White (really white) Shirt

*Originally written in Shah Alam High Court, 14 august 2009*

You know you are a permanent fixture in court when everybody looks younger than you save for the judges. Courtroom is about waiting in vain. If today you are number three in the list of cases; tomorrow you could plunge to number 45. I kid you not. I saw a lot of things and struck many conversations while waiting in court.

The late Yasmin Ahmad used to say, “there are no creative people, only sharp observers.” Some lawyers – I have no inkling about their creativity though – are really sharp observers.

As I was tapping the soles of my battered Mary Jane onto the pathetic looking dark green and grey tiles flooring of the court’s corridor, I felt a soft tap on my shoulders.

“Kak, can I ask you something?” A young lawyer in her 20s was speaking to me in a conspiratorial tone.

Okay, ‘Kak’ is much better than ‘Makcik’. I could live with ‘Kak’.

“Of course, what’s up?”

“I saw you here last week…”  She replied with a pause at the end.


“And on Monday…”

“That’s right, that’s me too.”

“And today…”

Elviza, patience is virtue, please do not snap at this poor girl.

“Yes, that would be correct and your point being?” I asked her – nicely.

“Every time I see you, I notice that your shirt is really, really white. I mean bright sparkly white. Not yellowish, not off-white, not creamy but white.”

At this point – please forgive me – I burst out laughing. The girl looked perplexed, then she continued:

“I mean how do you wash your white shirt? What did you use?” She pressed on.

I thought of pulling her leg by telling her I wash my white shirt with Luqman’s baby formula or something, but the innocence on her face put an end to my evil idea.

“Sweetie, I wash mine exactly like you wash yours.”

“Then how come mine is not as white as yours?” She confronted my statement.

“This is brand new, kiddo. The moment it turns off-white I buy new ones.”

She looked aghast – probably with the way I spend my money.

“No, no, no, no… the trick is to buy your white shirt as cheap as possible, so when you throw it away you won’t feel guilty.”

How’s my skill in economizing? Brilliant huh?


14 thoughts on “White (really white) Shirt

  1. “No, no, no, no… the trick is to buy your white shirt as cheap as possible, so when you throw it away you won’t feel guilty.”

    What a lie!
    Mich, your idea of ‘cheap’ jauh beza dengan orang lain…puuhhleezzz!

    Eiiiiii! Aku spam kan ko En! FYI, last white shirt aku beli was RM35 okay? Happy now?

  2. Hahaha. What a strange question to be asking someone.

    “Kak baju akak putih benar, macamana akak basuh ek?”

    Come on. She doesn’t really want to ask you that. It’s a pick up line babe! 🙂

  3. Elviza, whether you pakai baju putih melepak ker, baju not so putih ker, baju off-white ker, baju lusuh ker OR tak pakai baju langsung ker, you’re still my favourite ‘tangga bradley’ girl… 😛

  4. if this is courtroom tv drama, it should be called “law & order… lotsa pristine while shirts!

    i think we’re so going to love your court antics, el. keep it coming! 😀

  5. I second Mekyam’s call there. These `real person’ accounts (as compared to `reserved person’; who may be too polite and too-whatever else) show that there are always interesting things and people around us – if we really look and listen. I’ve gotten the desire to write something after reading the posts here.

  6. Aha! I have finally found my soulmate.

    All this while I thought I’m weird and the girlfriend(s) would give me you-didn’t-just-say-that-did-you look when i tell them i never wash my sock, i just buy new pairs whenever i feel i like a new one or whenever there is new nice smell emitting from it. That is why they invented 3-in-a-pack! It’s the best thing since lice bread, RM10 and you get 3 pairs, are you kidding me?

    There goes your trade secret la Mich! You are to be blamed if all lawyers now wear pristine and starched white shirts to the court. Oh how I long the days when you can differentiate between scared-wet-behind-the-ears chambie and junior lawyers from well-heeled-seasoned-Rumpoles just by looking at their (off) white shirts.

  7. Salaam!

    I always thought that you’d dazzle in court. Now I know it for a fact.

    I like these little snippets of life. Brill!

  8. Elviza,

    You ni, I pun nak tau jugak macam mana nak kasi baju putih seputih-putihnya, nanti boleh kasi direct instruction to my maid to ikut your techniques (punya pemalasnya manusia I ni, bukan tau mau cuci baju sendiri).

    Reminds me, hubby’s white shirt has turn to off-white, so better buy for a new one la…or should I wait till he complains?

    Ramadhan Mubarak to you.

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