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Monday, 9 December 2013

The Luncheon: A Taste of the Bar III

On the back of a successful Luncheon in June 2013, the KL Bar Pupils Welfare Committee (“KLPWC”) and the KL Bar Young Lawyers Committee (“KLYLC”) once again collaborated to organise the Luncheon; a meet and dine social event designed to give an opportunity for younger members of the Bar to share their experiences, trade views and be inspired by senior members of the Bar over the course of a luncheon.


This time titled as The Luncheon: A Taste of the Bar III, the Luncheon was held at Aria Restaurant, Bukit Damansara, on 16 November 2013.

The Luncheon draws inspiration from the London Inns of Courts' dining sessions.

The cozy atmosphere of Aria perfectly fitted all 39 attendees of the Luncheon. 31 of the attendees consisted of pupils and junior members of the Bar (“Young Lawyers”) from a myriad of legal and educational backgrounds. The Luncheon was very kindly graced by 8 senior members of the Bar from a very diverse range of practice (“Seniors”). We had luminaries from the fields of dispute resolution, employment, constitutional, corporate & commercial, IT, IP, human rights law and even a co-founder of a certain blawg. The Seniors who had taken time off their busy schedule to join us were:

1.                       Datuk Haji Sulaiman Bin Abdullah of Messrs Sulaiman;

2.                       Sivabalah Nadarajah of Messrs Shearn Delamore & Co;

3.                       Chew Phye Keat of Messrs Raja, Darryl and Loh;

4.                       Khairuzzaman Bin Muhammad of Messrs Zul Rafique & Partners;

5.                       Sivaneindiren Selvanandam of Messrs Cheah Teh & Su;

6.                       Alan Adrian Gomez of Messrs Tommy Thomas;

7.                       Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu of Messrs Shukor, Baljit & Partners;

8.                       Shanmuga Kanesalingam of Messrs Kanesalingam & Co.

The Luncheon began with the Reception at 12:00 pm. Aria had set up space on the ground floor for the attendees to mingle and chat over a range of drinks and cocktails. The young and eager legal minds were only too happy to congregate around the Seniors. The Young Lawyers inundated the Seniors with questions ranging from the peculiar to the legally philosophical. The Seniors were true to form and reputation, coursing through conversations with charm and intelligence, welcoming glints in their eyes. Quickly put at ease, entrapped by the exciting and illuminating tales shared by the Seniors, it took little effort from the Committee to facilitate the breaking of the ice and to create conversation.

At 1:00 pm, it was time for the part which Malaysians know how to do best - eat! Taking further inspiration from the Inns of Court, the attendees were invited to take their randomly pre-determined seats at tables of four. Each table had 1 Senior seating with 3 Young Lawyers.

Before Aria unleashed their yummy food, the Chairpersons of the KLPWC and KLYLC, Vince Chong and Khaizan Sharizad (Sherrie), each gave a speech to officially welcome the attendees. After briefly introducing the Seniors in attendance, Vince proclaimed lunch served.

Aria did an amazing job by presenting the attendees with a delicious 3 course lunch, as follows:-

1.      Appetiser - the Bruschetta Platter which consisted of smoked salmon, creamed mushrooms and tomatoes served on toasted bread;

2.      Mains - a choice of braised lamb shank dish served with sides of mashed potatoes and vegetables; chicken breast stuffed with spinach; mushrooms and pine nuts; seafood spaghetti; and Diavola Pizza;

3.     Dessert - sweet crème brulee and coffee of your choice.

Any Bar event taking inspiration from the Dinings of the Inns of Court is not complete without the traditional delivering of speeches! The Luncheon replicates that tradition by having a Young Lawyer deliver a speech and a toast followed by a reply by a Senior who will also propose a Royal Toast.

Representing the Young Lawyers was Kalpana Sivabalah, who thanked the Seniors for taking the time and effort to come and share their experiences. Kalpana humbly described her first experience in court to be laborious and being guided through a labyrinth of instructions and procedures. Kalpana believes that in events such as The Luncheon, the gap between the seniors and the juniors will be bridged and that there is so much to be shared among the juniors and seniors. She shared anecdotes that she had obtained throughout the Luncheon, and further shared that many of the Young Lawyers present were honoured to be bestowed a sense of tradition and a sense of belonging to the fraternity. Kalpana also proclaimed her sense of exclusiveness as she finds the Bar as a unique body, which safeguards the social institution and it is also the voice of the fragile fabrics of society. She then proposed a toast to thank the Seniors for taking the time off to spend time with the Young Lawyers at the Luncheon.

We pause to share and to highlight the casual and jovial setting of the event. During  Kalpana’s speech, she had rhetorically queried why the Seniors keep doing what they do, in particular, agreeing to take time off to attend the Luncheon and spend time with the Young Lawyers. A Senior replied, to the immediate burst of laughter, cheering and clapping, “How else to meet young and good-looking lawyers?”

After the toast led by Kalpana, Datuk Haji Sulaiman, being the most senior member of the Bar present at the Luncheon, rose to reply to Kalpana’s speech. He calls the Luncheon a splendid occasion. He gladly commented that from what he saw at the Luncheon, the Bar does have promising young lawyers and this dispels any notions and fears that the future of the Bar was in trouble. He expressed that the future of the Bar was in good hands. He is also glad that we have a strong system of government based on the Rule of Law and impressed that lawyers are tasked and called to uphold the Rule of Law. He is confident that the Rule of Law will remain strong in this country and is grateful for the system that we have. Lastly, he thanked everyone for “making an old man happy”.

He ended his speech with the Royal Toast, complete with a quote from Tan Sri V.C. George:-

Charge your glass and be upstanding”

and proceeded to make a toast the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Although the Luncheon was scheduled to end at about 3:00 pm, many of the attendees lost track of time seeing how engaged they were in their respective conversations. The crowd eventually dispersed at about 4:00 pm.

The Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank all the attendees who attended. We hope that the Luncheon has made the Bar a stronger and closer fraternity.

We must record our sincere thanks to the owner and staff at Aria, who were simply outstanding and professional throughout.

The Committee hopes that Luncheon met everybody’s high expectations and that the Luncheon remains as a mainstay in the KL Bar’s annual calendar!

Prepared by Jeremy Vinesh

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