All posts by kataribe

oh, joy!

I was very pleased to learn that Singapore will have an uncharacteristically cool CNY season this year, thanks to stronger Northeast monsoon winds. In fact, I haven’t perspired much (if at all) this month! It’s usually impossible to go down for a drink without drenching your entire shirt. I know this great weather won’t last for long though. Just look at my 2011 post below. So I’ll just bask in this while it’s still here. Gloomy skies, billowing winds, a hibernating sun.. Certainly my cup of tea.

Yesterday over lunch, one of my fellow interns told me how her mentor, a former prosecutor, believed his primary aim as a lawyer was to “uphold the administration of justice“. It’s an oft repeated phrase amongst the legal fraternity. Most self-respecting lawyers see themselves as instruments of the State, protecting and championing not just their clients’ interests, but also the interests of society. Which is why most would also agree that gunning for a victory at the expense of all else is usually unethical, sometimes disgraceful.

Her mentor had a point to make when this statement was made. As someone with an intimate knowledge of the workings of the AGC, he is well aware of the immense power the prosecution holds with regard to prosecutorial discretion. Essentially someone’s fate can be dramatically altered with the stroke of a pen. Arbitrary it may seem, but the grounds for it have been robustly defended. Agree with it or not, barring any new developments in the legal landscape, prosecutorial discretion is here to stay, and hence it is more productive to consider the role prosecutors play in the light of these circumstances. Certainly, there is potential for a lot of good to be done on their end. No two cases are alike: perhaps there may be extenuating circumstances or mitigating factors that warrant a lesser charge. It is then up to the prosecution to keep an open mind when approaching the material facts of a case and summon their courage to exercise their discretion when the situation calls for it, even if it means a lesser sentence or an acquittal for the accused. It is the prosecution’s careful use of this power that helps demonstrate the principle mentioned above.

I was discussing this with another intern of mine when he pointed out that some prosecutors could potentially see this “administration of justice” in a totally different light. Perhaps these prosecutors see themselves as enforcers of the law, agents to do the State’s bidding to send evildoers to where they rightfully belong, isolated from society for as long as possible within the constraints of the law. While this may sound idealistic or even naïve, it is not without reason. In a mature judiciary which holds evidence and logic above all else, it is sometimes the case where individuals do not get the verdict they deserve due to a lack of evidence, poor witnesses or whatnot. It is hence in the interest of the prosecution to proceed on the most convenient or efficient charge, especially if they are most convinced of the guilt of the accused. This might even extend to selectively presenting evidence in a way that favours them. After all, the prosecution does not owe a duty to the accused person. That duty solely rests with the defence.

While the second view is all well and good, the prosecution must remember that already, the scales are tilted in their favour before the commencement of a trial. Granted, the onus is on them to prove that the accused is “guilty beyond reasonable doubt”, but the power of prosecutorial discretion gives them the privilege to play both barrister and judge at the same time. And so this power must certainly give one pause before he sets out to demolish a person. Besides, if we hold the mantra to be true (surely it must be, it’s become a cliché!), then are not accused persons members of society as well whose interests deserve due consideration? While we have seen presumably guilty individuals get away with their misdeeds, there have also been instances where individuals have been acquitted on appeal due to deliberate lapses in procedure from the prosecution stemming from a zealous urge to secure a conviction at all costs.

In conclusion, the hallmark of a good judiciary is one that allows everyone to have their field day in court, no matter how damning the circumstances may be. And the prosecution ought to support this cause. While not a perfect system, the alternative would be the kangaroo courts so commonly seen in dictatorships or tribal communities, which assign verdicts based on pre-judged ideas. If ever our society adopts this alternative it will be most saddening indeed.

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busy old fool, unruly sun..

Why dost thou thus, through windows, and through curtains call on us?

Not in the John Donne sense of the phrase (thankfully!), but still, this current spate of 32/33 degree weather must stop soon before some poor soul gets roasted alive! I was telling Adi today how I might just take a UCAS offer (if one exists) anyway even if NUS Law says yes, just so that I can escape this horrid weather. And like how our conversations go, it became a discussion on whether being “cold and miserable” or “hot and miserable” was better, with “miserable” being the common denominator.

I still insisted that I’d be better off cold and miserable though. I like to think I’m a misanthropist of sorts sometimes, and what kind of a misanthropist wanders around in scorching temperatures anyway!

CT2s are over, and as of now it’s been meh(rde) (pick one, or both haha). Not that I’m complaining though. As are still somewhat distant (gah why do I keep writing double!) but hey the only thing I can do now is start revising right. Oh and recalibrate my expectations. It’s no longer “I wanna go to XYZ school and get ABC scholarships” anymore, but rather it’s more like “I just wanna go to law school”. Not that it makes much of a difference anyway, since almost all the law schools in the world want near-perfect scores. >< I could discuss why I want to go to law school and face all the mad pressure and competition that comes with it, but lets leave this for another post shall we.

It is indeed scary when all you can see in your future is this: “it’s either law school, or law school” (as Adi puts it). But we’ll get there, somehow.

This reminds me, while trawling through Lawnet yesterday I chanced upon something rather interesting about Mr Rollason. Nothing incriminating or anything, but I shouldn’t paste what I saw here since it’s not polite, so all I’ll just say is that I know some stuff even the history kids don’t! Makes me a rather good stalker, eh ;)

I’m proud to announce that Every Teardrop is a Waterfall has finally grown on me! I wish Chris Martin’s vocals were more pronounced though, and that the music weren’t so.. “electronic”, like how David Choi does it.

Can you spot the bit from Strawberry Swing in it? (:

good on you, sir!

Not too long ago I was telling Joey how I regretted seeing Chen Show Mao walking out of CHS and not saying hi, and we consoled ourselves with the hope that he was there to buy tickets for Homecoming or something.

Fast forward to today: Well look who came for Homecoming!

There was a slight hint of incredulousness in his eyes when I asked him how he found out about Homecoming. “Well.. I do keep in touch with the alumni!”, as if it were absolutely retarded not to do so. And then was I convinced that he’s a true blue CHS boy. (: Well it’s not like the other ex-CHS politicians (who are ostensibly more high-profile than him) don’t grace CHS functions, but only Mr Chen came down for Homecoming, just saying.

But then again if you’re an ex-CHS politician who happens to live in Bishan too, not  going for Homecoming in the absence of severe mitigating circumstances is a very silly thing to do, so I guess he was just doing what’s normal.

I hope he didn’t get too traumatized by the hordes of people who clamoured for shots after our request! I wish I could have talked to him more, but hey I’m sure there’ll be lots of opportunities for that. After all, he lives in my neighbourhood. (:

Anyways, it sure is good to be home. My teachers are still the same bunch of fantastic folks I knew back then, save for Mr Tan getting married to his lawyer-lover (who refuses to tell us how he proposed!). Interestingly Mr Julian Teo came back after his stint at Crescent Girls’, which just about reflects how irresistible we are to our teachers, I think. There’s something special about the teachers we’ve got here, and the learning experience which results is something which can’t be/is not replicated elsewhere, I believe. I’m still not sure why it’s like that, though!

alyeska

This photo’s a rather accurate representation of my class’ Retarded Quotient, don’t you think! Note Hongyi’s cheeky grin as he moves into position- and why on earth do I look like I’m in complete agony! (From this description you should’ve figured that the obvious star of the picture is of course, Minyee) :D She doesn’t read this blog (I hope!) so hey I think I won’t get slaughtered for doing this!

Ah what will I ever do without my wonderful class (:

The madness of CTs is over for now, and there’s lots of stuff I wanna get done, and this includes figuring exactly what to do with my hair. (which is, btw, giving me tonnes of problems) Like I told Rachel and Anna on Wednesday, having the only hairstylist who understands your hair quit her job is akin to having your wife (who happens to be the only person in the world who cooks edible food) get a divorce on you.

After reading Joe Green’s Looking For Alaska, I feel rather inclined to name my hypothetical future daughter Alyeska! Or at least date someone with that name – do you not agree Aleut/Inuit names sound so adorable!

And no that’s not the only takeaway I got from the book, thankfully. More than just being a piece of teenage high school fiction (I outgrew that when I was 12, I think) it makes you think about relationships, living life and the purpose of it all really. Not to the Ishiguro kind of depth, though, but still it makes for a nice, relaxed read you can finish in an hour or two. Do note that the content’s not PG-rated though- if that bothers you.

this is my backyard

I took my X3 along for one of my runs through the Macritchie woods, just to take some pictures (and listen to Lush 99.5 – its music is really good to run to, surprisingly). It still amazes me how I’ve been living here for almost 9 years already but am only starting to discover the gem that is my backyard this year, after going on those weekly runs with Mr Rollason. No it’s not that I haven’t gone tramping in Macritchie before, it’s just that I’ve never before derived so much pleasure from going to the woods, such that I don’t even mind going alone.

Be prepared for an onslaught of green! ;)

Misanthropist-me sometimes desires to just camp out here the entire day and read. I’d actually go ahead, if the temperature’s like 16degrees or something.

Doesn’t this spot remind you of an amphitheater!

Not far from the amphitheater is an observation spot called Jelutong Tower. Apparently it’s close to this Shinto Shrine too (now gazetted as a national monument).

It’s the stuff of movies, but the story goes that Syonan Jinja was built by the Japs who believed its sacred location (or treasure?) would promise them victory in WWII. And its location is demarcated by where the first sunbeam falls in daybreak. (SPI did some sort of a test, but unfortunately the “first sunbeam” falls on the lake in front of Syonan Jinja. Does this mean the supposed treasure is buried underwater?)

Ah I wanna go find this shrine but how on earth do I get there?! 

Iced coffee after my run has become somewhat of a ritual. This place serves very good coffee btw. (I can have it unsugared)

Okay back to my work! I really need to change my sleep/wake patterns.

do babies eat paella?

Today I had paella for the first time in my life when LW, Joey and I went to check out Ambush, this restaurant near my place that brands itself as “fast casual European dining”.

It was an.. interesting experience (: I’m not sure if good paella is done this way, but today’s paella used Japanese rice grains (I think) and was totally covered with this thick, rather tangy tomato base. Which made it taste almost like porridge (or baby-food). But I’m not complaining! For $14 (including taxes) this paella lunch set had a generous portion of seafood, and the Earl Grey tea that came with the set was surprisingly good.

And have I mentioned how wonderful the waitstaff is? Ambush certainly wasn’t lying about the “fast, casual European dining” experience, with the prompt service and rather affordable prices. Am I being unfair if I expect a restaurant that brands itself as “casual” to be cheap as well? I know semantically the word “casual” doesn’t mean “cheap” but I am inclined to think it carries such connotations.

Ah I love how much I’ve been discovering about my neighbourhood. (:

I was reading the blogs of a few of my IB friends, and IB just strikes me as this course where everyone works tremendously hard. What with “working 5-12midnight everyday”, rushing assignments and making sure they’re good because they count toward a final grade. And again I wonder if I should have gone and done IB instead- I remember just a few years back I was so sure I’d “get 5 points and go to ACS”. But well things happen and as fate/life/personal choice would have it, I ended up in RJC HP instead. No it’s not that I regret coming to RJC, but I always wonder how life would be different if I chose IB instead in 2009. Yeah maybe it’s true that IB covers less depth than the A Levels, but how these kids are so busy with turning in assignment after assignment, isn’t this what school’s supposed to be like? A remarked to me that “HP’s not as rigorous as it’s made out to be”, and I agreed. School’s been loads of fun, but sometimes I feel that I’m not busy enough.

I’m sure History/Chem/Physics etc kids would find my statement ridiculous, and declare that it’s just my “slack” combi-subject of ELL that’s giving me too much time. They’ve got a point, but if ELL were an IB subject I would be doing coursework and Independent Study papers, like how ELL is done in the British A Levels (which is trying to become more like the IB). And my Math homework would contribute toward my final grade, which is a good thing really.

At this point I suppose you think I’m crazy. :P

But hey it’s just because I feel rather unprepared for the As this November. Or maybe it’s because I’m Asian or something, since Asian kids thrive on pressure and homework.

Ok I’m off now. Gah sometimes I think I write in such a bald manner!