Something about the devil...

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Written on 4/30/2007 07:38:00 am by sikapitan

Sometimes, people ask me why I bother supporting Manchester United. It’s not that these people are against Man United, but they can’t understand the whole rationale of supporting a football club, especially one as far away as Man United. Actually, the people who ask these questions don’t watch sports, thus they cannot comprehend the benefit of supporting your favorite sport’s athlete, player or team.

The worst thing about being asked silly questions is the fact that there’s no outright answer. Why do I support a football club? Why do I enjoy watching football? Why does Manchester United mean so much to me? Why do I get into arguments over it? Why do I piss my parents off so many times because of my desire to watch the beautiful game with fellow fans till late at night?

It’s not as simple as telling people why you like a Porsche or a Beemer or an Audi. I mean, you can have a reason for THAT, because it’s something tangible, something physical that you can relate to your daily routine. “I like the Porsche because it sticks to the road like a leech” or “I prefer the Avanza because you can travel all over Malaysia with 7 people and still be back in the same day…”. I mean, it’s explainable.

How do you explain getting emotional over events that have NOTHING to do with you (unless you’re a betting man, which means that you have a financial reason for watching football, which actually is an easy explanation to give)? It gets harder when you’re one of those fans who are willing to spend some money buying jerseys, posters and stuffs like that. What’s in it for you?

For me, the easiest way to explain the joy of supporting a football club is to bring these detractors along for a game…especially games like Everton v. Manchester United last weekend. The utter frustration of being down 2-0 with 30 minutes left on the clock, coupled with Chelsea leading 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, caused grown men to look as if death had just walked in, had a seat, and started dealing out poker cards.

I bet for those who has never watch a match with football fans would be surprised at the utter silliness of it all…and yet they would certainly find it hard to leave their seat. It’s not the football itself that counts for much. It’s the emotional attachment, unexplained yet all too evident, that makes watching football and supporting a team all too addictive. Old men, young boys, cool teenagers, fashionistas, rempit, bohsias…football fans represent the entire gamut of our population. I bet they’re more people watching the Everton v. Man U and/or Chelsea v. Bolton last weekend than they were people voting in Ijok (not too hard to accomplish…).

Just like some segment of our population’s passion for reality tv stars, or the star-struck teen with Justin Timberlake’s poster, football fans passion for the game could be traced to one important factor – football is entertainment. It doesn’t matter if the team plays attractive football or not. I mean, if people could vote for Dafi…then there’s nothing weird if someone supports Bolton.

Speaking of Bolton, they managed to grab an equalizer at Stamford Bridge. Then Everton’s goalie made a blunder for O’Shea to score (again!) and gave hope for the millions of United fans all over the world. Along comes Christiano Ronaldo, who then rose above the Everton defense to nod down a powerful header towards goal. The ball seems to hang on the line for a while before another long-life member of the Red Devils, (albeit wearing the Everton jersey these days) Mr. Philip Neville, scored an own goal of comical proportions that it would surely caused Jose Mourinho to drum up another line of conspiracy theories.

2-2 at both stadiums. But that’s not the end of it, as Wayne Rooney expertly skipped the challenge of Hibbert then coolly placed the ball between Turner and the despairing Alan Stubbs into the far corner. 3-2 to United, and suddenly, from being level on points, Manchester United had a 5 point lead. Rooney wrapped up an impressive performance by setting up Chris Eagles, who gleefully accepted the chance to open his senior account with Manchester United.


News filtered in that Chelsea failed to beat Bolton. We celebrated like mad men. It wasn’t pretty, I know. But football seldom is. That’s the beautiful game for you. Go figure.


Full highlight of the Match...
Everton v. Manchester United
28 April 2007

Keep your hands off my girl...

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Written on 4/24/2007 06:47:00 pm by sikapitan

I'm just testing out to see whether there's any connection between me posting Corrine Bailey Rae's video with the missing Haloscan comment box for the previous entry on love.

Apparently there is, so leave comments for the previous post in this one, if you have any...

Love is like a car, no?

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Written on 4/24/2007 12:11:00 am by sikapitan

It’s a fact of life that people fall in love. The trouble with that proposition is that not many can actually describe what love is. I don’t mean describing it in a dictionary sense, but rather what actually constitutes that loving feeling inside of you. It certainly isn’t automatic, at least not in terms of a parent-child relationship.

Of course there are those who believe that a parent would automatically love their child, but in a world where children are being exploited, either sexually or emotionally, I find that concept hard to believe.

This means that love must be something that people work on, something that isn’t natural but rather induced by a myriad of factors including our own eccentricities, likes and dislikes. But that wouldn’t explain how someone could fall in love with their complete opposites, would it? If you like to read books, what makes you love someone who doesn’t?

Opposites attract, but why? And even then it’s not necessarily true. I even doubt that it could ever be measured in any physical sense. For example, a fat guy and a thin girl falls in love. Opposites attract, no? Or have they dismissed their one dissimilarity to find countless other common interests?

What about those who look exactly the same, have the same hobbies, and even talk the same way? Now the same people who say opposites attract would say that the couple was meant to be together because of their similarities. Or is it because they have found in each other different quirks that they find appealing? Could it be in a sea of similarities, it's the differences that actually tie these people together?

In fact, how do you know that you’re actually in love? A sense of responsibility can also be construed as love, as do pure physical attraction. I’ve met people who say that they’re in love, madly deeply in love, but quarrel every day. They admitted that it hurts when they quarrel. How can love, if interpreted to mean that warm fuzzy feeling, be equivalent to things which caused harm to your soul?

Or do some people really find that warm fuzzy feeling from verbal assault, or even more extreme, BDSM kind of fetish? Which leaves us back to square one, how do you define, or even identify love?

I am in love. But what people believe to constitute love – compassion, patience, honesty, monogamy and other virtues too long for me to mention – is sometimes missing in me, and I do believe it will in the future, only to resurface back again if I am patient enough to work on it. I guess that’s why some people (or most people in today’s world) choose the easy path and say that they’ve fallen out of love, because they equate the lack of one component to a total failure of the whole concept of love. Thankfully, I don’t, and neither does my partner.

Men are prone to saying that they are no longer in love with their partner, simply because they are no longer attracted to them, whether physical or not. But that is just one aspect of having a relationship, isn’t it? Love can still go on when you hate the look of you partner, right?

Or am I correct in saying that love is something like a car? To keep you moving and heading towards your destination, you need the various parts of the car to perform its function. Sometimes you lose parts like side view mirror, or the wiper, or the seat cushions are all torn up, but the car still moves along, right? But what if you were to lose a tire, or if the engine is broke…should you still stay in the car or find another one?

Some may find that looks are as important as those seat-belt warning chimes, and some may think that looks are the fuel to drive their car forward. It’s up to us to find out what equates to the windshield wiper, and what constitutes the engine, in our relationship. At this moment, I kind of think I'm in a BMW M5 – gorgeous (yes, we are quite vain as a couple) yet understated, extremely quick (I still think she's sexy, even after 6 years) yet comfortable just puttering around town, expensive (ah, but what if I don't have the money?) yet still affordable and most importantly, built to last. I'm honest enough to admit it might suddenly lose a tire, or the gearbox in the future (most likely because of me...I blame my genes!!!), but nobody said you can’t repair a car, right?

p/s: Sometimes I feel the need to drive cars like the Bugatti Veyron (why must you be soooo gataaaallll...)…but it’s way too expensive for me, isn’t it?

This one's for my lover...
/


Corrine Bailey Rae's Just Like a Star

Something about death...really...

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Written on 4/21/2007 12:09:00 pm by sikapitan

Death hits you like a bullet train. But unlike those supersonic Japanese bullet-trains, death doesn’t have a ticket. Actually, it does, but you don’t have it with you. It doesn’t announce itself on the intercom (though the thought of a woman’s voice calling you out for the last time is pretty sexy…yet strangely scary…blame Jangan Pandang Belakang), but sometimes you get to see it coming, though I don’t actually know if it’s a good thing or bad. The train arrived to pick up my grandma last Tuesday morning after a bit of a delay, though this time no one could or should start staging pickets demanding better service and efficiency.

As stated in the previous entry, my grandma was in coma since Friday. I came back from Penang on Sunday. I went back to work on Monday. It was kind of surreal, especially when there’s a bit of a scandal involving some shortfall in the collection of legal fees…in the words of the great Shaggy, it wasn’t me. I came back early to get ready for UiTM’s Annual Law Dinner. Frankly, I wasn’t up for it, but I’ve made the commitment months ago.

While I was getting ready (surprisingly a subdued experience, in fact I was rather uninspired, which is unbecoming of a metrosexual), my parents informed me that they had to leave for Penang as my grandma’s condition was getting worse. They said I should go for the dinner, and if anything comes up they would inform me. I insisted that I at least send them to the airport, which they agreed.

One observation about the road to KLIA – abolish the speed limit! In fact, I would dare say that to keep within the speed limit is more dangerous. Why? It’s freaking boring, and when you’re bored you get sleepy, especially considering that the road to KLIA is almost slippery smooth and straight. The way back is usually worse – which is why I thank God for the smooth as silk four-pot German engineering marvel underneath the hood and the excellent surround speakers belting out tight tunes to keep me awake, and ultimately, alive.

The dinner was weird. Firstly, I have never seen my girlfriend sing at a function (I’ve missed her previous performances) even though we’ve been together for 6 years and she’s seen me countless times and yet on that night I get to see my girlfriend sing 3 different songs (maybe more) in public. I have to say she could even win one of those reality shows without breaking a sweat, especially if she gets to sing those melancholic Indon ballads that I love so much all the time. She’s brilliant, in more ways than I could ever describe…

Secondly, everyone knows we’re getting married at the end of this year, which is a problem actually, because I wasn’t planning on inviting everyone (in particular, one person whose name shall not be mentioned until 2008, at least). Thirdly, I had this nagging sense that all’s not well, which kinds of brings to head the whole contradiction theme going on in my mind. I had fun, but it’s a kind of fun that kinds of sticks on the throat – I kept thinking “what if this were the last thing I see?”

I’m glad my girlfriend was with me when I received the call from my sis close to midnight. I knew something’s was up. And that something was death. My grandma was still alive at that moment, but it was inevitable. I had instructions to book flight tickets for me and my two siblings for the next morning. It wasn’t a sleepless night, and to say otherwise would have hypocritical and dishonest. In fact I slept rather well, but my deep slumber was disturbed by a telephone call around 5 in the morning. Grandma had passed away…

We were her grandkids, but it’s not fair nor true to say how sad and blue I was on Tuesday morning. I kept myself busy with the travel arrangements, and we had a few laughs along the way. She’s old, and we knew it’s going to come anyway. It wasn’t a depressing trip. The mind is a wonderful thing, the way it influences how our body reacts to emotions.

So I made another trip from Penang International Airport. I kept thinking, could this be the last time I come to Penang? I mean, the only reason we go back to Penang every year was because she was the only Atuk left on either side of my parents, and now that she’s gone, it’s certainly more practical and logical for my two aunts to make the trip to KL for Hari Raya. Would Penang be just another memory? Would the number 14 in my IC mean nothing anymore?

There were already a lot of people hanging around in front of the house when I arrived. Of course there would, it was close to noon and Grandma’s been gone since 5 in the morning. It must be a depressing sight to see us three siblings coming down from the old white cab, looking haggard and in slippers no less.

What do you say to a son who has lost his mother? How should you act when you feel nothing? There was a sense of utter hopelessness at being useless that morning. I mean, what can we do? The answer came early when my mother called me and my uncle to “wash” Grandma. It was a ritualistic process, devoid of actual effect, because she has been cleaned by the experts and the female members of the family. But for those who think it’s scary, think again. It’s not, and there’s a pleasant feeling that you’re cleansing yourself as you let the water run down the body.

It was when the body’s been cleaned, wrapped and brought to the living room that emotions start to pour. The whole aura or energy of that room is one of depression and sadness. It’s hard not to get caught up with it. But I held on, trying gamely to focus on other things, like how clean she looked, and how sweet the smell of flowers lingers in the air.

It wasn’t until the body’s been placed inside the “coffin” and my uncle started his last words that I shed my first tears. Forgive and forget, he pleaded. And I kept thinking to myself how many people I’ve hurt, how many hearts I’ve broken, how many souls I’ve disturbed through my actions. It reminded me of my own future, of how I would have to say these words when my parents go away. It reminded me of my siblings, of how we quarrel incessantly over little things. It reminded me of my future wife, and how I can survive if she’s no longer by my side. It reminded me of my Grandma not being able to see me get married. She kept on saying that I’m too young to settle down, but apparently I didn’t settle down soon enough for her…

Something about death...

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Written on 4/16/2007 12:02:00 am by sikapitan

I received the call on Friday afternoon, at 3.00 pm. In fact I received several calls, but all unanswered as I sat there explaining to houseowners at Batang Kali on why they have to shell out x amount of money to transfer the land to their name. It was an exercise to appease our client, a property developer, and it wasn’t exactly necessary. But there I was, stuck in Batang Kali, when my mother told me that my grandmother was ill.

My first reaction was one which I expected – calmness. It isn’t in my blood to go bawling and crying my lungs out. In fact, I was pretty nonchalant about the whole matter, not realizing that my mother was actually telling me to stop whatever I’m doing and find my way back to Penang. This was a big problem actually, considering I didn’t drive my own car to Batang Kali.

So when I went back into the site office, I just continued where I left off. After one Chinese guy questioned the rationale of him paying for the transfer, I answered another call from my mother. This time it’s serious, and my family can’t even wait for me to come back to Subang.

I came to the solution of going by plane, simply because to ask somebody to drive me back to PJ, where I can pick up my car and then drive straight to Penang, from Batang Kali was unfeasible. I decided to take a Komuter from the Rawang station and head to KL Sentral where I would then buy the earliest ticket and head to KLIA through the KLIA Express. To be completely honest with you folks, I’ve never done these things before last Friday, except for taking the Komuter.

I made two startling discoveries from my trip with KTM Komuter. First, it is cheap, dirt cheap. From Rawang to KL, it cost me RM3.60. It wasn’t even uncomfortable, at least if you start from the last stop like Rawang. Comfortable seats, but unfortunately no lavatory (which is kind of weird because the trips’ are pretty long between stations). Secondly, thousands of people depend on it. I didn’t know the Komuter to be as packed as it was on Friday evening.

My previous experience from Subang to Sentral was something akin to a train ride (which it should be). But this time, it was literally a sandwich can, with the officers trying their best to cramp as many people into the trains (hence the line, “Tolong beri kerjasama ya, semua orang pun nak balik…” – right, thank you officer, but can you please ask that man not to fart in the carriage).

It wasn’t unpleasant, mainly because I had a seat. But it took almost an hour before I reached KL Sentral. Now, many of my readers might not have been to KL Sentral on a working day at peak hours, so let me just tell you this – THAT PLACE IS PACKED. If there’s moans and groans about it being another ambitious government project, it should stop right away. Yes, the implementation of the public transport system isn’t perfect, but where would we be if we were still stuck with the Subang Airport or Pudu Station or government offices at Jalan Duta? I say, just get on with the mega projects.

Anyway, it was pretty convenient to check in at KL Sentral and be whisked away to KLIA in the impressive KLIA Express. The only thing lacking were stewardesses, but considering the recent standards which MAS holds on too, it wasn’t a big loss. It was 7 pm before I reached KLIA, and all I had with me are the clothes which I wore to work, a copy of the latest Autocar, and a pen. I haven’t had lunch nor breakfast, but my flight to Penang was leaving at 7.45 so no time for dinner.

I stopped by one of those duty free candy/chocolate shops where they have all these exotic chocolates and even Cadburys at KLIA, when I made another discovery – they don’t sell Snickers, which is rather ironic. So my dinner was a Famous Amos soft cookie, and I comfortably checked myself into my flight seat. It wasn’t long before I fell asleep, only to be woken up by MAS famous in-flight F&B – orange juice. They had the courtesy to serve peanuts (which I love), and anyone hoping for more must not have taken flights on MAS for years. Plus, the trip was too short for them to even serve sandwiches.

I paid RM38 for one of those airport limousines (which they are actually…30 years AGO!!!) to get me to Gleneagles Medical Center at the town center. I go back to Penang every year, at least twice, but I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t gone out to town for the past few years, and even when I did, it was on a sporadic and unmemorable basis. Thus when the cab driver said it’s near Gurney, I was pretty lost but nodded. You see, studying law make me realize how important it is to appear knowledgeable when in fact you know nothing about something.

I still wasn’t thinking of Grandma. Heck, she was just here in KL last week! She had dinner with me and my bride-to-be, and she was proud of the fact that at 77 years old, she was still driving around Brown Garden, Gelugor, Penang Island. So my grandma always had this aura of invincibility, plus she’s Chinese (and you know how long they live).

I reached Gleneagles, and headed straight for the ICU. Hospitals are depressing, but the sight of nasi lemak and KFC in the small waiting room filled with relatives allowed me to crack a wry smile. With Malays, it doesn’t matter what’s going on, as long as your stomach is filled…

My family had just gone back to the hotel to change and freshen up, so I’m there by myself with a couple of aunts. I decided to see my grandma. The smell of disinfectant, and of medications, filled the air of the ICU. I was still in my shirt and work pants and leather shoes. My feet were sore, and stomach empty, but all is forgotten as soon as I walked into ICU 2.

I expected it to be like that, to see my grandma, lying in comatose (she had a major stroke), face puffed up and almost unrecognizable. I even anticipated the whole oxygen mask thing. But I didn’t expect myself to lose it, just a little bit. There was another visitor in the room, a neighbor of my grandma, but I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t the sight of her sitting there, waiting for nothing, but rather it was the memory of her living that made me shed a few tears.

She has had a wonderful life. Not many 77 year old lady could claim to have been to holidays all over the World, perform the Hajj, have successful and caring children (no Cerekarama style “anak derhaka” syndrome), and generally living a healthy life up to the moment when the blood vessel popped and blood started flooding her brain on 13 April 2007. In fact, on that morning, she had just picked up one of my cousins from school, and dropped another to the mosque for Friday prayers. Even I wasn’t as active as she is on Friday mornings.

It isn’t hard to imagine an old lady going through what my grandma is facing. In fact, it’s almost expected. You are dying as soon as you were born. Understand that and you’ll accept that death is inevitable. And yet, we are scared of it. That is why we cry when we see others walk through the valley of death. It isn’t all because we are sad they’ve or they will depart, it’s because we are reminded of our own mortality.

She is now in coma. The doctors said any operation is risky, and the chances of her recovering are slim and yet she’s stable. In other words, she’s a vegetable, caught between the dark light of death, or the chance of spending just one more day with those she love.

If you were to die tomorrow, have you done enough today?

(I was just about to update on what was a hectic week last Friday – Kanye West, Manchester United win against Roma, Jangan Pandang Belakang…but I hope readers understand my conundrum)

About AF5

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Written on 4/08/2007 03:17:00 pm by sikapitan

I know I’ve left the whole Akademi Fantasia/reality tv/Malay entertainment scene, but I have to give my two cents worth on this season’s Akademi Fantasia 5. Contrary to rumors circulating around the internet (hahahah), I HAVE paid my Astro bills, and therefore I DO get to see AF.

Although honestly speaking, with this season, I don’t know why anyone would bother to. It was a Saturday night, and since I wanted to be on my parent’s good books for this week, I decided for the first time in weeks, to just hang out at home. I was flipping through the channels between the US Masters and Chelsea v. Tottenham when I heard a commotion going on at the living hall.

Though my ass says I should just sit comfortably at the massage chair while watching glorious Premiership action on the beautiful Toshiba flat screen, my mind was more than curious to know what got the rest of the population (in my household) all worked up. So imagine my non-surprise when I found out that the AF weekly concert was just about to start.

See, my house has been filled for the past week with relatives from Penang who are here to go for their Umrah (or mini-Hajj for the uninformed) but who unfortunately had to suffer with some Saudi-style bureaucracy which resulted not only in them, but thousands other Malaysians, stuck without visa.

Just imagine: they could have been there by now praying in front of the Kaabah, but instead they’re here in front of the other flat-screen watching a talent contest. Should we still call it that? I mean, far from me being harsh on this whole AF phenomenon (considering that I was one of its biggest online proponent just a couple of years ago), but has the premise run its course? Has it gone on from becoming a truly sensational form of tv entertainment to a seriously flawed concept?

I know I had a lot to say when Mawi was leading the SMS standings and eventually became the champion a few years ago, but at least I admitted Mawi had his own natural charm and talent. My gripe concerns the almost lopsided voting trend that appears to have destroyed whatever reputation AF had as a talent contest.

Even when I was involved with Senikami, I understood the whole dynamics of SMS voting and how it’s not a true indication of talent. But at least in previous seasons, the favorites can sing, even for just a little bit. And together with their undeniable star quality to attract the crowds, it’s a package that sells.

Okay, back to Saturday night. I went out, and the first note I heard was already off-key. Mind you, this wasn’t the first time I tried to watch AF5. Every week I tried to catch it, to allow it to hook me in, but after last night, I can safely say I’ve totally been turned off. I can’t quite place my finger on why…oh, actually I could.

It’s Dafi. I don’t usually get worked up over students like him, and there has been a few of his kind every season (you know, the untalented but popular), but his almost surreal domination of the voting charts couple with his faint, child-like singing voice cannot help but make me want to throw something at the television screen. It gets even more irritating when people ask silly questions “Macam mana depa boleh vote untuk budak ni hahhh?” or “He can’t sing, why is he at the top?”.

Memang calon menantu...
if you don't mind your daughter being married to someone prettier ...hahaha

Duh. Just look at him!!! He’s like the poster boy for every pre-pubescent girls, and makciks (with a few pakciks thrown in). There’s NO other reason. Anyone who says otherwise must either be delusional, or suffer from acute lack of talent appreciation. People who vote for Dafi should be honest and say “I vote for him because he’s cute/handsome/bersopan santun/calon menantu yang baik”. Heck, if I were a form 3 girl, maybe I would go crazy for him too, but I’m not.

Instead I have to content myself with the fact that it’s getting harder and harder to see chun girls on reality tv programs. There even seems to be a dearth of upcoming hot young hosts. Maybe it’s just a sign that I should stop being so “jantan”, and settle down for my upcoming wedding. GO FIGURE

(The ironic thing about this post is that it's still publicity for Dafi...which goes to show, there's no such thing as bad publicity)

Something about my work...

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Written on 4/04/2007 07:11:00 pm by sikapitan

Football fans all over the world watched in horror as Italian police brutally attacked Manchester United supporters in the terraces of Roma's Olympic Stadium. Though United fans are not to be applauded for the reaction to Roma's fans provocation, it certainly seem highly unlikely that a bleeding man lying on the ground constitute any threat towards the police for them to continue hitting on him, time and time again.

The story continues well after the game, where police abandoned Man Utd supporters instead of escorting them to safety, resulting in a group of United fans being ambushed by Roma's famed Ultra fans. Knives and machetes were apparently used, with one Man United fan admitted to hospital for stab wounds.

I personally like a bit of argy-bargy on the football pitch, and even some emotional reaction from supporters, but perhaps football fans should reflect on themselves and see whether there is any purpose to these violence.

Now back to me!

The wall is a musty shade of what must formerly be blue. To my left are piles and piles of files dating back to the mid-90’s, and law journals that are surprisingly quite recent, but dusty nonetheless through lack of use. A simple fluorescent light hangs bravely to my right, while a lonely air-conditioner sits right atop my head. It’s never switched on since I started occupying this room. Blame global warming, or just the natural feeling of cold felt by formerly chubby people who suddenly lost a lot of weight (I keep on saying that, although I’ve had the same weight since my SPM – 6 YEARS AGO!...my body should have adapted, shouldn’t it?).

I have an office. That’s more than what most pupils (most commonly, and wrongfully, referred to as “chambies” - short of chambering students) can say. While my former colleagues are stuck in nameless cubicles or share a room with other pupils, I have my own office. It sounds glamorous doesn’t it? (Fergie goes G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S…is there a spelling competition nowadays amongst hip-hop stars?)

Truth be told, it is as great as Kevin Federline is cool (not very then). I could blame the lack of internet access (can you believe it? This is as ancient as it can get) or the less than pleasing d├ęcor, or the flawed bathrooms (when was the last time anyone had to use a pail?). I could even say it’s the fact that I can never close the door to my office, because apparently at this law firm, there are no secrets (but I just want to sleep…).

But the reason why I’m sitting in front of this PC (surprisingly it’s a Windows XP…I half expected it to be based on MS-DOS), and write this piece is the utter frustration of being…useless. The feeling that I am alone, at this office, at an emotional and intellectual level is beginning to gnaw at me, but that I can handle. It’s the fact that day in day out; I come to office, go into my most glamorous office, switched on my PC, and just stare at a blank screen.

There’s simply nothing I could possibly do. Yes, sometimes I’ll ask the clerks for a bit of work, and I’ll get to do some conveyencing (land matters like transfer of titles, charge…etc2) files. But they seldom come to me, simply because it’s the easiest thing in the world to do, just a bit tedious and require concentration. In their mind they would think why a law graduate would want to bother himself with something that they, clerks with SPM certs, can do without a hitch, and do it better too.

And they are absolutely right. There’s NOTHING much to learn from conveyencing. It is paperwork, and loads of paperwork, with procedures, which can be learned from an experience clerk in ONE week. So I’m left to do tasks which are “white peanut”, and utterly redundant in terms of gaining quality legal experience.

The staffs here (this is a sole proprietorship firm with only one lawyer, affectionately known as “the Boss”) are kind of sympathetic to my plight, I think. They, of all people, understand that in this firm, it’s the conveyencing files that bring in the money, and you don’t need a lawyer to handle that. Maybe some of them may even resent me for receiving a healthy remuneration, just for sitting on my ass all day. Plus, I come to work at any time I like, and go back almost 99% of the time earlier than anyone else, even the Boss.

But I have settled the whole remuneration conundrum myself. Yesterday, I pull aside the firm’s accountant, and told him that I feel guilty receiving so much for so little work, and ask him to just cut down my remuneration by half beginning this month. He understood my situation, and agreed. A 50 PERCENT REDUCTION in wages, and I asked for it!!! Some of you might think I might be losing my head, because if the Boss isn’t complaining, and the staffs are really nice and sweet, why would I want to cut off RM500 of easy money?

I’ll try to explain it. There’s something known as pride, and I think I’m experiencing something akin to losing my pride every time I received a cheque from the firm. I’ve said if before, and I’ll say it again – I am the best judge of me. And when I look at myself, at what I did or didn’t do for the month, I reached a startling conclusion that I’ve been overpaid…grossly overpaid.

Is it my fault I’m overpaid? No, you’re right. It’s not. Why should I volunteer for a discount when I’m here, ready and able to work, but the firm has no work for me? I don’t know, but I guess it has something to do with this whole idea of pupilage in the first place, or rather my lack of enthusiasm of the idea.

You see, although I’ve always done well in my studies, I have had moments, intense moments, where I am utterly clueless as to my next step. It has to do with my goal, my first goal. It’s not noble, and in fact it could be considered vulgar by some with a higher moral compass than I do. But the goal is my goal and the goal is this: to earn RM30, 000 per month clean by the time I reach 30 years old. It’s a simple goal actually, unlike climbing the Everest or going to bed with Nicole Kidman, but it’s the simplest goal that seems the hardest to achieve.

Do you know that law graduates have to complete 9 months of pupilage before they can call themselves advocates and solicitors? And in this period, the firm can pay as little as they want. I’ve heard of small firms paying RM400 per month. The bigger firms will pay you around RM1000 –RM1200. So you’ll be on that pay scale for 9 months after you graduated – basically a year gone down the drain.

Now for the big surprise: the most I’ve heard a new legal assistant (meaning lawyers) can make at a big law firm is between RM1,800 to RM.2,400 (of course there are exceptions like Wong & Partners, but try getting into one of those…). That’s a lot of money, you would think. It’s not enough actually, and it’ll never be enough as long as you work for someone (yes, it is trite, but needs to emphasized).

So what I decided to do was to complete my chambering period at a “friendly” firm, with a “friendly” master. Basically all I wanted to do was finish off this 9 months period so that I could be admitted to the Bar and at the same time developing my own business strategies to further my goals.

The premise was great – I get to do whatever I want but at the same time I’ll still be in a period of pupilage. The problem started when I got my first paycheck. It was way too much, and it kind of made me feel obligated to come to office, pretending to do some work, when instead I have one hundred other things to do (mostly related to my restaurant, which is a story for another day).

So by cutting the amount myself, I have liberated my tortured soul from the misery of guilt and pride. I might be losing RM500, but I get to do other work where the returns, insyaallah, should be greater. Maybe now you guys don’t think I’m losing my head…

By the way, it’s 11.30am. Time to leave the office for lunch (Melayu betullll laaaa)…

In-gur-land

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Written on 4/01/2007 12:49:00 pm by sikapitan

What’s wrong with the England national team? Plenty, if you were to read the reports and reviews by every football scribe with a pen and/or keyboard. I tried watching the Israel-England game a few days back, but I struggled with boredom at the total lack of imagination shown by the English side. Hence, with Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher manning the flanks for England, I cannot help but fall asleep with just 10 minutes of the game gone.

Again I tried to watch the England – Andorra game, convinced that against a nation 100+ place below England in the Fifa World Rankings, England would not only win but win it in style. I was half expecting Rooney to chip in a delightful finish just like he did so casually over David James a month ago, or even John Terry to come up for a corner and smash the ball into the back of the net with aplomb. Heck, I even thought I might see Owen Hargreaves notch up a goal or two.

Alas, after 15 minutes of some slack positioning, bad passing and even worse approach play, I fell asleep. It’s not always like this you see. I used to be able to catch these early morning matches without blinking an eyelid. But since running a new restaurant (something which will be a surprise to many of my readers), plus my pupilage period in a private law firm, I haven’t had a decent rest.

Enough about me (which this blog never was anyway), and back to the England national team. I’m sorry, but the last time England entertained me was way back in 2001 when England beat Germany 5-1 in Munich. England’s performance after that period has been impressive in patches, but most of the time they have been nothing but mediocre. They reached the quarter-finals of the last World Cup, but does anyone remember a single impressive play by any of their players?

Sure I had a good laugh when Paul Robinson’s goal kick went high enough to hit the hanging giant screen, and it was heart wrenching to see Owen’s knees got injured the way it did. And I’m sure everyone remembered the sly wink Ronaldo gave when Rooney got sent off. The worse part of it all is that England has the temerity to claim that Rooney’s sending off was what cost them a place in the semi-final.

The truth is harder to swallow. England is in a unique position in that they are not bad enough to be ranked together with the likes of Macedonia, nor are they that weak until they’re bunched with the Irish, but at the same time they are definitely leagues behind the likes of Germany, Italy and Brazil. In short, they’re not world champions or even contenders for the king of Europe, but neither are they chump. They are at best, a quarter-finals kind of team, and at worst, a second round team.

I think everyone kind of know this. It’s just hard to accept when they look at the team-sheet that the English put out every game. At every department there’s a player that’s all too familiar to football fans all over the world. Heck, even the likes of Andy Johnson and Stewart Downing are known all over the world.

Why? Because the English Premier League is the best marketed league, and arguably, the best league in the world as well. And though there will be those who argue for the Spanish or Italian league, I personally think that the English league has overcome its initial technical deficiency to become an almost complete league. But therein lies the problem.

The rise of the EPL can be traced back to the way the league has been marketed, which makes it a cash cow to buy players, which means that more and more top-class talents are heading towards the EPL, which then means that though the English Premier League’s standard is rising, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same for the English National Team.

It’s not that the English players are bad. Far from it. As the Champions League has shown, the English players can compete with the very best that Europe can offer. The likes of Gerrard and Lampard can walk into any team in the world. Nevertheless, their club form has been aided by the contribution of FOREIGN PLAYERS, not English.

For example, Rooney shines the most when Ronaldo is playing at his best. But Ronaldo, on the other hand, plays well regardless of whether Rooney is at his best or not. Same goes for Gerrard, who looked somewhat lost when Xabi Alonso was hassled off the park my Manchester United midfielders. Rio Ferdinand isn’t half as impressive without Vidic winning all the headers. Lampard cannot function without Essien or Makelele covering his ass.

So the true footballers in the England team, in fact, aren’t actually that good without the system and players around them. Which leaves England with the likes of Terry, Neville, and Hargreaves…players who are the spine of their respective club side, and perform admirably for the national team, but who are not expected, nor are they able, to conjure up goals for fun or even set up a decent approach play.

Everybody has heard of Andy Johnson because he plays for Everton. And no disrespect to Everton fans, but most people get to see Andy Johnson because most people watch the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal or Chelsea go against Everton. Thus, he is popular, in a sense. But popularity and ability does not go hand in hand. Is he famous because he is really good (which I kind of think he is) or because he plays in the EPL?

The problem is that when people see Andy Johnson, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Phil Neville, Stewart Downing, or Aaron Lennon, they immediately assume that these are better players than the likes of Luca Toni, Iniesta, Metzelder, or Tiago…but they’re not. They’re just more famous.

So England is a famous team consisting of famous players. But is it a good team filled with good players? The last two years seems to indicate otherwise. Go figure.


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