Category Archives: writing

You did well Najib. Now on to the next stage.



You did well Najib. Now on to the next stage.
By Zan Azlee

I admit to the fact that when Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down, and when fingers were pointed towards Russia and President Putin, I wanted our government to be aggressive too.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made his statement early on July 18, I was utterly disappointed that it turned out quite tame. He made a mere mention of Russia, the separatists in Donetsk and nothing more.

Other world leaders had been vocal and intimidating. In that immediate hour, Malaysia was in shock and in anger. Our country, which had no direct enemies anywhere in the world, had suffered an attack.

The attack happened in a region that is going through a violent conflict that we are not even remotely involved in. The situation was extremely complicated and geopolitics became the word of the day.

Ukraine, a country that has seen decades of turmoil ever since its separation from the former Soviet Union is facing a separatist crisis. Russia, which is the superpower of Europe’s Eastern Block has vested interests in all the countries surrounding its borders.

I guess the bitterness of the fall of their empire is still evident.

Ukraine, on the other hand, has the backing of the Western Europe and the EU saw Russia encroaching as an inescapable threat. And what of the all-mighty United States of America?

Let’s just say that their foreign policies are at times viewed to be one-sided. And just like its rival arch, Russia, the Cold War probably hasn’t ended in their eyes.

So, allow me to reiterate that geopolitics is the order of the day. It’s so complicated that I don’t even have the strength and endurance to digest it all. It just gets worse especially when Malaysia gets violently sucked into it without any warning. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

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Set yourself apart online

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Set yourself apart online
By Zan Azlee

I spend a lot of time online. I don’t just consume, but I produce content as well. I have a blog, a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, Soundcloud page, and YouTube page.

People always ask me if I actually make any decent income from my activities online and if there is actually a worthwhile reason for it (especially my father!).

There seems to be a perception amongst many people that whatever you do online needs to directly bring in the money or else there won’t be any honey (sorry!).

I think everyone has been influenced just a little bit too much by Jason Tan, Sunny Tan, Gobala Krishnan, Fione Tan and Azizan Osman.

As much as the people above have found a successful way to make the Internet make direct income from the Internet, there are other ways too.

I’m a journalist, writer, documentary filmmaker and academic. And if you look at the content on my blog (and everything on my other social media channels), it’s that relatable content.

I write and produce blog entries that relate to journalism, the media, documentary filmmaking, and even social and current affairs commentary.

And through my social media channels, like Twitter and Instagram, I post observations relating to work and also retweet content that would be relevant to my profession.

Aside from a little bit of endorsement deals that I get and a small amount of WordPress and Google Ads traffic, my online work makes no significant financial income whatsoever.

But the indirect financial benefits definitely exist. [Click to read the full article at KopitiamEkonomi.Com]


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



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!”



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]

What if I was a Muslim convert?

An old Jewish scripture in Kabul's only synagogue.


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



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]