FAT BIDIN MEDIA


Google’s top 2012 searches… that led to my website!

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2012 according to Google
By Zan Azlee

DEC 28 ― The year is coming to an end and it is time to look back and reflect upon the momentous events of the passing year. I thought it would be a good idea to look back at 2012’s top ten searches on Google… and that led to my website, Fatbidin.com!

10. Ridhuan Tee Abdullah

Number ten could be one that has given me the most pleasure this year. I disagree with everything this academician, TV host and writer ― whose real name is Tee Chuan Seng ― says. We had a brief heated exchange in our respective columns (his is in Sinar Harian), from which I emerged victorious.

9. Kabul

Being the gloriously brave war journalist and adrenaline junkie that I am, I went to Afghanistan to shoot a documentary. After a decade of war and after the Taliban, it’s quite a surprise that the country is still getting media coverage.

8. Bersih 3.0

This has to be one of the lowest points of the year. I witnessed things that I don’t ever want to witness in Malaysia again. The police were brutally attacking demonstrators and even journalists like a bunch of street thugs ― after they removed their nametags, of course. But the spirit of Malaysians that gathered, now that was a high point.

[Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

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We’re better off than Syria, Egypt and Libya… so shut up?

A Malaysian Spring? Not!
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 1 — It’s annoying to me when I meet people who say that we should be thankful to be living in a country like Malaysia and that there are so many countries worse off than us.

“Look at Somalia. They’re all hungry there.”

“Do you want us to be like Syria where people are being killed?”

“Thank god we aren’t Palestine!”

“The poor in India live a terrible life!”

“Look at the poor Iraqis and Afghans!”

“At least we’re not in a situation like the Malays in Southern Thailand!”

I don’t deny that Malaysia isn’t a bad country and I do have a very decent quality of life. I have work and can provide for my family. My family and I are very happy and there is no doubt it is because we’re living in Malaysia, and I am definitely thankful for that. But that does not mean we do not need to improve. And to improve, we need to have a benchmark. [Click to read to the read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Manipulating religion for worldly gains

Manipulating religion for worldly gains
By Zan Azlee

MAY 11 – One Muslim calling the other a kafir (infidel). Muslims simply declaring anything they feel like as being haram. All this while still in the heat of Bersih. What I am referring to is to the article in the New Straits Times which carried the headline ‘Nik Aziz the father of kafirs’.

And I am also referring to the country’s fatwa council declaring that it is haram for Muslims to be participating in Bersih rallies. The New Straits Times wrote that former IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, says that PAS’ Nik Aziz is the father of kafirs. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Violence against Malaysia – My Bersih 3.0

Violence against Malaysia
By Zan Azlee

MAY 4 — I waited for almost a week before actually writing or posting anything much about the recent Bersih 3.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur. There were so many emotions, I wanted to make sure that I was calm and coherent before actually commenting on it. And now that everything seems ever so slightly clearer to me, the one thing that affected me most that Saturday was the violence that occurred.

The day had started early for me and walking all around the city, I felt the almost party-like atmosphere amongst all the Malaysians that had gathered. Dataran Merdeka, of course, had a heavy police presence. It was cordoned off with metal fencing and even scary-looking barbed wire. But, as I mentioned, the atmosphere was very festive and I guess the intimidation wasn’t working that well.

When the rally was in full force, I was standing alongside the leaders as they were giving their speeches and encouraging the people to sing. Once everyone was as close to Dataran Merdeka as possible, I heard the leaders declaring the rally a success and calling for the crowd to disperse. The crowd didn’t disperse and I made my way behind the barricade and police line with the help of my press tag. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Click on the thumbnails below to launch the photo essay.



Walking 4 Freedom… and the Peaceful Assembly Bill was passed in Parliament anyway…

On 29th November 2011, the Malaysian Bar Council organised Walk4Freedom in protest against the Peaceful Assembly Bill proposed by the government. They had drafted an alternative bill which was presented to Deputy Minister for Law, VK Liew. However, a few hours later, the bill was passed in parliament.



Top ten reasons to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill

I oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill.

Top ten reasons to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill
By Zan Azlee

NOV 25 — I disagree with the Peaceful Assembly Bill which is being tabled in Parliament at the moment and I know that many sane Malaysians also disagree with it. There’s been (and will be) tons of people writing and voicing their thoughts on the matter and here’s my list of top 10 reasons why I disagree with it: [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



My first multimedia piece for GlobalPost… Green architecture in Kuala Lumpur

I have been a regular visitor to GlobalPost, a US-based digital news agency ever since its launch in 2009.  I like the site because of it’s total multimedia method of telling stories (and also their kick-ass breaking news coverage of Muammar Gaddafi’s capture and killing in Libya!).

So… today I am happy to present to you my first piece for GobalPost! It’s a story about Clement Wong, a green architect in Kuala Lumpur who has made it his mission to convert old houses in the city into green and sustainable homes. And it is under GlobalPost’s special multimedia feature called ‘Powerland‘.

You can view my video and article by clicking on the image above or here.



KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (Part 8 of 8) – Multiracial or not… we will survive… together!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS… KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)
Part 8 of 8 (Conclusion)
Multiracial or not… we will survive… together!

Short synopsis: Kampung Baru is a traditional Malay village situated in the heart of the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Traditional Malay houses are surrounded by huge concrete and steel skyscrapers that provide a juxtaposition of modern urbanisation and customs and tradition. Zan talks to several individuals who have close ties with Kampung Baru to try and capture the essence of the village.

Click here to watch all the episodes.

KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU was screened on ntv7 in conjunction with the 2010 Merdeka celebrations. Visit the FAT BIDIN E-STORE to buy the DVD and own it for yourself!

Don’t forget to join the FAT BIDIN FACEBOOK PAGE for more life-changing experiences!



KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (Part 7 of 8) – Racial harmony? Not Anymore!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS… KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)
Part 7 of 8
Racial harmony? Not anymore!

Short synopsis: Kampung Baru is a traditional Malay village situated in the heart of the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Traditional Malay houses are surrounded by huge concrete and steel skyscrapers that provide a juxtaposition of modern urbanisation and customs and tradition. Zan talks to several individuals who have close ties with Kampung Baru to try and capture the essence of the village.

Click here to watch all the episodes.

KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU was screened on ntv7 in conjunction with the 2010 Merdeka celebrations. Visit the FAT BIDIN E-STORE to buy the DVD and own it for yourself!



KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (Part 6 of 8) – Malays, Chinese, Indians and whomever… let’s divide them!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS… KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)
Part 6 of 8
Malays, Chinese, Indians and whomever… let’s divide them!

Short synopsis: Kampung Baru is a traditional Malay village situated in the heart of the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Traditional Malay houses are surrounded by huge concrete and steel skyscrapers that provide a juxtaposition of modern urbanisation and customs and tradition. Zan talks to several individuals who have close ties with Kampung Baru to try and capture the essence of the village.

Click here to watch all the episodes.

KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU was screened on ntv7 in conjunction with the 2010 Merdeka celebrations. Visit the FAT BIDIN E-STORE to buy the DVD and own it for yourself!



Off the record… in Afghanistan

I am shocked that I even have time to write my column for The Malaysian Insider here in Afghanistan!

Off the record… in Afghanistan
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 16 — There is something about a video camera that makes people apprehensive. Some are shy but most are just afraid that what they say or do on camera might harm them. As a video journalist and documentary film-maker, I document a lot of people doing and saying things in real life. I think I do quite well in convincing people to be more candid, casual and honest when they talk to me and my camera.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m mainly a solo journalist and I don’t have a crew. Since I’m alone when I’m recording, people feel more at ease. But I also like to think that it could be because I have inviting eyes and I smile and laugh a lot. And that puts people at ease (haha!). There are, of course, those who are just too shielded and even my charm and good looks can’t break them.

One good example is my current stint as an embedded journalist with the Malaysian Armed Forces who are serving in Afghanistan, for my next documentary project. [Click to read the full article]



Strolling the streets of Kabul… 9/11 no longer relevant to Afghans

I wish I had enough time for more entries on my website. But interviewing, shooting, editing and filling stories are leaving me exhausted everyday here in Afghanistan! But here’s my column at The Malaysian Insider this week.

9/11 no longer relevant to Afghans
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 9 — The way the media distorts and manipulates facts has never been so obvious as when I stepped foot for the first time on Afghan soil this week. I’m here for my next documentary project and also as a correspondent for Astro Awani and to produce features for The Malaysian Insider, amongst other media.

I am lucky enough (haha!) to be in the country’s capital city Kabul for the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11. As the weekend approaches, the international media has already begun their hype-up of the “event” with all kinds of feature stories and packages.

It seems, according to the media, the whole world is thinking of 9/11 and why wouldn’t they when that’s all that’s being highlighted. [Click to read the rest of the article]



Democracy, Islam and Malaysia’s ruling party

I can’t seem to get BERSIH out of my head! Here’s my latest column at The Malaysian Insider.

Democracy, Islam and Malaysia’s ruling party
By Zan Azlee

JULY 22 — I think the ruling party in Malaysia has become a little bit confused about how they should be governing the country in this day and age. We’ve all heard it mentioned that they fight for the rights of Malays and Islam . . . so much so that they are beginning to sound like a broken record.

Now why do I say they’re confused? Well, they seem to have this thinking whereby Islam rejects democracy when it is really the opposite. They seem to think that the people should not have a voice and that the majority is what they determine instead of what the people determines.

By denying the people their right to express themselves and to determine how they are governed, as in the case of Bersih 2.0, they are really rejecting the Islamic way. But it’s hard to blame them when many of the Islamic countries around the world reject democracy too and seem to embrace autocratic rule. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Why did the police do what they did at BERSIH 2.0?

And this week, my column deals with… what else… BERSIH 2.0!

Why did the police do what they did?
By Zan Azlee

JULY 15 — The tough policeman with the huge muscles grabbed me by my shoulders and flung me towards the sidewalk not caring that I had a press tag around my neck. I struggled to keep my balance and not drop my camera. I barely managed to not trip over the curb.

“Halau cameraman itu! (Get rid of that cameraman!)” screamed the policeman’s other colleagues.

My crime? I was shooting a bunch of arrested demonstrators being led out of Tung Shin Hospital and through a police line. The detainees had their hands “cuffed” and looked pretty much subdued. However, as they were led through the line, they were kicked and punched by the police.

I was on assignment for The Malaysian Insider to gather video footage of the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur on July 9. But I couldn’t get enough footage of that incident since I ended up behind police lines along with other members of the media, cordoned off from what was happening. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Click here to see the rest of my coverage of BERSIH 2.0 (includes photos and video).



Fat Bidin… on assignment at BERSIH 2.0 rally, 9th July 2011

It was a proud day to be a Malaysian. And I was on assignment for The Malaysian Insider… shooting a video package of the event (the above video is the result). I was suppose to meet and interview Khairy Jamaluddin (UMNO Youth Chief), but he got arrested as soon as he step foot into Bukit Bintang (but his group numbers were too few and they marched too short a distance to have any relevance on that day! Sorry KJ!). I was also suppose to meet Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan (Chair of BERSIH 2.0), but she was arrested too soon as well (her group, on the other hand, rocked KL!). I was also stuck at the Masjid Jamek and Pudu stretch and could not go anywhere else, so most (all!) of my coverage is from that area.

My former student, Isabelle Lai, is now a journalist for The Star! How proud I am! Muahaha!

Empty streets… before the rise of the Malaysians!

I love my job!

The police were all ready from the night before… and they look set for some arresting!

McDonald’s taking care of their customers!

The crowd was definitely more than 10,000 strong just in Pudu alone.

But they never made it to Stadium Merdeka. Chemical-laced water and tear gas made sure of that. But rest assured… the crowd’s voice has been heard!

Linus and I just got smoke-bombed!

Albert/Malek and I had to finally sit down to recuperate from the tear gas.

Woooo!! Scary men!

I saw some violent arrests being made on non-violent civilians. My buddy, film director Liew Seng Tat, got arrested and he said he was kicked and even hit after he was cuffed. If you watch my video above, you can see him briefly in the background being led away by police… and also more violent arrests on others. He also said he had a great time in prison and enjoyed dropping the soap at every opportunity he had! Hahaha!

People running away from the tear gas.

Dr Sivarasa Rasiah (PKR) and Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) tried to negotiate with the police to allow them to march peacefully.

Their negotiations failed and they were arrested!

The line of riot police were there… and they cordoned off the media behind it. How the hell were we suppose to do our jobs? I managed to sneak up and do some shooting up ahead. I saw cuffed detainees who were being led away. And as they were being led away, they had to go through a line of FRU police, and through that line, they were kicked and punched even though they were cuffed. I didn’t get to shoot that long as one policeman grabbed me and chucked me aside (you can see it in my video above… you can even hear the police screaming “halau cameraman!”) and told me to go away or else.

Nevertheless, the crowd was massive and loud. I was proud to play my part in democracy.

Malaysiakini.TV caught me on video running like a little bitch! But in defence of my macho-ness… the police were firing in my direction!



Pregnancy is no excuse for skipping full military jungle training! 5th episode up on FATBIDIN.TV!

Slap me upside down!! Not another new episode of ‘Kampung Baru Alaf Baru (New Age New Village)’ online now at FATBIDIN.TV? If you ever thought being 6 months pregnant meant you could not jump off a flying helicopter, then do not consider yourself a patriotic Malaysian!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS…
KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)

Part 5 of 8
Pregnancy is no excuse for skipping full military jungle training!

A still shot from my film KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU



I like the Chinese. They took the attention away from the Malays during the Japanese Occupation! 4th episode up on FATBIDIN.TV!

Booyaaa!!! Fourth episode of ‘Kampung Baru Alaf Baru (New Age New Village)’  online now at FATBIDIN.TV! I like the Chinese… they took the attention away from the Malays during the Japanese Occupation!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS…
KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)

Part 4 of 8
What’s a Chinese guy doing in a Malay kampung?

Still shot from 'Kampung Baru Alaf Baru'



Would you ever marry a strange man who followed you home from Chow Kit? New episode on FATBIDIN.TV!

My film KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE) was recently repeated on ntv7 (I’m sure due to popular demand!) after its original broadcast during August/September last year. And what a miraculous coincidence that I’m also serialising it on FATBIDIN.TV!!!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS…
KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)

Part 3 of 8
Would you ever marry a strange man who followed you home from Chow Kit?

Norisah Abu Bakar - KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)



FATBIDIN.TV updates gaining momentum! Episode 2 is up!

Dayummm!!! I’m amazed at the momentum I’m keeping with the episode updates on FATBIDIN.TV!! Woohoo!!

Go there now to watch the latest episode!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS…
KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)
Part 2 of 8
You’re not supposed to touch the ground once you’ve given birth or you will be cursed!

On a seperate note… I was a guest on Tech Beat (along with Daniel Cerventus and Zurairi), a podcast by John Lim. Check it out!



New serialised film on FATBIDIN.TV launches with first episode out today!



And a new film is released in serialised form on FATBIDIN.TV! That’s right baby! We’re alive and kicking this 2011! The film is KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE), shot and aired on ntv7 in conjunction with Malaysia’s 2010 Merdeka celebrations. And if you want, you can even buy the DVD to own it for yourself!

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS…
KAMPUNG BARU ALAF BARU (NEW AGE NEW VILLAGE)
Part 1 of 8
Kampung Baru… a village in the heart of the city of Kuala Lumpur. Has it lost it’s village essence?

Short synopsis:
Kampung Baru is a traditional Malay village situated in the heart of the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Traditional Malay houses are surrounded by huge concrete and steel skyscrapers that provide a juxtaposition of modern urbanisation and customs and tradition. Zan talks to several individuals who have close ties with Kampung Baru to try and capture the essence of the village.

FAT BIDIN PRESENTS is a series which will host long form documentaries. Click here to see all the episodes.




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