Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro, astro awani, awani, christian, church, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, masjid, mosque, muslim, new media, zan azlee
When I was in primary school, I went to a school called SRK St. Joseph in Johor Bahru. Yes folks! It was a Christian missionary school complete with a church attached! I used to wander the church grounds with all my friends and sometimes, actually often times, we even had the opportunity to enter the hall itself.
I still went to my Pendidikan Islam class with my other fellow Muslim classmates and I knew, even at that young age, that I am a Muslim.
Going to church never confused me. I am a mixed breed child and come from a mixed breed family. So I have many relatives who come from many different race and also religious beliefs. I have been to many a church weddings, like the one between my Uncle Tuck Meng and his wife Aunty Renuka, which was held at that big church in Kelana Jaya by the LDP highway.
I still continue to believe that I am a Muslim and still attend mosque to do my prayers and even read the Quran to understand it better. Going to church never confused me. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, BN, chicken, fat bidin, islam, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, onederful, pakatan rakyat, teresa kok, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
Time and time again I have said it. Malaysians have no appreciation for satire, sarcasm and humour. And that is just so laughable that it just is not funny. Everyone is now familiar with the parodic Chinese New Year video produced by Teresa Kok, the DAP MP for Seputeh, and her team. I was very amused by the video and found it hilarious, and quite true too (my Cantonese is atrociously mediocre, but I think I got a bit of the nuances!).
Okay, fine. I can accept the fact that not everyone would understand the video and that many might even be offended by it. That is okay. These people have all the right and freedom to oppose and object to the video. They can write articles, make statements, or even hold peaceful protests. Heck! I think the best way would be to actually produce another video to mock or even oppose the video by Teresa Kok and her team.
But then a group of so-called Muslim NGOs came out to prove my thought that Malaysians do not seem to have the intellectual capability to comprehend satire. By offering a cash reward to commit violence (RM1,200 for anyone who slaps Teresa Kok and provide photographic evidence) cannot be very Islamic. One of the most common phrases in Islam is “Bismillahirahmanirahim”, which means “In the name of God, the most compassionate and most merciful”.
That in itself proves that the basis of Islam is about compassion and mercy. And wait a minute! What does “Islam” mean? I think it actually means “peace”! I am sure that this group, which goes by the name The Council of Islamic NGOs, must be very proud that they are encouraging violence in the name of religion.
But I think I have a suggestion for Teresa Kok to turn the tables around and play another joke. This time at the expense of this so-called Islamic council. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: broadcast, directing, documentary, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, babi, barisan nasional, BN, dollah baju merah, fat bidin, halal, haram, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, pigs, The Malaysian Insider, wayang kulit, zan azlee
I remember many years ago, I directed a documentary film about Dollah Baju Merah, the last classically trained wayang kulit dalang in Malaysia from Kelantan. He has since passed on and I was the last person to officially interview him and to document his last wayang kulit performance on camera.
What I remember most about the interview was how he tried to explain to me his relationship with his art using a pig analogy. During an election year, he thought he was being religious by voting for a religious party (guess what party?), but it ended with him being ostracised for practicing his art.
“Those whom I voted for declared that wayang kulit is haram because it has non-Islamic roots. And whoever practices it is committing a sin,” he said.
“But let me explain to you about pigs. A pig is an animal created by God. The pig itself isn’t haram. It’s just an animal like any other animal in the world. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, economics, economy, fat bidin, inflation, journalism, kangkung, kuala lumpur, malaysia, price, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
The way the government is trying to appease the public with regard to all the price hikes that have been implemented is quite farcical at the least. Firstly, Malaysians were told that if they did not like the increase in highway toll prices, they could always opt for using different roads that have no tolls.
Then they said if chicken was too expensive for consumption, then eat other sources of protein like fish, which ironically is even more expensive. Now we have the huge vegetable fiasco that has become an internet phenomenon and also a treasure chest of content for the media.
Right before I started writing this week’s column, I had breakfast with a friend of mine. And over our meal, we had a nice long, conversation about life. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: broadcast, directing, documentary, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, video blog, vj movement, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, BN, christianity, christians, documentary, fat bidin, father lawrence, herald, islam, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, news, pakatan rakyat, solo journalism, The Malaysian Insider, video journalism, zan azlee
Three years ago, I remember shooting a television reportabout the “Allah” issue in Malaysia for a Dutch news agency. I had interviewed Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew, PAS parliamentarian Khalid Samad, the then home minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and several Malaysians.
The situation was tense then. The court case against the Catholic weekly Herald was taking place and a church in Klang was set on fire. It was a sad, depressing and humiliating time for Malaysia and its people when racial and religious tension was at an all-time low.
I have always used my column here at The Malaysian Insider as a platform to try and encourage discourse and understanding towards multiracialism and pluralism. It’s been so many years and I continue to use this platform, including every other media platform I have access to, for that purpose.
Now, we are in 2014. And what is the situation we are facing with regards to racial and religious tension? Has there been an improvement? The case against the Herald still exists. The issue of the word “Allah” being used by non-Muslims is being brandied around. And protests are happening.
It seems like Malaysia and its people haven’t gotten very far ahead since that television news story I did five years ago for that Dutch news agency. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro, astro awani, awani, exoticism, fat bidin, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, yuna, zan azlee
Congratulations to Yuna for making it to number 19 onHuffingtonpost.com’s top 20 artists to listen to in 2014. It’s quite an achievement for her and for Malaysia. Even the paragraph that introduces her in the article seems to acknowledge this achievement by stating:
‘There’s a good chance you don’t have any Malaysian musical artists in your current music library, so let Yuna be the first.’
Before I go on, let me state that I’m not much of a Yuna fan. Although I don’t think her music is awful, I also don’t think it’s extraordinary. But that’s beside the point. What I really want to highlight here is to wonder what could be the real reason of Yuna’s success in America.
After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City, followed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has had a terrible relationship with Muslims. They have had to go through very damaging racist accusations due to their racial profiling activities in the name of national security.
The negative implications and treatment towards Muslims, especially those living in the United States, were huge and quite shocking actually. And now, the former superpower of the world is on a big crusade to try and fix this problem internally by attempting to improve Muslim and non-Muslim relationship. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, journalism, malay, malaysia, najib razak, rosmah, rosmah mansor, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
Ahh… the eleven steps taken by the government to cut their spending. This was announced earlier in the week by Prime Minister Najib Razak. Let’s see. There is a cut of between 5 to 10% in the allowances for ministers and deputy ministers as well as senior government officials.
Then there are the cuts in utilities costs in all government offices and reduction of road transport tolls for senior government officials as much as 30%. There will also be reductions in the ordering of buntings, of food for meetings, seminars and workshops as well as more efficient office space architecture.
Let’s see. Cutting down the allowances of ministers, deputies and senior government officials is a good move. However, it doesn’t reduce costs by that much. What would be a much better move would be to remove certain ‘retired’ ministers from the government payroll altogether. There are several of these individuals who have been given special posts and are probably getting paid as much as ministers are, including allowances and benefits.
And then there is the reduction of bunting orders. How significant of an amount is that? Unless, of course, the government prints a gazillion buntings a year! As for the excessive ordering of food for meetings, workshops and seminars, well I can’t argue with that one as it is quite true. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, fat bidin, interpret, islam, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, quran, zan azlee
I’m a Muslim, or so I claim. I believe in the religion, its God and its prophet. I also sin like the rest of us. I’m like any normal Muslim, I guess. I’m not a religious scholar, imam, qadi, bilal, ustaz, mudim, or whatever. But I do a little bit of reading, studying, travelling, interviewing and asking around.
And on that basis, I feel that is my responsibility and obligation to sometimes stand up for my religion, from those who aren’t of the faith and, most of all, those of the faith. It seems that the number one gripe of Muslims in Malaysia is the fact that there can be no debate when it comes to religious issues.
Filed under: Astro Awani, broadcast, directing, documentary, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, dataran merdeka, dbkl, demonstration, documentary, fat bidin, interview, jingga 13, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, new media, news, protest, samm, smm, solo journalism, turun, video journalism, web video, zan azlee
As any other New Year’s Eve celebration in Kuala Lumpur, Dataran Merdeka was jam-packed with people who were there to usher in the New Year and to enjoy the live performances that have been organised there for years without fail.
But this year, the situation was a little bit different. A call by Gerakan Turun Kos Sara Hidup (TURUN), Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM), Jingga 13 and Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) saw thousands gathering there as well, but for a different reason. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, press, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, censorship, fat bidin, geramm, journalism, journalist, kuala lumpur, malaysia, media, new media, news, protest, the heat, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
And here we go everyone. The clampdown has begun! Shut up your face! We don’t like what you’re saying! Do you think you can say what you want? It doesn’t matter if what you say is the truth or not, or if you have proof or not.
We don’t even care if we look stupid by shutting you down. It doesn’t matter if everyone can see right through our intentions. Does it even matter if by shutting you down we would look like regressive neanderthal cavemen? No!
Do you think it even bothers us that we are showing everyone in the world that we are undemocratic? No! Do you actually think that we care if we are seen as uncivilised people who show no regards to human rights? No! [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, BN, christmas, fat bidin, islam, jakim, jesus, journalism, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, zan azlee
Recently, while I was casually browsing through the JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) website, I stumbled upon something interesting. (Please don’t ask me why I was casually browsing though the website. Just don’t!)
There is this one particular page on the site that caught my eye titled ‘Guidelines for Muslims celebrating religious festivals of non-Muslims’. As a multiculturalist Malaysian who celebrates a slew of festivals, from the Muslim to the non-Muslim kind, I obviously had to read it to ensure my Islamic faith is still intact.
It being the Christmas season, I will look specifically at the points that refer to Christmas, just to keep to a timely theme. Or else, this article would be just too long. The page states that if a Muslim is to attend an event, he or she needs to make sure that the event does not consist of ‘ceremonies that are against the Islamic faith’. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, BN, ethnic cleansing, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, plaigarism, ridhuan, ridhuan tee, tee, teresa kok, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
I’ve been secretly smiling to myself almost everyday the past week. It is because I’ve been very happy with certain stories I’ve been reading in the media lately. The stories I’ve been reading has given me joy because they are about how Ridhuan Tee Abdullah has been accused of lecturing about ethnic cleansing to his students.
And even before that, a few months ago, he was accused of plagiarism in his academic writings and research papers. Happy happy joy joy! It’s no secret (especially to my regular readers) that I’ve made it one of my life’s missions to counter and destroy his every single racist and bigoted thought.
And when issue of his credibility and professionalism comes into question, I will obviously jump on the opportunity to highlight it. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: broadcast, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, astro, astro awani, awani, banjir, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, flood, johor, journalism, malay, malaysia, segamat, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
If this week of mine were to be made into a short film, it would probably be broken up into two main juxtaposing scenes that can be put together.
And it also got me thinking. These two scenes seem to be a constant in Malaysia every single year for almost as long as I can remember.
Interior – air-conditioned trade centre building
The first half of the week involved me being in the Putra World Trade Centre attending the Umno general assembly (as a member of the press and not Umno!). Of course, all the VIPs would be arriving in their luxury cars with their entourages. And when they have their meals, these will be first-class banquet all the way.
Exterior – rubber estate
Kampung Batu 5 Buluh Kasap, Segamat, Johor
The second half of the week sees me travelling to a kampung in Segamat, Johor, which happens to be one of the last kampung to evacuate because of this year’s incredible floods. After holding out for as long as they could, the villagers gave in to the tremendous power of the flood and were forced to move to an evacuation centre.
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, art, artist, barisan nasional, BN, ernest zacharevic, fat bidin, graffiti, johor, johor bahru, johoreans, journalism, malay, malaysia, mural, The Malaysian Insider, zach, zacharevic, zan azlee
I have always been waiting for the chance to give my hometown, Johor Bahru, a nice, big burn! And it looks like the chance is now. It’s not that I don’t like my hometown, I do. I’m as proud to be a Johorean as any other Johorean out there, even if my family and I moved away way back in 1989.
I was so proud that the Johor football team was the first team in Malaysia to ever win the ‘double’ in 1991– the Malaysia Cup and the Premiere League in the same year. But what really annoys me is the blind pride that Johoreans are known to have. So blind that nothing outside of Johor is ever good enough.
Yes, I know! It’s a generalisation on my part. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. Just read on and you will see (hopefully!). Take my wife and her family for instance. Like me, they’re all from Johor Bahru too, and the things they complain about living in the Klang Valley can be so ridiculous.
“Sorry if the sambal doesn’t taste good. KL chili is plastic chili. Not like in JB.”
(I guess all chili bought outside of JB is fake chili?)
“The spaghetti they use to make Laksa Johor in KL is not as good as in JB.”
(Why a local Johor dish needs to have an ingredient originating from Italy beats me!)
“Wow! This noodle soup is really good! I’m sure the restaurant owner is from JB.”
“What kind of party is this? So boring! They’re not Johoreans, that’s why!”
(Now all you readers are getting the picture, right?)
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, bigot, bigotry, BN, fat bidin, hijab, islam, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, racism, racist, singapore, tudung, zan azlee
What’s the difference between Malaysia and Singapore? That’s the age old question ever since the island state decided to opt out from being a part of Malaysia. Actually, it isn’t hard to see that there are many obvious differences between the two countries and among the main ones is food.
I have to admit that the food in Malaysia, especially the street hawker kind, is just far superior from what you can find in Cheen Chia Poh. We make better lontong, better mee goreng, better nasi beriyani, better murtabak, better sup tulang, better prawn mee, better bak kut teh and even better Singapore fried meehoon.
Then there is the law that we have to abide to in Singapore, which are almost borderline mental asylum-style rules and regulations. No eating chewing gum! No crossing the street! No watching TV! No talking! No breathing! No winking! No no no no no no!!
But one thing that they are encouraging is sex! Everyone should have sex and procreate whether you are a man, woman, married or single. Play your role in saving the population! Then, of course, there is the issue about media control. If we Malaysians think that we have it bad with our media censorship and licensing, then we haven’t seen anything yet.
However, these are all differences that we can see on the surface. Look a little bit deeper and we might discover that we all aren’t that different anyway. Recently, the issue regarding Singapore’s banning of the tudung (hijab) by women working in certain governmental organisations and in school came in to the limelight.
Many Singaporeans are against this saying this it is racist and discriminatory. There is even a Facebook movement started called ‘Singapore Hijab Movement’. However, the island’s government says that since Singapore is a multiracial society, the ban is required to maintain the country’s overall social harmony. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, circumcise, circumcision, fat bidin, journalism, kalenjin, kenya, malaise, malay, malaysia, marathon, melayu, new media, sunat, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
What are the Malays best known for globally? Aside from being the inspiration for the English word ‘malaise’, I really can’t think of anything much. Well, I think I might have the answer as to why this is so. And it is closely related to a certain tribe in Kenya known as the Kalenjin.
I was listening to one of my favourite radio programmes called Radio Lab and it’s latest episode talked about why the Kalenjin are so good at long distance running. They have dominated the sport like no other superhuman group of people has ever done before, coming in the top three in almost every major marathon in the world.
For example, this year’s Berlin marathon saw Kenyans winning first place right through to fifth. And in the Chicago marathon, they placed first till fourth.
According to David Epstein, “There are 17 American men in history who have run under 2:10 in the marathon. There were 32 Kalenjins who did it in October 2011”. Epstein is a sports journalist and writer who wrote the book ‘The Sports Gene’, and was interviewed on the Radio Lab episode.
Now many unproven reasons, or should I say urban myths, have been thrown about as to why the Kalenjins are such good long distance runners. One of the most popular reasons for this is that in the past, the tribe did not have any other mode of transportation other than their legs. So they ran everywhere.
But the actual truth may be due to the Kalenjins having to go through cultural circumcision when they reach puberty. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, BN, chinese, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, racist, ridhuan, ridhuan tee, telur, umno, zan azlee
I know Ridhuan Tee wasn’t aiming his latest column in Sinar Harian entitled ‘Mana telur kita?’ specifically at me. But my column today is aimed right at him.
Sometimes I feel quite stupid arguing with what this Chinese man says since what he says is always quite stupid. But I can’t help it. It’s just incredibly fun! In Tee’s latest column, he highlights the fact that no political leaders seem to have the balls to stand up against the infidels and their demands.
First up, he says that how dare the Hindus question the right of Muslims to want to slaughter cows in a public school. Hey pang yau (in case Tee has forgotten his mother tongue, ‘pang yau’ mean ‘friend’)! It’s okay for them to question it.
And it’s also okay for Muslims to concede and do the slaughtering somewhere else. It’s call respecting other religions. Islam says that’s the way mah! [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, bajet 2014, barisan nasional, budget, budget 2014, chinese, cina, fat bidin, journalism, Keadilan, malay, malaysia, najib razak, pakatan rakyat, parliament, racist, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
So it’s been exactly one week since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tabled the National Budget 2014 in Parliament. There I was, sitting in the newsroom listening to him speaking and enjoying the attention he was getting.
There is also the cut in subsidy for sugar. It’s going to cost substantially more now so we won’t be a diabetic nation. But it is guaranteed that every other food product in the market will increase in price too.
There is also the increase in the income tax bracket and also the abolishment people having to file their tax returns. So it really looks like Budget 2014 is trying very hard to address the country’s fiscal deficit.
That’s what everyone is focusing on and it’s all good and well. But I think I’ll choose to highlight something else. If you notice, the Prime Minister announced all kinds of incentives for the Bumiputeras and the Indian community.
And guess what? Hardly any incentives were announced for the Chinese community. Actually, there was nothing. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, press, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, BN, crime, fat bidin, human rights, journalism, Keadilan, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, new media, news, pakatan rakyat, umno, zahid hamidi, zan azlee
In a previous life, I used to work with the foreign media. But then, a year and a half ago, I decided to go full on in the local media, hence I am now at Astro AWANI. Not much of a story behind the decision. It’s very clichéd actually. I wanted to feel more local stories and tell it to more local people. Basically, I wanted to serve Malaysia (chewah!).
In my opinion, for real impact, Malaysians need to be aware of the issues in their country and in their own context. Only then will they be moved to take action if it so requires. However, news about Malaysia in the foreign media is important because it puts some highlight on to the country and its issues.
Positive news that appear on a global media platform will bring pride and happiness to the people while negative news puts pressure on whoever is responsible. So I thought for this week, I would like to take a look at the different news stories on Malaysia that appeared in the foreign and international media. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]
Filed under: writing, new media, internet, journalism, Astro Awani | Tags: 1malaysia, astro, astro awani, awani, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, journalism, malay, malaysia, new media, umno, waze, zan azlee
My father recently started learning how to use Waze on his smart phone. He’s 62 years old, so you can imagine the comedy that ensued for my brothers and I! Of course, we already had our fun when he was trying to figure out how to use his smart phone when he first acquired it (“Okay daddy. You have to turn it on first!”).
But when it came to Waze, that wonderful Jewish app that helps you beat the ridiculous Kuala Lumpur traffic, it just took our amusement to whole different level! As many would know, Waze helps you navigate roads so that you can always beat any heavy traffic. And this is done through user generated data.
It’s kind of like a GPS system, but way better since you would know how heavy traffic is at a location before getting there, from people who are already there. Waze would then also recommend to you an alternative route that would get you to where you want to go faster, if you trust it enough.
My father would type in the address of his destination and off he would go to follow the directions of the sexy voice of Ms. Waze. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]