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AN OFFERING TO ALA
(In honour of all founder members)
(A brief history of ALA in verse)

1. At the instance of Dr Mokhtar of Indonesia
An emissary called Teuku Radhie was despatched
To visit the Asian region with a Visa
For a conference with haste to be “hatched”.
   
2. At the Conference in 1979 at the Sari Pacific
Legal scholars delivered learned lengthy papers
Then the delegates mooted something specific
To form an association of Asean lawyers.
   
3. A Committee was formed to draft the Constitution
Made up of lawyers from each Asean State
With effort and speed they were soon in a position
To produce the draft Constitution before the due date.
   
4. Then at the 1980 Assembly held in Manila
The Constitution was officially promulgated
Edgardo Angara was elected first President ALA
To much rejoicing by his countrymen as expected.
   
5. ALA gained momentum with each passing year
And its membership soon began to swell
New States were added from our logo it will appear
But on numbers we shall not here now dwell.
   
6. The 25th Anniversary Session held in Manila
Was an occasion of great significance
It brought together many founding members of ALA
And launched the ALA anthem into prominence.
   
7. We are blessed in the span of more than 25 years
To have many Past Presidents with us
We salute Tun Suffian, Pruwato and Fernan with tears
All great men whose achievements are difficult to surpass.
   
8. It is only fitting when we examine the past
To recall others who championed our cause
They were stalwarts all who carried the mast
And to honour them we shall here pause.
   
9. We fondly remember Chief Justice Teehankee
Mr Dissent to all his fellow men
He brought a powerful dictator to his bended knee
By striking down proclamations with his pen.
   
10. We recall tall and handsome Justice Felix Antonio
A mild and gentle giant of a man
He did not live long to witness the scenario
That had unfolded in such a short span.
   
11. We must not forget Malaysia’s illustrious candidate
Who had a hand in drafting our Constitution
Prof Ahmad Ibrahim was to many a super delegate
And out of respect we must of him make mention.
   
12. We sadly miss the amicable Justice Harun Hashim
His wit and humour were well known to all
Those of us who knew him will sadly miss him
As head of his delegation he stood tall.
   
13.  Our reflections on the past will not be complete
If we do not acknowledge Chief Justice Wikrom here
He brought much mirth and joy when we did meet
For the rendition of his theme song brought much cheer.
   
14. There are others who stood above the crowd
Who deserve to be mentioned here
Yisardo Peres was a gentleman who stood tall and proud
And his contributions to ALA we hold dear.
   
15. We now come to Teuku Radhie our first Secretary General
He was snatched from us in the prime of life
He ran the Secretariat from Jakarta Central
He left us quietly without a strife.
   
16. We cannot leave out the indomitable Dr Komar
He manned the Secretariat with great style
With his elegant suit and slim cigar
You could have spotted him from a mile.
   
17. We trust you will not think it unfair
If the names of some past members we do not here declare
For names are difficult to rhyme
And omission can be a crime.
   
18. We had worked hard to chart our "Future Direction" 1
And had set our targets on many sights
We had even considered a "Programme of Action" 2
And are now determined to "Take ALA to New Heights" 3
   
19. We wish our members good health and long life
And many more convivial gatherings beside
For friendship is definitely better than strife
Or just what money can to you provide.
   
20. And if we have in any way erred
Or uttered anything that should not have been heard
Please do not in your hearts such indiscretions retain
For they were written without malice but purely to entertain4 .
   
 

T P B MENON5
2.8.2008.

1 Title of Paper submitted by a founder member to the Governing Council in 1985.

2 Title of Paper submitted by a founder member to the Governing Council in 1992.

3 Title of Paper submitted by a founder member to the Governing Council in 2007.

4 This stanza is a crude English rendering of the Malay pantum which reads as follows:
Kalau ada jarum yang patah
Jangan disimpan didalam peti
Kalau ada silap dan salah
Jangan disimpan didalam hati

5 Read at the Dinner following the Governing Council Meeting held in Penang on 2nd August 2008.

 
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