Students protest the rising cost of living on New Year’s Eve (TURUN)

Students protest the rising cost of living on New Year’s Eve
By 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]

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In Focus: The Istanbul riots (Part 2)

‘In Focus‘ tonight is the second and final part of my Turkey Riots special. It’s like BOOM!! So make sure you tune in.

In Focus
Astro AWANI (501)

There is also an online special to preempt the TV version. Just click on English.AstroAwani.Com to check it out.

In Focus: The Istanbul riots (Part 1)

My documentary series ‘In Focus‘ is going on strong in it’s second season. Tonight’s episode is something many should be looking forward to (or so I say!) as it is an in-depth, on the ground look at the Istanbul riots in Turkey. Being in Istanbul during this period is pretty intense and this is only part 1 of a 2-part series (9th and 16th July). So make sure you tune in.

In Focus
Astro AWANI (501)

There is also an online special to preempt the TV version. Just click on English.AstroAwani.Com to check it out.

Lu lagi, lu lagi!


Lu lagi, lu lagi!
By Zan Azlee

Last week, I was in Jakarta on a working trip. The work was mainly corporate in nature, of which is very unfamiliar terrain for me. But it’s good to explore new things once in a while. Of course, being a highly intuitive journalist (oh yeah!), I decided to look around for stories that I could tell back home in Malaysia. Hence, the topic for this week’s column.

Malaysia has just concluded it’s 13th General Election and I was still in the mood for all things political. So I decided to check out what was brewing in Indonesia. The love-hate relationship that we have with our distant cousin nation (really more of like a direct irritating sibling, I have to say!), has always interested me.

However, I have to admit that their brand of politics isn’t very familiar to me. Maybe it’s because they’re a more sophisticated republic and have had several revolutions that it surpasses my understanding. [Go to English.AstroAwani.Com to read the full article]

The ‘Good vs Evil’ trap


The ‘Good vs Evil’ trap
By Zan Azlee

I disagree with the interviewees (forum panelists) in an article published in the Free Malaysia Today website on 14th May 2013 which called for the people to take to the streets and topple the BN government.

In a brief overview, the article quoted three panelists at a forum, Haris Ibrahim (ABU – Anything But Umno), Adam Adli Halim (student activist) and Hishammuddin Rais (Bersih) calling for the rakyat to take to the streets and topple the government.

Apparently, another five years is just too long to wait to vote Barisan Nasional out of the federal office, and according to these three individuals, we have to take it by force.

Here’s the deal. I think they’re on their own. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

Lessons from the Jasmine Revolution


Lessons from the Jasmine Revolution
By Zan Azlee

DEC 7 — My last stop in my Arab Spring documentary tour was Tunisia. It also happens to be the first country in the Arab region to start revolting and became the inspiration for the rest of the countries like Egypt, Syria and Yemen.

The story, if you’re not familiar, has become the stuff of legend. A young fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in the small Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire in protest.

He was tired of how he was being treated by government officials who were always confiscating his goods and asking for bribes. He died of his injuries.

This caused an uproar amongst the citizens in the small town. The authorities turned violent when attempting to quash the uprising. The news spread and soon the whole country demonstrated.

The urban citizens in the capital Tunis who had always been more economically privileged soon realised how their government had been treating the rest of the country.

Once the whole country was united in solidarity, the revolution became strong and the dictator President Ben Ali was forced to flee the country and now resides in exile in Saudi Arabia.

What is interesting for me is that two years have passed since their revolution, and out of all the Arab Spring countries, they are the ones with the most successful new democratically-elected government. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

And a brick hits the Egyptian guy protesting next to me

A passion for documentaries
By Zan Azlee

NOV 30 — Shooting documentaries in the Middle-East isn’t for the faint-hearted; there is the harsh natural environment and, of course, the volatile political situation in the region. Still, I find myself in the region (as I have many times before) shooting a documentary about the Arab Spring. My first stop is Cairo, Egypt.

The first day I arrive and start shooting, a piece of broken concrete thrown by the police hits a protestor standing literally right next to me. His injured and unconscious body was carried to safety by fellow protestors while I stood there thinking that three feet of empty space was what kept me safe. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Is there such a thing as over-protesting?

When democracy is a double-edged sword
By Zan Azlee

NOV 23 — Sometimes democracy works in very funny ways. I recently observed this first hand in Cairo, Egypt, where a revolution recently ousted a dictatorship. Everyone is familiar with the Arab Spring and one of the countries that played a big role in it is Egypt, where I currently am shooting a documentary for Astro Awani.

Tahrir Square, in the heart of Cairo, was where the entire Egypt gathered after they were all tired of the dictator Hosni Mubarak and decided to bring him down. A country that was suppressed for years suddenly took matters into their own hands and turned themselves into a democracy. Now they have a new government that they chose themselves through democratic elections. A government led by a Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi.

And so on the first day that I arrived in the city, I immediately headed to the iconic square (which I surprisingly find out isn’t square at all… it’s really a roundabout!). A crowd of about 300 people had gathered on a street off the square and were obviously demonstrating against something. They started to get quite violent, throwing rocks and what looked liked Molotov cocktails into a school that had been taken over by the police. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I will be covering BERSIH 3.0 live

I will be covering BERSIH 3.0 live (28th April 2012).

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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]

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!

Pudu Jail bites the dust! New episode of ‘WE THE PEOPLE…’ on FATBIDIN.TV!

And there they said FATBIDIN.TV is going to be shortlived! What the??? A new episode of WE THE PEOPLE…?? My god! That Zan is unstoppable!

WE THE PEOPLE… The demolition of Pudu Jail.

The government decides to demolish the 115 year old Pudu Jail, a historical landmark in Kuala Lumpur. (Oh… and is that Tian Chua dude still an MP?)

WE THE PEOPLE is a video show where we hear from the common man (and woman!). Click here to see all the episodes.

New episode of WE THE PEOPLE… on FATBIDIN.TV! Ooohhh yeahh!!

Okay… I’ve got a new episode of WE THE PEOPLE… on FATBIDIN.TV. And if you’re thinking that FATBIDIN.TV is dead… SHUDDUP!!! It’s back! That’s right! I said it! I meant it! And I’m here to represent it!

WE THE PEOPLE… Protesting against the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla


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