Friday, August 11, 2006

Save the Turtles

This is our team's project in The Firm. The lawyers were split into about 4 teams (or is it 5?) to come up with a team project. One of the teams held a charity movie nite "Pirates of the Caribbean" and that was great fun. They collected several thousands for charity. Another team organised a blood donation drive in our building. I knew that my blood would be rejected as I was in the UK throughout the 80s so when the lawyers & staff asked me to go with them for the blood donation, I replied "I can't donate blood - I am gay and promiscuous!" You should have seen the stunned looks on the secretaries & junior lawyers faces....A senior lawyer said to me later on "I think you rather shocked them - they are not used to your warped sense of humour like we are..."

Our team is called the Gamma Team. We decided to Save the Turtles by raising money to adopt a turtle & its nest under the World Wild Life Fund project. And how did we plan to raise money? By selling breakfast to the staff, lawyers & partners of The Firm. There are around 11 lawyers in each team. Our team consisted mainly of junior lawyers. I was the odd one out. My friends, the senior lawyers were all in the same team. Each team is headed by a partner (but ofcourse...). My friends came to the conclusion that their team leader couldn't stomach having me in their team so I was lumped into the other team. Which turned out to be great fun for me. I got to know people whom I wouldn't normally hang out with & discovered how cool they really are. Five years in The Firm and I am still learning new things about myself. Being here made me give other people a chance and not stereotype people as boring, losers, dullards, irritating etc....

For the whole week we, the lawyers took breakfast orders from everyone in The Firm, discussed menu, where to get supplies, paper cups etc. I didn't realise that you had to buy the lids to the cups separately. Our partner instructed one of our lawyers to hang out at MacDonalds and retrieve discarded paper cup lids!!! You should have seen his face!! Luckily I had the foresight to ask the secretaries where we could purchase these lids & cups. Lawyers should be the last people to consult on such things. Sure enough, one of the secretaries volunteered to buy the cups & lids at the pasar malam (night market). This secretary not only went out of her way to buy 300 paper cups & lids but donated it to us as her contribution to our Turtle Fund. She refused to take any money from us & it must have cost her about RM60. We were very touched by the gesture.
Lucky I objected to the idea of us making our own sandwiches. I told them that even I would not buy this breakfast if we made these sandwiches. We finally decided to order kuih, nasi lemak & mee goreng from a nearby supplier. On the 1st day, the 2 lawyers in charge of making drinks were the 2 male lawyers from the Construction Department. 1 of them had to tell the client that he had "urgent" matters to attend to at the office and another lawyer had to have his case adjourned in order to come in to do his rounds of serving breakfast...and the next day whilst he is in court with the judge shouting at the other lawyers, he is answering our frantic phone calls of "we are short of one nasi lemak!!!" I was in Singapore on the 1st day (Monday). By the time I came in the next day, the staff all came up to me saying "Ohmy God, you were not here...we had constipation & could not sleep all night...the 2 male lawyers made such thick this morning, when we overheard them in the pantry asking "should we put 5 teabags or 2 teabags in the pot?" we cannot tahan anymore...we decided to go in and help them before we all suffer from constipation again today!"
Wednesday was my first day of serving breakfast & making drinks. By then the tea lady was fed up of us making a mess of the pantry and made the coffee & tea for us! When I went around to serve everyone, balancing this tray of drinks, the staff said "this must be the most expensive cup of coffee ever...we get S.. to serve us coffee.."
All in all it was great fun. Everyone enjoyed the food and the thrill of having the lawyers serve them. It promoted camaraderie and we made enough to adopt 6 turtles and a nest. Well, we haven't really decided how many turtles & how many nests yet. Our profit margin was very low as we wanted as many people to enjoy the breakfast as we could. Some of the partners & lawyers sponsored their secretaries' breakfast for the whole week. One of the senior partners interrogated me "why are you saving the turtles??" So I said "well, an elephant is more expensive to save..." and he retorted "Are you insulting me???" (he is on the large side...). Then he asked if we took any insurance to cover us against any liability...sigh...caveat emptor. "Eat at your own risk" I said. So far no one has died this week from our breakfast & drinks. Anyway, we are now setting our sights at the Elephant Sanctuary as our next project...

Sigh, I am going to miss the breakfast next week. We were all enjoying the food and the excitement in the morning. We had to cover 3 floors. We had around 70 sets of breakfasts to distribute daily and timed ourselves. Today, the last day, was the best time. First day was the worst ofcourse with all the teething problems. Staff & lawyers are begging us to extend to end of the month but our team is flat out exhausted! We may sell cup cakes towards the end of the month.

So please remember everyone - stop eating turtle eggs! Stop throwing rubbish at our beaches and into the sea. And Don't Buy artifacts, curios & food made from TURTLES.

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