Category Archives: new media

Oh my MUET!


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Oh my MUET!
By Zan Azlee

So now the English speaking and writing level for Malaysians to enter universities has been increased, according to the prime minister during the tabling of Budget 2015.

I have to say that I agree because I have always been a big proponent of the English language and of how important it is for Malaysians to master the language.

However, just by increasing the required band or evaluation of the MUET (Malaysian University English Test) wouldn’t be a solution.

What that means is that the existing group of students who are trying to enter university in Malaysia are just going to have a much tougher time.

I spend a lot of my free time having sharing sessions with undergraduate students, and some of them gave me feedback regarding the recent developments.

Many are concerned that this will mean less Malaysians would actually be qualified to enter university and that would mean less opportunities for them.

One student told me that by not knowing English, a potentially brilliant student who isn’t bilingual could not further his or her studies. So, English shouldn’t be mandatory.

On one part, I agree. Not knowing English, or any other second language, doesn’t mean that one is not intelligent. You can be smart no matter what language (and how many) you speak.
[Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

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The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 20) – Uh oh! Are we being seditious in this episode?


This week, the Azlee brothers talk about sedition and they actually interviewed some people too… Zan spoke to a couple of journalists while Aizyl spoke to some idiots!

Listen to more Fat Bidin Podcasts here.

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Ben Affleck, the super hero


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Ben Affleck, the super hero
By Zan Azlee

It seems the Muslim world has a new hero in the form of a tall, handsome, charismatic Hollywood actor and celebrity by the name of Ben Affleck.

Just pay a visit to his Facebook fan page and you will see the hundreds of postings and messages expressing adulation for him and how he defended Islam.

Affleck appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher where he, along with several other panelists including Sam Harris and Nicholas Kristof, talked about Islam and the Islamic State (Isis).

From the discussion, it seems that Maher and Harris were berating the Muslim world and basically calling the entire global community a pool of stupid ideas and beliefs.

They called Islam a religion that kills and murders people and said that the entire Muslim population believed that was the right thing to do. Hence, it was a dangerous religion consisting of dangerous people.

Then action hero Affleck raised his voice in defence of all innocent Muslims by saying that the broad statements by Maher and Harris were racist and ignorant.

He said that Maher and Harris’s statements regarding Islam and Muslims were very stereotypical and an insult to the millions who weren’t jihadists or extremists. Occasionally, Kristof would put in a word of support.

Here’s the thing: Muslims in Malaysia (and around the world) are going head over heels expressing how Affleck succeeded in putting forth his support for Muslims against the “enemy”.

What they don’t realise is that a debate like this can only happen because it is allowed to happen. Different views are allowed to be expressed, discussed and debated. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I’m now a public transport commuter


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I’m now a public transport commuter
By Zan Azlee

I may have lamented last week on how I should be taking public transport to save a bit of money and also to create a little bit of relaxation and stimulation for my mind.So guess what? I finally did it! I’ve been commuting regularly by train for almost two weeks now and now it’s been going relatively smoothly.

Here’s how a typical commuting day goes for me:

9:00am

I would drive from my house to the Shah Alam KTM Commuter station, which would take me around 10 minutes. I have to also go through a tolled highway and the cost one way is RM1.20. I would either park my car at the station’s car park (RM4.00) or slightly further away at the residential area (free!).

9:20am

The train arrives and I hop on. It’s early on its route so I always get a place to sit. This is when I would whip out a book to read or my iPad to either reply e-mails or to write articles. I can do quite a lot before it stops at KL Sentral because the ride takes about 45 minutes and a ticket price of RM2.50.

10:10am

Arriving at KL Sentral is when the serious action begins. The number of commuters can be overwhelming and I have to manoeuvre my way from the KTM platform to the MyRapid platform to catch another train that will bring me to Masjid Jamek. But that’s just a few minutes of manouvering. [Click to read the full article at KopitiamEkonomi.Com]

Yes to no petrol subsidy


My fixer, Ahmad Bilal Raghbat, at a Kabul petrol kiosk

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Yes to no petrol subsidy
By Zan Azlee

Talks have been rife about the increase in petrol price which was announced recently (right before the tabling of the national budget!).

Okay fine, it’s not an increase in petrol price. It’s really the reduction in subsidy for petrol. So what call it whatever you want, a rose is a rose by any other name.

So most of the talk about the petrol price or subsidy have been of anger and frustration of how inconsiderate the government is towards the people.

But I have to say, I totally disagree. I am in full support of the reduction of petrol subsidy in the country. In fact, it should be cut totally.

First, I’m a firm believer of the saying ‘if you give a man some fish, he eats for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime’. So no subsidies for me!

Second, and more importantly is that the price of petrol is really not the main issue. Everything surrounding it is what really matters.

According to Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, in an interview with Freakonomics co-author, Stephen Dubner, petrol is usually subsidised in developing countries.

Lomborg adds that the subsidy is usually given by the government to appease the citizens because there might be something lacking elsewhere which they cannot fulfill. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]