Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I miss blogging. I really should get back into it.

But for now I suppose it's suffice for me to update my outdated profile (I will admit that I don't know if that sentence is grammatically correct)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

can't be bothered with a title.

So much has been said to me about my choice to stay single.

I have trust issues. Issues that of late have been exacerbated just by watching the world pass by. It's like I have reached a whole new people of distrust in people. Not just as a potential partner, but people I surround myself with. I have a few close friends I trust with my life, but I'm referring rather to the world at large here. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I have been disappointed - I have, but this isn't the case in the circumstances - rather, I feel like I have been awakened. I see the world in such a different light. Maybe I have viewed the world in rose-tinted glasses, I don't know.

For one, I discovered that dating is not quite what it used to be, especially having been out of the scene for quite some time. I used to believe that there is always someone that is made specially for you, that fulfills and complements you, happy ever after et al. 


People are so interchangeable. Look at that statement from different angles, perhaps you may see what I mean. What you need (or rather selfishly, want) really depends on the specifics of your situation. In the dating sense, I guess who you date at any given point of your life is a reflection of what you feed on to derive pleasure and satisfaction at that time. This is not limited to merely sexual gratification (which, let's face it, is infinitely easier to find nowadays) but expands to cover the entirety of the fabric of your being. The person you're dating today is the person who complements your personality and quirks at that moment, someone who supports your decisions, embraces your being and is worthy of your attention. That's a good thing though right?

Maybe. People change. I'm not even going to try justifying that. People evolve and change; in doing so, their needs and wants change with them. So what happens to person you're dating now? Like I mentioned earlier, interchangeable.

Sure it feels good when it's there, sure it's nice to be paid attention to, of course it's nice having someone to cuddle at night - but how do you sleep knowing that at any moment, your feelings might change and you'd have to walk away, leaving a path of destruction in your wake? This got me thinking, what happens when dating evolves into a relationship kept alive solely by necessity? Is there a point going on with a routine that would lead to bitterness and resentment in the end?

I applaud the couples who have made it through the hard times, and those who have fought to keep an honest and true friendship. But me, I'm just jaded. I'm tired of hoping, I'm tired of waiting, I'm tired of having hope. Having been a bystander, and seeing it happen in the lives of the people around me, I don't see the point. I can't see how it's worth it.

I'd rather cause pain and hurt to myself than cause some other person the Lord created to be left in limbo. I'd rather concentrate on loving myself and loving the family that God has blessed me with.

So yeah now you have it, this is why I'm single, and this is why this is going to be the way it's going to stay.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Dear United Kingdom, I have something to say to you. Many Malaysians will not agree with me, but they seldom do anyway so here it goes. Thank you very, very much for easing our nation towards independence. Thank you for helping us draft our Constitution. Thank you for teaching us the ways of administration. Thank you for bringing in the tea, oil, and rubber seeds that has helped sustain our economy. Thank you for your language, in which I'm typing this in. Thank you for making our Independence as bloodless as possible. Thank you for training our troops that protected us from the communists. See, United Kingdom, so many Malaysians only think of you as Imperialist colonials that have robbed us by taking over the very fabric of our nation, but have forgotten you have gave us so much in return. My eternal gratitude goes out to you, United Kingdom.. God save the Queen. Merdeka. Merdeka. Merdeka.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


this is my 350th post.

i've always believed that what matters is not where you're at, but who you're with. that's why i feel so blessed to be surrounded by beautiful souls wherever i go. that just makes things that much more bearable, you know?

anyway a bunch of us took a trip to edinburgh not too long ago, and it was bliss. we all needed a change of scenery (before we associate newcastle with huge workloads and the stress of uni life - not that we're particularly hardworking to begin with.)

edinburgh was beautiful :) the architecture, in my opinion, is simply exquisite and the city had a sense of old romanticism about it. i daresay i fell in love and i'm planning a return trip in the very near future. this was not my first time in edinburgh though, i went with my family when i was younger and again in the summer when mum & dad came to visit but this time it was incredible. like i said, it was the company.

we had a laid-back day strolling around the city, soaking up the sights and sounds.. it was just wonderful! anyway here are some photos :) it's been a while since i've uploaded photos into this blog - i've not had time to properly edit them so.. yeah. enjoy!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Hit Me Baby, One More Time!

Should physical force be allowed to make a suspect divulge information?

In 1975 the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a declaration condemning torture as ‘an offence to human dignity’. The Rome Statute classified torture as a crime against humanity. Thus torture is understood to be not merely an offence against its direct victim, but an offence against all humankind.

Almost all fundamental rights can be affected, especially habeas corpus, fair trial (due process of law), protection of privacy, freedom of religion, equality, freedom of movement, right to life, right to human dignity. Due to lack of time and space, we have to limit our inquiry to one concrete issue, and this will be the question of torture (as a violation of the human rights of the tortured person).

In the case study we analysed in last week's workshop however, there is a bomb that is due to explode in four hours. Is physical force so justified then? This is called a ticking time bomb scenario – a highly controversial argument that seems to justify physical force against a suspected terrorist. Basically it refers to the scenario where a suspected terrorist is physically forced to give information, particularly in the circumstances where a bomb is about to detonate in the near futute (in this case, four hours). The physical force, however, is to be proportionate to the imminent danger. How is this determined?

Based on the law, domestic and international, and supported by legal journals, there should be no exception to a person’s right not to be subjected to torture on the very basis of basic human rights. Morally, I cannot seem to find within myself any justification for allowing a suspect to be tortured. It is degrading, and inhuman. As a matter of fact, I find it highly hypocritical and totally against the 'Do unto others as others do unto you' adage that I hold close to myself.

I do have some reservations, though. If the suspect does not disclose the whereabouts of the bomb that is about to go off, may lives will be in danger. Perhaps some form of bargain may be struck - this is obviously to be done on a case-by-case basis.

This is obviously a debate that is not going to end anytime soon!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

I Will Follow You

As some of you may be aware of, Malaysia was once a colony of the British. Malaya gained its independence on 31st August 1957, and Malaysia was formed when Sabah and Sarawak joined on 16th September 1963. What many are not aware of is how the law of England and Wales has influenced the law in Malaysia and this article attempts to shed some light on the matter.

The gradual development of Constitution and Law in Malaysia is seen from the history of the Straits Settlements (Penang, Malacca, and Singapore). The Straits Settlements progressed from being originally an appendage of the British East India Company to becoming the leading Crown colony. The Straits Settlements were transferred to the care of the Secretary of State for the Colonies by an Order by the Council in 1st April 1867.

The island of Penang was the first territory to be acquisitioned by the British in Malaysia. Captain Francis Light, for the East India Company, obtained a cession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786. Thus began the era of British colonialism in Malaysia.

The introduction of the Royal Charter of Justice of 1807 is the most significant event in the Malaysian legal history, marking the beginning of the statutory introduction of English law into the country. The Charter established ‘The Court of Judicature of Prince of Wales Island’ (as Penang was then known) to exercise jurisdiction in all jurisdiction in all civil, criminal and ecclesiastical matters. It was interpreted by the courts as introducing to Penang the law of England as it stood in 1807 in so far as it was suitable to local conditions and circumstances. That interpretation was made in Kamoo v Bassett (1808) and was subsequently affirmed by the Privy Council in Ong Cheng Neo v Yeap Cheah Neo & Ors (1872) 1 Ky, where it was held that English law could be taken to the governing law so far as it was applicable to the circumstances of the place and modified in its application by these circumstances.

In 1826, the three settlements of Malacca, Penang and Singapore were incorporated into the Straits Settlement. The Charter of 1826, known as the Second Charter, extended the jurisdiction of the Court of Judicature of Prince of Wales Island (Penang) to Singapore and Malacca. The Second Charter contained the same provisions as the First Charter, and was considered to have introduced the law of England as it stood in 1826 into the Straits Settlements. When the Second Charter was granted and applied in Singapore and Malacca, it was equally applied to Penang. A new court called ‘The Court of Judicature of Prince of Wales Island, Singapore and Malacca’ was created by the Second Charter and English law was applied subject to local conditions. The application of English law in the Straits Settlements was subject to such modifications of the various races as were necessary to prevent it from operating unjustly or oppressively. Where civil law is concerned, Penang and Malacca are now with the rest of the Federation, governed by section 3 of the Civil Law Act 1956 which introduced the Common Law of England and Rules of Equity as administered in England on 9 April 1956.

Through a series of treaties and by 1888, the British control of the Malay states of Perak, Selangor, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan was firmly established whereby the rulers of these states agreed to accept the advice of the British via the British Residents.

The Penal Code of the Straits Settlements based on the Indian Penal Code was first adopted by Perak by Order in council of 28th June 1884 and later by other states. The Evidence Ordinance of the Straits Settlements based on the Indian Evidence Act was first adopted by Selangor by the Courts Regulation of 1893 and then by other states. The Criminal Procedure Code of India was adopted and enacted in the various Malay States constituting the Federated Malay States in 1900 and eventually incorporated in the Revised Edition of 1936 as Chapter 6. The Civil Law Enactment 1937 gave statutory authority for the introduction of English Common Law and Rules of Equity to the Federated Malay States. In 1951 the Enactment was extended to the other Malay States and in 1956, the Civil Law Act introduced English law to the entire Federation of Malaya.

Sabah and Sarawak are referred to as the Borneo States. In 1841, James Brooke became the ruler of Sarawak. In 1843, eight laws were prepared, printed and published in Malay as a first step by James Brooke. Sabah and Sarawak were protectorates from 1888 to 1946, and therefore there could have been no common law reception of English law before 1946 and in both territories there was no statutory reception until relatively late.

Sarawak was the first, with the Order L-4 (Laws of Sarawak) 1928, section 2 of which provides:
‘The Law of England, in so far as it is modified by Ordinance enacted by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Council Negeri, and in so far as it is applicable to Sarawak having regard to native customs and local conditions, shall be the law of Sarawak.’

Sabah followed the Civil Law Ordinance of 1938, which made the following rather more complicated provision:
‘Save in so far as other provision has been mad or may hereafter be made by any enactment in force in the State, the common law of England and the rules of equity, other than any modification of such law or any such rule enacted by statute, as administered in England at the date of the commencement of this Ordinance, shall, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, be in force in the state. The common law of England and the rules of equity administered in England at the date of the commencement of this Ordinance be in force in the State so far as only the circumstances render necessary; and in the exercise of jurisdiction, all courts shall have special regard to the laws and customs of the inhabitants of the State so far as they are not inhuman, unconscionable or contrary to public policy.’

The written law of the Borneo States derived largely from legislation in force in Singapore and the Federation and therefore indirectly from the written laws in India and the United Kingdom. The Indian Penal code was applied in Sarawak by the Courts Order 1922, and continued in force by Order No. 1-1 (Interpretation) 1933, before the Penal Code was enacted in 1934. The North Borneo Penal Code dates from 1959 while Sarawak adopted the Civil Procedure Code in the same year. The reception of English law in the Borneo States was then formalised by the Sarawak Application of Law Ordinance 1949 and the North Borneo Application of Law Ordinance 1951.

The emergence and development of common law and the rules of equity in the English context have impacted countries that employ the common law system, including India, Singapore and Malaysia. The transplantation of the common law in England and the rules of Equity into Malaysia was not completed overnight, but was rather a process that spanned the length of many years.


Rau & Kumar, General Principles of the Malaysian Legal System, International Law Book Services.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Nosirp is Prison Backwards.

We recently had a workshop and we covered the controversial topic of whether or not a prisoner should be afforded the right to vote. The current position in the UK now is that they may not. Of course, there are many differing views on the matter. Personally (and this is my blog so everything I say, goes) I believe that they should be given the right to vote. Being given a custodial sentence is not merely punishment for punishment's sake but rather a process of rehabilitation prior to being reintroduced to society. As idealistic it may sound, compassion and empathy goes a long way!

The UK government has tried to prevent or at least postpone the introduction of amending legislation to allow prisoners the right to vote, possibly on political grounds. It is threatening to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights. Should this be the case, then there would be a massive change in the status and future of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgments, the European Convention, and the Council of Europe.
However, until that actually happens, we still can rely on the wordings of the 1998 Act. The UK is bound by its very own law which is to make sure that any domestic law is to be read in line with the rights meted out in the Convention. This means that it must comply with the directions from Strasbourg to introduce amending legislation to the effect that prisoners’ right to vote are not limited. As it stands, the UK government is in breach of its strict obligations under the Convention.

To conclude, the government would benefit from changing its restrictive approach to the reform of prisoner enfranchisement as it otherwise shows that they are willing to ignore not just human rights but also the basic principles of equality, fairness, proportionality and legality. There is scope for the development of law in this particular field to promote certainty in the law as well as to preserve basic human rights and hopefully, finality in litigation.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Aboriginal Truth.

I was watching a documentary the other day on the Aborigines in Australia. I find it very fascinating that they have somewhat captured the world's attention despite being considered a minority somewhat. I myself come from a small tribe of about 6000, hailing from the Kelabit Highlands deep in the heart of Borneo so I decided to do some research on the Aborigines and my previous article on self determination (in other words, I could not think of another research topic.)

Recent years have witnessed an evolution of the right of self-determination. In the post Second World War context, it was principally thought of as a way in which the decolonisation process could be legitimised and facilitated. The right is now beginning to be discussed in terms of the development of democratic structures and minority and indigenous rights within existing states. Self-determination has thus been defined by the International Court of Justice (in the West-Saharan case) as: The need to pay regard to the freely expressed will of peoples. It is important to stress that for indigenous peoples the term self-determination does most often not imply secession from the state.

Australia, as a member of the United Nations (UN) has treaty obligations. A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, exchange of letters, et cetera. Regardless of the terminology, all of these international agreements under international law are equally treaties and the rules are the same.

Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) states that self-determination is the right of all peoples to 'freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development'. In accordance with this right, 'All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources' and there is an obligation on the State that under no circumstances will they deprive a people 'of its own means of subsistence'. The State is obliged 'to promote the realisation of the right to self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations'.

The requirement that self-determination be realised 'in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations' effectively guarantees that the recognition of self-determination will not form the basis of secession of Indigenous peoples in colonial countries such as Australia. It is notable that this provision is also incorporated into the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as Article 45 states that actions contrary to the Charter of the United Nations are not permitted.

In Australia's view, self-determination is not a static concept, but rather an evolving right which includes equal rights, the continuing right of peoples to decide how they should be governed, the right of people as individuals to participate fully in the political process (particularly by way of periodic free and fair elections) and the right of distinct peoples within a state to make decisions on and administer their own affairs (relevant both to indigenous peoples and to national minorities). This proposition finds support in the words of the Article 1 of the Covenants, together with Article 21 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Australia has also repeatedly stressed the point made above that the right of self-determination does not, except in the most exceptional circumstances, equate to a right of secession.

Aboriginal Law has not been recognised historically in Australia. This can be traced back to the ‘settlement’ of Australia, and the assumption that it was terra nullius, legally defined as a land uninhabited by a recognised sovereign, or by a people with recognisable institutions and laws.

Self-determination for Australia's indigenous peoples has been Government policy since 1972. This encompassed basic local government functions, ranging from land dealings and management of community centers to road maintenance and garbage collection, as well as setting education programmes and standards in their local schools. In 1990 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs defined self-determination as:
... Aboriginal control over the decision-making process as well as control over the ultimate decision about a wide range of matters including political status, and economic, social and cultural development. It means Aboriginal people having the resources and capacity to control the future of their own communities within the legal structure common to all Australians”.

As for legal recognition within Australia itself, legislation was proposed to recognise the pre-existing rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to self-government, along with their choice to progressively assume responsibility for a range of government powers. The paper recommended Aboriginal and Islander communities take on the power of existing local authorities and many of the State and Commonwealth government powers.

The Federal Government assented (with certain conditions) and a central Aboriginal administrator called Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) was appointed and constituted to allocate and distribute funds to the various Aboriginal communities and to liaise with the Federal Government regarding the welfare of Aboriginal areas that required improvement and funding. Some argued that this was a form of self-determination or were, at the very least, initial step towards self-determination because Aboriginal people were becoming a 'self-contained' people within Australia. In addition, Aboriginal people had recently acquired native-title land rights following the Mabo decision of the High Court of Australia in the late 1980s.

In 2006, however, after a swirl of controversy and scandal, the Federal Government terminated ATSIC's commission and reassumed full control of Aboriginal welfare and allocating/distributing funding.

I am of the opinion that until a treaty or legislation is passed to give legal effect to the Aborigines right to self-determination, there will always be a gap in the operation of self-determination as a right, especially in the Australian context. Currently, as there is no specific statute governing the Aborigines right to self-determination, one may not be too sure as to how well one’s rights are protected, for example in matters involving land. There needs to a be a reform in this area of law, to provide for certainty in the long run and to aim for further development in the scope of law, especially where Australia is concerned.

1. www.iwgia.org (Heading 1.5)
2. The Australian Human Rights Commission (http://www.hreoc.gov.au) (Heading 2.1 and 2.2)
3. Creative Spirits (http://www.creativespirits.info) (Heading 2.4)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mama, I'm Moving Out

Self determination, as defined by the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, is a process by which a group of people, usually possessing a degree of political consciousness, form their own state and government. The idea evolved as a byproduct of nationalism. According to the UN charter, a people has the right to form itself into a state or to otherwise determine the form of its association with another state, and every state has the right to choose its own political, economic, social, and cultural systems. Moreover, the administering authorities of dependent territories are enjoined to ensure political advancement and the development of self-government in those territories.

The right of self-determination is well embedded in the philosophy of the United Nations. Although it is not mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the term self-determination was used in the UN Charter and has been defined in various declarations and covenants. The first (common) article of The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) reads: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” It is imperative to note that this is a universal right: it belongs to “all peoples”.

However, in UN thinking and in international law, the idea of self-determination is balanced by the principle of integrity of existing states. According to the Vienna Declaration, UN World Conference on Human Rights, 1993, the right of self-determination:
• “shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States
• conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; and
• thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind”.

Self-determination was one of the more controversial political doctrines at the turn of the 20th century. Its main proponent was US President Woodrow Wilson, whose idealistic views of foreign policy failed to coincide with the political climate at the time.

Although Wilson's ideas met with frosty reception, many of them later became cornerstones of liberal political thought. The League of Nations was Wilson's idea, and although it failed, its successor, the United Nations, has lasted much longer.

Likewise, the self-determination philosophy espoused by Wilson, though once rejected by the colonial powers that dominated geopolitics at the turn of the 20th century, is now apparently the dominant force in modern geopolitics. New states are being born on a rather frequent basis; Montenegro separated from Serbia not too long ago, and it seems that other states in the Balkans are on a similar path.

In the wake of the First World War, Wilson's ideas were tried in Europe. Many states with separate national identities became sovereign polities in their own right. However, several of them were swallowed up in the last throes of imperialism by Nazi Germany just before or at the beginning of World War II.

As decades passed by and as separatist minority groups throughout the world, operating outside of the decolonization paradigm, began challenging the concept of state territorial integrity, it became clear that the notion of self-determination had to be somehow confined. Thus, courts and academicians came up with two different forms of self-determination: internal versus external. The former potentially applies to all peoples, and signifies that all peoples should have a set of respected rights within their central state. Thus, minority groups should have cultural, social, political, linguistic and religious rights and those rights should be respected by the mother state. As long as those rights are respected by the mother state, the peoples are not oppressed and thus there is no immediate need to challenge the territorial integrity of its mother state. The latter applies to oppressed peoples, the ones whose basic rights are not being respected by the mother state and the ones who are often subject to heinous human rights abuses. Such oppressed peoples, in theory, have a right to external self-determination, and external self-determination signifies that such peoples have a right to remedial secession and independence.

Theoretically, the distinction between internal and external self-determination is easy to draw, and an academician or a judge should have not difficulty deciding which minority groups should accrue the more drastic right to external self-determination. After all, we could simply look to the human rights record of the mother state, and if the record showed violations, we could determine that the minority group should be allowed to separate. In reality, the distinction is very difficult to draw. Numerous minority groups around the globe have been mistreated and have asserted their rights to external self-determination, only to find themselves rebuffed by the world community. On the other hand, some minority groups have found strong support in the eyes of the external actors, and have garnered sufficient international recognition to be allowed to separate.

It seems patently obvious to us all nowadays that self-determination is a fundamentally sound idea. It conforms to our ideals of democracy and liberty. But when we come down to the actual concrete reality of things, people are frequently reluctant to let go of territories with their own separatist identity.

Take the People’s Republic of China, for example. After all these years, it refuses to let go of Taiwan and Tibet, despite the glaringly obvious fact that owning these territories would probably be a net loss. There are few resources to be gained in Tibet, and it is doubtful that much could be gained from controlling a resentful population in Taiwan.

From a rational point of view, there is not much point in holding on to a people who refuse to be joined to you. They only create problems, and the country is unable to exploit the resources of the separatist territory. Instead, it is forced to devote resources from other territories to quelling the separatists, and as a result cannot focus on development.

Yet, there remain huge psychological barriers to letting go. There are for example, some Russian academicians who still refuse to accept that self-determination is a reasonable philosophy. This is mostly due to the fact that their sense of national pride is far too strong for them to accept that Russia would be better off if it let go of Chechnya than if it wastes its time and resources attempting to subjugate it.

There does seem to be a good point in their argument, though, in that the people of all territories would be far better off if they could put aside their separatist ways and work together to reinforce each others strengths. But the question is, is it practical for this to happen?

To be simply put: it’s not. One cannot disabuse people of a separate national identity without making compromises that people are often unwilling to make. And as a result, this isn't a relevant justification for opposing self-determination, unless you believe it is practical to make a whole group of people change their minds about a fundamental part of their identity.

It can sometimes be hard to understand the motivations people have for oppressing and suppressing others. But if you place yourself in their shoes, it is often a very easy task.

The right of self-determination has also been recognized in other international and regional human rights instruments such as Part VII of the Helsinki Final Act 1975 and Article 20 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights as well as the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples. It has been endorsed by the International Court of Justice. Furthermore, the scope and content of the right of self- determination has been elaborated upon by the United Nations Human Rights Committee and Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as well as international jurists and human rights experts.

Nevertheless, self-determination is the right way to go. When you put an end to the destructive strife that cripples the economy of both territories, and bring about peaceful trade and cooperation between the two separated jurisdictions, you find that a more prosperous and just outcome is reached — albeit at the loss of some pride.

1. Charter of the United Nations (http://www.un.org/)
2. Australasian Legal Information Institute (http://www.austlii.edu.au)
3. Self-Determination, International Society and World Order by Martin Griffiths at the Macquarie Law Journal (Heading 1.1)
4. Self-Determination and the Right to Establish A Government by John Kilcullen (Heading 1.1)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Want To Teach The World To Sing

Music transcends all barriers between humankind. A good song will stay in your mind for hours, sometimes days on end. A great song takes you back right to the moment that you very first heard it. To most people, music is the medium in which emotion is expressed - hurt, sorrow, pain, joy, elation, and of course, love. Music, if you like, makes the world go round.

Many are still blissfully unaware of the amount of work that it takes just to make a song. A massive team is involved in the writing, composing, recording, and the post-production. It would be natural that this team would want at least some form of protection to prevent their music from being exploited.

Copyright protects creative works and enables composers, literary authors and other creators to be paid for their work. Copyright is the means by which those who create and own works (for example, music and lyrics) can control who makes use of each work and the circumstances in which it is used, to ensure that the integrity and value of the work is respected. Copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and the typographical arrangement of a published edition. The legal framework for copyright is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) as amended. (source) Every song comprises two copyright works: the music itself, a musical work; and the lyrics or words, a literary work. The work of musical arrangers and editors also benefits from copyright protection. If the work is subsequently recorded, the sound recording itself will have separate copyright protection. The producer of the recording will own the copyright in the sound recording. If the work is published in a printed edition, the typographical arrangement of that printed edition will be separately protected and the publisher of that edition will own the copyright. Under current EU laws, recorded musical performances are protected for a maximum of 50 years. This means that over a period of 50 years, performers receive remuneration for each time their work is played on the air. After 50 years, artists lose control over the use of their works and no longer receive this income. Composers already enjoy copyright protection for 70 years after their death.

In the age of Justin Bieber, where one becomes a worldwide sensation at the age of 16, 50 years of protection is clearly not sufficient. Justin for example, will lose the rights over his first song when he turns 66! Personally, I doubt anyone would want to use a Bieber song in 50 years but nowadays we can never be too sure. On the surface, this seems unfair as a composer is protected for life plus 70 years. Unless the said artist has written the song himself (let's face it, how many do?) then there will be a lot for him to worry about come 50 years when his copyright expires. For this reason, there is going to be quite a substantial reform in this area of the law.

The EU is expected to make changes to the copyright law which will find the copyright term extended from 50 years to 70 years – enabling veteran singers to receive royalties for their songs well into their retirement. It will be the culmination of a long-running campaign by record companies and artists, who have been campaigning for a change in copyright protection, with European musicians calling for parity with American performers, who enjoy cover for 95 years. The new ruling will benefit hundreds of artists including performers such as Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Rodger Daltrey and Shirley Bassey and will come as a welcome reprieve for the music industry, which is struggling to cope with the growing popularity of free online music. (source)

Jools Holland OBE, the host of the BBC's Later show and famous jazz pianist, said: "It is fantastic news to hear that copyright term has been extended to 70 years. Artists put their hearts and souls into creating music and it is only fair that they are recompensed in line with the rest of Europe."

The way I see it, this move is going to make the record companies richer at the expense of consumers. It seems that this crusade to lengthen the period of protection is inspired, albeit in a small part, by the advent of illegal file sharers that distribute music files illegally over the internet. However, lengthening the period of protection means the cost of CDs or even digital tracks will rise, leaving the consumer to handle the harshness of the situation. This may lead to one thing: even more illegal file sharers.

Another argument that was brought up, was that paying musicians more money (as if they were not overpaid as it is) would be an incentive for creativity. I very highly doubt that! Let me give you an example: Mariah Carey. When she was just starting out as a singer, she had wonderful tracks that showcased her amazing vocal range but if you have had the misfortune of listening to her recent work, you can tell that the quality of her work has gone down and she is quite reliant on synthesisers and voice-tuning software. Being a big fan of indie music, I find that most of the times I can relate more to the songs they write. They are more real, the emotion is on my level and I know what they are singing about. There are only so many songs about 'riding in my Rolls (Royce)' or 'sipping on Moet' that I can relate to.

There is another thing that bothers me too. It was 'unfair' that performing musicians and record companies should receive fees for only fifty years whereas composers were entitled for their lives plus seventy years. Nobody however suggested that it was 'unfair' that they should receive fees for longer than the twenty years appropriate for the inventors of patented inventions or, probably a better analogy, designs, where the period is fifteen or twenty-five years. What makes an performing musician more deserving of copyright protection than say, a designer? Perhaps a topic for another time, then.

For further reading, check this out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

LLM International Commercial Law

Having completed my LLB with 2nd-Class Honours earlier this year, I decided that the next step for me would be to enrol in the LLM course in Northumbria University.

LLM, which is abrreviated from the Latin term Legum Magister, is an advanced academic degree usually pursued by those holding a professional law degree. Initially I was planning to enrol into LLM International Trade Law as I took a module of the same name whilst I was in my final year. I decided however, to enrol into LLM International Commercial Law as I believe the taught modules bear more relevance to what I am planning to do in the future. As a student reading law, I find myself drawn to the corporate side of the law, as opposed to litigation in the criminal law for instance. I personally find it challenging but the very rewarding (in more ways than one, I can assure you!)

I completed my Bachelor's degree in Newcastle, so why did I pick Newcastle to do my postgraduate degree? Simple: I love it here. Newcastle has always exuded a certain warmth and a sense of home to me. It is a quaint city that has a lot to offer. From the vibrant nightlife to the calm countryside, the bustling city to the majestic seaside, there is something for everyone. I'm looking forward to this year as it will be filled with a lot of firsts - to begin with, I've had this blog for five years and I have NEVER written and posted a legal article up here.

Anyway allow me to share a little tidbit of my background. I come from a little seaside town of Miri on the island of Borneo in South-East Asia. My parents work hard to provide my siblings and I with what we need (and the occasional want, of course!). My parents come from the Kelabit tribe, and they were brought up the the beautiful highlands of Bario deep in the heart of Borneo but moved to the city to work. So, yes I'm a Kelabit boy through and through. I even speak the language fluently, so there! Growing up, family was the most important thing to me and even today, nothing has changed. I miss my family every single day!

I love cooking, travelling and shopping (okay, some of you saw that last one coming) and when I grow up, I want to be able to stand on my own two feet and be a success on my own right. I am really thoroughly enjoying every single moment of living in the UK, and I certainly do not want it to end anytime soon :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

wishes from afar

"You can kiss your family goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives within you." - Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


i am so happy that i made my mummy & daddy proud :) it's all been worth it - it was not easy, in fact, far from it. more than a few times, i have felt like dropping everything and leave. i'm glad i didn't! life's not fair, but it gives you what you deserve.

thank You, Lord for all of your never ceasing blessings on me. Your mercy & grace have surrounded me all the way and not once have You forsaken me. to Your name be all the glory!

Aaron Paran Gugkang, LLB (Honours)

Friday, May 20, 2011


When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting, "I'm clean living."
I'm whispering, "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible but,
God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of downs
I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow.


leng2 merur neh keliq kuh. mulaq tu'en narih masaq, na'am teh patur rudap lem tudaq alem nuk pengeh nih. tuseh teh lem linuh kudih beruh. laq uih ngen tauh sebayang lem pasal ulun kudih..

ngeperu'an ulun kuh, oh Tuhan. perlu tu'uh2 tuwih ngen adtang mudih lem masa sinih. Tuhan uih mutuh ileh let ngemuh, ngarak uih mayaq lawe suk do'oq dih. kadiq na'am uih kereb naruq anun-anun tanpa iko, tetameh kudih suk inan kuh buluh.

lem ngadan tetameh kudih lem surga, nih uih ngasut abi-abi sitan mae iblis luk naruq uih da'at iyat idih da'at layaq. buro muyuh let lem ulun kudih!

lun ruyung kuh nuk mado, nih uih muwit abi-abi tusah muyuh lem sebayang :) lem ngadan kudus mudih Yesus Kristus, kamih sebayang.. AMEN!

*reblogged from here and here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


my facebook account will be deactivated until further notice.

there's a new chapter in my life coming up and i'd like to focus & give it my all while i still can.

i surrender everything i have unto Thee, Lord. for Thine is the kingdom and the glory, forever and ever.


Monday, April 18, 2011

leazes park.

today was finally warm enough to go the park! with the sun shining down, it's was simply stunning and the weather was glorious too :) photos of the park (if i can find them in the millions of random photos i snapped) shall be uploaded in a future post. heheh!

daffodils have sprung up (pun intended) seemingly overnight and are everywhere! i couldn't care less about flowers but i know my family back home are crazy about them so here's a photo of the endless field of daffodils in Leazes Park. gorgeous innit?

and for my mum & sisters who have been requesting for photos of me tudo lem rang bungaq, here's one for you although i couldn't actually tudo because i'm too kemuq. hahaha :))

Thursday, April 14, 2011


wow. no updates for a month! yeah that shows how *ahem* busy i was. coursework questions came out on 11/3 and i (being the super genius they claim me to be =.=) had to submit a grand-total of 10,500 words by 8/4 (!!!) hence the disappearing act. in all fairness though, i procrastinated like a pro and spent the final 6 days before submission furiously typing away without so much of an inkling of what the hell i was trying to say. by the way, the marks we get for coursework represents 100% of our final marks for Law of International Trade, Intellectual Property Law and Commercial Contracts. sooo.. yeah. i put it all in the Lord's hands now :)

the 2011 northumbria malaysian society's ball was on the same day as our submission so it was loads of work leading up to the day of the my submission and the ball but i have to say.. the Lord, he provides. everything was about to go wrong but working with a team brimming with positive energies was a complete honour & pleasure. i was an emcee, i did a duet, i sang 2 songs aaaaand performed in the committee dance :) needless to say i became somewhat a minor celebrity on that night. heh! how's that for biting off more than i can chew? LOL here's the best part: I SWALLOWED.

***photo with the amazing committee for the 2011 M'sian Ball***

***cast members & friends***

after recovering from the week's chaos, we all decided to get together and practise what we malaysians do best: eat! we gathered on a sunny afternoon for a barbeque (and let me tell you this - I MISS BARBEQUES WITH MY FAMILY~!) and laughed till tears streamed down our faces. it was amazing.

***it's been a long time, but i still got what it takes!***

now with that all done, and after about 5 days of doing nothing but eating and sleeping - a fact i'm not so proud of, the time has come to buckle up for final exams :) i want to graduate!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


words just cannot describe how much i love japanese food :) happy, happy, happy!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


excuse me if i have trust issues.

how would you feel if the moment you turn around, she shoves the butter knife into your back, narrowly missing your spine?

yeah, i thought so.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

belfast - winter wonderland

belfast is enchanting. there's no other way to put it. it was incredibly beautiful & to this day, i still cannot believe that i was actually there. despite the subzero temperatures (and the temperature actually went to a record -27 Celcius when we were there) it was still breathtaking - in more ways than one, obviously!

the first day was spent at giant's causeway and in the winter, it just looks gorgeous. with the pure white snow glistening in the sunlight, it was enough to make a grown man cry.

being the camera happy person that i am, i was happily snapping away and i kid you not, i had about 300 photos from giant's causeway alone. it was cold. painfully cold, blisteringly cold, freezing cold. to put things into perspective, i was wearing 6 layers. my thermal shirt, a tee, a cardigan, a cashmere jumper, a leather jacket and a windbreaker and i was STILL shivering. i have never felt that cold in my entire life and i do not intend to feel that kind of cold in a long, long time.

but it was so so pretty too! check out that tree :P

the hungry travellers - the bunch that conquered Ireland in the middle of one of the worst winters in recorded history & lived to tell about it.

Lord, You have blessed me so much. thank You!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

dublin, ireland!

whoa. it has been quite some time hasn't it? i've just been so overwhelmed with work (and laziness) and i didn't have time to update this blog. but i'm gonna put up some updates because i'm self-centred and vain :P

i celebrated christmas for the first time away from my family - and well, first time without my family. it is awful being away from home during the holidays, to be honest. but i'm so blessed to be surrounded by my wonderful friends. we're all going through the same thing so the support is amazing, to say the least.

i took a trip to ireland with a bunch of friends during the winter break. it was the most awesome experience ever! the irish are ever so nice, and so hospitable :D 3 days in dublin, followed by 3 days in belfast. the company was second to none, too! this post will be dedicated to dublin:

i tried the guinness beef stew while i was in dublin. it was out of this world! hahaha not surprisingly, our little group was dubbed 'the hungry travellers' because everywhere we went, it was ALL about the food - and let me tell you, dublin is not cheap. at all. like, seriously i don't even want to think about the amount of money we spent on food. it was so bad that i did not shop - at all. hahaha sorry dad.

a trip to dublin would not be complete without visiting the guinness storehouse & pouring your own pint. so we did that.

it was quite an experience and i've now got a certificate to show that i, indeed, have poured the perfect pint - in dublin, no less. it should come in handy when i need to apply for a job as a bartender :D heheh.

sightseeing in dublin incredible, and we did it all on foot (obviously getting lost a few times) and if you have the time & money, do go! you will not regret it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Congratulations Clarence and Erica on your weddingggggg!

wishing you all the happiness in the world :) may you be surrounded by joy, good health & prosperity in all your days too!

with love, the cast & crew of ClaRica: The Musical!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


this past couple of months have been a whirlwind of firsts for me. and today marked yet another milestone in my not-so-significant life. for the first time, i saw snow!

"I sing for joy at the works of Your hands. Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand."