Silent Soldier

A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect ~ Sir Walter Scott

My dearest E.,

If you do not already know by now, I am a lawyer. I do not say I am proud of my profession as some are wont to do. My profession is my job, my livelihood, a means whereby I earn to put the food on our table. My job is just a job. I had fervent passion for my work many years ago when I was young and naive; then upon witnessing the ugliness of this world, moulded myself into a realist, so to speak.

I attended an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Bar Council of Malaysia yesterday, E. The Bar Council is the general body (run by lawyers elected by lawyers) who govern the legal profession in our country. The calling for yesterday’s EGM was an extraordinary motion put forth by a learned lawyer, a Dato’, no less, for a vote of no-confidence against the present office-bearers of the Bar Council, people, if you must know, the aforesaid Dato’ probably voted for, or if not, did not object to their holding office. Now this EGM spanned almost 5 hours in debate time; and with all that I had heard yesterday, my love, I now realise why I could never be what the people in my profession would call “a brilliant lawyer”.

I do not particularly like lawyers, sweet pea. It is funny, I know- but that is true. Mostly I detest the arrogance, the insufferable holier-than-thou and I’m-better-than-you attitudes. I detest the over-rated intelligence, purported eloquence of speech and the misconception of the glamorous lifestyle lawyers lead. But most of all, I detest some lawyers have become a joke, who have brought disrepute to what was once an honourable and highly-revered profession.

These attitudes I detest, they are prevalent in some people who, perhaps are “brilliant” by certain standards. I know I could never become one of those. At most, I am good at my job, but I am certainly not brilliant. I simply silently soldier on with quiet confidence. And I do not detest them because they are “brilliant”. I know no envy, resentment or jealousy. I detest them because they have allowed overwhelming pride and arrogance in the profession precede their pride in humanity and selflessness.

But please, do not mistake this for ingratitude. I enjoy what I do and perhaps I do have a small amount of passion which passed over from my growing years as a young lawyer. I do not seek to condemn the profession that now feeds me and my family.

Lesson? Do not be arrogant, even if you know you are a cut above the rest. Do not throw your weight around and think that you are supremely revered, someone will be laughing behind you and you will face your come-uppance certainly one day. Do not display over-confidence and a laissez-faire attitude, if you fail, you will shock yourself to a point of no return. Do not belittle or laugh at others who may not be as fortunate to be blessed with your intelligence, God is usually fair and what you may have, which another doesn’t, may not be as valuable as what another has and which you don’t.

Be quietly confident, generous and ethical. Be the moral person that I shall raise you to become. But most of all, be the Silent Soldier who marches on for your quest to Goodness.