We managed to convince him to stay for McD. By the time we were done with supper, it was already 4am.

I’m glad that I found a group of friends to hang out with in APAA. The next time I see all of them will be next year in Okinawa, Japan!

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.

Asian Patents Attorney Association Council Meeting @ Hong Kong, 2009 – Overview

My trip to Hong Kong for the Asian Patents Attorney Association Council Meeting (“APAA”) was fruitful but very tiring. It was held in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre at Wan Chai.


The road I take to get to the Convention centre everyday. Just 5 minutes walk from my hotel.

A little bit a background of this conference. This yearly conference is basically a meeting for Asian patent attorneys and this year had the record number of participants. 1400 patent attorneys and other professionals of related field attended this 5 days event. There were also other participants outside Asia e.g Europe, US and Africa.

Throughout the entire conference, talks and sub committee meetings were organised by the conference organiser. Although there are many talks and conferences, not many participants attend the them. The ultimate aim for most participants is to network. Through networking, participants may cross refer their work to other participants. For example, a Japanese patent attorney wishes to file a patent in Malaysia would need to seek a Malaysian patent agent to file the patent. With a connection established, the Japanese patent attorney may refer the work to the Malaysian patent attorney.

A typical day for me would start at 9am and would last till 12am. There were times I slept at 2am to do work and wake up at 8 – 9am for meeting. On my last day, I slept at 4am and woke few hours later for a 11am meeting. I was zombified.


Loot for this year. The amount of name cards obtained.


Conference area

However, our schedule was not as hectic as one Japanese firm. They had 13 meetings in a day starting from 9am until 530pm! Thereafter, they went for night receptions until wee hours in the morning!

I stayed in a hotel called Harbourview. It was the most affordable hotel in the list of participating conference hotels.


Looks impressive huh? Check out the view.

Although named Harbourview, my room doesn’t have any view of the harbour. All I had was an office building and a strip of light.


zoomgg the strip of lighttt.. soo beautifullll

Further, on my first night, I woke up in the middle of the night to find the TV turned on by itself -_- Thank god nothing spooky happened after that.

The conference ended with a Gala dinner at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre. After the dinner, we adjourned to Lam Kwai Fong for drinks. I was there until 330am and woke up for a 11am meeting few hours later. uuhh..

We had some time for ourselves on our last day. However, I don’t have any friends in Hong Kong thus I didn’t have a place to go. I decided to follow my colleague to Wong Tai Sin Temple, a Taoist temple established in 1921 and also one of the most famous temples in Hong Kong. Those who know me well, I am not very eeer.. religious. In fact, I am agnostic.

There were some old ladies selling joss sticks and other praying materials at the train station. However, other than the joss sticks, other praying materials are not allowed to be brought into the temple.

We dropped by Wong Kok after the temple visit. However, we got lost and ended up at one street selling renovation materials and also offering renovation services. It was extremely boring. We passed by some markets as well. We didnt get to see the well known Lui Yan Kai and Poh Hai Kai.

In regards to food, I didn’t get to try most of the local stuff. I spent most of my time eating hotel food. I didn’t have the chance to explore many places for good Hong Kong food. Hotel food is really expensive. Grand Hyatt Hotel was serving Hainanese chicken rice for HKD200 (around RM100!). Nevertheless, I did get to try a few nice things which I will blog later.


Chocolates that I bought from Hong Kong! Gave 99% of them away.

More later!