Category Archives: journalism

Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated two days before 9/11 and is considered an Afghan national hero


Afghans pay their respects to Massoud.
Afghans pay their respects to national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud. (Photo by Zan Azlee, 2011)

Ahmad Shah Massoud, a Tajik, was assassinated two days before the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City. So many Afghans see him as a national hero that managed to pull all the different tribes in Afghanistan together.

Massoud had made a speech in Europe a few months before his death, predicting a major terrorist attack which many say was the 9/11 attack.

Of course, he has a deep history surrounding him as well because he was once of the most influential military commanders who fought against the Soviets, and then the Taliban.

Although many Afghans consider him a hero, there are people who also see his status being so elevated as just a political tool by the different parties and politicians.

The picture above is of Afghans who were flocking to pay respects to the man at his memorial in Kabul on Massoud Day, a national holiday.

I also shot a video of that day.

Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite (Part 3 of 10 – Ahmad Shah Massoud the Martyr)

Own a limited print of the photo at the top of this post (Afghans pay their respects to national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud), framed (21cm x 30cm) and signed by yours truly for RM90. You can play a role in supporting independent journalism by clicking below.

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When it stops being cute: How to handle a smart alec toddler


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Pakchic Says
When it stops being cute: How to handle a smart alec toddler
By Zan Azlee

“Can we go to the playground at McDonald’s?” asks Athena as soon as we’re done with buka puasa.

“Not now Athena. We have to go buy some groceries first,” I reply.

“Do you have a lot to buy? Don’t buy so many things. I want to go and play!”

“You can go and play once we’re done and only when we’re done. Anyway, to play at the playground, you need to be eating there.”

“Pops, I’m hungry! I want to eat.”

“We just ate!”

“But I’m hungry now! Let’s go to the playground!”

Okay so, my daughter Athena isn’t really a habitual smart alec whenever she talks to us, or anybody else, for that matter. But there are occasions when she is.

She pretty clever at stringing sentences together that can be quite amusing. Amusing is one thing, but once it starts becoming sarcastic and rude, we have to nip it in the bud.

But I also want her to develop a sense of humour and to learn to be witty in her conversations. So it can be quite tricky to want to discipline her but also nurture her.

These are five things you can do to handle a child or toddler who seems to have potential becoming a smart alec. It might not all work, but give it a try anyway.

1. Be patient and explain

The first thing to do is to never lose your temper. If you counter stubbornness with anger, it could boil up into a screaming match. Be calm and explain to your child why what she is doing is wrong and rude. Tell her it’s not nice if someone spoke to her the way she did to you.

2. Be firm

If your child starts giving you smart remarks, set the tone to let her know there are boundaries and you won’t accept it it she crosses it. Tell her off firmly and don’t back off so she knows that you can’t be pushed around.

3. Show consequences

Once you show that you are firm, you also need to show that for every wrongdoing, there are consequences, especially if she’s stubborn and doesn’t want to listen. For Athena, it’s a time-out in her room. If I say I’m sending her there, I really do.

4. Pick your battles

You don’t want to turn into a nag. That just defeats the purpose of disciplining. So determine a degree of rude behaviour and only address it when it crosses the line. Remember, although I don’t want Athena to be a smart-mouth, I do want her to learn to be witty!

5. Always be a good example

The best way to teach a child how to behave and act is by showing her the right way of doing it. And the person that she comes in contact with the most is you. So make sure you set a good example for how you behave.

[This article originally appeared at Makchic.Com]

Cutting the cord: Who needs TV anymore?


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In the past five years, millions of people have cancelled their television cable or satellite connection. Where are they getting their news and entertainment now? The Internet, of course! These people are ‘cutting the cord’ because they feel that TV no longer serves any purpose for them.

I haven’t cut the cord yet but I see it eventually happening since I don’t even watch TV anymore. All I do is watch the Internet since I’ve connected my Mac Mini to my TV set. (Wait… that means I still watch the TV… right?)

And there is increasing number of youth who are now known as ‘cord-nevers’. They have never even really watched TV because they have been raised solely on the Internet.

And I see the point. Why would anyone want to pay expensive monthly subscription fees for TV channels that don’t satisfy their needs? A cheaper alternative for all this is high speed broadband.

And it’s not like they will be missing anything from TV because the same information is presented to them online, and with and even more appealing presentation and form!

There are also online exclusive content services now available like IFlix and the likes which are so much cheaper. IFlix has a starting subscription fee of RM8 a month!

So unless TV still wants to be in the game, they need to look back at their content presentation and start repurposing.

Read more about cutting the cord at Mediashift.Org.

Listen to The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 53) – TV News… When was the last time you watched it?

Instagram journalism!


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Instagram journalism sure sounds interesting! Two veteran photojournalists are already trying it out… Neil Shea and Jeff Sharlet. Although Instagram is more known for selfies and pictures of ‘hot dog legs‘, these two are doing something much more significant with the platform.

Neil shoots in conflict areas for National Geographic while Jeff writes and shoots for Mic.com and his current project is documenting individual profiles from across the United States.

Instagram is primarily a visual platform but these two are experimenting with the written word on it as well. And in my opinion, there is still more that can be done. We just need to keep on trying things out on Instagram.

Both Neil and Jeff are now working with The Virginia Quarterly Review to commission writers to produce Instagram stories for the journal. It starts in July 2015. So keep an eye out for it.

Personally, I don’t use Instagram actively for journalism. I just use it to show off to people how cool my life is! But every once in a while, I will post a photo from my journalism work and it always gets good response.

According to an article on Contentlty.net, Instagram has already surpassed 300 million users. Compare that number with the most populous countries in the world and the social media platform will come in at number four!

Tahukah anda apa itu ‘urun’ ? Crowdfunding sebenarnya!


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Tahukah anda apa itu ‘urun’ ? Crowdfunding sebenarnya!
By Zan Azlee

Soalan nombor satu, cabaran utama, yang menjadi penghalang terbesar untuk mereka yang mempunyai ide atau projek untuk dijalankan adalah – modal!

Ide pula senang aje. Janji ada cita-cita dan angan-angan, kita boleh berfikir apa sahaja. Tetapi untuk merealisasikannya menjadi cabaran besar.Biar saya memperkenalkan satu perkataan yang mungkin anda tidak pernah dengar. Sebenarnya, saya pun tidak pernah tahu tentang perkataan ini sehingga lah menulis artikel ini.

Urun dana! Ha? Urun itu apa? Sebenarnya ia lebih dikenali perkataan Inggeris yang lebih universal… iaitu ‘crowdfunding’! Pernah dengar kan perkataan itu?

Crowdfunding adalah cara dimana dana diperolehi dari ramai orang dan setiap orang itu menyumbang wang yang mungkin sedikit sahaja (tetapi ada yang sanggup menyumbang banyak).

Walaupun sumbangan setiap orang sedikit, apabila anda berjaya untuk meyakinkan ramai, besarlah jumlahnya. Kan orang kata, sikit-sikit lama-lama jadi bukit!

Pelbagai ide dan projek seperti filem, cetakan buku, penghasilan produk untuk dijual, ciptaan teknologi, perniagaan makanan dan macam-macam lagi pernah berjaya kerana crowdfunding.

Di Internet terdapat banyak laman web yang membantu orang ramai untuk memulakan projek crowdfunding. Contohnya Kickstarter, Indiegogo, dan di Malaysia, Pitchin.my.

Anda perlu kenal pasti laman web mana yang paling sesuai dengan projek anda. Pitch ide anda dengan cara yang boleh menarik perhatian dan tunjukkan bahawa anda betul-betul semangat dan komited.

Selalunya, orang akan pitch menggunakan pembentangan video. Kalau anda mempunyai cerita atau latarbelakang yang menarik, lagi bagus!

Tapi crowdfunding tidaklah semudah yang disangkakan. Selepas anda tentukan jumlah modal yang diperlukan, anda juga perlu letakkan satu tarikh akhir untuk mencapai jumlah itu.

Kalau tiba tarikh itu dan jumlah yang dikutip tidak sampai jumlah yang diperlukan, anda tidak dapat satu sen pun. Anda juga perlu komited dan tidak boleh berhenti sekerat jalan selepas mendapat dana anda.

Ide anda perlu dibentangkan dengan elok dan menunjukkan bahawa anda jelas mempunyai visi untuk merealisasikannya. Kalau anda sendiri tidak boleh jelaskan ide anda, bagaimana hendak yakinkan orang.

Anda juga perlu pastikan perlaksanaan anda dijalankan dengan penuh profesionalisme. Dokumentasi perlu tepat, rekod kewangan mesti ada dan pengendalian pekerja perlu profesional.

Tetapi janganlah lihat semua ini sebagai satu halangan. Sebenarnya ia adalah peluang untuk anda menjadi seorang yang lebih professional.

Pastikan juga anda mempunyai strategi untuk menjadi mampan diri, atau self-sustaining. Takkan nak mengharapkan sumbangan dan dana sahaja kan? Kenalah bergerak kehadapan!

Sebenarnya, peluang untuk berjaya dalam crowdfunding agak rendah. Menurut kajian, hanya kurang dari 50 peratus mereka yang memulakan projek crowdfunding akan berjaya.

Tetapi jangan putus asa. Siapa kata anda tidak boleh usaha sendiri? Kalau kerja kuat, usaha gigih dan tidak berputus asa, jimat duit dan kumpul sedikit demi sedikit, boleh juga tercapai impian anda.

[Artikel ini pertama kali dicetak di KopitiamEkonomi.Com]

Di bawah adalah satu video yang memberi tip untuk mencari dana selain dari Crowdfunding (dengar cerita penulis skripnya agak kacak… ahem!).