Category Archives: lecture

I haven’t decided what to talk about at the Poskod Journalism Campus (part of the #FAST The Cooler Lumpur Festival)!


I haven’t decided what I’ll be talking about at the Poskod Journalism Campus this week. I’m going to be part of a panel discussing the topic ‘Journalism for Gen Y’. Fuhh… I’m still relevant enough to the Gen Y!!! Muahahaha!!

Anyway, it’s going to be on the 20th of June, 2pm at Black Box, Publika. It’s open to the public but you can pre-register to ensure a seat by clicking here. The other panelists are Lim Chee Wah (Editor, Time Out KL), Niki Cheong (Lecturer, KDU) and Loo Jia-Wei (Managing Director, Popfolio Network). The session will be moderated by Ian Yee (Editor, R.A.G.E.).

The Poskod Journalism has a lot more activities other than this panel discussion… but if you want to meet me in the flesh… this is the one to be at! Muahahaha!

But another activity worth checking out is the ‘Anatomy of a documentary from idea to screen – a workshop with Al Jazeera’. You need to be a documentary filmmaker with a project in the works to be a part of this one. And if you get selected, you’ll get… something! Go check it out here.

The Poskod Journalism Campus is actually part of The Cooler Lumpur Festival, a creative festival that is kinda cool (well, I’m a part of it… it has to be cool!). It’s organised by PopDigital, the team behind PopTeeVee, The Effing Show and Poskod.My. Really cool bunch of people! The entire festival has loads of cool stuff happening between 20th to 22nd June 2014 at Publika, Kuala Lumpur.

(This has to be the most number of times I’ve used the word ‘cool’ in a paragraph!)

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Why being a freelance (entrepreneurial) journalist in my early years helped my career


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I’m not that old, but I’m not that young either. I have a career that has spanned 14 years now, and sometimes, I feel the urge to share my experiences with people.

And that’s why I like giving advice to young people. That’s one of the reasons why I love teaching (I’ve been teaching undergrads for 10 years now and conducted numerous workshops).

One of the most common advice I dish out to young journalists (whether they like it or not!) is that they need to put themselves out in the world. Go out and be a freelance journalist.

Too many young journalists like to begin their career as full time staff at news organisations. I’m not saying that this is wrong. In fact, I started out as a full time rookie journalist too.

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But I soon left the comfort of full time employment and became a freelance journalist. I actually prefer the term entrepreneurial journalist. I was self-employed for 10 years and the benefits I have gained is just invaluable.

1. I learned that you have to always stay on your toes and keep your journalistic and storytelling skills sharp. If you don’t have your nose on the ground or don’t tell your story effectively, you won’t have any clients wanting your stories. That also goes for staying in tune with the latest methods.

2. I learned to be effective and efficient in what I do. I discovered that being a solo-journalist meant that I could do my work faster and achieve the best results based on my own set standards. I also learned to be multi-skilled (I can write, present, shoot video, photos and edit). And that has helped to keep my costs low too!

3. I learned that you always have to respect people and never burn bridges. The industry isn’t big and you need to always treat people how you want to be treated. Anyway, the bigger your clientele, the better your business.

5. I discovered that I have my own unique voice and to believe in myself.

6. I learned that most often times, satisfaction and happiness always come up tops compared to money.

7. I learned to be entrepreneurial. I learned to market and promote myself and my work. I learned never to give up and be persistent. I learned that I should never rest on my laurels because there are many people much better than you out there.

8. I learned to be resourceful and managed to only do the stories and projects that I wanted to.

So, it irks me to see so many young journalists who immediately got a full time job and then start getting complacent. They shirk at any additional duties or tasks they are given. They resist anything new that they have to do. They don’t try to expand themselves and grow. They don’t push themselves.

I’m not saying that all of them are like that. Some have thrived, progressed and grown even if they have never gone entrepreneurial. But in my observations, these people are far and few between.

But hey, one can only base things on one’s experience. And I doubt that I would have grown as much as I have if I didn’t have that 10 years of entrepreneurial experience.

I’m just saying!

And if you’ve read right down to the bottom of this post… then be rewarded by clicking on this hyperlink to an article I wrote a couple of years ago about being an entrepreneurial journalist!

Pay the teachers what they deserve


Pay the teachers what they deserve
By Zan Azlee

Athena is in the process of perfecting her potty training. She only started taking off her diapers a few days ago and she’s 99% fully trained already. She’s three years old now and growing up quite fast – at a rate of a year every 12 months. It’s astonishing! And in another four years she’ll be ready for primary school.

That’s when the headache happens. The important decision to make about her education. Should we send her to a public school or a private school? Religious school or home school? It used to be a no-brainer for me. I went to government school and I turned out alright. So Athena would go to government school too. No doubt about it.

But the horror stories that I’ve been hearing about the education system in the country have really spooked me. And now, I am definitely full of doubt. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Sabahans could be Earth’s saviours!


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Sabahans could be Earth’s saviours
By Zan Azlee

The movement and collection of heat and carbon dioxide caused by pollution and global warming shows a worrying trend for countries near the equator. Satellite images show that it is heading towards the equator where most of the world’s forests are, and that includes Malaysia, and more specifically Sabah and Sarawak.

The reason why the forest areas are the places heat and carbon dioxide gathers is because only the forests have the natural ability to actually treat the problem. And what is more interesting, studies have shown that the areas where most of the world’s forests are, are also places that have the most numbers of languages spoken.

This study was made known to me yesterday, at the start of the 2013 Borneo Eco Film Festival in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, by speaker and festival organizer, Agnes Agama. I’m convinced the study, conducted by Terralingua.Org, is true seeing that the Amazon has so many different tribes and ethnicities and different languages.

And I am even more convinced when I see Sarawak and, more specifically, Sabah where there are also many different ethnicities and languages. It also seems totally logical without an ounce of coincidence that the responsibility of saving the earth falls on areas that have such wide biocultural diversity.

If you have ever been to Sabah, then you would know that the relationship amongst people of different races and religions is different than in Malaya. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

I’m speaking at TEDx Merdeka Square… meet me in the FLESH!


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Wahlauwei!! If you want to see me in the flesh… I’ll be speaking at TEDx Merdeka Square this Saturday, 17th August 2013! There are other speakers lah… like Nurul Izzah Anwar, Datuk Johan Jaafar and many more!! But hey…. meet ME in the flesh!! Hahaha!! Oh… and the topic… I’ll be speaking about… solo-journalism as a catalyst for social change.