Saturday, May 31, 2008

Day 5: 1 Secretary, 1 Room, 75 Files.

So we got called, received our Practicing Certificates in a record 5 days and we're all set to go and 'be the dedicated litigators/lawyers the firm wants you to be". The increase in workload was definitely expected, the being thrown into the deep end part by being faced with a plethora of mentions and applications certainly envisaged.

What wasn't factored in was the sheer volume and distribution of files from the lawyers who were leaving the firm/department for subjects ranging from matrimonial matters to insurance to traffic accident cases. I don't know how anyone can consider distribution of the said files to just another Associate and I while the other three newly called Associates were not given a single file (with the exception of one who got a few files) as being remotely equitable or sensible.

I know I'm bitching but I think I'm entitled to bitch when I get an extra 40 plus files on top of the 20 plus files I'm currently working on. Having to deal with 75 files, of which some are large files with trials coming up and affidavits to rush out within the next few weeks, and at least 50 of which are active; is damn hard. Being expected to deal with these files efficiently is well nigh impossible.

And that's not even taking into account the upcoming deadlines to watch out and prepare for, when the writs must be issued, the upcoming PTCs, divorce hearings and mediation sessions, etc. Not to mention that some of the areas and procedures are alien to newcomers like us (Insurance-Nima protocol??, Contested Divorce hearing?!!!) which complicates matters when we are given live files and expected to pick up exactly where the previous lawyer left off with gusto.

It's crazy. My secretary whom I'm sharing with another new associate for now jolly well can't cope. So I'll probably raise some objections to the Head this coming Monday after a status conference for some matri matter in the Family Court and for which our defence nearly got rejected as the prior peeps overlooked the instructions and filed it 2 weeks too late.

Having to face a grumpy old bird as the Plaintiff's solicitor and attend the status conference all by my lonesome self on Monday morning promises to be a relatively nerve wracking affair.

On the brighter side of things, I finally have a secretary and a nice one at that, got a room at the cozy end of the office all to myself and largely abolished the need to do tedious administrative stuff like zapping and filing correspondences etc. Still the spectre of unpacked files and tons of work looms and I'll probably head in tomorrow just to clear some.

Then come Monday, hopefully with some persuasion and presentation of the absurdity of the current situation, things will be better. Hopefully.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mass Call to the Bar -24.05.08

Getting called to the Bar marks the culmination of the almost accidental journey towards becoming a lawyer which started five years ago when I joined NUS Law School with my fellow clueless classmates (some certainly less so than others). I say accidental because I never had this burning, overwhelming desire to be a lawyer from the start (I must confess, the initial choice was Biz Ad, which was subsequently relegated to second choice) though I did put Law as my first choice after musing about it briefly.

I guess the thing about milestone events like these are that they induce a sense of nostalgia and cause one to look back on the past sentimentally, at the people and events that have brought you to where you are today. And inevitably, one always does so with a sense of wonder that can be roughly summed up as thus 'wow I actually had to do all that' and we either give ourselves a silent pat on the back or be thankful/grateful for the company and friends that helped make the journey so much more enjoyable.

I was absolutely bushed this morning when I came for the mass call at VCH due to the fact that I'd gone drinking with the erstwhile Pupil Master and a few Associates till three plus in the morning for what was officially a farewell dinner cum drinking session for one of the Associates but the PM and I ended up teasing and cajoling a very nice, SNAG (sensitive new age guy) senior Associate about his mushy ideals towards girls and relationships in general.

Which meant I only caught about three plus hours of sleep before hauling myself out of bed, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, for the call. Thankfully, I got a lift all the way home from the PM in his flashy car which was en route as he picked up his gf first, saving a bomb on cab fare in the process.

The actual Call procedure was nothing much, highly procedural and though I found myself nodding off at frequent intervals during Justice Phang's speech, the whole affair was thankfully rather short. Then the usual photo taking sessions and lunch and a movie with the family. Such that by the time I reached home around five plus, I concussed straight till ten.

People often ask if I'm excited to be called to the Bar and officially be a fully fledged lawyer. There are mixed feelings, the pay rise of course is a huge boon, work load wise, it'll certainly increase, though hopefully not unbearably so especially since we're actually really busy to start with and handling many aspects of the files/cases (drafting advice, letters, corresponding with clients, etc etc ) so we won't be totally clueless. A lot of the actual nitty gritty of court procedures and appearing before judges for different matters that only lawyers may do, we'll however certainly need to pick up and find our pace over time.

So while not being a peon anymore is without a doubt a good thing, with power and the ability to do a lot more things as a lawyer comes increased responsibilities and duties that one owes both to the court as well as your clients. It's a sobering thought and can be a considerable burden though I feel with time and good colleagues around who are willing and able to help; I'll be able to find that balance such that it becomes instinctive rather than burdensome.

The work's certainly coming in, the numerous hearings, video conferences, PTCs, etc, all of which face us when we return to work on Monday. But I think with good colleagues, a decent secretary and a positive work attitude, things are going to be just fine. Now all I need is to find the time to start doing things I've always wanted to. Like Yoga. ^^

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Moving on

The short reprieve at Bangkok is nearly at an end and I must admit it has been an eye-opener. In more ways than one. And I'm not just talking about staying near the flashy but sleazy Patpong district, with the glitzy neon lights, the pushy mamasans or hustlers who go "tiger show tiger show?" (it was only a day later that I realised they meant Thai Girls) and clutch one's arm insistently while attempting to divert one to the nearest bar/show/club.

Nor simply about the massage parlors or agogo bars (naturally the boy bars were a lot more appealing to yours truly), where boys were paraded on stage like bits of merchandise and the shows ran the full gamut from downright explicit displays that leave nothing to the imagination to pseudo-street art (think hip hop with vigorous hip thrusting and in various stages of undress) to vulgar comedy. All in all a different side of Bangkok from the usual sanitized pig out and shop till you drop routine

The trip with the Ex was on hindsight not a very good nor smart idea. But it was decided some time ago and it was still a break. I won't deny that we, and I in particular (though he did appear to agree then), envisaged that it wouldn't be a wholly innocuous trip. There was still that tension and the unspoken understanding that anything could happen and it was to be a see-how-it goes kind of affair.

It was strange, that artificial veneer of normality, of flatly denied tension in the name of fate and choice, of solo activities that saw the both of us doing what we wanted, when we wanted. It was almost like we were two strangers sharing the same hotel room, the same bed. And if anything this trip has made it crystal clear that this is the end, the page has turned on this particular chapter of our lives and any remaining stray feelings brutally extinguished.

More things came up about his ONS, the current version a far cry from the much milder toned down one he proffered earlier. His reasons for doing so, the tenderness of the other person etc. Whatever. As he said, he made his choice the moment he had his ONS or MNS rather.

And yes the one thing I'm thankful for this trip in spite of all the strange, awkward moments, is the brutal finality with which its allowed me to move on.

And with that I dedicate this last song to you, no need to discover the truth behind your eyes, no need to struggle to leave the past behind, for sooner or later, you'll be the last thing on my mind. Without a doubt.

The Alan Parsons Project - Sooner or Later

Oh what a price we pay
For the things we say
And the closer I get to you
The further you move away

All the lies we tell
In the games we play

And the longer I think it over
The harder it is to stay

Sooner or later I'll be free
To leave the past behind
Sooner or later you're gonna be
The last thing on my mind

Little by little I'm finding out
The truth behind your eyes
Maybe if I don't show
I thought you might like to know
You're gonna be the last thing on my mind

You didn't want to know
I could have told you so
But the moment I think it's over
The further there is to go
Just a little word
Such an easy way
But the longer I think about it
The harder it is to say

Sooner or later I'll be free
To leave the past behind
Sooner or later you're gonna be
The last thing on my mind
Little by little I'm finding out
The truth behind your eyes
Maybe if I don't show
I thought you might like to know
You're gonna be the last thing on my mind

Friday, May 9, 2008

On a Friday afternoon.

Sipping earl grey in the cafe at the hotel's lobby and watching the cars zip by the fugly Sungei Wang Plaza on an friday afternoon is a blissful luxury I can only rarely afford these days and for the years to come.

A quick check on the work mailbox revealed a tiresome twenty five new email, which looked extremely bothersome so I hurriedly shut it. No work on holidays. Period. Sometimes, one has to learn to relax and unwind, watch the world go by, get a good massage, an indulgent meal and just chill.

Off now to my next destination. Cheerio.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Man of Little Faith.

"Oh, man of little faith, that ye possess not the strength to withstand the cantankerous rot of doubt."

I don't know what is more upsetting. The fact he had an ONS with a short, pot-bellied, small dick colleague 10 years his senior after one drink too many on a business trip or the fact of his delusional perception that the rot or disinterest on my part started sometime in August 2007, barely a month after we got married. Or perhaps his allegation that the break-up was an elaborate staged "transaction" conducted to inflict maximum pain.

Probably the latter two. I can't stop who he sleeps with though his taste leaves much to be desired. Actions always speak louder than words, so much for the 'keeping oneself chaste for a loved one' mantra, a couple of beers and it goes flying out of the window. Apparently, the cozy haze of alcoholic high aids one in overcoming any lingering unease. And obviously, he has moved on.

Which brings us to the other two incredulous allegations in an msn conversation that swung both ends of the emotional spectrum, from acrid to pure acid. I guess the part about his perceived notion that I had started to lose interest barely a month after the much vaunted and flaunted marriage was especially shocking, especially when it was totally untrue.

Clearly pointing out the fallacy of his peculiar notion, I debunked that baseless allegation and told him that till the second week of January, I was fully dedicated to him and was totally his, body and soul. Whereupon he made some snide remark that was it so wrong to love someone so much that one would worry about the loved one straying?

Love involves a healthy dose of trust and communication. Lack either of these two essential ingredients and you have a concoction that is about as concrete as a fluffy meringue. One poke and the hard exterior crumbles away into nothingness.

I've never liked washing dirty laundry in public, certainly not when it involves any of mine. But when a wholly inaccurate and groundless allegation is raised, it must be addressed at all cost, even if I get livid just thinking about it.

So when he went on that rampage about the entire break-up being staged as a pre-planned transaction designed just to spite him, it was extremely repulsive and offensive. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Deciding on the time and location beforehand is not indicative of some insidious malice to inflict pain and injury on him. It WAS to provide that illusion of resolve which was already so faltering so badly that I nearly called it off, due to the sheer inability to get the words out.

At the end of the day, because talking about it makes me sick to the core, the fundamental difference between us is this. While I would have fought tooth and nail for something I believed in, for something that was so desperately important to me, never mind that the other person seems cold and wrong, never mind that all might not be well anyway; he was content to let me go without a word, for the sake of my 'happiness' and dissolve into abject misery out of my sight, such that a friend had to go down to console him.

Even though my resolve was hardly there, even though I should have consulted him first instead of unilaterally deciding that it would be better to let him go. The break-up was and will always be my fault. But still, I would have fought for our happiness, for a relationship that means the world to me where he was content to give up without a fight, to release in misery and anger.

If you have released and have willingly done so, why then swing from the depths of depression to the consuming flames of blind rage?

Or maybe you have released even if partially so, for you can engage in a ONS with a fellow colleague with nary a blink and yet say in the same sentence how important I was to you. Is the short passage of 3 months sufficient to induce amnesia potent enough to purge the memories of an 'important' person? Or was the writing on the wall to begin with? Hieroglyphics of lies on the stele of our lives, the litany rudely interrupted by the sudden snapping of the stylus?

I don't know. I don't think I even want to know.

Hong Kong was fun but short, too short. The roast goose and flaming Lamborghini were superb. Thankfully, the next short break is coming up really soon, I need a break from this shit.