Category Archives: new media

Prove that we are not a racist nation



Prove that we are not a racist nation
By Zan Azlee

I shoot videos for a living and I’ve been doing that for more than a decade now. The kind of videos I like shooting are the non-fiction kind where everything is supposedly real.

News reports, talk shows, magazine shows and documentaries, they all fall under the non-fiction category of video. And since its suppose to be real, no manipulation should be involved.

However, one thing that I’ve learned is that reality is just a perception and there can never be any content production with absolutely no manipulation at all.

I’m not the first person to say this. In fact, this has been a debate that has raged on almost as long as video and film has been used to document reality.

If you are a cameraman, just by the fact that you have the power of choice in what to shoot and what not to shoot is manipulation already.

If you are a reporter, director or interviewer, then you can decide whether to ask a specific question to an interviewee or not to. There is manipulation again.

If you a video editor, then you will have the power to include in the video the different shots of your selection, edit out interview segments that you don’t like, etc. Manipulation it is.

As you can see, the video creators actually have a lot of power and control in how the ‘reality’ of the video is portrayed to an audience.

So it all boils down to their intention and how they can actually portray it as if everything is presented as honestly and truthfully as possible.

That is on the part of those responsible for creating the videos. Then, there is also the other party, the ones who appear in the video like the interviewees and subjects being shot.

Name me one person who, when is put in front of a rolling camera, can act as natural as he or she would when there is no camera recording his every move and word.

There will be those who get very intimidated, nervous and shy that you can hardly get anything out of him or her while everything is being shot.

There will also be those who become a little bit too self-assured and confident in front of the camera that they can seem like they are putting on a show for people to see.

And, well, you can’t deny that there those who are just very natural. But these people are few and far between. I have yet to meet one while on all of my shoots.

Also, nobody wants to look bad in front of an audience. So, many people would be self-conscious about how they look, what they do and what they see.

Now this brings me to the matter regarding the recent viral video that is making its rounds on the Internet. The one of the fake casting call that turned out to be a test of Malaysia’s racist attitude. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

About these ads

The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 16) – Merdeka! Propaganda! National pride!

Negaraku playing in cinemas! Propaganda or national pride? The Fat Bidin brotherly-duo are divided on this. Listen to how this issue could threaten the break-up of blood relations! Oh… and the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie sucks!

Listen to more podcasts at @fatbidin


There is no real journalists’ code of ethics



There is no real journalists’ code of ethics
By Zan Azlee

Journalists’ code of ethics is something hot on many people’s lips these days because of the recent incident where a newspaper photographer was punched at a funeral service.

He was taking pictures at the funeral of a victim of the MH17 tragedy when he was assaulted by a family member. He suffered a cut nose and a damaged camera.

When news of the incident first surfaced, many people were on the photographer’s side, claiming that he was just doing his job and he became a victim of assault.

He made a police report and the media also reported it like it was. Even journalist associations started condemning the act, calling for action to be taken against the assailant.

Then the other side of the story started emerging, as it always does. Apparently, the photographer (and other journalists there) was not respecting the grieving family’s privacy.

Now, I don’t really know the exact details since I wasn’t there, neither have I spoken to the photographer, the family members or anyone at the scene.

But here’s my two cents’ worth of what I think about the journalists’ code of ethics. There is no fixed code of ethics practised by journalists. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

If they start muzzling academics, who will be next?

I gave a lecture to a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. It was fun and we had a laugh!


If they start muzzling academics, who will be next?
By Zan Azlee

Universities in North America have something called the tenure system where professors are appointed and then are guaranteed academic freedom.

Once they achieve tenure, they cannot be pressured to leave their positions as an academic for any reason (well, it’s very difficult to be sacked, let’s just say that).

They can conduct unconventional research, teach in creative ways and make comments based on research and knowledge that they are considered experts in.

Basically, it gives them the confidence and assurance that they are the intellectual elite who have a responsibility to contribute to society without any prejudices.

Of course, to achieve tenure isn’t something easy and simple. The process is long and highly-scrutinised. It takes into consideration peer reviews, superiors, and so much more.

Unfortunately, there is no such system in Malaysia. Hence, our country’s academics are never free from pressurising factors that can prejudice their work.

A few years ago, Prof. Dr. Aziz Bari was suspended from his position at the International Islamic University and subsequently lost it for statements he made on the politics of the state.

And a few months ago, Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohammad Redzuan Othman had to leave his position as UMCEDEL’s (UM Centre for Democracy and Elections) director, allegedly for research findings that were not favourable.

His post as the dean of UM’s Faculty of Arts and Social Science was also not renewed even though he had been voted for by his colleagues.

This week, Associate Prof. Dr. Azmi Sharom from UM had to appear in court as he was charged for sedition based on a statement he made in a news article regarding the Selangor menteri besar crisis.

All this might give the impression that Malaysian academics do not have freedom of expression. And if academics are not given that freedom, how as a society do we progress? [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

Is it God’s calamity?



Is it God’s calamity?
By Zan Azlee

Many many years ago, when the huge tsunami struck Aceh, Penang, Kedah, Phuket, Sri Lanka and many other areas in the vicinity, something shocking came to light.

Many Muslims I knew started saying that the reason such a calamity happened was because God was angry at the sins of the people and so this was his punishment.

How can anybody think that God would commit such cruelty when all we ever learn in Islam is the fact that God is the all-merciful and that he will never forsake you?

I criticised it among my friends and family but then just decided to let it go since these Muslims weren’t really in any positions of authority and hence could be influential in society.

Then, two days ago, someone in a position of authority and could be influential in society said something that shocked me even more.

The deputy mufti of Perak, Zamri Hashim, stated that Malaysia Airlines had apparently angered God so much that all that has happened is God’s wrath.

According to the deputy mufti, the fact that the airlines serves alcohol in it’s flights and that the cabin crew dresses indecently, has exposed them to God’s wrath.

Firstly, I think it is nothing short of a miracle that the deputy mufti has such a clear telepathic link to God’s intentions. He must be an extremely enlightened person. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]