Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Making of 'Thriller'

It was the firm's 50th anniversary this year. As part of its year-long celebrations, the firm organised its 50th anniversary dinner held at Ciao Ristorante on 26 October 2013.

To celebrate the five decades of the firm's existence, there would be five recorded performances drawn from each decade, involving partners and lawyers. These videos would then be screened on the dinner itself.

The 60s would be represented by a performance by the Supremes, the 70s was disco ala Saturday Night Fever while the 80s would feature the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The 90s would be the British girl power of the Spice Girls and finally current day would be a parody of the Carly Rae Jepsen MTV of "Call Me Maybe."

I volunteered to help out with the 80s Michael Jackson item and with a group of volunteers placed together, it was time to pick a song and to work on choreography and where the item would feature Thriller.

The original idea of doing a funny parody of the Thriller MTV eventually evolved into the idea for each of the dancers taking on an individual zombie personality, and with the zombie horde invading the firm's library. So we would have some creepy music at the start and with zombies slowly appearing and crawling out of the woodwork so to speak. With the general concept in place, and with the dancers having put in hours of rehearsal time, it was then time to assemble our makeup lawyer crew who diligently worked on both the makeup and costumes for each zombie on recording day. Old clothes were torn up and bloodied to fit the zombie theme while the signature MJ red Thriller outfit was also rented.

Lots of fake blood, fake wounds, makeup and even costume wax was utilised to prepare for the day itself.

With our costumes and makeup in place, it was time to unveil each of our zombie characters.

Footballer Zombie

Ballerina Zombie
Zombie Doctor

Zombie Model

Sleeper Zombie
Shower Zombie
Posh Zombie
Worker Zombie
Zombie Lawyer
Michael Jackson Zombie
I couldn't have asked for a more dedicated crew of dancers and it was a blast rehearsing and dancing the whole sequence. One of our lawyers edited the clips together, threw in the spooky flickering video effect, and the end-result was this! Definitely something I will always remember.

The Thriller crew

Continue reading: "The Making of 'Thriller'"

Friday, January 03, 2014

Moving the Call of a Dragon Boater

The ceremony of being Called to the Malaysian Bar involves a qualified person being admitted as an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya. A pupil would have completed 9 months of pupillage and would have been eligible to file the necessary court papers and with the Call being heard in open Court.

As the Call to the Bar is still a formal Court process, a practicing lawyer must be there to apply, or to move your Call (and hence such a person is also called a 'mover'). The mover must be of at least 7 years in practice at the Bar and cannot be from the same law firm as the pupil. The pupil's master would often find a mover for the pupil. Unlike in some other jurisdictions, each pupil will have a mover to say a few words in moving the Call and in demonstrating why the pupil is a fit and proper person to be admitted as an Advocate & Solicitor. This is ordinarily an opportunity for the mover to also give thanks, on behalf of the pupil, to the pupil's loved ones.

In trying to control the length of sometimes overly elaborate speeches, there is a recommended format for movers to follow and usually, the pupils will be the one who writes the speech beforehand and then passes the speech to the mover (sometimes on the morning of the Call itself!).

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to move the Call of a good friend, Quin Er. I wasn't going to adhere to the recommended format and I wanted to write out and craft out a speech for her. I had already known Quin as she was a dragon boat team mate of mine.

Having coached her and paddled with her for some time, it was easy to insert the personal qualities that I had come to know of her. I had earlier also sat down with her to have a chat to find out more about her parents and her background. Her love for her parents was very apparent and I wanted to place her parents front and centre in the speech. I also wanted to weave for Quin a dragon boat metaphor since it was a chance for a dragon boater to move the Call of another dragon boater, and for a friend to say a few words to another friend at such an occasion.

More sample Call speeches can be found at LoyarBurok over here and they are recommended reading.

The Call Speech of Chan Quin Er on 26 July 2013

Dengan Izin yang Arif,

Saya, Lee Shih, mewakili pihak Pempetisyen Chan Quin Er. Bersama-sama saya adalah rakan-rakan bijaksana saya dari badan-badan berkenaan yang telah pun diperkenalkan kepada Yang Arif. Saya memohon untuk meneruskan di dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

My Lord,

The Petitioner is the daughter of Dato' Freddy Chan Loong Fui and Datin Angie Chan who are both present in Court today. In the Petitioner’s own words, her parents are her greatest idols and her pillars of strength.

She views her father and mother as her best friends and they are her mentors every single day. The Petitioner’s family came from very humble beginnings, but that never prevented them for providing everything for their children.

Although we typically view today as a day of a parent’s pride at their child’s milestone, it is the Petitioner who is so immensely proud of her parents.

The Petitioner informed me that words are never enough to express the depth of her gratitude to her parents, Dato' Freddy Chan and Datin Angie Chan, and it is hoped that these few simple words capture but a small fraction of her love for her parents.

My Lord, from an early age, the Petitioner has always believed in giving back to the community, and she volunteered to help the destitute and the poor. Without resorting to any cliches, the Petitioner pursuit of the law was in order for her to understand the law in order to help others. In studying the law, the Petitioner completed her University of London law degree and CLP at ATC. In October 2012, the Petitioner embarked on her pupillage in the chambers of my Learned Friend, Fiona Bodipalar, where the Petitioner received comprehensive guidance and tutelage.

I humbly submit that the Petitioner is a fit and proper person to be called to the Bar for the following reasons:

Her selflessness is demonstrated when she served the country as a member of the army reserve based in TUDM Sungai Besi for 2 ½ years. There, she was a sharp shooter for the 100m range.

Her eye for detail and being able to shoot, is also seen in her ability to shoot stunning pictures on her camera.

The Petitioner’s passion for doing pro bono activities goes back many years, where not only has she been volunteering at the Sunlight Charity Foundation but she has also been providing help to victims of domestic abuse.

On a more personal note, I am proud to say that I am a dragon boat team mate with the Petitioner, having coached and been team mates with the Petitioner for a year now with the KL Barbarians. I have seen firsthand her qualities as a dragon boater, qualities such as passion, perseverance, teamwork and dedication, all of which will no doubt serve the Petitioner well as she seeks to become an advocate & solicitor.

Very much like a dragon boat race, the Petitioner has started learning the ropes but her journey as an advocate & solicitor will be lifelong one of learning and of continuing to hone her skill.

This journey will be made that much easier however, as the Petitioner has passion in what she does and she will have lifelong friends in the same boat.

My Lord, the Petitioner would like to take this opportunity to extend her gratitude to:

1. Her parents, Dato' Freddy Chan and Datin Angie Chan. The Petitioner recognises that she would not be who she is today without their constant love, support and faith in her.

2. Her sister, Winn Er, and brother, JJ, to thank them for being the loveliest siblings.

3. To her pupil master, Ms Fiona Bodipalar, for being the most generous and patient pupil master. To Mr Anand Ponnudurai and Mr Alex De Silva, for the continuous guidance throughout her pupillage, and to all the colleagues at Bodipalar Ponnudurai De Silva, especially Mr Donny Kwa for being a great and supportive friend.

4. To her dear friends, Wan Qian, Christopher, Wan Ying, Andrew, Su Sean, Jit Han, Eve and Richie.

5. Her cousin Leo who is also her comrade in the CLP.

6. To her Captain and friend, Janet Chai.

7. To her referees who are present today, Dato' Fu Ah Kiow and Dato' Ho Kam Phaw, who have known her since she was a child to thank them for the motivation and guidance.

8. To Dato' Chai Kim Sen, Chairman of the Sunlight Charity Foundation, for giving her the opportunity to give back to society at such a young age.

9. Finally, to Mr Joseph Low for being a selfless and dedicated teacher.

My Lord,

I believe the Petitioner’s papers are in order and that my learned friends from the relevant bodies have no objections. Therefore, I humbly pray that the Petitioner, Chan Quin Er, be admitted as an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya. I pray for order in terms of the Petition.

I am much obliged.

Continue reading: "Moving the Call of a Dragon Boater"

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Wedding Speech

My wedding speech delivered on 23 November 2013 at Cyberview Resort. This version of the speech is an expanded version as it contains some additions I made in my speech at the Singapore reception on 26 November 2013.

Having had several touching speeches earlier that evening, it was going to be a tough act to follow. But the common thread that linked everyone who spoke that night, I would like think, is that all of us spoke from the heart.

"A very good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am truly overjoyed to see so many of our dearest family members and friends being present and sharing in this occasion with Su and I. 

Thank you so much for being part of this special night and for being part of our lives. I have had relatives and friends travelling from Singapore, the UK and the US to be here today and thank you so much for going through so much trouble to attend tonight’s dinner. 

They say that a measure of one’s life is the company they surround themselves by, and looking out at this ballroom, Su and I are truly blessed.

There are a few special individuals I would like to specially thank and to mention tonight.

First of all, to my Pa and my Ma. Thank you for being the parents you are, for raising Yang and I and for always providing everything for us. It strikes me that it is only on significant occasions, which are infrequent, that I get to express my love and my deep appreciation to you, Pa and Ma. But I love both of you dearly for being the parents that you are.

I recall when I was much younger, I envied my schoolmates who were always going on lavish annual family trips but where we did not take such trips. I then asked Ma why this was so. She then explained to me that while our family did not go on such trips, she and Pa would be able to still provide Yang and I gifts. As a sign of my naivety at that time, I thought this only meant that Yang and I would have lots of toys, our allowance and computer games and did not think any more of that issue. But looking back, what Pa and Ma has given us goes much further than such materialistic things. They have worked hard to bestow on us gifts such as our education, our values, our upbringing and I am thankful every day to them.

As some of you know, nine years ago, I had to unexpectedly move down to KL to start my career, and Pa and Ma, you were my pillars throughout that journey. It was Ma who helped to secure me an interview on very short notice. It was Pa who drove me down a weekend to hunt for an apartment to rent and who waited while I sat for my interview. Having secured a place at Skrine, Pa drove me back to Singapore, and having packed my things, it was Pa who then drove me back down to KL to send me off on my new life here. I would not have been able to make the transition down to KL without their support. This journey in KL is what eventually led me to meet Su and to now start my new life with her.

To my new father-in-law and mother-in-law, who used to be known to me as Alex and Auntie, but now my Pa and Mum, thank you for blessing me with your wonderful daughter, Su. 

Thank you for entrusting me in taking care of Su and we will always continue to be guided by your love and warmth, in particular, Su will undoubtedly be guided and will be picking up Mum’s cooking skills. I on the other hand hope to be at least half as good in DIY skills as Pa is.

To my best man, Yang, thank you for being my brother and for giving such a touching best man’s speech despite you dreading public speaking.

Thank you to my heng tais, for enduring the physical challenges this morning, the words ‘Crayon Pop’ will always bring back memories of all of you, and thank you for really sweeping me off my feet when tossing me up in the air this morning.

Thank you to Janet and Jin-Tian for agreeing to emcee for tonight. Janet, you have been a great friend all these years, a great dragon boat captain and thank you for being here. Jin-Tian, now my brother-in-law, thank you for being so warm in accepting me in the family.

To Chian Huey, floor manager extraordinaire, thank you for managing the schedule at tonight’s dinner and everything ran so smoothly. Su and I are truly blessed to have you and Yeong Hui as our close friends.

Finally, to my wife, Su, thank you for loving me and for saying yes to be my wife. We started off as friends and colleagues in Skrine, and from our friendship, we were drawn to each other through our many common interests. We have been on many adventures together, whether it is running the lengths of marathons, scuba diving the depths of oceans, or paddling and racing on dragon boats. 

But I am now looking forward to our greatest adventure where we spend the rest of our lives together as husband and wife."

Continue reading: "My Wedding Speech"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wedding Speech by Su's Maid of Honour

This is a copy of the speech delivered by Su's Maid of Honour at our wedding on 23 November 2013. Thanks so much Tsee Leng.

Good evening. As a former schoolmate of Su-Li’s, it is my pleasure to share a few words about her tonight. Having stumbled across Su’s doodles in a Form 1 textbook, I was intrigued by this girl with the mischievous giggle and fun spontaneity. As fresh P drivers, we once mistakenly turned into a KL freeway, getting tailgated by a huge truck till we scrambled out the next exit. We were also prone to missing stops when taking buses together. Our response to these adventures was always laughter. Su is also caring and tactful, a source of objectivity and calm in any predicament. She is truly an amazing, invaluable friend.

Not long after our freeway adventure, a memorable wager was made. I had predicted Su’s future husband would not be local, she felt otherwise. Its significance was lost on us at the time, but fate definitely intervened as Lee Shih met both predictions, being born in Malaysia but growing up in Singapore. Theirs is a wholesomely organic relationship – having first taken root during their time in Skrine, nurtured by a mutual interest in scuba diving, salsa and running; finally blossoming with their passion for dragon boating. It really could not have been more perfect.

Su is known to be in denial when it concerns her own attributes and admirers. We would be out and she would insist Leesh and her were “just friends” while they texted the point of exceeding his phone plan’s texting limit! It was apparently normal for this friend to have running updates of our outings, or to leave coffee on her office desk before coffee that had to be carefully balanced while driving, as this friend had no cup holders in his car. Su finally conceded after they first held hands returning from a salsa social. It began with him helping her cross a busy street, and he ended up holding her hand the whole night. Leesh has the same upbeat energy and sense of humour; with the dynamic intellect and drive to match. He blended in seamlessly with her family and friends, and their adoration for each other is endearing.

Su and Leesh – you epitomize how a marriage should be: built on companionship, love, respect, trust, humour, communication, appreciation and commitment. May your marriage be filled with a lifetime of joyful laughter and bountiful blessings. As the saying goes, love can be many things: an equation in math, a war in history, a reaction in chemistry, a heart in art...but for you, love is unquestionably each other.


Continue reading: "Wedding Speech by Su's Maid of Honour"

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wedding Speech by My Brother, My Best Man

The speech delivered by my brother on 23 November 2013 at my wedding dinner. A speech, complete with its own accompanying slideshow, that got everyone in the audience cracking up.

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

Firstly, a big thank you to Pa and Uncle Alex for their kinds words and also to the parents for making all of this possible.

Planning the events leading up to this wonderful celebration was a huge undertaking and I’m sure you’ll agree that Leesh and Su have done an amazing job.

It’s just a pity that I’ve managed to get back in time and ruin it for them.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lee Yang, and I’m Lee Shih’s little brother. But for those of you who do know me, at least for the next five minutes, I’m very sorry.

On behalf of Lee Shih’s Heng Tais today, I’d like to thank Su’s crack team of Ji Mui’s for supporting her through this day. You’ve proven yourselves worthy adversaries and somewhat reasonable in our negotiations. You could have made it worse for us — but mind you, not by much. I think it’d be difficult to do much worse than “crayon pop”

To the Heng Tais, what can I say, we will always remember the exciting adventures of Ju Vern’s left hand, and his right hand, for that matter.

So ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been tasked with a huge burden tonight. I know many of you will know my brother as a likeable, all round nice guy, a loyal friend, or as a young high-achieving trail-blazer in his profession.
Unfortunately, it falls within my remit tonight to, if not convince you otherwise, then at least to ensure you leave with a balanced perspective on what it was like growing up with him.

I’ve learnt, from a source that would prefer to remain anonymous (although you can ask her yourself later *point at Ma*), that Lee Shih’s birth was set against a relatively modest backdrop. In fact, things could have gone pear-shaped very early on when our mom, bless her, mistook him for a bad case of indigestion.

Suffice it to say, expectations were low for my brother.

Fortunately, records reflect that he was a cute and happy baby, who loved his food. In fact, looking at these photos and the Man today, one can tell that his inner child is very much alive and well. As for the eating, I guess some things just never change.

Worryingly though, that’s pretty much all he had going for him at the time.

From a young age, he demonstrated a somewhat questionable dress-sense. 

Thankfully, as a family, we managed to arrest it with a strict regime of behaviour correction. This basically involved him wearing through *my* clothes before handing them back down to me after they had gone out of fashion.

Naturally, this was a selfless sacrifice that I, like many younger siblings through history, was more than happy to make…

Now many of you have seen the amazing shapes that my brother manages to throw on the dance floor. What I can tell you is that this certainly wasn’t possible until the surgical procedure to swap his two left feet for a matching pair.

In fact, too many of my early memories involved him falling either one way, or the other.

It’s part of Lee Family Lore, that fateful moon-cake festival when my brother managed to dance himself off the table and straight to the doctor’s clinic with a nasty gash to the head.

But it’s a testament to the man’s courage that the only tears shed that night were for the Chinese lantern that he glimpsed on the way to the doctor’s practice. Well, at the time I wondered if it was courage or maybe a short attention span.

In all seriousness, I was so happy when Kor told us that he and Su were getting married. Partly because they complement each other so well and I can’t imagine a better fit between two people. But I was thrilled mostly because after thirty long years, it won’t be me that has to tidy up his messy apartment anymore!

And I’m not alone in this. Our mom sitting over there is breathing a sigh of relief as well!

It just goes to show that in Su, my brother is lucky to have found such a generous and giving partner. And Su, as his brother, I’m afraid to say that you may need every ounce of patience and understanding you can muster for what is to come. 

But jokes aside, I couldn’t ask for a better brother. He has always been there looking out for me, walking ahead negotiating life’s challenges on my behalf, and quite literally forging the way forward for us. 

And as his friends in attendance today, perhaps it won’t surprise you that he does all this without grievance or protest. So I think Su, you’re equally lucky to have found such a great guy.

If you can’t already tell, this is the first time I have had to give a best man’s speech. Google tells me it’s at this point that I should read out letters from friends and loved ones who sadly couldn’t attend tonight.

In the interest of time, I have picked just the one letter to share with you, and it’s from a special couple who love Leesh and Su very much — arguably, the former more than the latter, but I’ll let you decide.

It’s a letter addressed to the couple from Suki and Ming Ming. Understandably, there are a few typos, but I think we’ll be able to muddle through it.

The letter reads:

Dear Leesh and Su,

Congratulations! [I think this is Suki writing] We understand that in the hectic build-up to the day’s events, you might have forgotten to invite us to the big do. No hard feelings. Just to say that a posh doggy-bag from reception would go some way towards healing the emotional scars that have been inflicted.

Even from our knee-height perspective, we can tell that the two of you together make a lovely set of ankles. [I think there might be something lost in translation. The letter continues…]. Ming says that no one rubs his belly quite like Leesh does. In fact, Leesh ranks above chasing squirrels, tying for second with chewing slippers, and coming in just behind slobbering. Wow, that is high praise indeed!

We wish you a lovely evening. And don’t forget the doggy-bag.

Lovingly yours,

Suki & Ming

Rafael Ortiz once wrote that Love is not finding someone to live with, but it’s finding someone you can’t live without. In that regard, I’m so happy that you’ve found each other, and that likewise, the dogs have found Leesh.

I’d like to end off by asking everyone if you would kindly join me in a toast to the couple. To my brother and Su, as you embark on this adventure together, may each day be filled with mutual admiration and contentment and may the years be free of want. To Leesh and Su.

Continue reading: "Wedding Speech by My Brother, My Best Man"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wedding Speech by the Father of the Bride

This is the speech delivered on 23 November 2013 by my father-in-law, Alex Chan, for our wedding dinner. I am so thankful to my new parents-in-law for having so warmly welcomed me into their family.

Tan Sri, Puan Sri, Dato-Dato and Datin-Datin, Honoured Guests, Friends and Family.

Welcome and thank you for joining us on this joyous occasion of the wedding of my daughter, Su-Li, to the love of her life, Lee Shih.

When Su-Li told me that I had to give a speech as father of the bride, I thought, aha, I can surf the net and get some ideas. And true enough, the net has thousands of sites on “Father of the Bride” speeches.

Some were brilliant, some were hilarious and a few were really touching ones. And there were also some sites on the do’s and don’ts.  But then I realized that anything I say must come from the heart, not adapted from the net, and so I exited the net.

The years have flown by since Su-Li was a little child and tonight would be the perfect time to share some of her growing up years.

When the time arrived for Su-Li’s birth, I was supposed to be in the delivery room. At the last minute, I wasn’t allowed in because the doctor was uncertain whether he had to perform a caesarian.

But Su-Li was so impatient to see the world that she was a breech birth baby. She came out surrounded by paediatricians, gynaecologists and other experts because breech births were very uncommon and they wanted to ensure a safe delivery. Two of the paediatricians present then were Dr Tan Bok Eng and Dr Tan Bee Gaik who are both here with us tonight.

Su-Li’s grandma described her breech birth best.  She said: “Su-Li came into this world standing on a lotus flower.”

Su-Li was always a very active girl. Her growth and development was in the high percentile. By 9 months, she was already walking. By 1 plus, she was dancing.

Oh yes, she loved to dance. One day, we were walking past a music shop where the music was blaring out.  She stopped in her tracks and started dancing, totally oblivious to the crowd that was gathering around her. It was so amazing and one of the ladies watching wondered out loud how old this little dancing girl was.  Su-Li was only 1 plus.

When we took her to the playground, she would be climbing the Monkey Bars.

When we visited friends, she would scramble up their cars and sit on the car roofs. Yes, she was a little monkey alright.

Then when she was around 2 plus years old, the Jane Fonda Aerobics craze swept the world. And when her mother bought the TV tapes and went through the routine, she had to join in. And so she had to have her own leotard and mother and daughter did the Jane Fonda regularly in front of the TV.  What was amazing was that Su-Li did the whole aerobics routine without ever taking a break – she kept pace with her mother, step by step.

At the age of 4, Su-Li had a new addition to our family, Jin-Tian, our son.  All our apprehensions about sibling rivalry flew out the window because Su-Li was the most caring little elder sister a boy could ask for.  In fact, Chooi Gait and I have never seen Su-Li and Jin-Tian fight. They were always caring of each other.

When Jin-Tian graduated into war games, guns and knives, Su-Li stuck to her Barbie dolls and clothes. She was a combination of both the feminine and athletic.

Many of her friends here tonight may not know that Su-Li represented her school in the 100 meters sprint when she was in primary school.

And many may not know that she has a Black Belt in Taekwando.  In fact, her trainer once told me that she had a beautiful high kick. No surprise there, because she was also into ballet. Her physical talents were also matched by her musical talent as she has a Grade 8 in piano.

And of course she had to dabble in the theatre and so she directed and staged a couple of dramas for her school.  My only regret is that I never attended any of them because I was busy establishing a career.

When it came time to choose a course for the University, her mother suggested that she study Dentistry.  Su-Li’s answer was a classic.  She said “No, Mom. I don’t want to spend my life looking into other people’s mouths.”

So she went for a Double Degree in Law and Commerce. And today, we have 2 lawyers in the family.

Which leads me to my Son-in-Law. Or shall I say Lawyer-in-Law, Lee Shih.

We first met Lee Shih when he came to take Su-Li out.  At that time, my son, Jin-Tian, was playing Charade and Lee Shih was immediately roped in and had to answer some tough questions before Jin-Tian let him go.

He passed with flying colours.

Lee Shih is a Barrister-at-Law (Gray’s Inn) from UK and an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya.

He’s an Advocate in the Dispute Resolution Department of one of the most established Law Firms in Malaysia, Skrine. And despite his young age, is one of the most respected Litigators in KL, having distinguished himself by winning a number of high profile corporate cases in the country.

But law isn’t Lee Shih’s only passion. He founded the KL Barbarians, a Dragonboat Rowing Team which has competed in several international competitions from Malaysia to Hong Kong.

He and Su-Li are also avid scuba divers, having dived in Sipadan and elsewhere. One day, Su-Li casually told that she swam next to a shark and then stroked it. I was incredulous.  All I could say to her was you can swim next to a shark, but there’s no need to stroke it.

Lee Shih and Su-Li are into an active gym lifestyle, and have taken part in a number of marathons across the nation. I think this is wonderful, given the fact that most people nowadays exercise only their thumb muscles on their handphones.

He has his own personal blog site where he puts up legal articles, and is a regular contributor on loyarburok.

And one more thing – he is an amazing dancer which I only discovered a couple of weeks ago when I saw him perform Michael Jackson’s Thriller on Halloween.

Both he and Su-Li love our 2 dogs to bits and you have to see how excited our dogs get when he comes to visit. I think the love they have for our dogs is equaled only by the love Lee Shih and Su-Li have for each other.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to give this loving couple advice on a happy marriage, but the best I can do is this: -

Lee Shih and Su-Li, if you want each other to listen to every word you say - talk in your sleep!

In the first year, the husband speaks and the wife listens.

In the second year, the wife speaks and the husband listens.

In the third year, both speak and the neighbours listen...

There’ll be good times. And rough times.  But through it all, just remember that you love each other.

My wife, Chooi Gait, would like me to share this with Lee Shih and Su-Li:

“Life is an endless learning experience. May both of you learn and grow together, keeping pace with each other, finding each other’s quirks and habits endearing. And support each other as you journey through life together. We wish you both a very happy and fulfilling marriage”.

Before I sign off, I must share with you some words of wisdom that I learned from my very good friend, Dr JM Gowdh, when he delivered his Father of the Bride speech at his daughter’s wedding.

Dr Gowdh asked his guests a most intriguing and pertinent question. He asked “What’s the secret to a happy marriage?”

His answer “It’s still a secret!”

Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy yourselves.  And thank you.

Continue reading: "Wedding Speech by the Father of the Bride"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wedding Speech by My Father

On 23 November 2013, Su-Li and I held our wedding dinner at Cyberview Resort. I could not have asked for a more wonderful dinner where we had our family and loved ones to share in the special occasion. I set out below the speech delivered by my father on that night.

It is a privilege to be speaking in front of you all today, but we know that this day  truly belongs to the beautiful  couple, so I’m going to make my speech fairly short.

On behalf of my wife, Keng Hoon, and Su-Li’s parents, Alex & Chooi Gait, I want to sincerely thank all of you for being part of such an important day of our children, Lee Shih & Su-Li.

Thank you all for coming over and blessing the couple.  I would also like to thank many of you who have travelled far and wide to be here this evening, especially my Uncle Kiong and Aunt Kim Eng from Australia, my Sister Wee Phun, my niece Lynn, and grand nephew Luke from US, my cousin sister May Choo and husband Beng Hian from Australia, and our other son, Lee Yang from the UK.

 First off, I would just like to say that this is a great day for a father, when his son marks the beginning of a whole new life and beginning of his own family.

Nothing could make a father more proud than to see his son marry such a beautiful young woman and just to see how happy they are together.

It is really amazing to have had front row seats while watching our son grow from a Boy into a Man. And now, it makes me feel proud to see the kind of man that he grew up to be.

Frankly, looking at my son today, I find hard to believe he was the same boy who insisted that I should sit outside his classroom on his first day at primary school. By the end of the first week, it became quite embarrassing for me as all other parents had stopped turning up at the school with their children. How long have I had to sit or stand outside his classroom, two full weeks.

Watching a child grow and mature brings with itself different experiences and emotions for the parents.  I would like to share with you folks one experience Lee Shih and us went through.

He had just completed his law studies in UK and was returning to Singapore for good and Keng Hoon and I were really looking forward to his return to Singapore as we two old folks have been on our own ever since our two boys were packed off to Boarding School for their secondary education  and then off to England for their tertiary education. I think Lee Shih was looking forward  to his return to Singapore too.

Return he did, gained admission into NUS law school for a year long immersion course in Singapore law and was also accepted by a large Singapore law firm to commence his pupilage after the course.

Suddenly  our excitement of having him back suddenly vanished when he was informed by the Singapore Immigration Authority that his application for long term stay was rejected. His hope of staying in Singapore and practising law suddenly vanished.

It came as a big shock for all of us and I would say this was probably one of the darkest moments for Lee Shih, and as parents we felt for him too. 

At that moment I thought it must be mistaken identity. How could this happen to him I asked myself, as he has spent his entire childhood in Singapore, went to Singapore schools, all his friends are in Singapore, and for him, home is Singapore.

Suddenly he was made to feel like a foreigner with no right to stay on for any long term. We did not have a Plan B, as we never had expected this to happen,   and  to make things worse, he had only a few days left to decide his next option as his social visit pass had only a few days remaining.

Eventually I managed to find out it was because he had revoked his Permanent Resident status when he turned 19 and therefore escaped conscription into the Singapore Armed Forces which involves 2.5 years of National Service. However, they are a bit more transparent now, so when a 2nd generation PR revokes his PR now, he and his parents would be told about its consequences up front.

Now looking back, this could have been a blessing in disguise for Lee Shih and for us.  If not he would not have come to KL, and knocked on the door of Skrine, started his legal career in Skrine. Judging from what I see, Skrine is taking quite good care of him . Besides practising law, he finds time to indulge himself on his other passions for Ballroom and Latin dancing which I think must have picked up from his Grandpa Kong Kong,  his other passions for Singing and Scuba Diving, and Dragon Boating.

Finally to top all the above, it is in Skrine where he met his lovely wife and our daughter in law,  Su-Li.  It is indeed a Blessing in Disguise for all of us.

Keng Hoon and I are really proud to invite our lovely new daughter  to our family, a daughter we had long wished for. Do not despair, Alex and Chooi Gait, you may feel you have lost a daughter, but you have gained a son.

We have to admit that from the first time we met her, we felt as if we had been family right along.

To the newest member of our family, Su-Li, I like to extend a very warm welcome. Our hope is that you will feel as comfortable with our family that is now your own, too. Keng Hoon and I  promise to do our best as in laws and to stay out  of the way but we always have an open door, especially when the grandkids start showing up. We have additional rooms in our new home , for our grandkids’ and your visits.

To my son, Lee Shih, if there are a few pointers I could give to you :-

  1. Continue to cherish one another
  2. Nurture the love in each of you as every day passes
  3. Always compliment your wife’s cooking, even if it is as bad as that time your mother first tried to cook for all of us. 

By the way, your Mom’s cooking has improved tremendously.
The last thing I have to say is something that I wish for you, Son, that one day you will have the honour of standing in front of family and friends in order to say out loud that your son has turned out to be the man you always knew he would be, and more.

Before I finish, a special thank you to Su-Li’s lovely parents, Alex &  Chooi Gait,   for bringing up such a wonderful daughter and making her the person she is. We definitely have gained a daughter.

Thank you all, for being here, to celebrate this beautiful occasion with our children.

Continue reading: "Wedding Speech by My Father"

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Zombie Run Malaysia 2013

 2 February 2013: The zombie outbreak has spread across most of the world. There are only pockets of human survivors left in the world. Here in KL, the last few humans make their way to the forested area near Bandar Utama where we will make our last stand. We are running low on crucial supplies like medicine, food and water. What little supplies were left are stored deep in the forest which reports indicate have been overrun by zombies.

The survivors making their way into the forest to make our last stand

The leaders of the survivors initiate what is codenamed Project: Zombie Run Malaysia. We will be emulating what has been found to be very successful in the other countries where the remaining survivors have also carried out similar operations. We will be split into groups of five and where we will only be armed with a protective vest to try to ward off the zombies and prevent infection. The vest will have a flag attached to the back. If the zombies do manage to attack you, and once the flag is ripped, the vest will lose its protection and you will be lost to the zombie horde forever.

Being handed our vests. That is all that stands between us and the zombie horde.

Our wits will be our most valuable weapon. We hope to stay alive.

Spread out across the forest, the scouts have reported that the supplies are located in five different zones. We must stay together with our team of five and attempt to collect all five different supplies and bring it back to headquarters.

However, the scouts who have made it back alive also report that the zombie horde has also spread themselves out across the five different areas. These zombies still bear some of their intelligence and appear to be working together in co-operation. A crude map, drawn from the intelligence reports, will help guide us through the forest.

The scouts have also reported that there appears to be three different species of zombies. The first is the stumbler-like zombie. They are much slower and are only able to lurch at nearby humans within a very limited space. The danger they pose individually is much lower but they do tend be found in larger groups together. The second zombie are the runner zombies. After death, they seem to have been augmented with great speed and ferocity. They are able to accelerate with great bursts of speed and like to trap their victims into tight areas. The third is a still unidentified type of zombie. They are rarely seen and tend to disappear and meld into the forest.

We receive our briefing from our commander and we check that our protective vests are safely secured. We know that the fate of humanity will depend on us obtaining those crucial supplies. But the commander also ominously tells us that not all of us will survive and that he wishes us godspeed.

Vests on. Our team's codename is Team Alice.

The humans are ready to fight back.

0800 hours: We advance close to the restricted area where we will now be on our own against the zombies waiting in the forest. The survivors have built a base which provides protection against the zombies but they will be raising the doors to allow us to run outside the base into the forest. We mutter a silent prayer under our breaths.

We can already hear some of screaming far within the forests. We are unsure whether the source is human or inhuman. Zooming in with our binoculars, we can already see some of the shambling undead in the distance. 

Our commander again reminds us that we only have 45 minutes to grab as many supplies as possible. We must get back into the base within that 45 minutes or they will assume that we are already dead and then seal off the base and prevent anyone else to return. There are 150 of us making this daring raid while the scouts have reported that there are close to 75 zombies spotted in the forest.

The sealed doors are raised and we surge forward into the unknown; our hearts already thumping in our ears. We charge forward into the forest.

We immediately run into a pack of the slow-moving stumbler zombies. They stare at us with their glazed dead eyes and they groan as we run closer and closer. We dodge and try to weave our way through this pack of stumblers. The stumblers snarl and attempt to claw through our protective vests. Somehow, the stumblers know of the weak point at the back of our vests, where our flags are, and they try to snatch and grab at our vests. 

My team successfully navigates through this initial pack of stumblers. I keep running, and as I turn my head back, I already see some of the human runners falling to the stumblers. With their vests torn, the stumblers group round the fallen and start to devour them.

We have no time to grieve the loss of our comrades and we keep running. We do a quick check of our map, as we run down the main road, and the group instinctively splits up. Some continue to sprint down the main road to head towards Zone 4 and 5. My team are at odds as to whether to follow the first half who went on ahead or should we follow the other half who have gone into Zone 3.

We decide to go into Zone 3. We immediately run headlong into a thick forested area. We can barely see several metres in front of us as we push away away the thick long grass and push branches away. We hear a loud scream and see several survivors running back towards us as they had seen zombies ahead. We circle around the area and keep our eyes peeled for those valuable supplies. We spend several minutes but it seems as if the supplies had already run out. Somehow all the supplies had already been taken. 

A minor setback and with valuable time already taken up, we soldier on to Zone 4 and 5. We decide to leave Zone 2 for the last since it is the closest back to the base, our finishing point.

Here, we experience our first encounter with the runner zombies. They sprint and circle round their prey. Working in tandem, they hope to tire down the human survivors and then pounce at us. Many of us fall at this stage. Even with the makeshift obstacles in these areas, it is hard to distract these zombies in order for us to get the supplies found deep within the area.

We are about to charge headlong into Zone 4

A runner zombie

Another runner zombie

I hear one of the human survivors making an inspiring call to arms, to get a group of survivors to work together in order to charge as a group to distract the zombies. With a loud shout, a huge group of them charge headlong into Zone 4, but which only make it easy pickings for the waiting runner zombies who ambush them from the flanks.

With wave after wave of human survivors throwing their bodies into the zombies, I manage to navigate my way deep into Zone 5 and grab one valuable supply. But I already see a runner zombie eyeing my escape route and I am forced to circle back round. I see a group of 5 survivors who have linked arms and advance as a circle closer and closer to the nearby supply. But their large size as a circle only serves to attract the attention of the runner zombies who now move towards them. I make use of this opportunity to dash towards to exit of Zone 5.

By this stage, we had successfully navigated Zones 4 and 5, with two supplies in hand. One of our team members is critically wounded however, with a zombie having torn at her vest. Each team thankfully has one first-aid kit but it can only be used two times. An injection is applied to our team member to heal her wounds. We only have one first-aid injection left. As we sprint back towards Zone 2, we spot another supply lying by the side of the road. We collect it and we now have three. That leaves only the one supply at Zone 2 left.

Being winded from the running, we take a short rest at the crossroads to catch our breath. We fail however to spot a lurking zombie who lunges from behind us and claws away at another team mate. We run away from the zombie and we are forced to use our last first-aid injection. We now had to be extra careful. 

We decide to navigate into Zone 2 with an alternative opening we spot by climbing up the side of the hill. We climb up using the roots of the trees and advance up into Zone 2. We see the survivors, one after another, falling to the zombie horde protecting Zone 2. The runner zombies have congregated near the supply and are able to repel wave after wave of the human survivors. Since we took this alternative climb up the side of the hill, we see that this is a less protected area since we are coming in from the back.

Three of the faster runners from our team spread ourselves out at different angles and we silently point to the area where we can see where the supply is stored. I spot my chance with a runner zombie tearing away at a human, and I sprint towards the supply. Grabbing it, I immediately sprint and avoid another advancing runner zombie and I slide down the slope at the opposite side. I start to shout out to my team members that I got the supply and for us to re-group.

I hear no response and I cannot locate any of my other team mates. I continue my slide down the slop of the hill and make it back to the main road. I see however another group of stumbler zombies advancing down the main road. I cannot wait for my team mates and I charge straight through the pack of stumbler zombies and dodge as much as I can. I can see the base within sight now. I see another team mate stumbling out of Zone 2, bruised and bloodied, but he is alive. He tells me that one of our team members fell valiantly to a pack of runner zombies in Zone 2. So that leaves only our two remaining team members.

I suddenly remember that we are in contact through our mobile phones and I call them to see if they are still alive. I tell them to come back to the main road and to charge through the stumbler zombies. The minutes tick by and I still don't see them. Suddenly I get a call on my phone again, and they inform me that they are safely back at the base. I sprint back to the base and they later tell me that they had managed to cut through the forest itself and led a group of survivors through the forest to avoid the main road and to avoid the stumblers.

We successfully make it back to the base, with only four surviving members and with four supplies. It was time to celebrate with the surviving humans as well. Back at the base, we also see footage of one of the successful runs carried out by one of the other teams:

Back at the base, we are also able to observe some of the captured zombies, which are safely contained in their chained area.

The four surviving members of Team Alice

Upon a closer check, I also discover that I was so close to being infected and falling to the zombies. A near-miss on my vest and my vest was still intact.

So Project: Zombie Run was a big success. If we are called on again to fight against the zombie apocalypse, and if we are still alive in a year's time, we will be back!

Continue reading: "Zombie Run Malaysia 2013"

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