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.


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

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!


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.

Istanbul, Turkey 2014

I spent the first week of September 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey to attend the 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2014. It was a sponsored trip set up by the people from LoyarBurok.

My trip was sponsored by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). I was given a nice room (with 2 single beds!) at Ramada Hotel, Sisli and allowance for a week. It goes for 200 Euro a night /(*O*)\. I certainly won’t be able to afford it myself!

There were a few other lawyers being sponsored from my region. They were Asep from Indonesia, Prof Harry from Philippines and Ei Maung from Myanmar. We tagged along Freedom House delegates from various regions such as Azerbaijan, Uganda, Venezuela, Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, Turkey , Sudan, Pakistan, China, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Chile. Freedom House is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights.

I took the opportunity to meet up with Handan, one of the lawyers whom I met when I attended the Multilaw Academy in Chiang Mai. She and her husband, Talip, brought me around Istanbul. Other than meeting IP lawyers, I always take the opportunity to meet my Multilaw friends. It is always great to catch up with old friends.

Journey to Turkey
My flight to Istanbul was delayed for 9 hours.

I didn’t know about it until I arrived at KLIA. MAS offered us a free room but when I realised that it’s in Shah Alam – 40 minutes away – I decided to go home instead.

One consolation I got from this delay is that I get to see my wife & Livia for few more hours. Another consolation was that I found out that I left my laptop charger at home. Phew.

I took a short nap before heading to KL Sentral at 515am. There I was told that my flight is delayed another 2 hours *silent scream*

After a 11+ hour flight, I finally touched down Istanbul. The airport was pretty small and hence nothing much to see. My taxi to my hotel took about half an hour and it costs 50 Lira.

Turkey Legal Practice

I took some time off to visit a law firm called Moroglu Arsevan located at Istiklal Avenue. I know this firm during my time in the old firm. Handan used to work here.

Glass with books visible at the background. Love this design.

Perched at the 12th floor, this firm has a good view of Istanbul.

They recently renovated the office hence everything looks brand new. It’s all about steel, glass and wood and industrial look. I was pretty awed by it.

This is the sign at their entrance at the 6th floor. However, there’s no reception. It’s all office desks and rooms. Lawyers and staff sit together in a cubicle of 4 tables whereas partners get their own rooms.

I always make it a point to visit a law firm whenever I visit a country. One senior IP lawyer once said, “In IP practice, you will never go without a meal in a country. Just call one of your fellow IP lawyers there”. Very true, everyone I met was keen to buy drinks and food!

The lawyer I met today was one of the founding partners. We spoke about business and current affairs.

The partner told me that they hardly have trade mark filings in Malaysia. Most Turkish businesses prefer to invest or trade with countries near them such as Middle East. This firm did my client’s trade mark filing in Turkey. Malaysians are good at expanding our businesses.

I am told that Istanbul has 40,000 lawyers – 4 times the amount of lawyers in Kuala Lumpur. Competition between lawyers is quite stiff here.

Handan just opened a branch office of her father’s firm from Izmir (third most populous city in Turkey) couple months ago. It’s called Diri Hukuk. I saw some Turkish law firms using the word Hukuk as part of their name. Dictionary says it means “in-law”. Perhaps something like Attorney-in-Law.

Handan’s sister and her husbands are lawyers too. Her sister works in a big Turkish firm whereas her husband runs her own firm. After talking to my Turkish lawyers friends, I realise that our legal practice is not much different from theirs. Young associates will work long hours and give up their social life for work. Senior associates will hang on to their firm waiting to be made a partner or set up their own law firm. Lawyers will need to go out to do “marketing” to bring in businesses to the firm.

Internet Governance Forum
The Internet Governance Forum is an annual gathering of Internet regulators and technical experts. Various workshops are held and private meetings are made in the Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Centre (ICEC).

Inside ICEC

The ICEC is next to a park and a military museum. One thing I liked about the place is the view that I get while walking to the ICEC.

Cats are everywhere in this park.

Although I am a big fan of all things Internet related, the workshops were beyond me. It’s either I have no idea what they were talking about or extremely boring. I don’t think there was a a workshop talking about cyberlaw!

The first workshop I attended had a wide number of participants from many countries. Everyone had to give a short introduction about themselves and how they are feeling today.

I said, “Hello, I’m Foong from Malaysia. I’m a lawyer”

The MC then said, “You feeling lawyer today?” -_-

Large conference going on.

Translators’ booths. Translations are done real time. Speeches are also taken down verbatim. Impressive.

Most of my time were spent in the meetings organised by Freedom House.

Freedom House Delegates

I had an enjoyable time with this group of people. However, it was a big group and I did not manage to mingle with everyone of them. Most of them are activists running their own NGOs or part of a NGO. Some are friendly, some are reserved, many outspoken (thus silencing the lawyers) and some are missing from meetings all the time.

Last meeting with the people with Freedom House

Freedom House organised many private meetings with civil society organisations such as Internet Society and even businesses such as Twitter, Google and Facebook. I must say that the Twitter meeting was most interesting. I tweeted some points made by the public policy representative from Twitter:-

  • Twitter is a work in progress
  • Twitter does transparency report every 6 months. Second company to do this after Google
  • Twitter has the technology to withhold content to a certain country
  • Twitter when needed to remove content, it will put a grey box at the tweet to state that the content may run afoul of the law
  • Court orders against Twitter are sent to for publication
  • Although content is withheld to a country, Twitter’s geolocation technology may not be correct. But users may correct its geolocation
  • In some countries, some may need to use pseudonym to speak securely
  • Twitter is stingy with sharing user information with Government
  • Twitter do give information if due process is followed
  • Twitter is serving 500 millions tweets a day
  • Twitter gets Government request that is against their Terms of Service. They enforce the latter around the world.
  • Twitter sometimes get state sponsored attacks on their system
  • Twitter opens offices in countries for economic reasons. It is purely business
  • Recent office is Jakarta, Indonesia. It has a lot of Twitter users. Opening in 6 months. It’s for sales n business development
  • Twitter does not have the ability to censor hashtags
  • Twitter’s transparency report is getting more detailed. We are trying to expand it more
  • Largest problem with removal of content is spam. Unsolicited commercial tweets
  • Twitter’s teams are highly trained to deal with sensitive content and not outsourced.
  • Intermediary liability – Twitter tries but their team is small. They usually work with other companies when dealing with other Government
  • When request comes n Twitter disagrees, Government will have to decide whether to get a Court order
  • New law in Turkey compels Twitter to take action within 4 hours failing which they may be blocked again – see Turkish Law No. 5651 (see page 6 Freedom House’s Report)
  • When we get a request for removal/user info, Twitter will notify user and let them choose to seek legal counsel eg Wikileaks
  • In US, Twitter user filed Court action against request for their information
  • SMS to Twitter service – Sudan delegate thinks Sudan government has blocked it.
  • Data localisation – our servers are only in the US. Surprisingly to Twitter it will put any servers in Russia
  • We also met some people from the public policy department of Google. We had an interesting discussion. From what I can remember:-

  • Google does not reveal user content in any circumstances unless due process is followed.
  • They engage Government quietly when dealing with controversial policies or laws. They usually don’t go direct but through an association. When I asked one of them about our #stop114A movement and why Google wasn’t openly opposing it, he said he couldn’t remember or perhaps they did engage the Government quietly.
  • Any Court order for user information or data must come from US Courts.
  • Google funds some civil society organisations.
  • They have someone in South East Asia to look at policies.

  • Dinner with Google

    We had dinner with the Google guys at a nice place called Cezayir, near Istiklal Avenue. We had to go through a long flight of a stairs to get to the restaurant.

    I think the most important part of the meeting was establishment of new networks. For example, if a Government decides to impose a new law that affects internet freedom, I can easily get in touch with the public policy department of the big boys to work something out.

    I spent most of my time with my ABA ROLI delegates (i.e the lawyers). I learned that Prof Harry does a lot of interesting work like challenging the constitutionality of Philippines’ Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and prosecuting those involved in the Maguindanao Massacre. Asep on the other hand was involved in the Indonesian case of Florence Sihombing. Florence was arrested and charged in Court after she posted a comment online insulting the city of Yogyakarta. Program Director of ABA ROLI, Mark, did a good job organising us. Mark will be moving to Bangkok from Washington to manage projects in the South East Asia. I am told that ABA has a Thailand office.

    I brought Mark, Prof Harry and Ei Maung around Istiklal Avenue when we attended Freedom House’s reception at the rooftop of Mama Shelter Hotel. There was a restaurant and bar on the roof top. However, there was only finger food so the four of us decided to have dinner nearby. I brought them to a place called Şampiyon Kokoreç to eat local Turkish food. I knew about the place cause Handan and Talip brought me the day before.

    3 of us – #wefie

    We saw a group of people protesting against the Israeli oppression of Gaza. They were holding hands and chanting.

    Turkish Coffee and Chai

    Turkish coffee is an acquired taste. It’s like light espresso with coffee residue. It’s thick and slightly bitter. Sugar is optional but there’s no milk. The thickness is caused by floating coffee grounds. I’m not a big fan of it but since I’m in Turkey, I made it a mission to drink it everyday. There’s a special way to make it. Coffee beans are grinded and then boiled.

    I bought some coffee beans back and made them into piccolo latte (double shot with some frothed milk). It still has the Turkish coffee taste but a little milder. It actually tasted better.

    Surprisingly, I prefer to drink their chai (black tea). It comes in a small glass and usually served after a meal. Sugar is optional. It’s refreshing.

    Touring Istanbul

    On my first night in Istanbul, Handan and Talip brought me to a kebab place called Kasibeyaz. We drove alongside the coast to get to the place. It reminded me a lot of San Francisco as the place was pretty hilly.

    The restaurant had a rather strange looking design. The walls were white and ceramic like. I was the only Asian there.

    Food was interesting. I had so much that I was about to explode. They ordered a drink called Raki, a famous Turkish alcoholic drink, for me. It’s colourless until you pour water on it. They kept the drink cool by putting it in a pot with ice. However, I didn’t like it because of the taste of sambuca. Sambuca brings back many terrible memories. Something to do with vomit going up my nose.

    We had baklava and Turkish ice cream for dessert. I love Turkish ice cream’s tough and gluey texture.

    We ended the night with Turkish coffee. We sat by the open area of the restaurant and it was pretty cold. The waiters gave us Kasibeyaz branded blankets to keep us warm.

    On the next day, Handan and Talip picked me up from the hotel to tour Istanbul city.

    We parked at Taksim Sq and walked along İstiklal Avenue. The avenue is a long and wide street with tall buildings covering every inch of the side walk. It reminded me of Vienna. Talip said that her grandma told him that people who walks on this street will dress their best. However, it’s no longer like that now.

    “People mountain, people sea” (人山人海) (Chinese proverb)

    Probably the narrowest shop on Istiklal Avenue

    #wefie on Istiklal Avenue

    The avenue is so long that it makes sense to take a tram.

    While on the avenue, I bought Turkish coffee beans and local chocolates. We even visited a small old mosque. I thought I couldn’t get into the mosque cause I’m not Muslim. Talip said that’s no such rule in Turkey.

    Handan and Talip recommended that I try this mussel and lemon. It was very nice.

    Once we got to the Galata Tower, we found that the queue was extremely long. I was told that there’s a great view of Istanbul up there

    So we walked to this place called Balkon which also has the same view. This place however has no queue and there was beer!

    Balkon is located on top of a building with unobstructed view of the city. I ordered Efes beer, a Turkish beer and had some peanuts.

    Few blocks from Balkon lies the second oldest subway station in the world called “The Tunnel”. We took the the subway to the Eminönü neighborhood. It was very, very short. Less than 2 minutes probably.

    You can see the tunnel quiet clearly and it was lighted brightly.

    We spent sometime looking the Eminönü neighborhood.

    We crossed the Galata Bridge to get to the other side. There were many people fishing and some even caught fishes. However, the fishes were pretty small. There were also stalls selling fishing wares.

    The Eminönü Mosque. It looks huge from outside but it’s actually quite small inside. It’s one of the many ancient mosques there.

    Great details on the design. Photography is allowed inside the mosque. Talip brought me into the mosque while Handan had to hang out outside cause she was wearing shorts.

    We had dinner at a place called Fasuli. It’s well known for its “dried beans”. It’s like oily baked beans to me. You can eat it with rice or pickles.

    I couldn’t finish it as I was full and jet lagged. Handan said that when she was a kid, her mother used to say that the amount of leftover rice represents the amount of children you will have. I told her that Chinese believes that amount of leftover rice represents the amount of pimples on your future spouse’s face.

    Dessert. Looks like creme brule but it’s actually condensed milk below. Very sweet.

    We ended the night at Dolmabahce cafe with Turkish coffee. This alfresco cafe is located next to the Dolmabahce Palace with a view of the Bosphorus strait. It’s packed with people and the seats are free for all. We literally had to fight for a seat.

    Handan and Talip told me that Turkish people sometimes read their fortunes from coffee residue. One has to flip the cup onto the plate and let the residue cool down. You can read about your future from the shape of the coffee stains.

    Few hours before my flight home, I met up with Handan and Talip for drinks during the evening. I visited Talip’s store at Osmanbei, a place where many clothing wholesale businesses gather. Talip’s family run a wholesale business and they sell their stuff to places like Russia and Ukraine.

    Osmanbei area

    They have really unique designs and they are apparently very popular in those countries (sold out!).

    This is part of their winter season collection.

    They design and produce their own clothes. They have an inhouse designer, tailor etc. This is where they cut their fabric.

    Talip’s shop. You can’t walk in to buy a piece by the way. They only do wholesale in this shop.

    First time holding this type of scissors. It is quite heavy.

    This is the name of their brand. Talip had kindly presented my wife one of their dresses.

    Here’s Talip waving goodbye to me. Real nice chap.

    Handan walked me to my hotel after that. While bidding farewell, she said kiss your baby for me. I wonder if this is a common expression in the Turkish language.

    Turkey gotta be one of my newest favourite place. I would love to come back here again with my family!

    P/S: You can read my day to day postings on Turkey on my Dayre.

    The first 4 months

    Livia’s first two months went on very quickly. We extended the services of our confinement lady, Mei Je, for two additional weeks. I must say it was a wise choice as we were not weighed down by Livia. However, after she left, my wife and I had to take care of Livia.

    Livia few days only

    I must say that Mei Je’s services were excellent. The stuff she cooked was tasty and she does housework for us. I had no problem with her. She even came back to take care of Livia when she was on a break after her next assignment.

    Livia slightly older than one month

    Our new Filipino helper, Elena, arrived before Mei Je left. The latter had some time to train Elena before she leave for another job. My wife and I took care of Livia exclusively after Mei Je left. Elena’s job was to do housework but she slowly took over our role on the third month. My wife’s maternity leave lasted for 4 months.

    10 days after her birthday, i registered her birth at the National Registration Department. The queue was pretty short. It took me only half an hour.

    Bathing Livia for the first time. My confinement lady guided me throughout the way. Livia poo-ed before I could put her in the tub. Nevertheless, she was quite cooperative and thus it was quite easy to bath her.

    I am glad that I started my own law firm. I became a stay home dad. I had plenty of time for Livia. The only drawback is that I can’t focus on my work much. It gets interrupted every hour. I guess that’s what you call Work Life Balance.

    Livia’s growth was pretty quick. At two months, she is taller than an average Asian baby. At 6 weeks, Livia started to interact and speak. Her first word was “Oo”. She mimicked me after I kept repeating the word “Oo”. At her 8th week, she could mimic the word “HI”.

    Slightly older than a month

    When she reached 3 months, she could interact with us. She would smile or laugh whenever we talk to her or tickle her. She would also mumble and make small gestures like scratching her ear to tell us something. The tone of her voice would also indicate what she wanted. A cough-like sound indicates that she wants to sleep.

    Speaking about sleep, Livia’s sleeping habit, like all babies, was erratic. She also wants to be carried to sleep. She wakes up every 1 to 2 hours for feed. We barely had enough sleep. Fortunately, it became better towards the end of the third month but wakes up at 3am – 4am once in a while and refused to sleep thereafter.

    We engaged our wedding photographer to shoot Livia’s newborn portrait. It was a terrible experience as Livia was crying most of the time. However, the pictures came out fantastic.

    Livia’s full moon party was held at Marmalade Cafe, Bangsar Village II. We had about 100 over guests. The party started from 11am to 3pm. We finished most of the food. I was busy catching up with some friends whom I have not seen for ages.

    Decorated by ThinkPartyThoughts!

    Part of the full moon gifts from friends.

    We brought Livia back to Kota Kinabalu to see her grandparents and grandaunt. Kota Kinabalu’s brunch and coffee craze just started hence we visited a few of the new coffee places like October Coffee House and Santola Coffee @ Kelombong. Mum in law took care of Livia while we were out. My father in law managed to get a bassinet for her. All he did was call the airline to book a bassinet.

    We brought Livia to Hippopo Baby Spa when she was 3 months old. We were hoping that she will enjoy the swim and massage. She enjoyed the first few minutes of it but burst into tears after that. Had to calm her down and call it off. Fortunately, we could redeem our payment for next time.

    Before we brought Livia to Singapore, we had to get her passport done at the Immigration Department at Jalan Duta. There’s a special lane for children at the department. We were pretty late hence we had to take Livia’s picture at the department. We had a hard time trying to get her to pose for her passport photo. Even the immigration officer helped. She was crying non stop until we fed her. After she calmed down, we quickly snapped a few shots. The best we got was a picture of her looking out from the camera. The others were pictures of her crying.

    Toward the end of her 3rd month, Livia’s interaction with people became more frequent. In fact, she craved too much attention sometimes. But she loves staring out the window so I put her in front of the window to kill time.

    Livia at 4 months old. Sigh, they grow up so fast!

    Echelon 2014

    This is my second time to echelon, a Asian tech startup event. But this time round, I brought my wife and Livia along. It was also Livia’s first time on the plane. I must say the trip with Livia to Singapore wasn’t as bad as I would imagine. She did cry once and pooped twice but it was something we could manage.

    We stayed in Goodwood Park Hotel – a 5 star hotel. We got it at a discounted rate. In the old days, I would stay in some dingy, inconvenient or far away hotel to save cost. But with Livia around, we made sure we stay at a good hotel. Goodwood Park was excellent. Room was big and service was good. It was about RM600 night. We opted out from breakfast which cost SGD30. I had breakfast at Far East Plaza, which is just next door, for SGD4.

    The event was held at Max Atria, Expo Drive. It quite far away for Singaporean standard. It’s an hour by train if I come from Orchard. Taxi ride was about 20 minutes.

    This year’s echelon is much more interesting. They spoke about mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the startup world and advertising in tech businesses. The key thing I picked up from the M&A talk is that one should get to know people early. Many big boys get to know the startups early and see them grow. When the startup is seen to have potential, the big boys can quickly and easily engage the startup for acquisition purposes.

    The speaker for the advertising in tech business aptly set out tech business models:- ecommerce, search (eg Google), social media (Facebook,  Twitter), eservices (eg Spotify), content publisher (eg CNN), content aggregator and gaming. All these models can be monetised with advertisements.

    Although I am not in the tech business, I find it very useful to attend such event. I have many tech related clients and it is very useful for me to understand their business especially their tech jargon and business models. I also get to educate clients on the latest updates and even educating clients who want to venture into the tech industry.

    Startup booths

    This year I do not have the company of Melissa (who is no longer in Perkpool) but Chong Yee, my patent attorney friend from Singapore. Together we went around the booths to hear startups pitch their business. This year they have startups from Kazakhstan. I find these startups most interesting:-

    Phonebooth – app that allows you to make free phone call to local businesses. Phonebooth will gather business phone numbers and list them on their App. Business owners may claim the number and place information and advertisements there. For example, a restaurant may place their menu.

    Honey Alarm – funny pitch from the founder. You can customise the alarm clock App to wake you up using recordings of their “sweet young thing” (SYT). The new version will allow users to purchase the newly listed SYTs. There may also be a new version to put your own recording such as your children or girlfriend.

    Worldjumper – a self learning translator. They will install a database which will learn your company’s patterns and behavior in translation.

    Ipselex – a software that simplifies patent searches for startups and businesses. Key in a product description and it will plow through patent specifications to see whether there are any similar products. Invented by a patent attorney, the software has semantic functions ie to have variation of term for each search term.

    Piroq – this is the first company I see commercialises Raspberry Pi. It is installed in a vehicle to track, for example, road conditions, location of vehicles.

    Typeform – A website which allows you to beautify your surveys, registration forms and other forms. Basicallly, a beautified version of SurveyMonkey.

    The French Celler – Users can get specially selected French wine by one of France’s best sommelier. Buy wine online

    At the end of the first day, all 10 most promising startups from a few countries from the Asia region pitched to win the most promising startup. I find these startups most interesting:-

    Candy – complete “missions” (micro-tasks) like downloading App to get free mobile calls or airtime.

    Publishizer – a pre-order ebook website. Author can post their ebook to get backers

    Hoverr – in-image advertisements – images are highly engaging to visitors. Most visitors ignore anything that looks like an advertiser – advertisement on top of images.

    Ambiclimate – device and App to regulate air condition temperature. Currently supports 7 brands of aircon.

    Viscovery – B2B visual based search – can be used to snap product and search it using Viscovery to purchase product – enable user to search their product quickly

    TaamKru – app for children to learn. Parents can compare results with other children based on, age, geography etc. In app purchase for more content. Winner of the echelon most promising startup.

    iChef – Taipei – highly customisable POS App for restaurants – you can vary and customise each items on the menu eg more noodles, less spicy or more soup.

    There was a session on the Malaysian startup scene moderated by Gabey Goh of Digital News Asia. Here Cheryl’s screensaver took over the screen. When the floor was open for questions, someone asked about corruption in Malaysia.

    I managed to catch up with some of two of my university mates namely Chuo Ming and Mitciao. The former has just joined another law firm whereas the latter is expecting a baby soon!

    Good to see friends progressing in life.

    Hong Kong, 2014

    After skipping the INTA conference at Dallas last year, I made a special appearance at International Trade Mark Association Conference (INTA) held in Hong Kong in May. It’s the first time INTA was held in Asia. Over 8500 people attended the event. This does not include those who did not register for the event including myself.

    The conference was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. I was here in 2009 to attend the Asian Patents Attorney Conference (APAA).

    Those who did not register are not allowed into the conference area. Nevertheless, many fixed their meetings at hotel lobbies such as Renaissance and Grand Hyatt or the cafes in or around the conference area.

    I did not fix many meetings. I only met people who I’ve worked with or know quite well. But I was fortunate to meet some friends who made impromptu outings to various receptions around Hong Kong.

    I touched down Hong Kong on Thursday and headed straight to my hotel at Wanchai. It’s called the Wharney Guang Dong Hotel. It’s a hotel along the red light district of Wan Chai. There were plenty of Filipino girls and mama-sans by a row of pubs soliciting business.

    I had only 4 meetings on my first day of conference. It was actually 5 meetings but I missed the first one cause I forgot to key it into my calender!

    My first meeting was at Man Ho Chinese restaurant at JW Marriot. It was a luncheon meeting jointly organised by a Thai and Hong Kong law firm. I guess I got invited because they help me out with some of my trade mark applications. I sat between a Singaporean lady and a Chinese Canadian lady. The latter told me that she forgot to bring her clothes from Canada because she was rushing to the airport. She had to do her shopping upon touchdown!

    I had dinner at a place called T Chu at Zen Too. Interesting food. I was invited by a Singapore patent attorney, Chong Yee and his wife. We had dinner with another friend of his and his wife. The former is a partner of Bird & BIrd, an international firm. His wife is a Malaysian. Small world!

    Since Umeng is coming to visit me from Macau on Sunday, I set aside a day to meet him and roam around Hong Kong.

    I met a friend of his whose mother owns a “Che Chai Mien (Little Cart noodles) restaurant. We took a train to Wong Tai Sin to visit this Little Cart Noodles shop.

    It’s located in a residential area surrounded by old apartments. The shop is a few steps away from Sheung Fung Street Market

    We had a peek of how the locals live.

    The shop, like many other Hong Kong eateries, is small. One has the go through the tight lanes to get a table.

    Umeng can’t wait for his food

    To get food, one has to line up to choose his or her dishes. We didn’t need to line up. Our friend chose the dishes for us.

    Little Cart Noodles is a mixture of all forms of animal “spare parts”. We had chicken feet, cow stomach, coagulated blood. It also has pomelo skin and radish.

    It comes with a bowl of noodles.

    The taste is interesting. Something I’ve never tried before. Pomelo skin tasted strange. Its texture look like cooked radish but it is soft and has a very distinct taste.

    While having our meal, we overheard some people talking about taufufah (taufu) noodles. Although we were pretty full, we dropped by the takeaway eatery that sells this taufufah noodles. I was told that this new eatery is owned by some guys who won a reality TV contest. Those guys pitched the idea of this eatery and won some cash to fund their business.

    The sweet gravy, however, overpowered the taste of taufafah. I don’t taste much of it. Noodles are a little bit tough for me.

    Umeng and I dropped by Mong Kok to kill time.

    We met my friend Erin at Central Station. Since it was Sunday, the place was packed with Filipino ladies and some Bangladeshi men. The ladies were hanging out by the curb and occupied every empty space. Even the stairs were occupied by them.

    At one corner, there was a small stage. A small group of Filipino ladies was dancing and singing. Other ladies were cheering and screaming for them.

    Erin brought us to Da Verm Climbing Club at Sai Ying Pun. We had to take the tram to get to this place. It rained halfway and all we had was Erin’s umbrella. I actually brought an umbrella all the way from Kuala Lumpur and of all days, I forgot to bring it when it rained heavily!

    We had to brave through the rain to get to Da Verm. Da Verm is a small indoor climbing gym. It consists of mainly bouldering walls. The surface of the wall is painted and smooth. Most of the walls are reclined walls thus making it difficult for new climbers. Umeng had to struggle quite a bit. Erin on the other hand was steady because she had been climbing since I started (about 10 years ago!).


    Free chalk!

    There’s a small training room in the gym. It has a peg wall. I could only get to one peg! My locking power is still quite weak! It also has a sandbag. It was great punching it again.

    Erin, Umeng and I ended the night with a workout set by Erin. It was so tough that we almost gave up halfway!

    We had dinner thereafter at Tsim Chai Kee. They are known for their wan tan mee. My three toppings noodles – fish balls, wanton and sliced beef – was tasty.

    Umeng stayed over my hotel as he has a meeting in Hong Kong the next morning. Here he said, “I’ll be there in a while, Honey”.

    I did not fix many meeting on Tuesday. In fact I had large gap after my 11am meeting. I thought of heading to the hotel for rest but I met Caroline, a Thai lawyer. We met many years ago in one of the many receptions. We had lunch and ended up meeting other lawyers from other countries for drinks and two other receptions. We even had the time to have Godiva ice cream at Queen’s Road East. I find it more enjoyable meeting people on randomly than having fixed meetings. The latter sometimes is too short.

    I wanted to meet a Japanese friend, Takeshi, but his schedule was completely full. One thing about Japanese lawyers is that they always have packed schedules. They are extremely systemised. I met one Japanese firm that has a script on what to discuss during meetings.

    I managed to squeeze in a meeting with Takeshi at a Korean law firm reception. We were hosted by a Korean lawyer who spoke impeccable nihon-go. She told us that she had studied Japanese in Korea. I was so impressed.

    We had one reception at Tott and Roof at Exclesior Hotel overlooking the Victorian Harbour. It was organised by Awapatent, a Swedish intellectual property firm with offices in 13 regional offices. It was founded in 1897 and in 2013, they have EUR 63,2 million in turnover. I was there for a short while before rushing to another meeting.

    I had to rush to Admirality train station to meet up with another friend in Conrad Hotel. He brought me up to a lounge on top of the hotel. Great view of Hong Kong as well.

    Once again, Nitin, my friend from India, and I met up for dinner and drinks. We dubbed it the India and Malaysia reception. I probably had 3 pints of Guinness. We managed to gather a number of people and even Erin and her friend, Chris, came to join us. We had friends from Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. We’ll probably make this a yearly event! We lasted until 1:30-am before heading home.

    This is a reception held by Kangxin, a Chinese firm held at The Hong Kong Jockey Club Happy Valley Racecourse. I visited some friends from Kangxin when I was in Beijing. I was put on a table with some lawyers from Korea and Israel. Interestingly, my Israeli friend was a tennis champion of Israel during his younger days.

    Halfway through the dinner, the firm held a contest where each table had to guess the winning horses. They then showed a pre-recorded horse race and the winner is based on the result of the pre-recorded race. We didn’t win of course.

    I left Hong Kong a day earlier. Getting to the airport was a breeze. I only need take a train to Central and then another train to the airport. I’m glad I made a trip to Hong Kong.

    Next INTA, San Diego!

    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.

    Goodbye Proton, Hello Mazda 6!

    After driving a Proton car for 15 years, I finally said goodbye to this brand. My 5 years old Proton Saga was traded in for Mazda 6 2.0. It certainly cost a lot more but as a businessman now, I would need to drive a nicer car. Furthermore, my Proton Saga was falling apart thus it was the right time to change it.

    It was also a business decision. As the car is purchased for the use of my law firm, I am entitled to claim capital allowance. This would mean less tax!

    No doubt the car was a good buy. It comes with fuel saving Skyactive technology and various electronic features. Very spacious, the drive is smooth and fuel consumption is great. I think all I have for this car is praises. I guess any car seems better after driving a Proton for 15 years!

    My father had always discouraged me to buy an expensive car. That is why I have been driving a Proton all these years.

    My Proton Saga was purchased by my car salesman for his sister’s use. It was difficult to get a good price. I bought it for RM45,000. 5 years later, I could only sell it for RM16,000. The offers I got were around RM12, 000 to RM14, 000. I am told that the low price is due to Proton offering discounted prices for their new Saga cars.

    The only complaint I have of my Mazda 6 is that it doesn’t have some very basic features.

    There is no spare tyre and no auto lock (when the car is moving). There’s no button at the driver’s seat to open to boot!

    Since the car quite long, I also can’t park my car in my porch as the road infront of my house is very narrow. If someone parks infront of my gate, I won’t be able to drive my car out. When I had my Proton Saga, I usually bump into such car to get out. Now I have to park my car outside the house. Hope it doesn’t get stolen!

    I showed my new car to my client and he said, “Finally, you look like a lawyer!”

    Welcome to this world, Livia!!

    At about 2am, I woke up hearing my wife groaning in pain. We thought it was just contraction pain and it may go away later. We were scheduled to meet our gynae the next morning.

    However, the pain became unbearable and we came to the conclusion that my wife is going in labour. We were not sure because her water has not broke. Nevertheless, we packed our bags and headed straight to Pantai Hospital Bangsar. I brought my dSLR along.

    I dropped her at the emergency counter and headed straight to the parking lot. When I got to the emergency counter, my wife was not there. I was told that she had been brought to the maternity ward.

    The hospital was almost empty at that time. There were some guards but most of them were sleeping (one was snoring loudly). I wandered around the corridors before finding the maternity ward. There I found my wife on the bed. We were told that our gynae, Dr Patrick Chia, was on the way.

    I must thank the person who invented epidural. Within a few minutes the pain went away. Nevertheless, we had to wait for the cervical dilation and I slept on the hospital chair. I had a sore bum a few hours later.

    I drove out from the hospital to have lunch and check on our house. I returned to the hospital after taking a short nap at home.

    We were planning to have natural birth but we abandoned the plan as our baby’s head was not in the proper position. We had to go for cesarean birth instead. It all happened in a jiff. Within minutes, my wife was wheeled to the operation room.

    I had to change to hospital clothes and had to wait in a room.

    I took this picture and posted it on Instagram.

    Few minutes later, I was escorted to the operation room. By the time I was in the room, the doctors and nurses have started operating on my wife. The room was spacious and cold.

    She said she didn’t feel any pain. The doctors and nurses seem to be having a hard time pulling our baby out. I think there were 5 people trying to get the baby out.

    At 1:43pm on 1st April 2014, Foong Livia was born. She was 3.5kg.

    The nurse immediately brought Livia to another table to clean her up. She wiped blood off her and clamped her umbilical cord. She also cut off Livia’s excessive cord and packed it into a bag.

    I then pointed to a bowl filled with blood to the nurse.

    “Is that the placenta?”



    Livia was then brought to the nursery. I escorted her there while the doctors were patching my wife up. Livia was crying and seems to be shivering from the cold. I held her arms and feet to warm her up.

    A nurse gave her 2 injections and she shrieked a little. After spending some time with her, I went back to our ward, C325, to check on my wife. She was no where to seen. I waited an hour and yet still no news about her. I got worried as the doctors and nurses were a bit rough on her. I later found out that she spent some time in the recovery room.

    My wife’s second aunt and grandma were waiting at the lounge. They too were eagerly waiting for the arrival of my wife and Livia.

    We were swamped with visitors for the first few days. Many brought gifts. Many thanks to those who came.

    Livia had jaundice. We had to put her under ultraviolet light.

    Livia and I before we left for home.

    Livia opened her eyes on the second day. Here we are having a staring contest.

    Wife was discharged on Friday and drove her and Livia home immediately. I’ve never driven so slow in my life.

    We immediately picked up our confinement lady, Mei Che. She had been a great help. I wouldn’t know what we would do without her. She cleaned, cooked and took care of Livia for us.

    My routine didn’t change much but my wife’s routine turned 360 degrees. Livia is being breastfed and she wants her milk every 1 – 3 hours. Sometime my wife takes an hour to feed Livia!

    The feeling of being a father is a feeling that I’ve never felt before. Whenever I think of my little one, I feel joy in my heart.

    It’s great to be a father!