Awe and Wonder of a Cup Weekend

We trekked up to Canberra over the Cup Weekend. We left just after 8am on Saturday morning, with the two furry little guys tucked into their beds on the back seat. The older one whines at the start of every drive but he’s done this trip many times. It was however, a first experience for the younger Padawan. He got a bit distressed so we stopped numerous times to calm him down and let him walk around the bushes a little bit. We arrived late in the arvo and later that night, we went to a Korean joint for a very good barbie dinner.

The next day we walked the furry members of the family and then stopped at a local cafe for breakfast and very good coffee. The local joint is owned and run by a young bloke with a young family and he came across as a really nice guy. Later, we went to a local Baby Bunting and looked at baby stuff. Kiddo told me about a whizz bang bassinet (“Snoo”) that helps a baby sleep better but BB didn’t have it. We looked at other stuff however, before heading to do some shopping at a DFO styled place and then to lunch at a bakery nearby.

In the arvo, we went back to their home and Kiddo prepped the week’s lunches and I cooked some food for the “boys”. Later that night, we went to Kiddo and Mic’s church – Crossroads – at the ANU, and listened to a really good sermon by Marcus Reeves, the minister, about the Word of God. I wouldn’t try to set out any points as I wouldn’t know where to start – there were so many great points, woven together really well. The link is here.

Kiddo and Mic were at work on Monday and it was terribly wet (as it had been all weekend) so we just pottered around., before catching up with Desmond and Siew Lean, Mic’s parents, in a Chinese Yum Cha restaurant nearby.

The highlight of the trip however (albeit for a grand total of some 5 minutes), was the 20 week ultrasound near Canberra Hospital. To see the images and footages of little Abbey moving around on the screen, took my breath away. The wonder of God’s creation played out like no other creatures of His, before our very eyes. It brought back images of me in that delivery room in the hospital in Subang Jaya all those years ago, when I saw a purplish little Kiddo turned into a bright, beautiful baby, all within a moment of wonder.

After the imaging session, we had brunch in a cafe nearby where we stuffed ourselves silly, before taking that long and arduous drive back to Melbourne. It rained heavily for the most part, and the potholes became camouflaged so it required extra concentration to make the journey safely. I was jellied when we got home and we went to bed very shortly after unpacking and headed to the shops for a quick grocery shopping.

What a Cup Weekend…


Weekend life resumes normality

Tress and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary a few months ago. We had Tress’ Auntie Hooi and her hubby Uncle Marloney with us and since then, they have been talking about catching up with us for a meal – their shout. We finally caught up for this on Friday night. We had a really good time just chatting over some lovely food at the Flavours of Mekong restaurant at Nunawading. They told us about Ray and Leslie his new wife, about Justine their youngest, who has just landed a role with Denton’s, and about Nat and her partner Chris. We also talked about the wider family, as well as what we’d been up to in church etc. Francis the owner, as always, loved to hold court and joined us occasionally and kept the conversations and exchanges going in a lively manner. We were there until nearly closing time.

On Saturday, it was very wet in the morning so we just pottered around at home and did the homework to prepare for the St Alf’s small group discussion, which we were rostered to lead this week. We then headed out to lunch and grocery shopping. The rains dried up later in the arvo so we took the little boys out for their walks, before we did a really nice smoked salmon on the weber go anywhere.

On Sunday, we did the usual rounds of St Alf’s and lunch. Rene spoke on Rev 21 and as always, the sense of hope and renewal is a fantastic dose of positive mindsets. He suggested that is how we are to base our present day living – how true is that… Later that arvo, I did a quick mowing of the lawns, cleaned up after that, and then smoked some pork tenderloins on the weber go anywhere, to be used in a special fried rice later. All done just after 4pm, we again took the little boys for their walks. The rains had dried up and the day turned for the better (much much better) and we just soaked in the sun.

The Friday night catch up’s, the housework, the cooking on the weber go anywhere, and the talk on Rev 21, all added up to be a really pleasant weekend, (very) damp weather notwithstanding.

15 Years at Vicki St

15 years ago on this day, we moved into our present home. It’s the longest I have lived in any house.

  • Kampong Jawa, Klang: From birth until maybe Primary 1 (6-7 years)
  • Taman Melawis, Klang: Primary 1 – Primary 4 (circa 3 years?)
  • Palm Grove, Klang: Primary 4 – 1985 (circa 10 years)
  • Sydney, Australia: 1986-1990 (5 years)
  • Palm Grove, Klang – same house as above : 1991 – 1992 (2 years)
  • Taman Berkeley, Klang: 1992 – 2004 (12 years)
  • Mount Waverley, Melbourne: 2004 – 2006 (< 2 years)
  • Burwood East, Melbourne: 2006 – 2007 (< 2 years)
  • Forest Hill, Melbourne: 2007 – present

We received a card a couple of days ago, from the real estate agents who sold us this house.

Framing of a different kind

I first met AR when I was looking for a role, after a bad experience with Melbourne Markets. This was way back in early 2007. He helped me land the AIA gig then and later, helped me land a couple more. A few weeks ago, AR contacted me out of the blue and said he had a role that he thought would suit me. He asked if I would be interested. I wasn’t looking but because it was AR I said I’d take a look. It certainly looked interesting and last Friday, he and I had an online chat to explore that a little bit further. At the end of that chat, he asked that I write a short “executive summary” of my career. That made me think in ways I hadn’t before, but I quickly wrote something that looked like this:

I am a senior lawyer with over 30 years’ experience in broad commercial and corporate practice. Broadly, my practice comprises of two chapters – the first in Malaysia, where my initial 13 years culminated as a General Counsel of a financial services group in Kuala Lumpur, and the second, in Melbourne (mainly) where I am currently the sole counsel of a large Australian IT and software company. [ ] is a well-respected organisation that contributes immensely to the community. It will be a privilege to have my career culminate in a Head of Legal role that contributes to an organisation like [ ].

I am a calm practitioner who takes a pragmatic and long-term view of matters before me. The outcomes matter as much as the journey and process that my team and other stakeholders experience with me. I am as happy that I succeed, as I am that my team does. It gives me deep joy and satisfaction that my team flourish, individually and collectively. I derive great satisfaction when I become trusted and seen as dependable. I look forward to the opportunity to play a role with other [ ] employees and team members.

I believe every person has good and bad days. A “bad” person has good days and a “good” person has bad days. One looks forward to and share in the joys of those good days that a “bad” person has, and walk closely with and lend a hand over the shoulder of a “good” person when he/she has a bad day. This belief gives me joy and hope and helps me engage with everyone as positively as I can.

After over 30 years, I remain interested in the law. I continue to engage with what and how the courts and our legislatures think. I read judgments, exposure drafts, opinions and articles in relation to an ever-wider range of matters. These materials inform my views of the sorts of matters organisations need to be thinking about. An organisation can continue to flourish when it journeys alongside and contributes positively to the community that gives our rule makers the licence to make and develop the law. It will be such a privilege to come alongside [ ] to contribute and provide support in the way I know best, to help it to continue flourishing so that it can continue to contribute to the community.

I have been struggling to make sense of this – on the one hand, this looks like an opportunity to step up in what is possibly my final dance, and end my career on a higher note. On the other, I’m not sure I consider this a priority for me anymore. At this stage of my life as well as my career, all I want is to continue to work in a way that lets me live the life I have come to accept, or even enjoy. I’m not sure if a job that lets me finish my career “on a higher note” but would disrupt that sense of priority, is what I should be shooting for. After all, I’m happy where I am, and have slowly but surely built good working relationships with folks there. It is however, a very good opportunity. It is a highly respected organisation, it sounds like a terrific role, and it pays some 30% more than my current role. Is this a “bird in hand” scenario? Watch this space I guess…


A couple of weekends ago I caught up with an old friend. I had caught up with Tham Fuan almost a year ago now, and it was a positive experience. I had asked Tham Fuan if he thought there were others I should catch up with and he mentioned David Chiang. That has been on my “to-do” list since and better late than never for sure, I finally caught up with David two Saturdays ago. It was really good to chat with him again. We spoke about our families mainly. He was expecting to be a grandparent soon, with a second grandchild to come middle next year. It turned out that a couple of days ago, the first arrived. I received a message with a photo of that beautiful child, held lovingly and proudly by his father. I could almost feel the sense of pride and joy David had when he sent that message. I told him too, about Kiddo and Mic – that they too are expecting to be parents in March next year. We also reminisced our early days in the Klang church. He recalled those days when he and I and other dads were waiting for our kids to finish Sunday School classes. We would be at the car port area of the “white house” behind the church, “chewing the fat”. That mansion – the “white house” has since been demolished and a new church building has been built.

That was more than 20-25 years ago.

In writing the above “summary” I realised it has been over 15 years since I first met AR.

More and more recollections are of things in decades past. This really frames a perspective that I ought to consider in my decision making process. It really is the last quarter now. I need to consider how I finish this game. Should I think about the experience of playing in this final quarter, or what the scoreboard and stats would look like? Should it be both?

Andrew Thorburn, Essendon Footy Club CEO for 1 Day, Judged

This is a piece written by someone whose pages I have followed for a little while. It is about how a Christian is perceived and indeed, judged by and in the public square. Adversely so. Murray has expressed and put into words, what I (and I guess, many others) have thought and felt.

Grand Final Long Weekend at San Remo

Some years ago, Daniel Andrews, the Premier of the State of Victoria, made the AFL Grand Final eve a public holiday. Traditionally, a parade of the competing teams through the streets of Melbourne CBD on the eve of the Grand Final, is quite an event. The idea is to let more Victorians be part of that parade so Dan Andrews made that decision.

The Queen’s recent passing also lead the PM to declare 22 September a day of mourning and a national public holiday. That day happened to be the day before the AFL Grand FInal Parade day, so most Victorians conveniently found themselves a 4-day long weekend.

We had planned to go away to San Remo for a couple of nights. That became a 3-night away event, so on Thursday arvo, after Tress and I did some work to clean up the gardens, we headed there with both the elderly LBJ and the youthful Padawan. There was a really bad traffic snarling crawl as we approached Phillip Island. That last 10km was a “first gear” type of congestion. We had the radio on and there were callers who relayed their experiences of large crowds, horrendous traffic and stupendous waiting times. The tulip festival at Silvan and the Melbourne Royal Show at Flemington were the worst spots, with hours of wait time and food and beverages running out.

Eventually, we made it to San Remo and checked into our accommodation at nearly 4pm. The views of that lodging however, made us forget that long crawl. They were magnificent, looking out across a paddock and into the Bass Coast, with the brilliant blue Bass Strait.

We had dinner on the first night at the San Remo hotel. It was pub food but what pub food! I had a porterhouse steak and Tress had some salt and pepper calamari. Both dishes came with a large amount of very well done chips so we doggy bagged most of it. The next day, we drove into Phillip Island and walked around Cowes, joining thousands of other folks who were also taking advantage of the special occasion. We had the younger one with us. It was his first trip away from home and he soaked up the new experience. It then started to rain and we headed back to San Remo. I had brought my weber GA with me so we did a home cooked barbeque for dinner later that night.

The next day we took a walk into town, went to the jetty to see the well-known pelicans, bought some fresh seafood from the co-op, had coffee in town and then went back to get ready to watch the game. We were tossing between going back to the San Remo hotel to watch it, or just watch it at the lodging. The lodging had a pretty decent large screen HD TV and we had all the grub and drinks ready and we couldn’t book a table on late notice anyway so we watched the game “at home”.

The Cats took off at the first bounce and very soon, goals rained. Isaac Smith, an ex-Hawks champion, was on fire and kicked 3 in that blistering start of the first quarter. At the end of that quarter, it became apparent it would be uphill all the way for the Swans. At half time, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Cats would win the 2022 premiership. I even started to read the book I had brought along and had been reading. Gerard Henderson’s accounts of “media pile-on” of the George Pell trials were very compelling and it was easy to read it and sort of follow the game at the same time.

Well the Cats won it easily in the end, and Isaac Smith won the Norm Smith too. I said to Tress those Geelong players are decent folks, and I’m kind of happy for them. I risk being stoned by other Hawks supporters but in a week where Hawks have been accused of terrible racism, it felt right to accord some humanity across the bow. That night, we cooked up the rest of the seafood we had picked up, for dinner. We had earlier in the arvo, pan friend the scallops we bought and they were delicious.

We came back late Sunday morning and after unpacking, we headed out for lunch as one of our usual joints before returning for some grocery shopping. I then got the car washed and later, we walked the little one at the oval.

The days are longer now and it made so much difference. Maybe the getaway also recharged my batteries but I felt somewhat refreshed. Thanks to Dan Andrews and the PM, the 4-day long weekend has been really good. It was a much needed break for me and I am truly grateful.

2 weddings and a (royal) funeral

Kiddo and Micaiah came down to Melbourne on Friday night. We picked them up from the airport and we spent Saturday together, with a lunch at a nursery cafe at Warrandyte. It was a lovely spot, albeit with some very ordinary weather. I got treated to an early birthday meal – Kiddo and Mic bought the food and Tress got the coffees and some cakes.

We also had dinner at a local Chinese place just down the street, but then had to retire early as Kiddo had to be at the Chews’ residence from 5.30am the next morning. Samantha, Jason and Mel’s “little” girl, was going to be married on Sunday, 18 Sept.

I woke up early on Sunday just as Kiddo did, and I dropped her off at the Chews’ as planned. The house looked busy even at that hour and I as reversed out of their driveway, others were also making their way there. I got home, tried to get back to sleep and later that morning we dropped the little fellow at Heather’s and then pottered around the house before getting ready for the wedding, which was to be have a 12.30pm start. Tress, Mic and I made our way there soon after 11.30pm, and the weather threatened all day, with dark clouds hovering over us, heavy rain expected.

The wedding went well, although I said to Tress that Mel looked tired and stressed. During the wedding, we heard heavy rains on the roof and the rains continued into the night. We had planned to drop Mic at the Langham in the city, where the reception was going to be held, and where many will stay for the night. Kiddo and Mic had also booked to stay a night. The Hippos kindly offered to give Mic a lift as they too were heading into the city. So Tress and I drove home, changed out of our wedding attire and then went to get coffee at the local food court. We had a couple of hours to chill out before heading into the city for the reception so that was really nice, as I had started to feel how long the day was going to be.

The reception was a formal/black tie affair so guests (most anyway) were decked out really well. Brendon, the groom, is a Vietnamese Chinese guy and I don’t know Vietnamese culture too well so I assumed the full-on lion dance in the guts of the Langham must have been a Chinese influence. It was spectacular and made the occasion rather special.

We got back late, and I decided I wasn’t well enough for work so I took the day off today. We’ll give Kiddo and Mic a ride to the airport later this evening. What a month it has been – 2 weddings and later tonight, a (royal) funeral. Queen Elizabeth II died some 10 days ago and her funeral will be on tonight, going into tomorrow morning. We’ll watch the proceedings on tv, at least the early bits. The occasion would be too historic to miss entirely.

Ray’s Wedding, and tax season again…

Tress and I took Friday arvo off, and headed to the Yarra Valley. Ray, Auntie Hooi and Uncle Marloney’s eldest, was getting married to Lesley. We dropped the little padawan at Heather’s, and then got home, got dressed and drove towards the wine country for the occasion.

The wedding was a simple but beautiful event. Lesley was fashionably late, arriving some 40 minutes after the scheduled time of 3.30pm. She looked really happy, as did Ray.

The reception that followed, at the same location (Rochford Wine vineyard), was also very lovely. The Ng family was raucous, but good naturedly so, and was certainly the loudest group of the night. Many of them would stay the night in Yarra Valley but Tress and I drove home. We got home a bit after 11pm, and after checking to ensure LBJ, who had been alone at home, was ok, we went to bed.

The next day was wet so we didn’t go out. We were going to keep an appointment with our tax agents to prepare and submit our tax returns so it wasn’t going to be fun morning anyway. I was again aghast at the amount of tax we were paying – Australia is almost certainly one of the highest taxed country on earth. Kerry Packer’s comment that anyone who paid more tax than he has to should have his head examined, never rang truer. I recall a leader of our local church once said she didn’t mind paying more tax if that meant more people could access support and aid. I would certainly rather we paid less tax and use the saving to directly contribute to more charities.

With the tax meeting over, we picked up the Padawan, spoiled him a bit, and then headed out for lunch and some grocery shopping. I had also wanted to see if I could pick up a new suit for another wedding that is coming up next weekend. Jason and Mel’s Sammi will be getting married next Sunday and theirs was going to be a formal black tie thing. I thing I can get away with using one of my existing suits but thought I’d check out the more formal stuff. Buying suits is such a pain so after browsing around in a couple of outlets (Peter Jackson and David Jones), I gave up.

We got home, I did some vacuuming, then walked the dogs. At the oval, an acquaintance became visibly upset and complained to me that other at the oval often mistreated her and said mean things about her. She was bawling her eyes out and was practically yelling at me when I told her I didn’t think others were saying anything bad about her. She said she was suicidal and that disturbed me greatly. I rang the “R U Ok” line to check out what I should do but then others at the oval told me she has been seeing someone to get therapy so I left it at that.

We got home and I cooked some fish and veg on the Weber GA. After dinner, Tress and I settled down to watch the footy and I prepped the next day’s cook for our lunches this week.

At St Alf’s the talks on Genesis 1 & 2 continued and we chatted with a Melbourne fan and commiserated with her. The demons were knocked out in “straight sets” (2 consecutive matches) so were out of the finals. Collingwood prevailed against Freo so will play Sydney at the prelim final next week, at the SCG. Brisbane, who beat the demons, would play the cats at the G. Winners of both matches will square up for the big dance on Saturday week. Tress and I have planned to go away that long weekend so we’re kind of really looking forward to that.