Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, fat bidin, islam, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
APRIL 5 – Linawati Kate Adnan is my colleague and she sits next to me at work. One Friday, as I was leaving the office for Fridays prayers, she looked at me with full horror in her eyes.
“Zan! You actually pray?”
“What the hell is that suppose to mean?”
True story! And since we’re on the topic of Friday prayers, last week’s sermon really woke me up from my regular afternoon slumber in the mosque. The Khatib called all the Muslims who were in the prayer hall to obey and be loyal to our country’s leaders and that this is an Islamic obligation.
Apparently, based on Quranic verses and the Prophet’s hadith that this is an obligation for all Muslims and that rebelling against them is a huge sin. The sermon went on to say that the act of rebelling includes disputing a legitimate decision made by leaders who were given the powers to govern a country. Back up right there! [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, broadcast, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, bergoglio, cardinal, catholic, christian, fat bidin, interfaith, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, multiculturalism, muslim, pluralism, pope, pope benedict, pope francis, roman, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
MARCH 29 ― I have a friend by the name of Marcus Lim. He is my colleague at Astro AWANI. Marcus is a devout Catholic and we have interesting conversations about our faiths whenever we feel too lazy to do some actual work in the office.
The day that the new pope was decided on, I came into the office and as soon as I saw Marcus, I yelled out, “Habemus Papam!” (We have a pope!) I doubt that Marcus actually knows Latin, but he replied:
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Jorge Mario Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglio,
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.
(I announce to you a great joy:
We have a Pope!
The most eminent and reverend lord
Lord Jorge Mario Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio,
Who takes the name of Francis.)
Okay. I kid! He only managed to utter the first sentence before he started uttering gibberish since he doesn’t actually speak Latin. [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, agbimuddin kiram, askar, conflict, documentary, fat bidin, ic, islam, journalism, kiram, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, project ic, sabah, sarawak, sulu, The Malaysian Insider, war, zan azlee
MARCH 22 — Sijah Ejut is a true blue Malaysian. She is an Iban tuai rumah (village head) who has lived her entire life on the outskirts of Sibu, Sarawak. She has never been out of the country, and her ancestors have lived on the land for centuries. You can’t get any more Malaysian than that.
Yet, she only managed to register her citizenship and get an IC at the age of 27. And because of that, she couldn’t finish her schooling. She couldn’t even travel around freely because the police would stop and accuse her of being an illegal immigrant.
Sijah’s isn’t an isolated case. Almost the entire population of her village does not have ICs (or had trouble getting ICs) even though they are all Bumiputeras.
And imagine Sijah Ejut’s outrage now that she knows that one of Malaysia’s most wanted men, Agbimuddin Kiram, and the rest of his mob could have been among those given ICs and made Malaysian citizens? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, internet, journalism, new media, press, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro awani, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, hindu, india, indian, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, multiculturalism, muslim, new media, news, pluralism, religion, ridhuan, ridhuan tee, taliban, umno, vishwaroopam, zan azlee
KUALA LUMPUR: Wasatiyyah – an ‘Islamic’ term that I have heard over and over again. I’ve heard it in Malaysia. I’ve heard it in the Middle-East. I’ve heard it in the West. I’ve heard it, well, everywhere.
It’s a simple term with a simple definition. It basically just means moderation. Moderation in everything that we do in life so that there is a balance. Islam condones it.
So here I shall reveal my life mission of bringing down and stopping Ridhuan Tee Abdullah from ever writing anything hate-filled against people of different faiths other than his.
What religion is he? He is a Muslim and practices the Islamic faith, the same faith that I was born into and have decided upon reaching adulthood to stick with.
There have been numerous articles that he has written which has disgusted me on so many levels that I even wonder why he keeps getting published. [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, fat bidin, hindu, india, indian, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, multiculturalism, muslim, new media, news, pluralism, religion, ridhuan, ridhuan tee, taliban, The Malaysian Insider, umno, vishwaroopam, zan azlee
FEB 22 — I have spent many years of my professional career trying to promote and encourage a multicultural and multireligious Malaysia. I have had to face personal sacrifice, peril and risk to bring my fight to the fore. Well, not really lah. But I do feel very passionate about it.
A career which started out really as a personal interest has become much more as I feel that I now have a responsibility to my country and countrymen. I want to play as much a role as I can in shaping Malaysia to be the coolest country on the planet. A country perfect for my daughter Athena Azlee to grow up in.
I normally don’t get angry or mad in my writings or even in my documentaries. I rant, and mostly whine, but I never fill my content with anger and hatred. So imagine my disgust when I read what Ridhuan Tee Abdullah (yes, my favourite columnist!) wrote in his column in Sinar Harian on February 18.
Commenting on the lifting of the ban of the Indian film “Vishwaroopam”, Tee crafted out 786 words of disrespect towards the Malaysian Indian and Hindu community. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, I'M MUSLIM TOO! Heading to the border, internet, journalism, new media, Operation Nasi Kerabu, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro awani, azrul azwar, bank islam, bank islam malaysia, baraisan nasional, BN, censorship, documentary, fat bidin, freedom of speech, islam, journalism, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, pakatan rakyat, umno, zan azlee
The last I checked, the Malaysian Constitution stated under Article 10, that every citizen is guaranteed the right to freedom of speech. And the last I checked, Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajuddin, chief economist of Bank Islam Malaysia, was not given his right to freedom of speech.
It has been slightly over a month now that Azrul Azwar has been suspended by the bank for voicing his views that Pakatan Rakyat would win the elections with a simple majority. In fact, his statements were more than just his views. It was actually the results of an extensive academic research paper he had worked on and was based on facts and analysis
Of course, the bank maintains that he was suspended pending investigations that he had leaked confidential documents to a third party. Yes, of course!
What kind of organisation, and more so, what kind of society has Malaysia become to actually stifle opinions and discussion? This upsets me because it just shows the regression of the civilisation that I am a part of. What happened to the knowledge-based society that we were striving for? [Click to read the full article at ENGLISH.ASTROAWANI.COM]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, fat bidin, islam, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, race, racist, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
FEB 8 — “It was never like this back in my day.”
“We mixed with everyone when I was a child.”
“Race was never an issue. We were all Malaysians decades ago.”
Shut up! I’m sick and tired of listening to the older generation going on about how race relations in Malaysia was so much better 30 years ago. I’m not denying it. I’m sure it is true. Everyone from that generation says so and they all seem to agree with one another. Things have deteriorated, no doubt. But, when I think about it… has it really?
People go on and on about how things are so polarised, that there is no interaction between the different races and how each race is so insecure that they look at each other in fear. But I would like to be a little micro and anecdotal here and see if it is possible to extrapolate it to tell the macro story of race relations in the country. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Astro Awani, broadcast, internet, journalism, new media, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, astro, awani, catholic, christian, fat bidin, interview, islam, journalism, keningau, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, sabah, zan azlee
If you’ve been living in a cave, let me enlighten you of the fact that Astro AWANI, Malaysia’s first 24-hour news channel now has a website! Booyah! And I have a new column on the site every Wednesdays (My The Malaysian Insider column still continues every Friday)! So head on over and be my fanboy (or fangirl)!
KUALA LUMPUR: I really don’t want to get dragged into the ‘Allah’ name game again. But sometimes (all the time, actually!), I am prone to getting irritated easily and it makes me do things I regret!
So here goes my rant.
I’ve written about this issue several times and even shot a documentary about it before, and I thought that was it for me and my role in nation building. But it looks like my calling has come again.
I’m not a fan of Ibrahim Ali, and I dare bet my right pinky finger and my left pinky toe that neither are many other sane, rational and normal people in Malaysia.
That’s why when he announced that he wanted to burn Bibles, I just kept silent and didn’t comment at all. That guy just isn’t worth a single drop of my saliva.
But then, when I think of Malaysia and all my fellow countrymen, I have to do something or I wouldn’t be deserving of that flat piece of plastic in my wallet called a MyKad. [Click to read the full article at ASTROAWANI.COM]
Filed under: broadcast, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: fat bidin, gaza, harry fear, independent journalism, interview, islam, israel, journalism, media, new media, palestine, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
FEB 1 — I recently interviewed a young Brit by the name of Harry Fear for “Vantage Point”, a current affairs talk show on Astro Awani. Before interviewing him, I did a little bit of research and found out he is an independent journalist, human rights activist, writer and scholar.
The reason he was being interviewed is that he had spent 12 weeks in Gaza, Palestine, in November last year, during and after the Israeli Operation Pillar of Cloud siege.
When Fear arrived at the studio and I finally got to meet him, we chatted a little before the show. I asked him how he would like me to refer to him. Independent journalist, human rights activist, writer and scholar?
He laughed and said that was a mouthful and sounded so presumptuous. He said he would much rather be referred to as a campaigning documentary film-maker. And as someone who has always believed that objective journalism is bull crap and that subjectivity is fine, as long as it’s honest, I took to that definition straight away. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Afghanistan, Arab Spring, broadcast, directing, documentary, DVD, film, GUIDE TO AFGHANISTAN: The Adventures of a KL-ite, I'm Muslim Too!, internet, journalism, lomokino, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, afghanistan, askar, bamiyan, bersih, city, conflict, documentary, fat bidin, film, insurgency, islam, journalism, kabul, kuala lumpur, lim chee wee, malay, malaysia, media, middle east, military, muslim, new media, ridhuan tee, solo journalism, taliban, terrorism, The Malaysian Insider, video journalism, war, 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.
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.
Filed under: Arab Spring, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, al aqsa, allah, baptist, christian, damascus, daud, david, dome of rock, egypt, fat bidin, holy, isa, islam, israel, jerusalem, jesus, jew, john, jordan, journalism, judaism, malay, malaysia, moses, muhammad, musa, muslim, new media, syria, The Malaysian Insider, umayyad, yahya, zan azlee
DEC 21 — I’m very religious in my own opinion. However, there are many people — some I know and even those I don’t — who might not agree. But these are the same people who send me anonymous e-mails praying that my daughter grows up practising beastiality.
I’m sure they are all very religious and have paid their downpayment for a nice condo in heaven for after the rapture. But that’s not what I want to write about today. No. What I want to write about is much more important.
I would like to congratulate my Malaysian Christian brothers and sisters over our government’s decision to relax the rules and regulations to visit the holy land in Israel. It’s a good move by the government as it shows that it is sensitive to the needs of the people and is willing to overlook certain political issues.
But this makes me slightly bitter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling for the new regulations for Christians to be revoked. I am sincerely happy for them. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: Arab Spring, broadcast, directing, documentary, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: arab, cairo, conflict, democracy, demonstration, documentary, egypt, fat bidin, gaza. palestine, islam, israel, jasmine revolution, journalism, media, middle east, morsi, muslim, new media, news, protest, solo journalism, The Malaysian Insider, tunisia, 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]
Filed under: broadcast, directing, documentary, film, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: arab, cairo, conflict, democracy, demonstration, documentary, egypt, fat bidin, gaza. palestine, islam, israel, journalism, media, middle east, morsi, muslim, new media, news, protest, solo journalism, The Malaysian Insider, 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]
Filed under: directing, documentary, film, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: arab, cairo, conflict, democracy, demonstration, documentary, egypt, fat bidin, gaza. palestine, islam, israel, journalism, media, middle east, morsi, muslim, new media, news, protest, solo journalism, The Malaysian Insider, 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]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: allah, fat bidin, innocence of muslims, islam, journalism, krue se mosque, malay, malaysia, media, muhammad, prophet, sam bacile, terrorism, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
SEPT 28 — I will always stand up for what I believe in. I’ve even walked away from lucrative projects because I didn’t think they were right. Most of the times, I believe so much in certain things that I make a lot of noise and ruckus that it gets annoying. Oh yes, I guess you could say I have a holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to certain things!
But there are times when you believe in something so much that you have to remain quiet because that would be the most logical strategy. That’s why I think that the many Muslims who showed outrage towards the film “Innocence of Muslims” are making a big mistake, and I did not show my outrage.
Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, and even Malaysia, where thousands of Muslims protested against the anti-Islam film, were basically playing right into the hands of the film-makers.
They walked the streets, vandalised as they went along. Damn it, they even killed innocent people because of the bloody film.
And was it all worth it?
Was it to protest a film that insulted the Prophet Muhammad and ridiculed believers of the second largest religion in the world, thus offending over a billion people? Or was it really to bring international attention to a lousily-made, 15-minute, tasteless, online film that would have just gotten lost in Internet oblivion? A film made by a conman?
Maybe I should put this into better perspective. A perspective that I think most of my readers would actually understand and be able to relate to. Let’s say a hypothetical country is being run by a hypothetical government that many of the people feel needs to be changed. So they take to the streets to demonstrate and protest. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, DAP, fat bidin, haram, hudud, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, mca, mic, muslim, news, The Malaysian Insider, ulama, umno, utusan, zan azlee
AUG 10 ― For a newspaper that toes the government line, I am shocked to see that Utusan Malaysia did not heed the prime minister’s call to not politicise Islam. Take the story that appeared on Wednesday (August 8, 2012) with the headline “Haram sokong DAP”; this was apparently the stand of an Islamic religious scholar. Abdullah Sa’amah, from Tumpat, Kelantan, runs a “sekolah pondok” in Kampung Geting.
The story caused quite a buzz around the country and comments were made left, right and centre by all parties concerned. Then yesterday arrived and Utusan again came out with a front page story on the same issue, with a headline that screamed “Lagi seruan tolak DAP.” This time, the newspaper came up with a slew of other “religious” people to back up their first story declaring that it is “haram” (forbidden) to support DAP.
Apparently, supporting those who are “kafir harbi” (belligerent infidels) means supporting non-Muslims who are fighting against Islam. And what made DAP “kafir harbi” is the fact that they are against hudud law. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, muhammad, muslim, new media, prophet, quran, ridhuan tee, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
Funny thing is, although we both disagree with each other, neither of us resorted to childish name calling… which is not what can be said for some of the readers who posted their comments (both in his blog and under my column!). Hahaha!!
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, muhammad, muslim, new media, prophet, quran, ridhuan tee, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
JULY 27 — My beef with Ridhuan Tee began a few years ago when I first started reading his writing and listening to him speak in public about Islam. I have to say that I although I don’t agree with almost everything that this man utters, I still subscribe to the belief that I will defend to the death his right to say it. And when I say that, I also hope that my right to express my disagreement with him will be defended by the man himself. How else can we enter a discourse, right?
Anyway, my beef with him has grown thanks to his recent rant at the launch of his books “Masih Adakah Ketuanan Melayu?” and “Cabaran Saudara Baharu di Malaysia”. I have yet to read them, but trust me, I definitely will. But what he said during the launch, which was reported by the media, was enough to ruffle my feathers. Tee, a Chinese who embraced Islam many years ago, mentioned that because the Federal Constitution defines Malays as those who profess Islam, he had no choice but to place himself among those in the Malay race as well. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, amulets, caveh, charms, documentary, fat bidin, film, interview, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, superstition, talisman, The Malaysian Insider, yasin, zahedi, zan azlee
JULY 20 — I know so many Malaysian Muslims who do things that have no basis in Islam so much so that I find it scary to think that these are the thinking moderates of the religion. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Caveh Zahedi, a documentary filmmaker whose work I have admired for some time. He was premiering his latest film, “The Sheik and I”, at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival and I was, of course, there too.
The film, which was about his experience making a documentary for the Sheik of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, was very funny and over the top. The film can’t run away from the fact that it deals with Islam, and at the end of the day, the film was banned for blasphemy and Zahedi was threatened with a fatwa. But it isn’t the film I want to discuss here. During the question-and-answer session at the end of the premiere, someone asked Zahedi if he is a Muslim.
The son of Iranian immigrants to America, he said that he is a Muslim, but, not in the traditional sense. He referred to himself and his family as just superstitious Muslims.
“We never pray or observe any Muslim practices. All we do is kiss the Quran before going out every day so we won’t get into accidents,” he said.
That made me laugh and I couldn’t help but compare this to what happens in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, blasphemy, fat bidin, hudud, islam, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, muslim, ramadan, tariq, tariq ramadan, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
JULY 13 — I could kick myself for missing Tariq Ramadan’s talk in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday but I had just started a new job and I’ve been too engrossed in that. But no worries. He is going to be in town for a week and is scheduled to make a slew of appearances around the country. Rest assured I will be attending at least one of it.
One thing that I have to say I admire about Tariq Ramadan is that he is not afraid to support religion and be called an extremist when he is, in fact, quite liberal. Let me explain this in simpler terms. Many modern and so-called moderate Muslims these days are quick to condemn and disassociate themselves from hudud laws because they consider them barbaric and archaic.
A person is a thief? Chop off his hands!
That woman committed adultery? Stone her to death!
It definitely does sound barbaric, doesn’t it? I myself am not too fond of laws and punishment such as these which I think gives Islam a bad image in this day and age. Tariq Ramadan, however, defends hudud laws since, according to him, it is in fact based on religious scripts and as a faithful Muslim, he cannot deny it. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]