Areas that you specialise in and why you choose this practice area
The greater part of my experience has been in Dispute Resolution. I have represented clients in a diverse range of civil and commercial disputes; including shareholders’ and partnership disputes, employment disputes, defamation proceedings, construction disputes, banking disputes and tortious claims. In recent years, drawing from my experience in dispute resolution in different areas of law, I have been building a very spiritually rewarding alternative practice area, recently coined “Dispute Avoidance” by some; where I work with clients to set up and structure the foundations of their businesses with a view to avoiding disputes as well as to ensure regulatory compliance, in effect, a Corporate Law practice geared towards Dispute Avoidance and prevention.
An area of law that I am particularly passionate about is Criminal Law; as I believe every man, woman, transgender person, girl or boy deserves competent legal representation when accused of a crime; one of the fundamental principles that is the bedrock of the Rule of Law.
Common misconceptions about your practice area
Some people seem to think that litigators tend to be loud, argumentative people. I know many successful litigators who are not. These days, most legal submissions are in writing and persuasion in the form of the written word is often far more important than oral eloquence. In my humble view, it is quite often the gentle and persuasive advocate who gains the trust of the witness during cross-examination and who solicits better answers than the intimidating or argumentative one.
What made you want to be a lawyer, and what drives you today
Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor, a pilot and later an artist. Being squeamish at the sight of blood, having my eye-sight consistently worsening every year and a lack of serious artistic talent put an end to those dreams. To be honest, I ended up in law school without really knowing much about the practice of law.
I also have to confess that when I was in law school, I felt like a fish out of water. Internships were rare at the time and I never really knew what legal practice would be like and could not see the relevance of what I was studying. I spent a lot of my time sitting by a café, sketching trees when I should have been mugging like everyone else.
So, if you ask me what made me want to be lawyer? I only really wanted to be a lawyer after I actually became a lawyer. I began to realise how much of a difference I can make in people’s lives by what I know and what I do with what I know.
If you were to start a business someday, what would it be and why?
I have already started one with this law practice. However, it would be a dream come true if one day we could own a nice multi-storied shop-house with a café/restaurant below and a law office upstairs; with ‘live’ music performed by budding local musicians in the evenings.
Your most prized possession
My most prized possession is probably a piece of wood-burning craftwork that I did when I was 18, which is hanging on the wall behind my work desk right now. It was my GCE ‘A’ Level craft piece when I was studying art at National Junior College, the only relic from a distant, largely forgotten past.
It has not aged well and has faded badly, but you can probably still make out a Christ figure hanging on a cross, face down (largely copied from Salvador Dali’s ‘Christ of St. John of the Cross’ painting), at the bottom, scenes depicting the crusades, the Nazi occupation of Europe, kamikaze pilots before their final mission, children running, troops marching, a French resistance fighter shooting and an altered representation of Michelangelo’s Pieta where instead of silently weeping over the body of the dead Christ, the Madonna points her finger towards the far end of the work where a sinister Hitler and his henchmen stand. In the distance, a huge mushroom cloud erupts. Instead of a sky in the background, it is an aerial view of Allied bombers raining bombs, almost tear-like, on Nazi Germany as they plough through the clouds.
3 fun facts about you
#1. I love to cook for my friends and family
I love to cook for my friends and family. Taking pictures of my culinary journey (which started only about 3 years ago) and posting on Instagram is probably my only link to ‘art’ at present.
Follow Cheow Hung on Instagram @wunnerland
#2. I love singing songs from bygone times
I love to sing, especially songs from bygone times, mostly from the 40s to the 70s. I’m privileged to be part of a band known as “Chain ReAction” as a vocalist, even though I am not musically trained. We do both private and public gigs.
#3. I can’t drink
Another ‘fun’ fact; my friends make fun of me because I can’t drink. Our bassist posted on our group chat a picture of several bottles of beer with one bottle of orange juice and tagged me as that bottle of orange juice!
About Cheow Hung
Come hear Cheow Hung give practical tips for professionals on 19th April
Cheow Hung will be one of the lawyer panelists speaking at the ‘Legal for Non-Legal Professionals’ event held at the NTUC Centre on April 19 from 2pm to 6pm. Come hear him share practical tips on employment contracts and ask him any question related to employment in Singapore.
This event is organized with SCCA and NTUC.
Examples of questions which Cheow Hung will be answering:
- Does MOM law supersede company law/contract?
- Who owns the IP developed on the job?
- What is a reasonable non-compete clause?
- How can I switch jobs without worrying about breaching contract?
- What constitutes unlawful termination, and what recourse do I have?