Lex Petros: September 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birthday Boy Sankar

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Wedding and A Fancy Dress Birthday Party

Congratulations James and Angie!

I found myself attending two celebrations last night...

The first being James Ang and Angie Choong's wedding dinner at the Hotel Equatorial. I first met James whilst handling recovery litigation for RBS. James had just taken over one of the files from a previous officer (then still ABN Amro). As time went on, James' family approached me to handle probate and personal matters. One fine day last week, I got a call from James telling me his wedding is on the 26th of Sept; Saturday!

When I first arrived at the hotel's lobby, I thought I was going to be bored out of my mind not expecting to know anyone there. Then, a familiar face. Waris Kamal (a banker with RBS dealing with Mergers & Acquisitions) and Yuen Ling (another banker with RBS who still keeps in touch with one of the partners of the firm). Waris was unmistakable as the guy whose crotch I accidentally shot in a paintball game! hehe

I had to say the 8-course dinner at the Golden Phoenix Restaurant in the hotel was good. I particularly enjoyed the onion sauced chicken, an uncommon dish unlike in most 3rd course Chinese dinner where the poultry's preparation would be dry..

Next...Abi's house to celebrate my young lawyer friend, Keneshwaran Kandiah who in good spirit of things, decided to organize (with Abi, his significant other) a fancy dress birthday party!

Birthday boy got his I-Phone 3Gs!

I haven't been to a fancy dress party in ages! It's hilarious seeing my friends donning costumes at parties, something we all used to do when we were 15!

"Happy Birthday Princess!"
(don't ask how that name stuck with him)

Ken was in a Roman general costume but a Maximus Desimus Meridius he ain't. :) Abi was I think Charlie Chaplan. Ravin (seen with Ken above) was "the Godfather", but without the Tommy-gun.

Dee Wei was in a Jedi outfit flanked by his reluctant apprentice, Alex Netto. Koki grew wings of an angel and Mina (Sarah) a viking goddess or some kind. Naturally, yours truly was a Starfleet commander just having beamed himself into the festivities!

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Coming Soon: Avatar

James Cameron is making his directorial presence again in the big screen almost a decade after Titanic (which I thought was an extremely overrated romance flick!). Avatar is scheduled for release in Malaysia on 12 December 2009 and is Cameron's latest directorial effort, teaming up with the talents of Sam Worthington and Zoe Zaldana ( who played Nyota Uhura in Star Trek 2009) amongst others.

I've only watched the trailer and thought this movie has potential!
Avatar is set during the 22nd century on a small moon called Pandora, which orbits a gas giant, and is inhabited by the tribal Na'vi, ten foot blue humanoids that are peaceful unless attacked.
The "Avatar Program", a given catchy term, involves human invasion of the resplendent alien world of Pandora, covered in lush and beautiful flora and many dangerous lifeforms. The humans' goal was to simply mine the planet of its valuable minerals.
Pandora Program's pride is the successful lab-grown human-Navi hybrid in which the human brain can be "downloaded" into, giving the superhuman strength, reflexes and most importantly, adaptability to the planet's atmosphere without the need for vehicles of self-contained breathing apparatus. These 'Avatar' units enables man to explore and conquer Pandora in its splendour and dangers.
The panorama depicted by CGI looks fantastic, reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Jurassic Park .
Humans use heavy machinery including dropships, armored personnel carriers, mecha units (resembling Ripley's loader on the Sulaco in Aliens, another blockbuster directed by Cameron) and Osprey looking twin-fan choppers to breach the planet's canopy, defended by the Navi and filled with flesh-eating plants and dragons as if from medieval times.
The protagonist in this movie Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a wheelchair-bound former Marine signs up with the Avatar Program enabling him to be on two legs again. Jake is reluctant to join the program at first, understandably but goes on ahead anyway as he would be able to walk again, albeit, vis-a-vis another corporeal form. On the planet, Jakes chances upon a female Navi named Neytiri (Zoe Zaldana).
Over time, Jake integrates himself into Neytiri's clan, and begins to fall in love with her. As a result, Jake finds himself caught between the military-industrial forces of Earth, and the Navi, forcing him to choose sides in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world...
I suspect a merchandising line will soon emerge (although there is nothing on yet) giving movie aficionados and sci-fi fans a new line of collectibles.

I am awaiting Avatar's release eagerly as I have been pining to watch another James Cameron movie. Does the man still have the touch? Well, this, I have to see.


Friday, September 25, 2009

New Trek Goodies Announced

For all you ardent Trekkers out there who've been waiting for a glimmer of hope for release of Masterreplicas' Star Trek Mark IX Tricorder, there's hope yet. Although scheduled for release in Q3 of 2008, MR had ceased production after only having made and sold about 200 units (from the initial 2000 units targeted in 2008). Since then, Trekkers like me have been awaiting eagerly for any news of resuscitation of the prop. Of course, the affluent ones could easily pick one up at for about USD 799 to USD999, but even MR's RRP of USD 399 seemed pretty steep. Before that, there were some sold by Federation Surplus which also closed down sometime in 2007. Recently announced by eFX, a company incorporated in 2007 in Los Angeles, they have recently been licensed by CBS to make the Star Trek TNG Mark IX Tricorder prop replica and comes slightly cheaper at USD 350 in comparison to MR's version. eFX used to work with MR.

Each comes with a base signed by Brent Spinner (Lt. Commander Data) and has improved LED illumination compared to the MR version. Only about 1000 units will be made, so, Trekkers around the world vying for one would have to pay close attention to its release date and availability. eBay sellers would be cashing in on this one.

eFX also announced plans to make a ST:2: TWOK Phaser, a 20-inch Klingon Vor'cha class cruiser and ST: TOS Phaser for 2010 releases. Smaller ships are also said to be on the drawing board to make collectibles more affordable for collectors and Trek aficionados.

For those really keen on collecting affordable Trek starships and replicas, there's always Diamond Select Toys. There's a dearth of DST collectibles of eBay. Recently, DST announced that they are releasing the ST: TMP Phaser (which shape-wise is almost identical to the ST:2 Phaser). I've already pick up several DST starships from eBay and they look pretty damn good! The USS Enterprise D and the TWOK USS Enterprise Refit are my favourites! Sounds, lights and lines from the movies really rock my boat!

DST has announced that USS Excelsior (NCC 2000) (as first seen on ST3: The Search for Spock) and USS Enterprise-B (as seen on ST: Generations) will be released end of 2001. Knowing DST's track record for delays, hopefully by Q1 of 2010.

Complementing the year end release, DST also announced plans to come out with the ST:2 Communicator, although not confirmed. If you recall, these were the ones used by Kirk and Saavik on the Genesis Moon.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The World Needs Bigger Heroes says one of the taglines for G-Force...

This latest Walt Disney film (and a Jerry Bruckheimer production) took to the big screen in Malaysia today, the 17th of September. I must say, the response was rather luke warm. The theatre was hardly filled. From the corner of my eye, a small family of no more than five or six and a few couples spaced out. The numbers were so different when Up was screening. I guess crime-fighting-secret-agent guinea pigs isn't exactly the biggest seller here...

The movie reminds me of Danger Mouse, an animated TV series in the early 80's portraying about a secret agent mouse in Britain with his side-kick, Penfold, a bumbling hamster foiling the maniacal and sinister plans of Baron Silas Greenback, the frog fondly referred by DM as "Baron". I think DM loosely parodies James Bond. I remember keeping graphic novels of DM to keep my after-school afternoons occupied and I even once made an eye-patch resembling DM's.

As raking in the profits is the main driving force for movie makers, so does it for the gaming industry . Sony has already debut G-Force for Playstation 3 which CNet gave a 4 1/2 star rating which roughly translates to "very good". The game DVDs are so costly over here. One could easily set you back by RM200 to RM300. To ensure returning clientele, I'm sure Sony would need to keep their gamers satisfied with good play quality.

I haven't spotted any toys or movie memorabilia in Toys R Us yet indicating that G-Force isn't expected to sell well with the kiddies. Maybe there's no big plans to market furry crime fighting toy stuff. I wouldn't think the prospect of having four or five furry guinea pigs appeal to the masses.

I'd rank this movie a 6.5/10 on my scale. Though it had its moments, this movie doesn't buy you over to say "hey! that was awesome!". It's for me, more of like a something to do on a boring Thursday night.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Commercial Courts (NCC)

With effect from 1 September 2009, 2 (two) commercial courts were put in motion in the High Court of Kuala Lumpur to speed up the disposal of commercial cases.

For the moment, NCC1 presided by His Lordship Justice Dr. Hamid Sultan Abu Backer and NCC2 presided by His Lordship Justice Anantham Kasinater.
** With effect from 1 January 2010, His Lordship Tuan Mohd. Arif Bin Mohd. Yusof will preside over the new NCC 3. Source: Bar Council Circular 257/2009.

The central features of the NCC are as follows:-

1. Processing of all documents will be done on the same day as filing (i.e. documents filed prior to 3pm can be extracted on the same day)
Recently, our firm filed a Writ of Summons and was extracted 4 days later (including the weekends and within 2 working days and I think we would have gotten it on the same day had not it been our court clerks' movement schedule).
2. Court will take charge of Management of cases soon after filing
  • All Writ of Summons will bear a return date 3 months from date of filing.
Continuing from above, attached on the right hand corner of the Writ was a note with a case management date 3 months later. I guess this extension of the "tracking system" into the NCCkeeps lawyers and litigants on their toes.
  • All Winding Up Petitions will be fixed for a HEARING DATE within 2 months from date of filing.
I've always thought that winding-up petitions should be heard soonest. It certainly means that advertisement and Gazetting has to be speeded up so as to obtain the Registrar's Certificate. I only hope that the Govt Gazette publications can move just as fast as the Courts. The obvious potential problem is timing and availability of advertisement slots. However, as far as the daily papers are concerned, a 3-day advance booking would normally do the trick.
  • All other cases and interlocutory applications will be fixed for Case Management before Registrar 2 weeks from date of filing. STRICT compliance required of all directions.
I think this is like the current "tracking system" of the A-track courts. Directions would include the not more than 5-pages skeletal submissions requirement and prior to that, ensure that all affidavits are exchanged.
  • All applications will be allocated a hearing date within 2 months from date of filing.
  • Full Trial Cases, if parties are ready, a Trial will be fixed within 1 month. In any event, the Court intends to dispose of all cases within 9 months of filing.
This pace mirrors that of the Singaporean and HK Courts. However, since commercial cases do involve voluminous documents sometimes, discretion should be given to extend the anticipated time so that all litigants can properly complete the common bundle of documents. I envisage lawyers will start to be overly insistent on clients reverting with instructions and documents for the sake of ensuring all documentary evidence is prepared. Witnesses may be a problem area and depending on which industry, some witnesses come and go. I reckon that more Writ Subpoena Ad Testifacandum would be taken out in view of litigants being "encouraged" to move their cases at this pace

3. To expedite all cases, the Court strongly encourages the following:-
  • Parties to file an ENGLISH translation of all cause papers.
I thought this was a practice amongst lawyers in any event. Wasn't it always "strongly encouraged"? I remember my pupillage days when I noticed a notice on the bench table which read "Gunakanlah Bahasa Kebangsaan", something which is not practiced anymore these days, with the exception of some Courts. Even in the subordinate courts, I noticed counsels invoking their submissions in English, much to the pleasure of the bench.
  • Parties to file the Form 63 RHC 1980 (Notice Pre Trial Case Management) immediately after close of pleadings.
But of course! This is directed by Order 34 RHC 1980. Always been the case, save as you actually enjoy receiving a 'show cause letter' from the Registry. But then again, if the new NCC cases are to be given a case management date in advance, the author ponders as to the usefulness of maintaining this procedure, much less it leads to more paperwork and filing fees.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

5 Reasons Why I Hate Chick Flicks

(click on the movie poster for the official website)

I was reminded why I always avoided such rhetorical nonsense.

5 reasons why I hate chick flicks (a.k.a. “romantic comedies”)

1) No exploding heads and limbs, No starships and phasers and No walking, flesh-eating dead people

I’m an action-adventure, sci-fi and horror aficionado! I revel in my Trek universe and I love a good Indiana Jones or Allan Quartermain movie. Give me a bazooka- wielding soldier any day... Even watching Al Gore’s exposé in the Inconvenient Truth isn’t as wrenching as suffering the agony of find my true love movies.

I did very much enjoyed George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead the night before on satellite TV.

2) Plots in chick flicks too darn predictable

In a nutshell, The Ugly Truth is about a romantically-challenged TV morning show producer, Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) whose chance encounter during call-in with less-than-suave and seemingly chauvinistic, sexist and insensitive TV talk show host of...well.... “The Ugly Truth”, Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) eventually leads to a battle of wits between the two. Things begin to turn fiery she finds out the network actually hired Mike for her TV morning news. Not surprisingly, the banter begins and eventually the two find themselves getting along with each other, falling in love with each other and they live happily ever after...

Check out District 9.Peter Jackson caught all of us off guard! Now that, in my view, is hallmark of good movie-making. Out of the norm! Technically brilliant! My darling looks at me those puzzled eyes when I tell her it’s actually sort of like chick flick movie...especially when you watch the last 5 minutes of it!

3) “Romance” and “Comedies” should be distinct from each other

This author must admit that the comedy and humor interspersed in the movie left him in stitches.

Understandably, the drama must unfold with light moments, as the term “romantic comedies” denotes, but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that chick flicks are so predictable, especially when you KNOW the opposite sexes will end up i) sleeping with each other and/or ii) marrying each other in the end... why would I pay good money to watch that on a big screen when I hear about it almost every week?

4) Chick flicks marginalize single people

Being hitched or being a couple is certainly almost a pre-requisite to chick flicks.

Doesn’t it marginalize single people?

Notice the person sitting next to you always gives you that “look” when you’re gorging on a pack of chips and gurgling down a healthy serving of soda alone during a chick flick? I’ve actually tried it on several occasions, Jerry Macguire being one of them...

5) Happy endings should be left for Disney movies !

Fairy tales and happy endings are exclusive for Disney movies! Take the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and recently, Up for example...

It wouldn’t hurt to portray a hapless couple struggling with their relationships only to find out in the end that they weren’t meant for each other...let’s face it! It’s the “ugly truth” about relationships. To that extent, The Breakup (Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston starring) was a more palatable....not that I was remotely impressed...


Wednesday, September 09, 2009


(click on "DUG" to go to the movie website)

UP: One of the most entertaining Disney-Pixar productions ever! Wholesome entertainment for the whole family, young and old alike. Rottentomatoes ratings on UP stood at 97% at the time this author visited the site.

A tale of a 78-year old ballon salesman named Carl Friedreksen whom wife, Ellie passed on before their dreams of going to Paradise Falls were realised and how he conquered the loneliness of being...welll....alone....

Carl lived a life of solitude until one fine day when a young but seriously 'wet-behind-the-ears' Wilderness Explorer (scout) named Russell knocked on his door...

From that point onwards, as the story unfolds, life would never be the same for the both of them...

Then, there was DUG, one of my favourite characters in the movie....a loving canine which is pure at heart but missing a few tools in the shed (if you know what I mean) which Carl and Russell chanced upon in the movie...

This animation bundles up good laughter and hilarious moments! The uncanny camaraderie of 3 in Paradise Falls, a place Carl had always dreamt of going as a child leads them into an adventure they'll never forget...complete with an exotic bird named Kevin (who incidentally is female), an obsessed adventurer Charles Munz and a pack of talking dogs who flies airplanes and operates and airship! Sounds interesting? Well...

I recommend you go watch this one. Don't forget your popcorn and soda...essentials for a cinematic experience...

I rate this movie an 8.5/ 10


Friday, September 04, 2009

Losing One's Head in Section 23

The recent Cow Head incident at the Selangor state secretariat building reminds us again of whether the entrenched right of freedom of worship and religious tolerance in this country has yet to see its full glory.

In a gist, residents of Section 23 in Shah Alam had staged a protest last Friday against the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government’s decision to relocate a 150-year-old temple from Section 19 to their Malay-majority area.

I read the Star's report of the statement made by Ragunath Kesevan, Bar Council President saying "The fact that this is a Muslim-majority area is immaterial and should not, in and of itself, be permitted to serve as adequate basis for rejecting the establishment of a place of worship of any faith". The Bar Council's expressed disappointment at the Federal Government's handling of the issue which seemed to have placed certain blame of the Selangor State Government. The article headlined "Home Minister tells cops to charge cow head protesters".

The Malaysian Insider reported that the Home Minister warned the public of not provoking racial sentiments because it goes against the concept of "One Malaysia", which I believe was said not too long ago. Yet, it seems that the position is that why should any action be taken (or anyone be penalized) if the matter could be resolved and both sides have each other's understanding.

Whatever the position, the law is the law. If the acts of certain quarters have indeed provoked racial or religious sentiments, the consequences of such acts should follow accordingly. Even if such acts are deemed not to be racially provocative, I believe that no permit was given for such a protest. Someone still has to pay for irresponsibility. No exception should be made, for everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. The erosion of the justice system is inevitable if flaunters of the law are allowed to be off the hook. Whoever is responsible has obviously acted in total disrespect of the sentiments of others and against any sense of decency! I can only hope that the prosecution arm of our system of administration of justice will act fairly.

Live in peace and go in peace. Personally, I think we have quite a long way to go.

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