Let us be blasphemous!


My column this week at The Malaysian Insider. Please don’t condemn me to hell my fellow Muslims!

Let us be blasphemous!
By Zan Azlee

MAY 27 — I am no longer a believer and will burn in hell for questioning Islam. And, by raising and seeking answers to issues that I am in doubt of, my children will even grow up to have sex with animals. These are some of the things I have been called and accused of by certain people in reaction to the documentary films and articles I’ve written that deal with my religion. Of course, I don’t take these comments to heart. But it does make me think about how receptive Malaysians, Muslims specifically, are when it comes to really learning about Islam. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

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I will still continue to send out updates through the old Fat Bidin Media Facebook Group, but it will eventually come to an end.

Pick and choose journalism


Pick and choose journalism. That’s what I wrote about today in my column at The Malaysian Insider.

Pick and choose journalism
By Zan Azlee

MAY 20 — Last week, a Los Angeles-based radio show picked up a video news package I did for the Dutch news agency VJ Movement. The story was about being gay and Muslim in Malaysia and it was apt that This Way Out ran the story since they serve the gay community. I was obviously excited since it meant that I am now a celebrity in LA and can expect to be signing autographs in Hollywood soon. But the excitement fizzled when I actually listened to the show. My entire story was intact except for the interview with JAKIM director-general, Datuk Wan Mohamed.

I had interviewed different people with liberal and conservative view points and Datuk Wan Mohamed, of course, was of the latter. His voice may have been more conservative than the rest, but it was equally as important since I wanted to show both sides of the story for better context. This Way Out’s producers must have taken it out because it didn’t support their agenda and this brings me to my issue of the day – pick and choose journalism. (Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider)

Does constraints in journalism mean we have to editorialise?


Recently, a gay-oriented radio programme out of Los Angeles, California, called This Way Out, picked up on my video news package ‘Being Gay and Muslim in Malaysia‘, which I did for the news agency VJ Movement. Since it was a radio show, they only took the audio from my story. Of course I was delighted that I was now a celebrity in LA!

However, When I listened to the show (click here to listen to the radio show), I noticed that they had edited out the interview with JAKIM Director-General, Datuk Wan Mohamed. His voice may have been more conservative than the rest of my interviewees, but it was equally as important since I wanted to show both sides of the story and his interview definitely contextualised things better (Click here or on the image below to view my video in it’s entirety).

So I wrote an e-mail to the producers. I received a prompt reply from her, “… I actually did try recording the subtitles to mix into the piece. Unfortunately, especially since I was working alone with no male voice to use, I just couldn’t get it to sound right … it was just more confusing. I was also facing the problem that I needed to shrink the piece a bit to make it fit into our program. The time constraints made the parts with my sadly ineffective attempt to add the translation the most likely (although ultimately not the only) things to be cut — despite the fact that I realized that the government point of view provided important context. You’ve probably faced similar situations, when you have to reluctantly lose material that’s important to a story. I appreciate your understanding…”

It could have been due to constraints or it could have just been plain editorialising.

Click to view my original video in it's entirety.

I’m a Bumiputera and you’re not! Haha!


I’m a Bumiputera and you’re not! Haha!

The Brain Drain? Is it the weather?
By Zan Azlee

MAY 13 — I was having a drink with a friend of mine a few nights ago in Bangsar. In order to mask his identity, we shall just call him TL. To understand the story better, let me give you readers a little context. TL is a television producer friend of mine who is of Chinese ethnicity.

I’ve worked with him on various television programmes for many years now and we’ve developed what many refer to as a “bromance”. We even give each other affectionate nicknames. I call him “Bengs” and he calls me “Booms”. It’s Cinabeng and Bumiputera, for those of you who don’t know. [Click to read my full article at The Malaysian Insider]