How can you call yourself a Muslim if you don’t know everything there is to know about Islam?

Here’s what I wrote today. Read and let the criticising begin!

Learning through practise
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 30 — To practise a religion, one must understand that religion. And to understand the religion, one needs to know the religion. But is it even possible to know and understand a religion completely so one can actually practise that religion properly?

Or would you really not be considered a true believer and practitioner if you don’t totally understand the religion? I, for one, have to admit that I do not totally understand the religion I practise (Islam, in case you were wondering).

What does that make me? An infidel? A kafir? A non-believer? Or maybe just a plain old bad and sinful Muslim? What I have been told by other Muslims (to my face even!) is that if you don’t understand the religion, just keep quiet and do as you’re told.

Now isn’t that wonderful? Just shut up and do what other people tell you, and everything will be all right. I guess ignorance is bliss. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Subang Empire Shopping Gallery Explosion

I come back from Afghanistan safely and what is the first news story I cover in Malaysia?? The Subang Empire Shopping Gallery explosion!

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Taking a break after Afghanistan… whining time!

I’m taking it easy this week after coming back from Afghanistan. So today’s column at The Malaysian Insider might be a little on the light side (or whiney!). What do you guys think?

Producing online videos… how novel!
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 23 — Make money by producing online videos. Use all the resources available such as YouTube, Vimeo and all the cheap and accessible equipment out there. That has been my advocacy message all these years since I have been involved in the “industry”.

But I’m so incredibly annoyed by the fact that it’s been so many years (almost a decade) and I’m still trying to push this idea ahead. I’m also so incredibly annoyed by the fact that even today, there are so many articles and writings propagating this idea.

Now you would ask, if I’m a proponent why should I be annoyed? Well, the answer is simple. Years have gone by and we’re still stuck at this stage of the idea. The problem with these articles (unfortunately, including mine) is that they’re all still trying to push online videos as something novel and unexplored. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

Off the record… in Afghanistan

I am shocked that I even have time to write my column for The Malaysian Insider here in Afghanistan!

Off the record… in Afghanistan
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 16 — There is something about a video camera that makes people apprehensive. Some are shy but most are just afraid that what they say or do on camera might harm them. As a video journalist and documentary film-maker, I document a lot of people doing and saying things in real life. I think I do quite well in convincing people to be more candid, casual and honest when they talk to me and my camera.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m mainly a solo journalist and I don’t have a crew. Since I’m alone when I’m recording, people feel more at ease. But I also like to think that it could be because I have inviting eyes and I smile and laugh a lot. And that puts people at ease (haha!). There are, of course, those who are just too shielded and even my charm and good looks can’t break them.

One good example is my current stint as an embedded journalist with the Malaysian Armed Forces who are serving in Afghanistan, for my next documentary project. [Click to read the full article]

Strolling the streets of Kabul… 9/11 no longer relevant to Afghans

I wish I had enough time for more entries on my website. But interviewing, shooting, editing and filling stories are leaving me exhausted everyday here in Afghanistan! But here’s my column at The Malaysian Insider this week.

9/11 no longer relevant to Afghans
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 9 — The way the media distorts and manipulates facts has never been so obvious as when I stepped foot for the first time on Afghan soil this week. I’m here for my next documentary project and also as a correspondent for Astro Awani and to produce features for The Malaysian Insider, amongst other media.

I am lucky enough (haha!) to be in the country’s capital city Kabul for the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11. As the weekend approaches, the international media has already begun their hype-up of the “event” with all kinds of feature stories and packages.

It seems, according to the media, the whole world is thinking of 9/11 and why wouldn’t they when that’s all that’s being highlighted. [Click to read the rest of the article]