Category Archives: journalism

Give us affordable Internet but take away our freedom to use it


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Give us affordable Internet but take away our freedom to use it
By Zan Azlee

It was with great joy that the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia announced that there would be a reduction of 14% (mobile) and 57% (fixed) in broadband prices in Malaysia.

This happened after negotiations between the ministry and the Internet service providers in the country, and all it took was the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).

So there is a silver lining to the new tax. What is says about the preparation of the government in implementing it and that they have had to make all kinds of fixes is a totally different story!

But as far as Internet users in Malaysia are concerned, and this includes me, this week is a good week. We have waited way too long for this day to come.

We have suffered exorbitant Internet fees for so long while so many of our neighbours, like Thailand and Singapore, have enjoyed cheap and competitive rates for much faster service.

There is the question of quality. But I don’t really see that as an issue. With about 70% Internet penetration rate, we’re doing okay infrastructurally, although it can still be improved.

What is more of a concern for me as an Internet user (and this would mean 70% of Malaysians) is the freedom of the Internet in our country.

The accessibility of the Internet has provided the lay person a platform to voice out their thoughts, ideas and opinions. It has allowed them to practise their right to free speech.

This in turn encourages and builds a thinking and intellectual society that is open to discussion and discourse. It can’t be denied that this is a positive development for the country.

The Internet has also provided the media and journalists a free and unintimidating platform to be the fourth estate that they are suppose to be and are rightfully responsible for.

This in turn encourages and builds a healthy democracy so that the public is well-informed and able to make valued decisions for themselves and their country.

However, with new laws such as The Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) and the amendment of old ones such as the Sedition Act, it seems that we are moving backwards.

What can be reported on, written about, discussed and debated is now vague and blurry. With any justification, anything can actually be considered a terrorist threat or deemed seditious.

The Internet, which has been the source of so much information and intellectual discourse, has now become something that, if we’re not careful in using, could get us into trouble.

It’s like laying out a tray of sweet and tasty candy in front of our faces, but all we’re allowed to do is admire how sweet and tasty it looks without being able to eat or taste it.

So we may have cheap Internet now, but using it might cost us more than we bargain for. We are made to realise it’s potential, but damn us if we are allowed to harness it.

[This article was published first at The Malaysian Insider]

The regular daily schedule of a student at UiTM


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The regular daily schedule of a UiTM student
By Zan Azlee

I graduated from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Shah Alam, Selangor with a degree in accountancy. Mine was the first batch of students to earn our degrees after the higher learning institution was granted university status.I studied hard (err … yes, I did!) and I played hard too (of course, I did!). I made acquaintances, formed some lifelong friendships and really had a good time.

I’d like to share with you my regular schedule when I was a student there. And although it was more than 15 years ago since I graduated, I think it is still relevant.

7am:
Alarm clock goes off  I wake up, shower and get ready for class.

7.30am:
Savour a quick breakfast with my housemates at the stalls near our apartment.

7.45am:
We would head to class either by bus or by car (I lived at Section 18 in Shah Alam and my classes were at the Section 17 campus).

8am:
Class in session.

NOON:
The first half of the day classes end. I have lunch at the campus cafeteria.

2pm:
Class resumes.

4pm:
Classes end. I head back to the apartment at Section 18.

4.30pm:
I usually have discussions with my classmates and most of the time, this is when we work on class assignments.

5.30pm:
I was a member of the campus’ basketball team, so around this time, I get ready to head back to campus for a game or two of basketball.

6pm:
Basketball practice.

7.30pm:
Basketball practice ends and I head back to my apartment. I shower and take a respite from the long day.

8pm:
My housemates and I head out to the stalls around the apartment to have our dinner.

9pm:
I head to the campus at Section 17 to study either at the library or classroom.

10.30pm:
I head back to the apartment  for a wind-down session with my housemates. We would chat about things and mostly just fool and joke around with each other.

11.30pm:
Bedtime.

This pretty much sums up a regular day for an average student at UiTM, Shah Alam back then. From the conservation I have with most students today, I doubt their schedule would be any different now.

As students, we concentrated on studying with the aim to finish our courses. I was on a scholarship and that was even more of a pressure because there were certain academic requirements to fulfill.

Now, my question is where in that day can we slot in the time to visit the local supermarkets for groceries and also cook our meals?

Although I don’t think my schedule was any different back then compared to other university students today, there’s one thing that is different:  there was no GST then.

[This article appeared first at English.AstroAwani.Com]

The Fat Bidin Film Club (Ep 4 ) – Big Hero 6


So Zan and Aizyl have been hounded by certain listeners to talk about Asian films. And so they do in this episode! It’s Big Hero 6!! (The fictional city of San Fransokyo is as Asian as you can get!)

Listen to more Fat Bidin podcasts here.

The Fat Bidin Film Club Pic

Kelebihan melabur dalam pelaburan tidak mudah cair


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Kelebihan melabur dalam pelaburan tidak mudah cair
Oleh Zan Azlee

Apa sebenarnya pelaburan tidak mudah cair? Ia tidaklah begitu susah untuk diterangkan. Minggu lepas, saya telah menulis mengenai pelaburan mudah cair seperti wang. Ini bermakna, pelaburan tidak mudah cair adalah yang lawannya.

Contoh pelaburan tidak mudah cair adalah seperti tanah, rumah, hakmilik syarikat, antik, lukisan dan sebagainya. Ini jelas menunjukkan bahawa pelaburan tidak mudah cair adalah aset yang mengambil lebih masa untuk dijual bagi mendapatkan wang.

Kalau pelaburan mudah cair mempunyai kelebihan seperti mudah untuk dikeluarkan sebagai wang, pelaburan tidak mudah cair pula ada juga kelebihan yang tersendiri. Dan antara kelebihannya bagi individu yang ingin melabur adalah: [Click to read the full article at KopitiamEkonomi.Com]

THE ADVENTURES OF A KL-ITE IN AFGHANISTAN SUPER FAN PACK!!


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Fat Bidin’s biggest fan wearing the official THE ADVENTURES OF A KL-ITE IN AFGHANISTAN t-shirt!

Alright… I need to feed my daughter and buy expensive handbags for my wife. So I’m launching this bargain package for all you Fat Bidin fans out there. Come on… help a brother pay the bills and do your part to support independent journalism!

THE ADVENTURES OF A KL-ITE IN AFGHANISTAN SUPER FAN PACK!!

Price: A bargain RM120!!!!

What you get:

1. A random limited edition 21cm x 30cm FRAMED PRINT PHOTOGRAPH that Zan Azlee took while in Afghanistan (the photograph is part of a photo essay of Afghanistan published in Esquire Malaysia and The Malaysian Insider).
2. A limited edition signed copy of the awesome non-fiction true-story graphic novel titled THE ADVENTURES OF A KL-ITE IN AFGHANISTAN!
3. An awesome official merchandise T-shirt of that said awesome graphic novel (as in the picture above worn by that sexy grey-haired man)!

If you are in Malaysia, you can also purchase by transferring RM140.00 (includes RM20 for postage and handling) to Maybank account 1141 2365 9174 via Maybank2U or ATM. Please make sure to e-mail (purchase.fatbidin@gmail.com):
1. Name of item purchased
2. Transaction date/time and reference number
3. Your full name
4. Shipping address

Head to The Fat Bidin e-Store for more products and merchandise.