‘IN FOCUS’ is on NJOI AWANI’s YouTube page… means you get to watch it over and over again!

If you missed the first episode of IN FOCUS, which was on Astro AWANI 501, then you’re in luck! You get to watch it on NJOI AWANI’s YouTube page over and over and over and over and over again! The first episode sees me checking out how the street protest industry works in Egypt in Tunisia!


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Working together with Karim Raslan on the TV version of his column ‘Ceritalah’… on Asto AWANI!

Ceritalah Malaysia is the TV version of Karim Raslan’s long running newspaper column and book series where he travels the country speaking to ordinary Malaysians to get a sense of the true Malaysia. I used to read Karim’s writings more than ten years ago when I first started writing myself (funnily.. I haven’t read his stuff in quite a while now! muahaha!). But now we’re working together… and it’s pretty cool!

Produced by Zan Azlee and Karim Raslan for Astro AWANI (501). Every Monday nights, starting tonight, at 9:30pm (with repeats throughout the week).


Television news sucks and my advice is necessary!


Television news sucks!
By Zan Azlee

JAN 4 — Yes, it sucks big time and those involved in it have put themselves too high on a pedestal to realise this. Newspapers globally are already in a crisis (except for The Star, whose circulation is mysteriously increasing!). Television news seems to have the potential of heading the same way too and is slowly losing viewers, if it does not heed my all-important advice.

I wonder if anyone agrees with me that watching news on television has really been uninspiring these last few years? I don’t think I have to wonder. To be honest, I’ve actually stopped watching television news altogether. I get my news fix almost solely from online sources now and I know so many people who do the same.

I feel very strongly that television news should just stop trying to compete in breaking news. Just outright cease and desist. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

IN FOCUS… a new documentary series on Astro AWANI by… who else… the ZANSTER!

Come the new year of 2013… I am producing and hosting a new documentary series called IN FOCUS every Tuesday nights at 8:30pm on Astro AWANI (501). It covers current and social affairs, local and international. Expect all the awesomeness, machoness and coolness of Zan Azlee… and others too, of course!

The first three episodes is all about the Arab Spring after two years have gone by. I go to Egypt and Tunisia (and cancelled Syria… not macho enough lah!). So don’t forget to watch the premiere first episode of IN FOCUS this Tuesday (1st January 2013), 8:30pm, on Astro AWANI (501)!

Google’s top 2012 searches… that led to my website!


2012 according to Google
By Zan Azlee

DEC 28 ― The year is coming to an end and it is time to look back and reflect upon the momentous events of the passing year. I thought it would be a good idea to look back at 2012’s top ten searches on Google… and that led to my website, Fatbidin.com!

10. Ridhuan Tee Abdullah

Number ten could be one that has given me the most pleasure this year. I disagree with everything this academician, TV host and writer ― whose real name is Tee Chuan Seng ― says. We had a brief heated exchange in our respective columns (his is in Sinar Harian), from which I emerged victorious.

9. Kabul

Being the gloriously brave war journalist and adrenaline junkie that I am, I went to Afghanistan to shoot a documentary. After a decade of war and after the Taliban, it’s quite a surprise that the country is still getting media coverage.

8. Bersih 3.0

This has to be one of the lowest points of the year. I witnessed things that I don’t ever want to witness in Malaysia again. The police were brutally attacking demonstrators and even journalists like a bunch of street thugs ― after they removed their nametags, of course. But the spirit of Malaysians that gathered, now that was a high point.

[Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I’m on the cover of a magazine… again! And I am looking beautiful!


“Yeah pops… I’ve been on the cover of magazines too!”










I’m on the cover of the Dec-Jan 2013 issue of 360 Celcius magazine! You’ve never heard of the magazine, you say? Well, neither have I, until recently! Hahaha! This is like the upteenth time I’ve been on the cover of a magazine/newspaper over the years. I wonder what is with the obsession they have with good-looking guys like me! Muahaha! (Click on the images above to read the article)

Lessons from the Jasmine Revolution


Lessons from the Jasmine Revolution
By Zan Azlee

DEC 7 — My last stop in my Arab Spring documentary tour was Tunisia. It also happens to be the first country in the Arab region to start revolting and became the inspiration for the rest of the countries like Egypt, Syria and Yemen.

The story, if you’re not familiar, has become the stuff of legend. A young fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in the small Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire in protest.

He was tired of how he was being treated by government officials who were always confiscating his goods and asking for bribes. He died of his injuries.

This caused an uproar amongst the citizens in the small town. The authorities turned violent when attempting to quash the uprising. The news spread and soon the whole country demonstrated.

The urban citizens in the capital Tunis who had always been more economically privileged soon realised how their government had been treating the rest of the country.

Once the whole country was united in solidarity, the revolution became strong and the dictator President Ben Ali was forced to flee the country and now resides in exile in Saudi Arabia.

What is interesting for me is that two years have passed since their revolution, and out of all the Arab Spring countries, they are the ones with the most successful new democratically-elected government. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

And a brick hits the Egyptian guy protesting next to me

A passion for documentaries
By Zan Azlee

NOV 30 — Shooting documentaries in the Middle-East isn’t for the faint-hearted; there is the harsh natural environment and, of course, the volatile political situation in the region. Still, I find myself in the region (as I have many times before) shooting a documentary about the Arab Spring. My first stop is Cairo, Egypt.

The first day I arrive and start shooting, a piece of broken concrete thrown by the police hits a protestor standing literally right next to me. His injured and unconscious body was carried to safety by fellow protestors while I stood there thinking that three feet of empty space was what kept me safe. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Will the real racist please stand up?

Will the real racist please stand up?
By Zan Azlee

OCT 19 — I was in Singapore recently to shoot a documentary on one of the Malay world’s greatest music icons, Zubir Said, who composed songs during the golden era of Malay cinema in the 1950s and ‘60s. P. Ramlee considered him a mentor and he even composed the Singapore national anthem. Zubir also submitted three songs for consideration for our national anthem but none was chosen.

But that isn’t the story here. The story that I am about to tell here really is about something that happened in Singapore while I was there for the said documentary. I had bumped into a Singaporean friend on the streets of this first world city-state and the first thing he said to me was: “There’s a story you can write about for your column!”

It was the Amy Cheong issue that was hot in the Singapore media. And spending many a lonely night in a cold hotel room watching Channel News Asia, I was very familiar with the story. A National Trade Union Council employee (Cheong) had posted a racist remark on her Facebook page that insulted the Malays (something to do with noisy and extravagant weddings!).

All hell broke loose and the first-world citizens of Singapore from all races raged against her. Not only that, the NTUC even sacked her. Then the politicians joined the fray, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong leading the way in condemning Cheong’s behaviour and saying that racial harmony must be maintained.

It played out for a few days and some Singaporeans even started calling for Cheong to be charged by the authorities for what she had said. Then the politicians stepped in again, saying that she had learned her lesson and everyone should move on. And it seems that things have indeed moved on over there.

Now that my shoot is over and I’m back home in my own country, I start reflecting. It seems to me that Singapore, like Malaysia, has her fair share of underlying racial problems. So do so many other countries. Yet, unlike Malaysia, overall, the people of Singapore are quite united in their stand against racism, or so it seems, or maybe I’m just naïve.

The first thing that has to go in Malaysia in my humble opinion is the racial-based politics that has existed in the country from the very first second of its birth. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

TUNKU – The Documentary

I co-produced/directed a documentary on Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, for Malaysia Day with Noor Azam Shairi, an old Kelab Seni Filem buddy who is also now my colleague. The documentary, titled TUNKU, airs today (16 September 2012) at 6:30pm on ASTRO Awani (501). (Click here or the image above to watch the promo)

Repeats will be on:

Monday 17 Sept – 11am
Tuesday 18 Sept – 3:30pm
Thursday 20 Sept – 2:30am
Friday 21 Sept – 11:30am
Saturday 22 Sept – 5pm

It is the iznit of the izzle in the golden drizzle!

It was a different Malaysia…

It was a different Malaysia
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 7 — Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Tunku Ahmad Nerang, the son of the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister. At 79 years old, slightly over six feet in height, and with a booming voice, one could get carried away that one is actually with the former prime minister himself.

My chat with him made me realise many things. I realised that Tunku Nerang and his family feel a sense of pride being of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s lineage. And this should rightfully be. Tunku Abdul Rahman was a great man who contributed and sacrificed a lot for the country.

I also realised that it was a different time then compared to now. It was a time when things were much simpler and happier.

“My father used to say that he was the poorest prime minister and also the happiest prime minister,” said Tunku Nerang.

Although I never met the man, from the stories I heard of him, it sounded like he was a very carefree person, yet very honest and sincere. And because of him, it gave me the impression that the country of Malaysia (or the Federation of Malaya) at that time was one that was carefree, honest and sincere too. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Irritating Hari Raya TV ads!

Irritating Hari Raya TV ads!
By Zan Azlee

AUG 17 — Have any of you seen the latest batch of Hari Raya television commercials yet? I don’t know about you but I’m getting pretty annoyed and irritated by them. It seems to me that they are all competing with each other to see who can make Malaysians cry the most… no matter what the cost! It’s like the end justifies the means or something. The worst this year has to be the one by Bernas.

It starts out at a boarding school or orphanage of some sort where a lot of young children are about to leave for the Hari Raya holidays. Everyone of them has family members coming to pick them up except for these two boys. One is speech-impaired and the other is blind.

The speech-impaired boy tells the blind boy about his mother in the village. So the blind boy suggests they ditch the school/orphanage and find their way to the village. They go through all kinds of challenges that would make me, a grown man in my 30s, give up on life. But, of course, these boys persevere. When they do reach the village, guess what? The speech-impaired boy’s mother is dead! They are there to visit a grave and he tells the blind boy that they can share a mother!

Well, cut my chest open, tear my heart out, throw it on the ground, stomp on it a few times, pick it back up, put out some cigarettes on it and shove it back in! What will they do next year to top off this year’s TV commercial? Film a quadruple amputee rolling on the ground and flash the words “Selamat Hari Raya” on screen? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Wanna lose weight? These KL-ites have a found a very submissive way to do so!

A couple of months ago, I did a report for Dutch TV’s VPRO Metropolis programme about obesity in Malaysia. It finally went on air in The Netherlands and is available to view online. I shed quite a lot of sweat following these… err… big-boned… participants as they shed the kilos! Click here to view the video or on the image above.

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]

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]

Teach a man to make videos… and you teach him to fish for a lifetime!

Empowered by video
By Zan Azlee

MAY 18 — One of the main objectives of the existence of the media is to give a voice to normal people, or the rakyat. But sometimes, this objective gets lost when the media themselves get a bit overwhelmed (or big headed?) by all their obligations.

That’s why I always jump at the opportunity to help give a voice to the common folk, or the rakyat. That’s how, last week, I found myself in a small village called Kampung Sukau in Sabah, teaching locals how to tell stories using video. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I will be covering BERSIH 3.0 live

I will be covering BERSIH 3.0 live (28th April 2012).

Follow me on Twitter @fatbidin

Follow me on Facebook /fatbidin or /zanazlee

Follow me on YouTube /fatbidin

Follow me on Instagram @zanazlee

Follow me on Socialcam @zanazlee

The Obedient Wives Club… getting their 15 minutes of fame on Dutch TV!

Being a correspondent for The Netherlands’ VPRO Metropolis TV means I get to cover loads of interesting stories. Recently, I got to spend some time with the members of the infamous Obedient Wives Club based in Kuala Lumpur, with thousands of members all over the world! Maybe I should get my wife to join them! Muahaha!

(Click on the image above to view my video report or just click HERE.)

Malaysia does away with film censorship? Calm down porn lovers!

No more Film Censorship Board. Yay or nay?
By Zan Azlee

DEC 30 — The news that the Home Ministry has decided to do away with the Film Censorship Board has definitely caught me by surprise. Apparently, the ministry has declared that now filmmakers need to practise self-censorship when it comes to their works.

As someone who has been directly affected by decisions made by the board, I’m really not too sure how to react to the news. In the past, I’ve had my films — which to my own eyes were harmless — get ridiculous ratings like 18PL. I even had a film banned two years ago for no apparent reason (by the Prime Minister’s Office, no less!).

So when the government says that the responsibility now lies with filmmakers to make sure that their films do not contain undesirable elements, what do I do? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

An interview with the awesome ME in August Man magazine (December 2011)!

An interview with the awesome ME in August Man magazine (December 2011)!


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