Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Special Day in Memory

Act III of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" by William Shakespeare has changed the course of my life...

"And why not death, rather than living torment?
To die is to be banish'd from myself;
And Silvia is myself: banish'd from her,
Is self from self: a deadly banishment!
What light is light, if Silvia be not seen?
What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by?
Unless it be to think that she is by,
And feed upon the shadow of perfection.
Except I be by Silvia in the night,
There is no music in the nightingale;
Unless I look on Silvia in the day,
There is no day for me to look upon;
She is my essence; and I leave to be,
If I be not by her fair influence
Foster'd, illumined, cherish'd, kept alive.
(the rest is omitted since it is irrelevant to the "course")

~ Valentine, scene i"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is There A Formula For Good Marriage?

I have walked some men and women through their respective divorces. I suppose most of them came to me with an unrealistic expectation that I could advise them on family law and divorce proceedings, albeit my specialization in a different area of law. The irony is that, notwithstanding that family law is always an interesting subject, I had deliberately shunned it as I would never wish to assist any couple to go on separate ways. Perhaps it is the hopelessly romantic nature in me, longing to see blissful and long lasting marriage "till death that do us apart".

The bright side of it? For the sake of helping my dear friends, I have slowly acquired some basic knowledge on family law.

Would those experiences haunt me mentally and emotionally? Would that plant a seed of phobia in me?

That was one incident that affected me so intensely that I wept over it. To the extent that my Queen's Counsel was puzzled whether I was ever "married" (what?!!) to someone else before. Perhaps the mixed feelings of anger, sorrow and frustration (which shall not be too different from a breakup though to a lesser degree) were overwhelming, not to mention the fear of uncertainties that lie ahead for me. It is particularly heart-wrecking to hear from a party who has done his or her best to preserve the marriage, nurture good children and/or maintain the household to its best condition. One cannot help but to wonder, what is love all about? Is there a formula for a good, healthy and long lasting marriage? Why are love, hard work and sacrifice not well rewarded with happy ending?
As a woman, I am constantly struggling the tug-a-war of career and relationship. A woman who works hard in office is more likely to attain success in her career; unfortunately she who does the same at home may not end up in a blissful marriage! Why is that so? Which one is a better "investment" for a woman? Career or marriage?
My answer to it? Hmmm... perhaps the key is to strike a balance to well juggle all aspects of your life, which I believe that the liberalization conferred upon the ladies have also opened up loads of challenge ahead of us - rewarding career, blissful marriage (or relationship), nurturing good kids, financial independence, maintaining good friendships, cultivating personal interests, and never ever forget the importance of keeping fit, healthy, fashionable and HOT*!

In the event anyone of the above fails, especially marriage, we have other things to cling on to before it tears us apart. Gone are those unfair bondage that calls for 100% devotion to the family!

*You know what I mean if you Google search for "Helen Mirren in Bikini"!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Become A Fan of Coldplay Overnight!

On 18 July 2008, without much anticipation but in the name of "love", QC and I went for Coldplay's concert at HP Pavilion, San Jose. I always love some of their songs such as "The Scientist" and "Yellow" but I was never crazy for them.

Watch this video and you will know why I became their fan overnight... they were absolutely brilliant! Look at how perfect the lighting was synchronized to the beats of "Viva la Vida". An audience of more than 5000 people just went head over heels for them singing along!

The next day, I listened to nobody but Coldplay!

P/s: Since I used a W580i Sony Ericsson to film it, the video quality may not be too great. I regret not recording the full song :(

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Marriage v. Singlehood

I always wonder ~ has God created human beings to live in pair? You will probably convince me with the story in Genesis about how Adam was created by God first, and Eve was subsequently made out of his rib cage to be his companion. That is fine. In that case, it may explain why we are all expected to be married when it comes to our full adulthood. And if you are believer of the Bible, Quran or Torah that endorse the above theory, your spouse has to be an opposite sex!

But then again, is it really doomed to be single? Let's see some of the main concerns, based on my reading and personal experience thus far, for being a single and not attached to a partner*:-

1. In the social aspect, we tend to lose friends as we grow older, especially if you are more of an introvert (like me). If you fail to make new friends, the resulting loneliness leads to, among others, heart disease and depression.

2. In the Oriental society, a single person is always perceived to be an "abnormal" or "unhealthy" outcast. He or she may even be labelled as a "kidult" who dreads full adulthood which also spells more commitments and responsibilities.

3. Women are generally prone to suffer from depression due to their monthly hormonal experience. Scientific research has proven that sexual contact and emotional intimacy with a man help to uplift a woman's mood hence the finding that a happily married woman is always caring, jovial and enthusiastic about life. BBC has reported a medical finding that a married person lives a healthier and happier life than a single. On the other hand, a single lady may not have such indulgence and therefore she is susceptible to mood swing and depression.

4. A single person may have less financial burden to live by but he or she also does not have the benefit of getting financial support from his or her spouse.

5. A married person may have a more fulfilling life if he is happily married. A man is healthier with his wife looking after his diet and physical needs. A woman has her husband to listen to her fret and whine that helps to her release her emotions.

And the list goes on.

(disclaimer: I have no intention to demean a person's choice to be a single. Rest assured that I empathise those struggle that one has to go through to make (or be forced to make) this decision...)

But then again how do you explain the heartache caused by the emotional distress from break-up or divorce? A disastrous marriage is proven to jeopardise a person's well-being 10 times more than the distress of being single. I shall talk about this issue in my other posting.

Having said that, I have some counter-arguments to defend the benefits of being a single as follows:-

1. A single person has full control over his life. He does not have to scratch his head worrying about sufficient income to support his spouse. She can always spend her money on fashion, accessories or SPA treatments that she fancies without any sense of guilt.

2. A single person can focus on his career without the distraction from a spouse. She can stay at back till late and thereafter proceed to the club for a girls' night-out.

3. A single person may still devote her love to care for the underprivileged in the orphanage or old folks' home.

4. A more sexually adventurous person has all the benefits to pursue his sexual freedom without the pain of being condemned for cheating and adultery. Certainly, no legal obligation to take care of his wife and kids too. Lots of "diamond bachelors" probably enjoy this sort of philandering lifestyle hence the fear of marriage.

5. A single person can spend most of her time pursuing her life passion or rather, a second nature that she hopes to explore. She would rather spend her youth on globe-trotting than caring for the family.

And this list is not exhaustive too.

I suppose the choice of your marital status is really something personal subject to your own set of circumstances. Not every married person is happy, neither is the single person unhappy about his life. Who are we to pass any judgement upon your choice?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Addicted to Globetrotting...

I love travelling! By God's grace, I have been to many places, mainly the developed nations, since university days. Not that I was loaded but I had met many kind souls who allowed me to crash out in their apartments :p. I would like to thank all these people here ~ my parents (who sponsored my education in Cardiff), Nicholas and Joe (my cousins who used to live in Melbourne), my auntie and Steven Leung (in London), Luca (in Rome), JLPW (annual firm trip) and my Queen's Counsel :)

All the places listed above are unique to me:-

1. Melbourne is a preferred place to live with its vibrant city life, surrounded by its lush countryside.
2. London is one of the best cities for a pilgrim of international art and culture.
3. Rome is a classic beauty that you can never resist despite the crowd and the traffic congestion.
4. Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world.
5. Barcelona presents very unique and fascinating contemporary art and architecture.
6. Cardiff used to be my second home - still miss her to bits after all these years!
7. San Jose is where my Queen's Counsel lives ~ always feel comfy there.
8. San Francisco is the forerunner for all sorts of cultural movements e.g. hippies.
9. Ubud is surprisingly beautiful with its Balinese art and culture.
10. Anaheim is where my birthday dream came true in 2007 ~ visiting Mickey Mouse and friends!

The above list is subject to changes as I get to see more of the world. I should probably explore more of Asia in the future with my Queen's Counsel. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

A New Malaysia

I have never felt so excited before!

Right after casting my vote on 8 March 2008, I went into my chamber of hibernation, patiently waiting for the election results. As the Election Committee was gradually making its announcements, I experienced boosts of adrenalin that got me so excited that I could not sleep till 6am in the morning! All the ground-breaking defeats of Barisan Nasional's strongholds have made me believed that, "Don't play play! The ordinary MALAYSIANS (like you and me, minus off the bad guys) really BOLEH!!" Though we look tame and obedient (thanks to the controlled media) most of the times, we will stand by our rights when the time comes! That is the best illustration of "still water runs deep"!

I am especially glad to see more intellectually qualified individuals like Nurul Izza, Tony, Sivarasa, Lim lip Eng and Gorbind Singh moving into our Parliament House to speak for us. The solemnity of parliamentary debates on national policies shall be immediately restored. Let's hope no more obscene remarks on "leakage" and "tunnel"!

Thanks to all the voting Malaysians who has graciously performed their duties. For the apolitical or apathetic eligible but unregistered Malaysians, I hope that you will wake up one day and drag yourself out of your "comfort" zone to register and vote in the next election. Politics is not "dirty" or irrelevant. It is crucial to determine your well-being in this country, not only for yourself but your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. If you choose to be ignorant, you may lose your "comfort" sooner or later.

Thank God I am not dreaming ~ the opposition has successfully denied 2/3 majority of Barisan Nasional!

P/s: This is only the beginning. Let's seize this opportunity and make Malaysia a better place to live!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Dialogue Between An MCA Member and I

As the battle between YB Chew Mei Fun ("Chew") and Tony Pua ("Tony") is heated up in PJ Utara ("PJU"), issue arises as to which is a better candidate to fights for our rights in the Parliament. Please see below a recent conversation I (as SV) had with an MCA member who suggested that credits should be given to some good MCA candidates, including Chew:-

SV says,

I have no doubt that there are good Barisan Nasional ("BN") candidates but if we want to see betterment of Malaysia, we need to make the right choice for a balance. Even if they have done something to develop their respective constituencies, it is their duty to make good use of our taxpayers’ money. Why do we have to live at their mercy? I especially abhor to the idea of “For development? Vote BN”. Is BN holding the"Rakyat" (means citizen in Malay language) at ransom? Every single cent is our hard-earned money!

On a separate note, if you have access to Tony’s blog, please go have a look on the separate interviews by Malaysiakini with Tony and Chew. I was surprised by the lack of competence on the part of Chew. I personally have high regards for Chew but I suspect that she still has a long way to go to better herself as an Member of Parliament ("MP") (if she still is after this election). Comparatively Tony is more eloquent with better ideas to improve PJU and this nation at large. I was especially disgusted by what Chew commented about Tony. Tony used to be my client and I can verify that he is definitely not a “bubble economist”. On a fair and professional battle ground, each candidate should come out with good and sound manifesto to improve our life but not personal attack. And a personal attack without proper research is 10 times worse than that. Hillary Clinton may be losing her support due to such hideous campaigning tactic.

By the way, I don’t side any party until I have made my own assessments.

MCA member says,

Thanks for your feedback.

Everyone has their viewpoint on national concerns. In reality, however, the people on the ground (think those people who have lesser than you or me in terms of access or resources) they have different needs and wants. That explains why our MPs have been saddled with ADUN (meaning local council) duties too. Don't believe? Go to any lesser places and check with the people there. Hear what they say of MPs who don't look into their "longkang" (means drain in Malay language) issues. They don't give a hoot to MPs to focus on talking only in Parliament as they want their daily grapples with life issues handled fast. These people makes up the majority of the have nots or have lesser who normally swing the votes for a constituency. That's why, it is important to look at the constituency, its condition, its people, level of engagement in local / national interest. Unfortunately, the intelligentsia tends to only talk about problems. A creative solution and carry through is needed from all parties. And so, we wait and wait and wait for someone to do it...

Yeah, I've read the Malaysiakini interview. Everyone knows Chew's weak point is economics. But to keep on at this weak point is a bit like hitting someone's tender loin to cripple the body. On the other side, Tony also has his weak points - lack of achievements for the work he has done so far in his 2 years in politics. Yes, he has raised issues, that's fine. Would love to see results. Politics is a sport. Let the best be voted/decided by the people=voters of the particular constituency. Non PJU voter like me have no part to play to impose our higher concerns on national issues on these people, but we can help educate them to by giving them 2 or 3 or 4 sides of the argument (one eg is: to let them see and hear direct from the horse's mouth). Let them form own opinion and let their collective wisdom decide on voting day.

SV Says,

Please read the article as appended below ("Thoughts From Government Talk" which is presented by a blogger named ZEWT - this article accurately points out that Malaysia is in the state of lawlessness whereby corrupted perpetrators in Malaysia could also turn around and prosecute you if you dare bring them to justice and anyone opposing to the government can be jailed without first going trial). I think it speaks for itself the reason why I should look into a bigger picture and not merely “longkang” and street lights. All I would say is that, every person plays a role to ensure that a country is well run i.e. the city council takes charge of local issues whilst the MP contributes his thoughts in the parliament. I am not saying that an MP should turn away when his people go to him for help. He can always delegate such duty to the right person to do the job.

Both our parliament and judiciary are in the state of great shame. If we continue to only care about nitty-gritty, the people will never understand the different roles of ADUN and MP, and continue to tolerate the inefficiency of local council, the uprising crime rate and inflation etc. If this persists, what is Vision 2020 for Malaysia?

Someone has suggested the following (definitely not me, I just copied it from somewhere):-

"Someone suggested a brilliant idea:
I grew up in PJU area and have been in the area for more than 30 years. In 2004 I believed Chew can do a good job (which I think she did if she was the local council and yes I agree she is hardworking) but today being a little smarter and not believing in everything the NST (New Straits Times), Star (almost puked everyday seeing the BN ads) etc says... I think Tony IS a better candidate for PJU. And we do need more capable people with intellect and not be "scared of UMNO (United Malays National Organisation, the leading party in BN) in case they chop me off their peer list" type of people to fight for the people. My suggestion is that to vote (ok, it's an appointment for now) Chew into local council and keep up the good work while we send Tony as the MP to do what a MP should be doing. Conclusion:-1) Tony for PJU MP2) Chew for PJU Local Council. Don't get me wrong Chew, you are still a nice and hard working person. But I would still use a qualified surgeon to operate me rather than a nice and hardworking person. Same principle goes to who we send to the parliament. I would rather send someone who knows the issues at large and fight for the rights of the people than sending a nice and hard working person to the parliament."

By the way, I don’t think you need to be an economist to understand that (i) Dr M, Pak La, Najib and Nazri had declared Malaysian an Islamic state; and (ii) NEP (National Economic Policy) is never abolished.

MCA member says,

Malaysia would be a world power we can have people on the ground all levels of exposure and education who can reason like you.

We've to work harder to connect all the dots.

I believe that some MCA members with good conscience are aware of all the current issues haunting the nation. I just hope that BN will stop speaking in denial (just note the campaigning slogans), wake up and stop the rot... oops is it ever going to happen? Am I dreaming ?