Tag Archives: malay

It’s 13th May! Err.. so what about it?

It’s May 13th today and if you’re Malaysian, you would know it’s significance. But err… is it really still significant?

Above is a video I shot for The Malaysian Insider six years ago where I interviewed filmmaker Liew Seng Tat and Ismail Mohd Safri the owner of Warong Saga, the most popular lontong stall in Johor Bahru.

Jeez! Six years ago… I guess I’ve been a bit lazy.

Second chances are what makes us human



Second chances are what makes us human
By Zan Azlee

Rehabilitation instead of capital punishment. That was the issue I wrote about in my column last week and it was in response to the Bali 9 execution.

The piece received fairly interesting responses from the readers. It seems that most Malaysians (and I’m only extrapolating here) are in favour of capital punishment.

However, I am not swayed and still adamant that rehabilitation is the way to go rather than sentencing someone to death or dismembering their limbs.

This week I would like raise the same issue, but this time using a different case study. And so comes the case of the convicted Malaysian paedophile Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin.

Convicted and sentenced to five years in prison in the United Kingdom, Nur Fitri’s case has been on the top section of news websites all across the country.

There was this big debate between politicians, activists and members of the normal public on whether he should be given a second chance or not.

Some say he should be brought back to the country and be given a chance to finish his studies because he is an intelligent student. Some say it would be better for him to just stay in prison.

As a father to a little girl, I am disgusted just like everyone else with the thoughts and intentions of paedophiles and I can definitely understand the outrage and anger against people like these.

But, I also strongly believe that everyone deserves a second chance and the challenge is to punish them enough so that there will be remorse, then rehabilitation so they can reenter society.

Everybody makes mistakes and although we need to realise that there are consequence and we need to pay for the mistakes we make, we also deserve the chance for reform.

And when I say that everyone makes mistakes, I do mean everyone, including those who are given the authority and are responsible for judging and sentencing.

So there should always be an avenue for review and exoneration before it’s too late. And it would definitely be too late once someone has been executed or had limbs cut off.

Remember that it is always better to treat the disease than the symptoms and just by eliminating people who do wrong doesn’t eliminate the cause as to why they did wrong in the first place.

But at the end of the day, I am saying this from the perspective of an observer. Would my perspective be different if I or a loved one was a victim?

Would an eye for an eye then be justified? Would it mean that I would want the perpetrator to be killed, maimed or even incarcerated for life? Would it be so easy to forgive?

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

Let’s save the camel!

zan and a camel


Let’s save the camel!
By Zan Azlee

The camel just so happens to be my favourite animal. Why is it my favourite? It’s because of all it’s contributions to mankind.

The camel is considered the ship of the desert because it can travel long distances without water in harsh, hot and dry environments.

It can carry enormous amounts of weight, up to 450 kilogrammes, almost double it’s average weight and moves at a steady pace of around 5 kilometres an hour.

The hump or humps a camel has is fatty tissue that allows it to go for long periods without food. All it does is burn the fat from the hump for energy.

Although it is a domesticated animal and has worked for man for centuries, it still is a stubborn and independent creature that has a mind of it’s own.

The camel has large teeth that it uses as a weapon by biting people or other animals it doesn’t like. It has such an attitude that it is even known to spit at people.

The camel is a beautiful creature too, slender and tall, thick and furry, with large round eyes protected by long eyelashes and small ears nicely at the back the head.

And so I am writing this week’s column with much concern. You see, I am a lover of wildlife and a big advocate for the preservation and protection of the world’s creatures.

Newsflash, we human beings aren’t the only ones who are living on this planet. But somehow, we just seem to think that we own it and we do a lot of irresponsible things.

And because of that, we feel guilty enough that we start all kinds of campaigns that call for the support of preserving wildlife, like save the whales, save the tigers, save the rhinos, etc.

So now to my original concern for writing this week, and that is to help create a campaign as well, but for a specific animal of my choice.

A campaign to save an animal that is fast becoming vulnerable and if nothing is done, it could end up endangered or even worse, extinct.

I am hereby taking this opportunity to initiate a worldwide campaign to call for a stop to the despicable act of having sex on the back of camels.

The camel can take a lot of abuse because it is tough. Unfortunately, all it’s toughness is no match for one kind of abuse – people having sex on its back.

A camel has pride and when people start having sex on it’s back, it is degrading and humiliating for the camel that it can cause irreversible psychological scars.

So I implore the readers out there to take up this cause. Come and join me on this mission of saying ‘Stop having sex on the back of camels!’.

[This article originally appeared at English.AstroAwani.Com]

Why is Islam in Malaysia perceived as backwards?



Why is Islam in Malaysia perceived as backwards?
By Zan Azlee

The reason for the perception of backwardness and archaic thinking of Malay Muslims in Malaysia is because they are too concerned with rituals and practices.

We fret about how to wash body parts, if we step into a mosque with our right foot or the left, or if we lean more of our body weight on our left leg while while sitting on the toilet.

And yes, we also fret about whether a wife is allowed to say no to sex with her husband on a camel, or whether a husband can ‘pull out’ or not in bed.

We think about all of this while the rest of the Muslim world are more concerned with bigger issues like the philosophical and intellectual development of it’s people and religion.

In the other progressive Muslim societies outside of Malaysia, the study, discussion and comparison of different Islamic schools have encouraged better understanding of the faith.

Islamic thinkers around the world are actually constantly discussing the challenges of adapting and interpreting the religion to the times, understanding very well that Islam is for all times.

They discuss and debate different schools of thoughts and interpretations to understand the evolution of Islam better, hence able to mould the religion for current times.

The understanding that Islam is not a stagnant remnant of a time 1,400 years ago and is constantly evolving helps to encourage progressive thinking.

To think of it, the religion was constantly evolving from all the prophets right up to Judaism, Christianity and finally Islam (which is till the end of time).

So there we have proof that the religion is naturally something that can evolve and develop as times goes on. It is the responsibility of the practitioners to make sure it stays relevant.

Rarely will you hear Muslims outside of Malaysia talk about how many times you need to chew before swallowing like the prophet, as if that will determine if you will enter heaven or hell.

It doesn’t help the matter when our own local religious authorities curb the spread of different Islamic schools of thoughts and interpretations that differ from the standard majority.

Any teachings or thoughts that go against the Sunni Shafie teachings are straight out condemned and banned without so much of an explanation to why they do so.

We do not encourage rational and intellectual thought when it comes to the religion because that is seen as a threat to what control the authorities have over the people.

This, to me, go against the entire concept of Islam as a religion of all time. And it is sad to see that the Malay Muslim society leaders themselves are the ones who are the cause of all this.

Dogs? Haram and najis? Cannot touch? But if there is a special soap…

Best advert ever for a soap to help Muslims cleanse themselves after touching dogs! So what’s the problem?

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