A reproduction of the approximate speech I had the honour of delivering on the occasion of Mr. Richard Haw @ Haw Chin Joo’s call to the Bar before Justice Tuan Mohamad Ariff bin Md. Yusof sometime in 2009.

My Lord,

Not all of us are blessed with destiny about our future employment. Not all of us hear the calling of law in our cradles. And from my experience, many come to the law not because it was for them but because they didn’t know what to do. They come to the law because it gives them a broad array of legal as well as non-legal options about what to do with themselves.

This is how the Petitioner, Richard Haw @ Haw Chin Joo, found himself at the footstep of this great house known as the Law after his STPM (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia). However it was his brother, a fellow lawyer, who persuaded the Petitioner to enter it. Despite his initial ambivalence, the Petitioner in his youth had unwittingly laid the foundation to thrive in the field of law.

He was active in the Scouts Movement and was Group Leader in Sekolah Menengah Sri Muar in 1992. Lawyers, just like scouts, always have to be prepared unless you have a hearing in Shah Alam. But unlike scouts we can occasionally get away with written submissions and the occasional adjournment application. The Petitioner was also active in organizing camping trips. This is a useful skill for a lawyer as well, as we often have to camp in corridors, in courts and even in police stations.

The Petitioner is also well rounded in lifestyle and interests. He was active in volleyball and ping-pong. He was in the committees for the Music and Drama Club and the Computer Club. And if any further indication of his suitability for the law during his early years manifested itself – his position as school librarian and prefect should prove sufficient. The Petitioner from his youth, demonstrated an attitude of preparedness, responsibility, and a love for books.

So, it is no surprise that the Petitioner eventually came to his epiphany with the law. And this is what it sounds like in his own words:

My interest in the law manifested when I was half way through the course. I liked Administratrive Law, Company Law, Contract Law, Land Law, Banking Law and others. I like those subjects for no reasons; I just like to study those subjects and want to know more about those subjects.

That is the calling of law. To find the law fascinating to the point of compulsion, for no other reason than the pleasure it brings by being engaged with it. So enraptured with the Petitioner with his studies that he even confessed to enjoying those dark areas of law like Jurisprudence.

When I asked the Petitioner why he chose this profession instead of some other job, this was his reply:

Law makes a person who studies it become a better man. It trains a person to think and act wisely and rationally. By studying the law, we know what can be done, what is proper … In my opinion, law is a ‘never ending story’. We will [always] find something new to learn, to understand, to consider.

This is the advantage the Petitioner has over those who have found their way to our profession and still don’t know why they are here. He is interested and sees the practice of law as morally constructive instead of regressive. We need more of such attitudes to inspire us, to maintain us, to guard us.

After the Petitioner completed his Bachelor of Jurisprudence from University of Malaya, he proceeded to the dreaded CLP (Certificate of Legal Practice) which he completed in 2008. Thereafter, he had the honour, though I am less certain of the pleasure, of doing his pupillage under the guidance of Mr. Andrew Teh in the firm of Messrs. Wong Lu Peen & Tunku Alina. His Master confirms his enthusiasm and commitment to his work during his pupillage. He backed it up with an offer of employment that I understand has been taken up. I would like to congratulate the Petitioner for being retained.

The Petitioner would like to thank his family, friends and everybody at Messrs. Wong Lu Peen & Tunku Alina, particularly his Master.

With that I humbly submit that the Petitioner is of good character and attitude, and so, worthy of admission to the Bar. I believe the Petitioner’s papers are in order and humbly pray that Richard Haw @ Haw Chin Joo be admitted and enrolled as an advocate and solicitor to the High Court of Malaya.

Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it...

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