Tag Archives: sarawak

Miri, 2014

The last time when I was in Miri, it was on the invitation of Mr Ma, the boss of Balcony club. He wanted some Melbourne Shufflers in the club and I was roped in with some friends. Mr. Ma gave each of us a t-shirt but I didn’t wear it. I think he wasn’t pleased with that. That was in 2005.

Nevertheless, he treated us dim sum the next morning. That was the last time I saw Mr Ma. Last year, he was assassinated by masked men. He was shot while in his car. No one had been arrested for his murder till now.

On 24 April 2014, I flew to Miri on the invitation of the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak to speak about personal data protection.

I touched down around 1130pm and fellow lawyer, Jimmy Liaw picked me up from the airport. I thought I’ll be ending my night upon checking into the hotel. However, Jimmy suggested that we go for drinks and ended up drinking until 2am at Al Fresco. Balcony is still around but it’s now owned by different people.

Mr Ma’s brother, Johnson Ma runs Al Fresco now. We had couple of drinks with him and even played drinking games with him. At the end of the night Jimmy said, “Not bad, you can drink” notwithstanding my face was lobster red.

Jimmy then brought me to the market for char kuey teow. I remember this place had “duck flavoured” char kuey teow. However, it didn’t taste anything like duck this time round though. Nevertheless, it was good.

I stayed in Merits Hotel. New place next to a shopping mall. It was quite cozy. No creepy experience like the one I had in Pullman Hotel, Kuching.


There’s another lobby somewhere above the 10th floor I think. What a strange design.


View of Miri from my hotel room

I woke up late and had to rush to get ready. The organizers thought I had food poisoning hence the lateness.

The seminar had about 50 people consisting of lawyers, architects, tax agents, bankers etc. It was held in a seminar room of a hotel.

I am told that Miri has around 100 lawyers. The relationship between Miri lawyers with Kuching, Bintulu and Limbang lawyers seems to be close although these places are far apart. Everyone seems to know each other. In fact, I recognised 2 of the participants from my previous talk in Kuching. I guess most of them travel in and out from these places.

I was presented with a pen as a token of appreciation. I was also give a thumb drive from a fellow participant from Bank Rakyat. What a surprise. Never had I received presents from my seminar participants!

After the talk, I met up with fellow Mirian, Darren Lo. He brought me to a place to have ABC (shaved ice). Good to catch up with an old friend.

I am told that property prices in Miri has also shot up. Terraced houses go for RM300,000. However, there is an oversupply of commercial units.

There are some concerns with Brunei especially with the proposed implementation of Shariah law. A dress code will also be rolled out in Brunei. Men are require to cover their knees. Women cannot wear short sleeves and tight clothing. And this rule is applicable to non Muslims.

Before my flight back to Kuala Lumpur, Jimmy brought me to Tanjung Seafood Restaurant for drinks and food. Local lawyer, Arthur Lee brought 2 bottles of single malt whiskey for us to enjoy. I am told that this is done every Friday.

I had to take leave after a few drinks to catch my flight. It was a rather uneventful flight back. The 2 hours journey from Miri to Kuala Lumpur was quick.

Kuching, Sarawak 2014

I’m glad that I embarked on a practice involving data protection. It brought me clients that would not normally appoint small firms and it brought me places like Singapore and Sabah to give talks. On 8 March 2014, I made a trip to Kuching to give a talk to the Sarawak lawyers, organised by the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak. 

I almost missed my flight to Kuching cause they closed the check in counter 45 minutes before departure. Fortunately,  I had no check in bags hence they allowed me in. Phew. Since I was the last person, I was given the last row at the plane. You can’t recline your seat if you’re in the last row! Fortunately, I was the only one there.


Colourful seats

It flight lasted about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Kuching is a beautiful and serene city. There were many rows of pretty pre-war shophouses.

The hospitality of the Sarawakian lawyers were great. Upon touchdown, Vice President of AAS, Leonard gave me a driven tour around Kuching city. We even passed by the old Court house and the unique looking State Assembly building.

After that we had dinner and drinks at Junk Restaurant. AAS treasurer Liew joined us after that. I had a few pints of stouts before ending the night at 11pm.

I am told that there were about 400 lawyers in Kuching (there are about 1200 over lawyers in Sarawak). Most of them are general practitioners unlike us in KL where we could specialize in certain areas. The oldest law firms are not really that old unlike the ones we have in Kuala Lumpur. The oldest I know is from the 1950s. I do not know whether there are still any old European law firms.

Membership in the AAS is not compulsory. The Sarawak Court manages the admission of lawyers and the Disciplinary Board supervises the lawyers. Leonard chairs the Kuching branch of AAS. I am told that they had to use their own resources to run the association because they don’t have their own secretariat.

AAS booked me a room at Pullman Hotel.


View of the foyer.

I got an upgrade to family room.  It was too big for me! They gave me a King size bed with a single bed.

Before entering my room, I heard the sound of a TV show. I knocked on the door and I thought I was at the wrong room. I re-checked the number and it was the correct room.

I slotted my room card onto the door and opened the room. I was all dark except for the TV. I inserted the room card and the lights were then turned on. TV was showing WWE wrestling. I slept with the lights on the whole night!


Picture taken immediately upon entering the room – can anyone see anything floating around?


View from the hotel room.

The seminar was attended by around 60 people. It was okay. I got another invitation from the Miri lawyers association to speak as well. I even met lawyers from Sibu and Limbang.

After the talk, we had lunch at Tandoori Palace. It is owned by the Secretary of the AAS, Mr. Sarbjit. Food was awesome but shouldn’t have a glass of beer before my meal. I felt quite dehydrated!

The trip back was uneventful. I parked my car at KLIA (costs me RM61 only). Brought back a Sarawak layer cake – it was tasty.

On the next day, the news of missing aircraft MH370 came about. How sad. I could have crossed paths with some passengers. In fact, I later found out that one of the passengers, Stanley, was my former client’s staff. I remember him being a pleasant man.