Messrs Rajah & Tann, Why? Why? Why?

Messrs Rajah & Tann have been appointed to act as AWARE’s legal advisors to attend the EGM to be convened on 2nd May 2009 to address legal queries relating to, and raised during, the EGM including the matters intended to be transacted, AWARE’s constitution and meeting law and procedure.

according to the EGM email I received from the new AWARE ExCo.

If Messrs Rajah & Tann were appointed as a company to act, why–of all their many lawyers and given the touchy fundamentalist Christian vs Everyone Else situation–did they pick Gregory Vijayendran to represent them?

Gregory Vijayendra, who says on his work profile that the award he

treasures the most however is the Good Samaritan Award conferred on him in Washington DC in October 2008 by Advocates International for his leadership of Advocates Asia

What is Advocates International/Asia?
According to their web page, their

(OUR) VISION, MISSION AND STRATEGY

is

Bearing witness of Jesus Christ through the legal profession by encouraging and enabling advocates
to meet locally, organize nationally, cooperate regionally and link globally.

I’m not saying he won’t act impartially.

I’m just wondering why Messrs Rajah & Tann, when they were appointed to act in a dispute over the right of people with strong Christian values to take over secular organizations they feel are not acting by Christian values as perceived by them would decide to send a lawyer who values recognition from a Christian organisation above all else.

The Marks of the Advocate Who Follows Jesus
Acknowledges God and anticipates His engagement daily.
Develops meaningful relationships with those they meet humbly.
Vocational skills applied creatively.
Opportunities seized eagerly.
Christ’s supremacy embraced fervently.
Applies personal time, talent and treasure generously.
Teaches by living righteously.
Exhibits enthusiasm readily.
Stays the course faithfully.

Messrs Rajah & Tann, wasn’t there a single neutral lawyer available?

Or is this an indication that you, as a firm, (legally & otherwise) support Christian values being forced on secular organisations?

Or is this EGM being mediated by a lawyer-contact of the Thio-Chin-COOS family who happens to be from (rather than acting on behalf of) Messrs Rajah & Tann?

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33 Responses

  1. aiyoh.. rita cheung…

    troll troll troll your boat…..
    gently down the stream…..

  2. […] May 1 – Messrs Rajah & Tann, Why? Why? Why? […]

  3. […] May 1 – Messrs Rajah & Tann, Why? Why? Why? […]

  4. […] Messrs Rajah & Tann, Why? Why? Why? […]

  5. i thank ovidia to bring the lawyer status into our attention. but josie and her team is certainly unwise to get him. in a situation like this, it is certainly tactful and wise that someone with no links in their religion so somewhat link to them be sought. but glad that greogory has his code of ethnics. he is professional..

    then prehaps josie and her team can get him to review his legal fees again afterall she has to be accountabale for the excess spending.

  6. Well dear Vintager or shall I say Rita, Thanks for using your real name. I am sure that makes you a moral hero now. since you have the balls to say it.

    Of course if you think refuting my argument is stupid, then why bother to post in response to it in the first place. 🙂 Saying that an argument is so stupid that if doesn’t deserve to be refuted is actuality an argument in itself.

    I am sure nobody will bully you “with death threats and what nots”. Hmm, that seems to an assumption on your part that lesbians and old guard supporters will always resort to such tactics. I don’t blame you since you have so much fear and fear makes one irrational. Just makes me wonder why death threats seem to come up so very often as an issue in anti-gay supporters. As far as I know, nobody has been arrested for the “death threats”.

    About deleting your comments, this is Ovidia’s blog after all and her personal online space. So it is her RIGHT to delete your comments if she feels a need to, no matter how unjust you feel. She had already apologised for deleting your comments.

    I can’t comment on your other posts since I haven’t read them even if you think there is “no namecalling and lots of logic”. But to assume that I will be alien to logic of something I have not even read would have been illogical as well.

    Hmm, semantic games, If you consider using words to express yourself as semantic games I suppose you are right. Because every language is about using creativity to express yourself in sentences. And languages have been called a play of words as well, so calling what Ovidia said as semantic games can be considered accurate. If you have no time for semantic games, then please stop wasting your time writing here. 😛

    Even if you did not call Popaghandi and Tania Chew stupid lesbians does not make it right to call someone a stupid lesbian. It is like saying I slap A, but I did not slap B and C. Therefore, it is okay to slap A.

    Although Ovidia is a notable local writer, I am not so sure she is that powerful to manipulate the direction of public sentiment. You have your views and everybody have theirs. If you feel so strongly about your views, and is angry about them being silence by Ovidia in HER own blog, you can express them somewhere else and hopefully in the process guide the public sentiment in the direction that you want to.

    By the way you have already reduced yourself to namecalling now even if your deleted posts did not. And that already shows what kind of a person you are.

    Nobody said anything about Ovidia’s truth being the only truth, and she sure didn’t say that. And why do you want Ovidia to rebut you harshly? This only suggest that are just trying to flame emotions of anger here. So I employ you to take your negative energy somewhere else if you can be so easily agitated by someone deleting your posts and go into a rage of namecalling and whatnots.

    And please stop using the word “stupid “to address anything you feel strongly against as it only shows your lack of vocabulary. And I don’t think anybody here wants you to
    “shut up and sit down”. 😛

    • Why, thanks but no thanks. I am not exactly clamouring to be seen as a hero in your eyes. Or anyone’s eyes for that matter. I can be answerable to myself and that is what matters.

      And I did not say your argument did not deserve to be refuted. I said it was painful to. There is a difference. You know, like it is painful to tell a lucid adult to not play with faeces. Painful.

      Fear did not produce those death threats, I assurer you. Hatred did. And why did I ‘assume’ something that had always been proven right? Did we also imagine Alfian’s threat to Thio Li Ann?

      No.

      Brushing death threats to other with frivolity reeks of arrogance and irresponsibility. But I am sure you know that already, since you seem to be know everything, and even what kind of person I am.

      But since I do not know everything, I took a little time to think about the ‘stupid lesbian’ tag.

      It was wrong. And I apologize to Ovidia for it. I let my anger and indignation overcome my sensibilities.

      And I think therein lies the problem between the ‘two sides’. Anger, misunderstanding and lack of clarification. Both sides feel that their truth is the truth and why do the other party not see it.

      Rebutting debates harshly do not equate flaming emotions of anger/ hatred whatever as you have imagine. Do you watch debates? Do the debaters harbour anger and hatred towards each other after the debate? No. It is an exchange of ideas and intellect. Is this foreign to you? I hope not.

      And in asking some hard questions and having my comments deleted, I do feel that I have been told to shut up and sit down. And that makes me feel stupid (yes my vocabulary is lacking, woe is me)

  7. You are so sure your truth is the only truth, then either rebut me harshly with a powerful argument that will shut me up respectfully or let your readers attempt to. Deleting comments that ask hard questions.. I don’t even know what to say.

  8. Yes, give my real name, like Josie and friends did, so that happy people like you can bully with death threats and what nots? OK so my name is Rita Cheung. What now? You need my bloody IC no and address next? Your argument is so immensely stupid that refuting it is painful.

    Everything I have said here is open or all to rebut with facts and reason. I have my facts and reason to say what I diid. Why did I not say Popaghandi and Tania Chew are stupid lesbians? Because they are not. And they do not delete comments they cannot answer. Classic behaviour of a bully.

    I posted several comments that were deleted, all of which contained no namecalling and lots of logic, which you must be alien to.

    I’m not saying he won’t act impartially.” Juvenile playing with semantics.

    Well, I have no time to play stupid semantic games. I call a spade just that.

    And censoring the comments just to manipulate the direction of public sentiment.. is NOT only cowardly, it is deceitful, manipulative and sneaky.

  9. Vintager, who are you to call Ovidia a stupid lesbian. If you are such a moral hero, please use your real name if you truly believe in your statements.

    The only moral cowards here are those who hide behind a wall of anonymity to call other people moral cowards.

    Ovidia expressed her concern, and she explicitly said that “I’m not saying he won’t act impartially.”

    And I think your comments deserve to be deleted with all the negative energy you are emitting through the posts you have made so far.

    As you said in your first post, “We are all adults. Let us all also behave like one.”

    Calling people names like stupid lesbians and moral cowards only show your inadequacy to even behave like an adult.

  10. There is definitely a need for a professional, in this case, a lawyer to appear impartial, neutral to the public – I’m sure there has to be some ethical code here. It’d be rather unwise for Gregory Vijayendra to be involved in such situation. And this fact only underline the reason when he got himself involved in the first place!

  11. Turns out Mr Gregory behaved in an absolutely fair and impartial manner during the meeting.

    Turns out that my faith in lawyers over stupid lesbians like you was not displaced.

    Do you have the moral courage to apologize for your petty sniping at Mr Gregory?!

    No, deleting comments is all you are capable of. Moral coward.

  12. Turns out Mr Gregory behaved in an absolutely fair and impartial manner during the meeting.

    Turns out that my faith in lawyers over stupid lesbians like you was not displaced.

    Do you have the moral courage to apologize for your petty sniping at Mr Gregory?!

    No, deleting comments is all you are capable of. Moral coward.

  13. And I think we should not have doubted him seems he appears to be non-bias during the EGM and even told Josie and Co that it is “common sense” to step down after losing a vote of no confidence. But of course most people don’t need to spent $90,000 to be told what is “common sense”.

  14. Well now we now Josie’s legal counsel needs to be paid $90,000. Good money spent for nothing. It only shows that Josie and Co only knows how to run AWARE like a corporation not as a NGO.

    • i dont think her employer allow her to spend this amount just like that. it’s more like she thinks she spending like her own money.. dont forget she’s rich and a big spender.

  15. What I find surprising is that you, although a Christian, do not think that Gregory Vijayendran, as a Christian, can use this as an opportunity glorify God by demonstrating his impartiality when advising on today’s proceedings. Instead you slam him I suppose without even knowing anything about the man other than what you find on the Internet. Does this not demonstrate a certain unhealthy level of paranoia ?

  16. Just saw the results of 2;1 for the vote of no confidence on the new exco. and the comments from the legal counsel – Gregory Vijayarendran –
    “Legally the new exco is allowed to stay in office even though vote of no confidence has been passed, said Aware’s legal counsel Gregory Vijayendran.”

    Now we know the reason for this legal counsel.

  17. Olividia, I was going to google and find out why Greg? you have already done it..

    Also, regarding “Incidentally, Vintager, the way you warped my question for Rajah & Tann into

    “insulting Rajah & Tann, but also the lawyers of Singapore, The Law Society and the Singapore Court of Order” is almost worthy of Thio Su Mien herself!”

    Gregory is part of the Graduates Christian Fellowship where Thio SM “mentors”? and what a coincidence that it is held at the TSMP law office.

    Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship Monthly Prayer Meeting
    Date : Third Monday of the month
    Time : 7 pm
    Venue : TSMP Law Corporation’s office at 6 Battery Road #33-01, Standard Chartered Building
    For further details, please contact Gregory at tel: 96342678 or email gregory.vijayendran@rajahtann.com OR Owen at tel: 97380701 or email owen@kalco.com.sg

    The link is at: http://www.gcf.org.sg/cal.htm

    They meet every third Monday of the month… so your guess is as good as mine, what was probably discussed in the 3rd Monday of April.

    It is now pretty obvious why Gregory was picked to represent the new exco.

  18. Gregory is a Partner at R&T.
    As far as I know, partners at law firms are responsible for bringing in their own business.
    I dont think this case was “assigned” to him.

  19. […] appointed by AWARE (as led by the current EXCO) to advise on EOGM procedures : click here and here for some examples.  Their objection arises from the fact that Gregory is, apparently, a devout […]

  20. Why are people surprised by this?

    Thio, Josie and the rest of the bunch have already proven themselves are as a gang of Fundamentalist, why should their selection of a lawyer be any surprise at all?

    If there’s one thing thats opened people’s eyes with this Aware saga is that we need to be diligently on the lookout for signs of these fundamentalists, they’re hiding just below the surface waiting to emerge.

    It’s a pity the Government has allowed this Aware saga to continue… many of these fundamentalists are going to be emboldened by what is happening. How long before we see another Aware type saga emerge I wonder.

    I never thought I’d say this, but I miss LKY’s strong arm tactics.

  21. You can just pick a lawyer to represent you without getting his firm to pick one for you (although you could ask them to do that as well). Then the lawyer just informs the firm about his appointment. I am sure that was what happened.

    For example, if I were to be in deep criminal trouble, I could approach Subhas Anandan directly to represent me. I don’t have to go to KhattarWong and hope they pick Subhas for me.

    So I guess the new AWARE had information of the kind of lawyer he is and the work that he has done, religious leanings etc, especially with such a veteran lawyer/feminist mentor behind the scenes.

  22. This is a very sorry state of affair, despite what NCCS Archbishop Chew and latest “regrets” by Derek Hong said on the pulpit, one cannot help but to think that all this is going to be a “christians against homosexuals” thing. The various actions by the people behind the new exco reinforces this reality each time they make a decision.

    As said before, the new exco should stop this confirming acts of christianisation before the whole matter get out of hand.

    The statements by Archibshop Chew and Rev Derek Hong will account to nothing if this flow of action continues.

  23. why the hell are dumb people so obsessed about the anal sex, premarital sex and homosexuality portions of the CSE, which take up only a small part of the programme?

    Pray tell us what should the schools teach then? That anal sex is abhorrent (but for gays only, it;s perfectly ok for heterosexuals), pre-marital sex is bad (say that when you got your head out of the sand) and homosexuality is deviant (as left-handed people were perceived centuries ago), the earth is flat and that the universe revolves around it, and evolution theory is untrue.

    Looking at the crap you espoused, please stop describing yourself as tolerant, it makes me want to vomit my dinner out.

    Next thing I know, you will be claiming handicap relief. But go ahead, since you’re obviously cognitively-impaired

  24. Hi Vintager, I’m impressed (but not convinced) by your faith in lawyers.

    You comment highlights the problem here.

    All I want to know is why Rajah & Tann appointed a lawyer who lists his proudest achievement as getting recognised by an international Christian organisation.

    Why not a lawyer who just happens to be Christian? That would have been more reasonable.

    As Poh Choo says, there will be whispers so why did Rajah & Tann deliberately provoke more by appointing a lawyer so proud of his high profile Christian work?

    I totally agree with anon… why is there need for a lawyer? There have never been lawyers (or events planners) at Aware meetings before.

    And if legal representation is officially present and there are clearly two very different ‘sides’ shouldn’t there be official legal representation for both sides?

    Or at least shouldn’t both sides have had some say in who would be providing this legal counsel?

    But most of all, now, I would like to know whether Rajah & Tann were really called in to act & appointed this lawyer.

    Or whether this lawyer was invited on board through a social/church connection.

    But the new ex-co, to disguise the fact, declare:

    ‘Messrs Rajah & Tann have been appointed to act as AWARE’s legal advisors’

    Rather than:

    ‘Gregory Vijayendran of Messrs Rajah & Tann has been appointed to act as legal advisor by the new Ex-Co’

    Even if Gregory Vijayendran has every intention of being fair & just in this, he should disclose how he was appointed to his role.

    In a similar situation in court, if he was appointed to act on behalf of the ‘old guard’ he would certainly be asked to clarify circumstances that might lead to such ‘perceived bias’.

    Incidentally, Vintager, the way you warped my question for Rajah & Tann into

    “insulting Rajah & Tann, but also the lawyers of Singapore, The Law Society and the Singapore Court of Order” is almost worthy of Thio Su Mien herself!”

    I am hoping very much that Rajah & Tann will clarify this. It would be beyond my wildest dreams to have The Law Society come in but I hear they have their own fundie problems…

  25. In the first place, why is there a need for lawyers to be present?

    • I think it would be wise. In such a highly charged atmosphere and with so much at stake, there is a good chance people would do things that might get them into trouble. Or people might want to do things that they’re not sure if they are going to get into trouble for.

      The competent lawyers are there to advise on the legality of actions/possible actions.

      In any EGM, or any general shareholder meetings, it is common to have lawyers on board.

    • It is common, in company general meetings for example, for lawyers to be appointed to provide guidance to the (party conducting the) proceedings, especially where such proceedings are expected to be contentious.

      The lawyers exercise no power in the proceedings. However, as third parties who are familiar with the law, they may offer a dispassionate and expert advice on how proceedings are to be conducted (eg. voting). This, hopefully, will ensure that whatever decision is made at such meetings are valid under the law, and not open to challenge subsequently.

      The last thing any organisation needs is to have is earlier proceedings repeatedly overturned at subsequent EGMs because of a failure to observe its rules (however technical they might be). This would be a waste of the organisation’s time and funds (you can imagine how much AWARE has spent already for this AGM, looking at the size of the room, the auxilliary police, etc.), which would be better devoted to its business or charitable causes instead of addressing frivolous grievances.

  26. I think it is a little tactless of Rajah and Tann to send a lawyer who seems to be a very devout Christian, taking into consideration the situation. Tthis is not a Christians versus non-Christian fight. Unfortunately, from the many comments, many have picked this as crux of the matter. Even if Mr Vijayendran is perfectly neutral, there will always be whispers. So why not avoid potential problem.
    As far as I am concern, it is about acting in the open, not just adhering to the letter of the law (in this case, AWARE’s constitution), but the spirit of the law. Springing a trap on an unsuspecting opponent by bringing your support to the AGM and win is nothing to crow about..

    • Eer..if you cannot pick Christians and you cannot pick non-Christians in the interest of ensuring the perception of impartiality…who do you pick?

    • Surely the “letter of the law” must matter. It is the letter of the law (and voting which is carried out in accordance with the constitution) which confers authority on the EXCO to govern.

      Take a hypothetical situation. Suppose election officials, in deciding to act according to the “spirit” but not the “letter” of the law, decide to overlook a technicality in the voting rules so that a member of the opposition (or the entire opposition) is elected into office. How can that be good ?

      Firstly, it opens the new office holders who assumed power to future challenge. Not only that, if the challenge is successful, whatever policies they might have implemented during their period in office will be void because they had no power make those decision. Can you imagine the chaos arising from that ?

      Secondly, it sets a very bad precedent. Today the opposition might assume office because election officials overlook a technicality. Who is to say that tomorrow, the same disregard for the law (or technicalities of the law) will not result, unfairly, in another party being voted in ? Respect for the letter of the law will ensure that such situation will not result.

  27. Hmm, even though the lawyer is Christian, can he wilfully bend the law to suit his purposes?

    I thought not.

    Should this ‘neutral lawyer’ of your desire be

    1. atheist
    2. anti Christian
    3. lesbian/ homosexual?

    By such an allegation, you are not only insulting Rajah & Tann, but also the lawyers of Singapore, The Law Society and the Singapore Court of Order.

    We are all adults. Let us all also behave like one.

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