ALOR SETAR, Malaysia - A Kedah lawyer can still vividly remember a young Karpal Singh carrying an English-Malay dictionary to the courts here in the 1970s.
Datuk Ahmad Zakiuddin, 73, said the language used in court was changed from English to Malay then.
He recalled seeing Karpal, who once worked in a law firm here in the 1970s, arriving early in court with the dictionary in hand on a regular basis.
"Whenever he did not understand Malay terminology uttered in court he would turn around to ask me for a little guidance, whenever I was there.
"I was only a legal assistant then and would sit in court listening to senior lawyers to learn the trade.
"Whenever Karpal had a case, I would be there," said Ahmad, who was called to the Bar in 1978.
He was unable to remember exactly when he first met Karpal, but the Tiger of Jelutong had left a lasting impression on him.
"In my eyes, he was an extremely hard-working lawyer who was truly dedicated to his profession.
"This greatly inspired me," he added.
Ahmad also fondly recalls the late Bukit Gelugor MP as being very friendly, helpful and approachable.
"His death is a loss not only to the law fraternity but also to the nation as a whole," he said.