Lex Petros: May 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Court Complex In Ankle-Deep Water (...sort of)

I was at the JDCC (Jalan Duta Court Complex) yesterday when it happened. When I entered the cafeteria at Basement 1, I knew immediately what had happened. A horde of janitorial workers armed with squegee brooms and wet vacuum clears gave it away. Tell tale signs of a'clean-up' as opposed to cleaning. Also, tell tale signs that the RM290million building is not free from 'teething' problems yet, midly put. It was amusing observing the court reporters and cameramen going after the officials to get a comment, with a pissed off security guard expelling verbal abuse at the journalists...all because of a faulty pipe...

So, who does the blame go to? The Public Works Department? The contractor?

I quote a caption of what was reported on StarOnline today:

"Public Works Department (PWD) director-general Datuk Dr Judin Abdul Karim said the incident was caused by a pipe end cap at a T-joint.

The end cap was made of UPVC material which is different from the T- joint which was made from ABS class 15. The end cap has been replaced with an ABS elbow class 15 as per the original specification,” he said in a written statement. "

What is "as per the original specfication" supposed to connote? You mean to say that the contractor was cutting costs and profiteering from installing materials not of specification earlier? You mean to say that the inspections did not reveal any unspecified construction?

Also reported in the same article:

"The nightmare for the new court complex began on April 30, just before the official opening on May 3, when two ceiling panels collapsed together with some lights.

Less than a week after that, cracks measuring at least 3m long began appearing outside Magistrate's Court 4. A check by The Star yesterday revealed that the cracks have since been patched up.

On May 7, the air-conditioning in one of the High Courts malfunctioned, while on May 9 the entire complex experienced a blackout, resulting in several cases being postponed."

Talk about a series of unfortunate's a miracle no one has gotten hurt so far.

I had a chat with my god-brother Simon Hong in the afternoon (also a fellow lawyer) and he raised a pertinent point....what of the safety of lawyers and judges? Is there going to be an incident some advocate gets felled with a part of the building or some judicial officer dissappearing during a hearing from collapsing chambers? Seems to me that these few incidents will eventually escalate into incidents which would attract liability ...only time will tell...

Now, I'm thinking of going to Court with a hard hat ....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

First Dive Trip in 07 - 12th to 13th May (Part 1)

May 12th (Saturday) - Once again, we headed out to Mersing after a long hiatus (of about 9 months). No frills and only thrills. Not the first time being on a trip with Yee Boon, but this time, we managed to convince Sankar, our colleague and partner-in-crime to enjoy some sun, sea and sand...Tioman Island.

We had the privilege of travelling in stlye vis-a-vis Yee Boon's wife's Toyota Harrier. We left on Friday nite (May 11th) Talk about smooth rides... Plus, what a better way to tickle ourselves than Chow Sing-Chi movies (I think it was 'Hail the Judge' and another movie in which he played 'Tong Pak Fu", 'The Flirting Scholar') in the middle of the nite. We were trying to put on "From Beijing with Love" but the Harrier's DVD controller did not seem to work, so we couldn't sellect the movie on the same disc.

On route, the rest of the group; Francis Tan, Mike Tjoa, Mike Dolan and Kim, Saiful and wife were at different parts of the journey, all heading to Ayer Hitam, the exit point from the North-South highway. Thereon, we would pass through the town of Kluang and into the winding roads of the Felda settlements on route to Mersing.

Our 3 and a half hour journey ended with some supper, before turning in at the Embassy Hotel (modest accomodation, but thankfully airconditioned) in Mersing for the residual hours of the nite. Even on the supper table, Yee Boon could hardly keep his eyes open. It was close to 3 am then. By the time we slept, it was nearly 4am. Had to get up by 6.30 and get to the Mersing Jetty by 7.00am. Not suprisingly, the three of us only got up at 7.00am and even then, I was awoken (thankfully) by the sound of footsteps outside our room)

Well, we managed to make it to the jetty by 7.20am, just in time to take the queue to board one of Bluewater's speedboats. We took a mere hour and 15 minutes. 32 nautical miles from Mersing only. Thank God for the mirror-smooth water... we arrived at Kg. Tekek, roled our stuff to the waiting area and got picked up by Barbura Resort's van and on to Tioman Reef Divers (TRD) which is just next to the resort. Our first dive was scheduled at 10.30am, so all the divers promptly checked in, scrambled for breakfast (some of us suited up at the same time) and headed out to TRD's divers' speedboat.

First stop: Pulau Renggis, just opposite Berjaya Tioman Resort. Sankar tagged along and was to go snorkelling while the rest of us were set to go under the waves...

The first dive was quite uneventful. Noticed a lack of pellagic activity. Visibility was bad; a mere 3-5 metres. Yee Boon and I ventured on our own, having the island on our left in maintaining a bearing. Actually, we got lost from the group...hehe...

The dive was boring. Boring till Yee Boon had to pose on mooring block for me . Only thing interesting was a clown fish which was willing to be at the mercy of Yee Boon hands...literally (don't worry. No marine creatures were hurt for the purposes of this blog posting...hehe ) Nemo was nevertheless quite 'sporting' in this respect...check out the little fella in Yee Boon's clasp.

Next stop: Tiger Reef...
No current, but visibility was still much to be desired. Somehow, we never fail to spot lionfish in that area. Generally this dive site is made out of boulders forming swimthroughs and channels, teeming with coral and pellagic life. On a good day, you could see a huge school of yellow-tailed snappers and fusilliers swimming by or get flanked by curious Batfish. Yee Boon on the other hand had plans to harrass a poor hawksbill turtle. On a good day, Tiger Reef boasts one of the most beautiful collection of nudibranchs, seafans and corals, but bad visibility ruined our appreciation of the resplendent underwater scenery latent at Tiger Reef.

Our 3rd dive site was Pulau Labas, a collection of underwater boulders and rocks, creating a labyrinth of swimthroughs and tunnels. Managed to catch a glimpse of a juvenile moray eel. Yee Boon skipped this dive as a result of sinus problems. Pity I got no pictures from this dive. My camera's battery went flat after the two dives earlier.

We reached TRD above 5-ish. Took a short nap before heading out for dinner at Tekek Sarang Restaurant just a few steps away from Barbura Resort. YB, Sankar and I ventured on to the new Marina, where we were allowed to take a tour along the parking lots for boats and yatchs. Nice facility, but looks like it was built for small vessels, not like the ones you see in CSI:Miami. After that, Vision Enterprise duty free shop, the largest in the village.

We went back to the resort for Sankar's video introduction to discovery scuba. Had a chat with Reeno Chew, TRD's proprietor and experienced dive instructor. He turned on a video on the underwater sights of Costa Rica. Watched it with a few Singaporean divers, whom YB thought were stuck up. We had a couple of drinks and turned in shortly after.

The sleep I had that nite was just excellent, especially after a long day of diving and being in the water...contented by the antecedent underwater adventure and perked with excitement in anticipating Sunday...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Jalan Duta Court Complex...a fast one or a farce one

I reckon I should blog about the new and collossal Jalan Duta Court Complex or OFFICIALLY known as the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, which became "operational" in May 2007 .

Some facts for perspective:-

Fact 1: The JDCC will house 30 High Courts, 21 Sessions Courts and 26 Magistrate's Courts. (That's 77 Courts under one roof).

Fact 2: The JDCC has 500 parking bays.

Fact 3: The JDCC was proclaimed to be the biggest court complex in the world (until it was discovered that it's the 2nd largest after India).

Fact 4: Cost of the JDCC = RM290 million.

Now, some 'REAL' facts for perspective:

Fact 1: Just barely a month into operation, the ceiling in the building collapses.

Fact 2: Shah Alam Court Complex (approx 6 hectares) = 150 parking bays. JDCC (approx 12 hectares) = 500 parking bays. (So, the JDCC is now the Shah Alam Court in Kuala Lumpur)

Fact 3: Jalan Duta does not have any LRT routing services. ( Like the Shah Alam Courts ,
if you didn't have your own transport, you'd still have to switch 2 or more buses if you're coming from PJ or you'd still have to take a cab, so again, the JDCC is now the Shah Alam Court in Kuala Lumpur)

Fact 4: The Basement Level of the JDC houses a cafeteria, 2 auction rooms, the mail room, the Bar room and the Subordinate Court's Registry (SPACE ECONOMY...Maybe, they should have thought of putting a sports room too, so that when lawyers finish filing their papers, they can have a meal, put up their feet with other lawyers, attend a couple of public auctions and end the day with some ping pong!)

Fact 5: Nice Court rooms, but no notice boards (I guess it's more economical using cellular tape)

Think again.

Tony and Nickie's Wedding (Part 2)

Part 2: Yee Boon and I relaxed in front of the tv after a long day. At 4, we moved out again to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kuala Lumpur to be specific, the ISHQ Restaurant in the hotel, where the wedding banquet were to be held. When we reached the hotel, preparations were still underway, the decorator girls were starting to place candles around the centre water fountain and the trimmings on the tables, whilst YB went straight to the video projector to sort out the screening. Turns out the RC jack cables he bought the night before was too short! That got sorted out later anyway, thanks to the hotel staff we borrowed.
I was helping Tony out with the last minute changes to the table seating. Usually happens at most weddings. In the picture above, you can see Duncan's trepidation as bestman, with Michelle helping him with pinning his corsage on. In fact, the people involved with preparations were tensing up. It was almost 6 and the deco wasn't done yet, the music wasn't selected and the reception table was sitting in a dark corner, amongst other concerns. Of course, I hadn't prepared my script. At that point, I decided to 'wing it'. All I needed were some names and the programme.

Fast forward...most of the guests were present by 8.15pm. A little behind schedule, I prompted everyone to take their seats! Power of the MC!... Anyway, the night started with the wedding march of the bridal couple from the spiral staircase down to the banquet hall, welcomed warmly by upstanding guests and clapping hands.

After the ceremonial cake cutting ceremony, dinner soon ensued, during which, a vidoe montage of the happy couple's moments and tomfoolery came on screen.... but much to our surprise, Michelle (Tony's sister) and gang (Ted, Duncan and Michelle's friend) decided to give a rendition of "Sometimes When We Touch" dedicated to the newly weds! Soon to follow was the groom's father's speech (Mr. Michael Lim, who nearly lost his voice that evening. Have to admire him for such a well delivered speech, which happened to be unscripted!), the bestman's speech (bravo Duncan!) and the newly weds' speech. Tony, you gave one fantastic speech, especially when it concerns your 'Heng Tai's' hehe....
Soon thereafter, the 'Yum Seng' ritual had to go on, led by Uncle Delon, the Lim family's most powerfule weapon, for he entertained the crowd with Teresa Teng's song ( Yuè Liàng Dài Biǎo Wǒ De Xīn) and reprised his singing role on popular request from the audience. Actually I think this was when the dinner started to take a faster pace. Plus, the jazz band relegated behind did really know their chinese music. As Uncle Delon charmed the audience with this captivating voice, the band provided the music almost as if they were meant to play those songs that nite. Anyway, the impromptu performance really came together like clockwork. I was most pleased that this banquet was taking an entertaining turn...

That was when yours trully decided to take his seat and retire for the nite...catching up with the boys and my dear ex-colleagues. Yeah, had the time to jostle with David, Yee Boon, Amelia and her husband, Chien Li and Meera. Was a little disappointed that Putri couldn't make it as she was taken ill that evening. Well, all's well that ends well...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tony and Nickie's Wedding (Part 1)

21st April, 2007
I found out from Yee Boon just 2 days before the event that I was to be the MC! Tony and Nickie, the newly-weds, the happy couple were expecting me to become the master of their wedding dinner. Suffice to say that as elated as I was, I was also a bit jittery as it's been almost 5 years since I did any proper 'MC-ing'.

Tony, David Lai and I gathered at YB's place the night before to finalize the last minute arrangements, from getting the property RC jacks for the video presentation to the music for the dinner and the itinerary for the day. I must say it was really surreal having this quattro in YB's place again. We used to hang out really often about 2 years ago, but since Tony left for Hong Kong, the camaraderie we were used to faded abruptly.

As usual with any Chinese wedding, the 'Heng Tai's' would be the ones flanking the groom to 'negotiate' for the bride. So, I was committed naturally and the night before, we discovered that YB was going to switch camps on us to be with the bride's side!! Well, not really, since our friend wanted to become the 'official unofficial' photographer of the day, he had the excuse of being early at the bride's side.

Well, the morning started early. I was at Tony's parent's place by 7.30am. The first order of things was to prep the wedding car with the usual ribbons and hoodpiece (my first time going at it, I might add), getting the groom ready for the day and on time as well as getting the photographer to get momentous shots of Tony's parents donning his blazer for Tony's impending trip to the Le Meridien Hotel, KL Central, where the bride and family put up. Also, I was introduced to Duncan Tan, Tony's bestman-cum-driver for the day.

So, we made our way to the suite, where we met up with Ted, another 'Heng Tai' for the 'Bride Price' (Bethrotal gifts) part of the day. So there were 3, Duncan, Ted and I. We were, of course, expectantly to be halted by a horde of 'chee muis', lead by Tony's tall but vocal sister, Michelle Lim, who did the bargaining before letting us pass the threshold. On the first offer, Tony was shown a piece of paper obviously with lipstick impressions and was asked to identify the wife's lip impresion...hehe....this was a task bound to fail. So, first punishment, do 30 ear squats! Reluctantly, we complied...Duncan being the fastest to complete and be out of breath! hehe. Then, money was offered. Not enough! DIE! Must pass an orange between the 'Heng Tai's' to the groom...using our necks...thereafter, more money was offered, ALSO not enough...DIE again!... Now must crack a hard boiled egg tied to our waist with another tied to the opposite 'Heng Tai'... Finally, at the instance of YB's banter, we charged into the room. Again, we were halted. This time, Ted took the heat and stuffed his face into whipped cream to find a single piece of chewing gum hidden. Finally, we had to sing that song by the late Teresa Teng ( Yuè Liàng Dài Biǎo Wǒ De Xīn) for the torture to be over!!!

Later, we proceeded back for Tony's place for the tea ceremony. (I won't elaborate the events here because honestly, I didn't know half of what was going on nor who the respective people were...or probably because I was in and out of the house so many times to monitor traffic and to usher relatives in, I lost track of what was happening)

The relief for me was the catered lunch...whilst having my stomach fillers, YB and the bridal couple proceeded to the Lake Gardens for the couple's photoshoot. After food, I was entasked to drive Tony's mother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law back to the Le Meredien.

After a quick tinker to YB, I shot off to the Lake Gardens to watch the final minutes of the photoshoot. Finally, the itinerary of the day part was over and I went back to YB 's place for a quick shower.

Next post: Part 2