Finally after 47 years, we celebrate 16th Sept as the day Malaysia was created. Perhaps there are too many public holidays in Malaysia, but I suppose this one is a fairly important one (though I still feel the declaration is politically motivated to woo Sabah/Sarawak votes).
I recall 16th September 1999. 11 years ago, I was called to the Bar, admitted & enrolled as an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya. My Call was moved by Ms Evelyn Wan, whom I am made to understand have retired from practise. She is a pleasant lady and was very warm and friendly. Her office at Ampang was beautiful, an extension room off her bungalow home.
My Master Ms Ho Chee Kit was there too that day. She is such a busy practitioner, that it was a pleasant surprise to hear that she could make it for the Call, that day. My 'real' Master was Mr Yeoh Chong Keng. Under him, I received much training about the basics of Banking litigation. Till today, much that I learnt from him, I still use. His PA, Ms Janet was also an important person, as she guided me of the nitty gritty administration of a File. No use being a smart lawyer, if one cant manage his/her file properly. Janet thought me that.
Surprisingly I recall I was very calm on the Call day. I had invited all my very close friends to attend, and I was so happy when all of them came, despite it was a working day. Many of them took half day leave just to be there. I felt honoured. Soon Seng, Seng Leong, Chow Hoong, Chee Seng, Yee Meng, Sze Meng, Theam Hock and of course, Yip 'siputeh' were all there.
My call was moved before KC Vohrah J. He is such a respected Judge that being called before him was an honour by itself. I recall I sat at a corner waiting to be called. The Court then was at Wisma Denmark, at Jalan Ampang. There were 2 rows for the Pupils to sit, and I was seated behind.
I was wearing the new Suit I just tailored from Sparks Manshop (Tak Kalah, Gaya mesti ada). This chap seated next to me was very nervous and was shivering. I had to calm him down and after a few minutes, he looked ok.
In fact, I was so relax and calm, that after the Call, the Registrar (who was seated next to the Interpreter) that day, ticked me off as she felt I was sloshing on the chair and looked too relaxed.
Finally after a few other Petitions were heard, my Petition was finally called. Ms Wan stood up and read a short speech about me. I had drafted a very short one, but Ms Was (after chatting with me) added in a few more stuff into it. Looking back, I felt I should have made more mention of my Parents. My Thanks to my parents were recorded that day, but perhaps I should written a little bit more of them, their sacrifices and hard work to ensure I made it to that day.
On that point, I recall turning back and saw the smile of pride on Father's face when KC Vohrah J moved my Petition and granted the order to admit and enroll my name as an Advocate & Solicitor. There was no doubt that the pride that he and Mother felt that day, was immense. My sister was there too, and she too was an important person for me. I recall how pleased I was that all 4 of us were in Court, but not because we were suing each other, but to see one of us get Called to the Bar.
We had a small makan at the canteen opposite Wisma Denmark. It was a joyful occasion and with family & friends around, it was a day I will never forget.
Now, it's been 11 years since I was called to the Bar. 11 years. Wow, cant believe that I am still doing what I am doing. It is getting more & more difficult to stay as a lawyer. What with the KPI at Courts, all kind of new rules at the Land Office/Stamp Duty Office/Local Authorities etc etc. Staff to lead and keep happy. More Subscription to pay for the Bar. The Service Tax issues, the EPF to be paid, the Accounts to be maintained.
I suppose every Senior lawyer went through what I am going through now. So cant really complain. Not sure if I will still be a lawyer in 11 years time, but one thing is for sure, it has been one hell of a ride the last 11 years.
Bring on the next 11.