Bald women, fatwas and fluffy news!

Bald women, fatwas and the news
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 29 — What’s the big deal about going bald? Apparently, in Malaysia, it is such a huge deal that it becomes public interest and even the media starts discussing it. The latest case involves news presenter Ras Adiba Radzi who decided to go for a crew cut in solidarity with the National Cancer Council’s Jom Botak awareness campaign.

The television station where Ras Adiba works at on a freelance basis decided to suspend her until her hair grows to an “acceptable” length. This surprises me since the station involved is one that I have high respect for because, in my honest opinion, it is one of the more progressive ones in the country.

Not only that. It has also been reported that Ras Adiba has been receiving abuse and threats from “religious” groups claiming that she is going against Islam. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Journalist Tim Pool, TIME magazine’s Person of the Year 2011

Social media journalism
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 22 — Recently, on the invitation of the British Council and FINAS, I attended the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival in the United Kingdom. While there, I took every opportunity to engage with other documentary film-makers and journalists who were in attendance.

Among those I was looking forward to meeting was Tim Pool, the journalist who garnered fame after live-streaming the Occupy Wall Street protests last September. He live-streamed the raid on the Zuccoti Park protest for 21 hours non-stop, which immediately turned him into one of the most well-known journalists of the moment.

His coverage was picked up by several news organisations and he was even nominated as one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He was scheduled to hold a talk in Sheffield on his experience covering the OWS movement as a social media journalist.

The talk was informative and also exciting as he screened several clips from his “live” coverage of the protests in New York. I sat down with him after the crowd left. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I guess my New Media isn’t so new!

Newer new media
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 15 — I’ve always had the idea that multimedia or interactive content meant that it had to be able to be delivered over traditional and also new media. Basically, I thought that if you produce this kind of content, you could have a version on television, radio, print and the Internet at the same time. Many of my documentary projects have been based on this concept and have always been designed so I can adapt the content for any kind of media.

For example, my latest project, which I shot in Afghanistan, appeared on television, the Internet and print media. And to be honest, I think that this particular concept is already quite interesting and innovative. In fact, it has allowed my content to be more widely accessible. But this week, I had this point of view totally transformed. I’m currently attending the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival in England as part of the Malaysian delegation. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Education… no interest should be charged. In fact, no charge necessary!

I gave a lecture to a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010. It was fun and we had a laugh!

Wan needs an education
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 8 — I have a friend who goes by the name Wan (not his real name of course as he doesn’t want me to disclose it). He is much younger than me and I got to know him through the course of working in the television industry. He’s a good guy and I started hiring him for my projects.

He seems eager to learn as well and was constantly asking questions and advice about the industry and how to better himself in his work. When I first got to know him, he had just graduated with a diploma from a local university and he was very proud of that fact.

Wan doesn’t come from a very well-to-do family. He told me that he worked part time to put himself through school, and it took him longer than usual to graduate. Of course, that didn’t matter to me. Here was a guy who struggled and put in as much effort as he could to achieve something he wanted. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

We’re better off than Syria, Egypt and Libya… so shut up?

A Malaysian Spring? Not!
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 1 — It’s annoying to me when I meet people who say that we should be thankful to be living in a country like Malaysia and that there are so many countries worse off than us.

“Look at Somalia. They’re all hungry there.”

“Do you want us to be like Syria where people are being killed?”

“Thank god we aren’t Palestine!”

“The poor in India live a terrible life!”

“Look at the poor Iraqis and Afghans!”

“At least we’re not in a situation like the Malays in Southern Thailand!”

I don’t deny that Malaysia isn’t a bad country and I do have a very decent quality of life. I have work and can provide for my family. My family and I are very happy and there is no doubt it is because we’re living in Malaysia, and I am definitely thankful for that. But that does not mean we do not need to improve. And to improve, we need to have a benchmark. [Click to read to the read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]