Category Archives: new media

What to write and what not to write?


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What to write and what not to write?
By Zan Azlee

Penang is a city that seems very exotic to me even though I visit it very regularly. It has food that is just different than in Kuala Lumpur (the taste always seems better), well-preserved history and an environment that seems to inspire me as a writer and filmmaker.

So when I was invited to be a participant at the 2014 George Town Literary Festival by the director, Umapagan Ampikaipakan, I couldn’t say no. The invitation was together with my graphic novel co-author, Arif Rafhan Othman, who is an illustrator.

Thought-provoking discussions on literature doesn’t happen that often in this country, and when it does, it can get very interesting. And so the festival kicked off on Saturday morning with a panel discussion called ‘What are you hiding?’.

The panel consisted of Ooi Kee Beng (Malaysia), Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh (Singapore) and Leila S. Chudori (Indonesia), moderated by Sharaad Kuttan. They spoke about their respective countries and how the political environment dictated what could and could not be written about.

The most open country of the three was Indonesia and even there, they had to go through several leadership and party changes in order to achieve their level of freedom of speech and expression, explained Leila, a veteran journalist and author with Indonesian current affairs magazine Tempo.

“It also seems that Islamic religious voices seem to be getting stronger and stronger,” she added.

Sudhir, author of the non-fiction book ‘Floating on a Malayan Breeze’, talked about the political hold of the Lee family in Singapore and also about his experience and observations after cycling around Peninsular Malaysia sourcing for his book.

“As a writer, I don’t think about what to say or what not to say, but how to say it,” said Ooi Kee Beng when asked about restrictions when it came to writing in Malaysia. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

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The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 27) – Takkan Hilang Umno di Dunia


The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 27) – Takkan Hilang Umno di Dunia

Does UMNO’s method of staying relevant make them seem more irrelevant? The two most relevant Malay youths, Zan and Aizyl Azlee, discuss the UMNO AGM. They also speak to Ibdilillah Ishak, Umno Youth Exco member and the head of it’s social media bureau.

Listen to more Fat Bidin Podcasts here.

What does it say about us if we need the Sedition Act?


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What does it say about us if we need the Sedition Act?
By Zan Azlee

At the start of the Umno general assembly this year, I told myself that I won’t be writing any opinion pieces based on the speeches, debates and discussions there.

Over the years, I have learned that the rhetoric spewed just does not appeal to me. And it is not just with Umno, but with all political parties, from the ruling coalition to the opposition.

The party’s representatives and leaders can say whatever to the public that seem progressive and promising, but when they start to face their grassroots, they play to their tune.

And this is just what has happened this year at PWTC when the main issue to date has been the Sedition Act and how all the party’s wings have agreed wholeheartedly that it has to stay.
This goes against many statements made by some of these same people that it will be repealed. So what has happened now? Why the U-turn? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Could ‘Lelaki Harapan Dunia’ be the Malaysian film that proves that we have matured?


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Could ‘Lelaki Harapan Dunia’ be the Malaysian film that proves that we have matured?
By Zan Azlee

When you watch a film, the way you consume and process it depends on your personal perspective, beliefs and cultural background. Basically, it is something very subjective.

So when I watched film auteur Liew Seng Tat’s latest feature film ‘Lelaki Harapan Dunia’, my opinion of it might not be as objective as others because I have been friends with him for more than a decade.

We started making short films at the same time and we have even worked on films together where we commented on the environment that we live in, our beautiful country of Malaysia.

We are good friends. He was even my ‘pengapit’ when I got married, looking very handsome in a Johor teluk belanga baju Melayu and songket. He played the role well delving into the culture of my ethnicity.

He has been fascinated with Malaysian culture, and told me many stories about Malay culture that even I have never known. I am not his only Malay friend. He has many.

When he followed me back to my father’s hometown in Muar, I brought him to see my late aunty’s house which is considered one of the last traditional Bugis houses in the country. He was very fascinated.

So it was no wonder he decided to make the film ‘Lelaki Harapan Dunia’ which is about a small Malay kampung whose villagers wanted to lift a kampung house as a gift for a newly married couple to build a home.

Seng Tat was influenced by the old and extinct Malay tradition of ‘angkat rumah’ where many years ago, when villagers wanted to move house, they literally moved their house, with the help of the entire kampung of course. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

Pakchic Says: No Sane Adult Would Suffer through a Kindergarten Concert!


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Pakchic Says: No Sane Adult Would Suffer through a Kindergarten Concert!

By Zan Azlee

Honestly, how any sane adult can actually sit down through an entire kindergarten concert and sincerely enjoy it really beats me.

It can be a very painful struggle to watch the little, short, mini human beings jumping up and down and trying to sing on the stage.

Ninety per cent of the kids are uncoordinated, forget their routine or the words to the songs, and many even just stand still and cry.

And last week was my little three-year-old Athena’s annual kindergarten concert and my wife and I, apparently, were obligated to attend.

So we dragged ourselves out of bed early in the morning, shivered under the shower and drove sleepily to the venue. Athena, of course, was weirdly excited.

We dropped Athena off at her teacher along with her costumes and we went into the hall and sat at our seats, waiting for the show to begin (the faster it starts, the faster it ends!).

The show was supposes to start at 10am, but a teacher sauntered up on stage, took the microphone and started apologising. Oh no!

“I’m sorry for the slight wait. We’re still trying to dress some of the children,” she said sheepishly.

And so we waited some more. I was getting hungry since we hadn’t eaten breakfast. I wanted to stop for nasi lemak on the way but my wife wouldn’t let me.

Half an hour later, the music started and we all told to look at the back of the hall. There were the kids all decked out in traditional costumes ready to waddle out (the theme was ‘Malaysia’). [Click to read the full article at MakChic.Com]