Category Archives: writing

Pakchic Says: Former Debate Team Captain No Match for Three-Year-Old


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Pakchic Says: Former Debate Team Captain No Match for Three-Year-Old
By Zan Azlee

I love a good argument. How can you not? There isn’t a much better feeling than having a stand, proving it, and then see the submission of the other party whom you arguing with!

A good argument (when you win!) will improve your self-esteem, re-affirm your beliefs and put you just one step ahead of the person who lost the argument.

And, being the captain of my secondary school debate team, I can never resist a good argument. I’ve debated and argued with a lot of people.

I’ve argued with bosses, parents, teachers, professors, journalists, politicians and government employees. Heck, I’ve even argued with the hated Ridhuan Tee Abdullah.

I’ve lost a few arguments, but won many. So I’m quite proud of my good track record. Kind of like a boxer with the number of knock outs he’s had.

But in the past one to two years, I’ve had to re-evaluate my persuasion skills. I think I might have just met my match when it comes to a sparring partner.

“Athena, let’s go. You have to bathe now.”

“No! I don’t want to!”

“You have to. You’re all sweating and smelly!”

“No! I don’t want to bathe!”

“But you have to. You all dirty and that’s very unhygienic!”

“No! I don’t want to bathe!”

“If you don’t bathe, your hair will get matted and your skin will be all flaky. It’s not healthy.”

“No! I don’t want to bathe!”

“But you have to!!”

“No! I don’t want to bathe!”

“BUT YOU HAVE TO!!! COME NOW!!!”

“I WANT MUMMY!!”

This is just one of many examples of an argument I would have with my three-year-old daughter Athena Azlee. I would always bring my A-game to the table from my experience debating. [Click to read the full article at MakChic.Com]

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What if I was a Muslim convert?


An old Jewish scripture in Kabul's only synagogue.

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What if I was a Muslim convert?
By Zan Azlee

A lot of people say that to be born a Muslim is something wonderful and lucky. I was born a Muslim but sometimes, I don’t feel so lucky about it.

It’s not that I felt unlucky to be a Muslim. I just wondered how it felt for someone who was a not a Muslim deciding to embrace Islam as a religion.

My experience as a born Muslim in Malaysia is a little bit different than what I imagined a Muslim convert would experience and that’s why I wonder.

In my mind, for someone who is not a Muslim wanting to be a Muslim, he or she must have had a huge epiphany to be convinced into converting. And that must be a wonderful feeling.

I, on the other hand, grew up learning about Islam. I went to religious classes when I was a young kid when I didn’t understand the significance of it.

What I learned were the habits and rituals of the religion. I mean, what else can you teach a kid who had not reached mental and physical maturity yet.

As I grew older, the rituals and habits became more intense as the teachers who taught me began to scare me into practicing them, convincing me that if I strayed, I would be punished.

It was only when I got older, and began looking for another meaning to Islam and being a Muslim that I have come to appreciate the religion and to understand it’s beauty.

So, back to these converts. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Mob mentality is worse online


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Mob mentality is worse online
By Zan Azlee

What happens when a snatch thief gets caught by the public? We’ve seen it happen many times where the public turns into a mob and beats them up.

Hey, I understand the anger. My wife has been a victim of a snatch thief before and if I was there with her, I would probably turn into the Incredible Hulk.

If you were a victim, then by all means claim self-defence. But if you were part of a mob that just wanted to lynch the bloody guy? What would that make you?

And so this leads to the big case regarding the viral video of the aggressive tudung-clad woman driver who took a steering wheel to an old uncle who had slightly hit her car.

She screamed for money, she called out racial slurs, she was rude, and don’t forget that steering lock! She was swinging it against the uncle’s car (thank God not at the uncle).

If I was the old uncle, I would probably fight back. If it was my father and I was with him, I would probably fight back too (but knowing my father, he would fight harder than me!).

But I was not in that situation and I was not a victim. I am just an ordinary member of the public who happened to watch the video online.

The online reaction to the video was massive. There was anger and condemnation, which was rightfully so. But it suddenly took an ugly turn towards something well… ugly. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

From Nothing to Something: How to Make Passion Work for You


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From Nothing to Something: How to Make Passion Work for You
By Zan Azlee

Many years ago, I wanted to make documentary films. Unfortunately, I had totally no clue of how to begin such a career and I didn’t know any way to go about it.

I wondered if there was a job I could look for in the newspaper’s classified ads that stated ‘documentary filmmaker’? No, I couldn’t. Believe me, I tried looking!

So what I decided to do was to just shamelessly declare myself a documentary filmmaker. Luckily for me, digital technology and the Internet were just about to boom during that time.

If I couldn’t apply for a job as a ‘documentary filmmaker’, I could just buy a cheap camera and make my own short (and long!) documentary films.

So, I turned my films into DVDs and just started handing it out to as many people as I could and also submitting to different film festivals and competitions.

Of course, I also started a YouTube page as well as a website and posted many of the films I made for people around to watch online.

It was definitely not my intention at that time, but I had inadvertently turned myself into an independent documentary filmmaker.

Slowly, my work began to obtain recognition. I had my own style too (or that’s what I like to believe!), which was being a one-man-crew.

I wrote, shot, edited and distributed my own films. And somehow, that allowed me to turn documentary filmmaking into a career.

Here’s how it worked. Once I had completed a film, I would approach broadcasters with a proposal to see if they’re interested in my story.

If they were, we would negotiate a deal and I would sell my programme to them for a fee. And here is where it got interesting for me. [Click to read the full article at KopitiamEkonomi.Com]

Saying sorry and meaning it too!


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Saying sorry and meaning it too!
By Zan Azlee

“Please say sorry to Dylan, Athena,” I say to her after she deliberately snatches a toy that her cousin is playing with.

“No,” she replies.

“You have to say sorry when you do something wrong.”

“No.”

“Athena! You better say sorry now!”

“No!”

“You say sorry now or I’ll put you in your room!”

“No!”

(And she starts screaming and crying while I sigh a huge one!)

Being a father has it challenges. Especially when the kid is still a three-year-old mischievous girl. But you learn things as you go along.

One of the things I felt has been a major challenge is to teach my daughter right from wrong and, more importantly, to realise when she is wrong and to apologise for it.

I know that many parenting experts say that you should never force your child to say sorry. She needs to learn that what she does hurts others and that it is wrong.

Then she can sorry and really mean it. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]