Indian Inspirations: Moving the Call of Muhammad Azwar bin Ab Manab

A reproduction of the approximate speech I had the honour of delivering on the occasion of Mr. Muhammad Azwar bin Ab Manab’s call to the Bar before Justice Puan Hadhariah binti Syed Ismail on 14 May 2010.

There are many paths that lead us to the practise of law. Sometimes it’s an uncle’s guidance. Sometimes a brother’s footsteps. Sometimes the passion beckons to us. And sometimes, it is a Hindustani film directed by the late great Raj Kapoor. It is this last path that the Petitioner first came to acquaint himself with the practise of law, in hometown of Selama, in the State of Perak. When he was younger, after Friday prayers, his late father and he would watch Hindustani films. The ones they watched had less song and dance but more table thumping, vigorous arm flapping and bellowed eloquent submissions such as “He is not guilty. He is innocent.” The young impressionable Petitioner asked his father what that person did to which the reply was, “Peguam.” The seed of law was thus planted.

After completing his studies at Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Jalan Menteri, and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Dato’ Haji Hussein he did not initially decide to take up law. He considered accountancy but thought better of it because he thought accountants boring people. He considered the area of science but did not like the idea of standing around with thick glasses and a white coat. And he is correct on both counts.

There is no other profession more exciting, sexy and action packed as the profession of law (and this only applies to litigators). There are countless movies, television series and books written about lawyers and the work. How many cool HBO series about accountants or a scientist conducting experiments does anybody here know of? Let me tell you. None. The only other “professions” that can match lawyers are doctors, cops and maybe desperate housewives.

Since the Petitioner is not a desperate housewife, has no inclination to violence and abhors the sight of blood, it is natural he came to find himself considering the prospect of law. Despite his earlier inclination, he first applied for some other course for his undergraduate degree program. However, after much tossing and turning in bed the night before posting his application, uncomfortable with his decision, he finally got up, opened up the envelope, took out the application form, erased the previous selected course and filled in “Law” instead. Two UiTM stints later (Merbok Kedah for his Pre-University Matriculation and Shah Alam for his LL.B. degree) here we all are.

Though the Petitioner possess many admirable qualities that would more than fulfill his requirements to be called to the Bar, I only seek to trouble Your Ladyship with three this afternoon. I am also pleased to report I have firsthand knowledge of these qualities since I recently completed the Diploma in Syariah Law course and so had occasion to observe him over a period of 9 months.

The first is his amazing ability to sleep sitting up. You all may think I’m not serious but this is a useful quality to have as a lawyer waiting for your cases. People like me who lack this ability will be found sprawled on a whole bench, or at least a few of the chairs here and prevent others from sitting on it. So the first quality to note about the Petitioner is that he is efficient in terms of space and his inherent consideration for others.

More seriously, the second is that the Petitioner is also efficient in terms of his ability to consume vast amounts of information within a short span of time and thereafter articulate it in a persuasive manner. Though he may know next to nothing a month before the exam, he would be helping us out with the finer points half an hour before we started. I witnessed this during our last two semester final examinations and was mightily impressed.

The third is after spending time with the Petitioner has made me realise that despite his cool, laid back and nonchalant attitude, there is a core of honesty and integrity that would rouse him to action when the occasion demands it. This quality demonstrates a careful discernment on the Petitioner’s part in what is important in life and what is not.

The Petitioner thanks his Master, Dato’ Gani Che Man, the other partner Encik Mohd Razif Mansor who served as his motivator and became his friend, and all those at Messrs. Tetuan Abd. Gani Che Man for their support and guidance.

A solitary but special thanks goes out to Cik Nor Arfah bt. Alib for being there for him through the rough times during his pupilage. I am certain the thanks is also for the smoother time as well.

Finally, the Petitioner dedicates his call to the Bar to his mother, Puan Fauziah bt Haji Arbi, and his late father, Tuan Abdul Manab bin Abdul Rahman and thank them for inspiration, guidance, blessing, support and love. He also adds that he will not let them down. Thanks goes out to his brothers Muhammad Ashraf and Muhammaf Afzali, and his sister Alia Nasreen for believing in him and supporting him throughout.

I believe that the Petitioner is a fit and proper person to be called to the Bar, that his cause papers are in order and that my learned friends have no objections. I therefore pray that the Petitioner be enrolled and admitted as an advocate and solicitor.

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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 for him. He has little taste in writing about himself in third person. He feels weird doing it. But the part he finds most tedious is having to pad up the lack of his accomplishments, or share some interesting facts about his rather uneventful life, as if there were some who found that oh-so-interesting; as if he were some famous person, like Michael Jackson. When he writes these biographies, the thought, 'Wei, Jangan Perasaan- ah!' lights up in his head. So he usually just lists what he got involved with, positions he held and blah, blah. But this time. Right here. Right this very moment. Uhuh. This one. This one right here. He's finally telling it like it is.

Posted on 30 July 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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