Tag Archives: malay

Okay, sure. The issue of cinema couple seats is of grave national interest!


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Okay, sure. The issue of cinema couple seats is of grave national interest!
By Zan Azlee

This week’s most sensational news (yet utterly non-significant) is Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria’s call for cinema operators to create stricter rules for their audience.

This is in response to another piece of sensational news (yet utterly non-significant) about Lotus Five Star Cinemas in Seri Iskandar barring unmarried couples from occupying couple seats.

And since we’re already on this sensational subject (yet utterly non-significant), I thought, what the heck, I’m going to ride on the bandwagon and write about it as well.

Why not, right? It’s not like there isn’t any other more significant and important issues that should be covered in the news and discussed. Well, at least we have our priorities straight.

Couple seats exist in many cinemas and are two adjoining seats that have no arm rest in between them, basically making it like a (dare I say it?) love-seat!

The Mufti’s reasoning is that it encourages immoral acts and destroys the faith of Muslims. He stated that couples went to the cinemas not to watch movies but to ‘make-out’.

He added that going to the cinema is already an immoral act, and to have couple seats only encourages them to indulge in more immoral acts.

Yes, we need to curb immoral acts like ‘making-out’ in cinemas by unmarried couples. I guess this is a huge sin that trumps all other sin. So we definitely need to address it immediately.

It is also fascinating to see that the rakyat has given much intellectual thought into the issue as seen on social media, where all kinds of suggestions have been made.

Some individuals have suggested that all cinemas segregate men and women. And taking a cue from the Mufti, they say that people go to the cinemas ‘not to watch movies but to make them’.

Others say that we should just listen to the Mufti because as Muslims, we shouldn’t question anything that is against the religion. We should just accept it whether we like it or not.

Another bright idea on social media is for the cinemas to install night vision cameras in the halls and if any ‘making-out’ sessions are spotted, to project it on to the cinema screen for all to see.

Of course, we shouldn’t get the intentions wrong. This is not an attempt to be voyeuristic, but more to deter these unmarried couples from ‘making-out’.

I am happy to see all this happening because it gives me hope that the country is in good hands. These hands have shown their capabilities in leading the nation forward.

And of course I am very happy to see how our religious authorities are handling social ills and making sure that Malaysia and Malaysians are always syariah compliant.

Yes, observing and writing about this issue has satisfied me deeply. It has been time well spent seeing that there isn’t anything that is more important that this. Let’s do this more.

[This article was originally published at English.AstroAwani.Com]

Lemah berbahasa Inggeris menjadi benteng menimba ilmu


I gave a lecture to a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. It was fun and we had a laugh!
I gave a lecture to a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. It was fun and we had a laugh! They all spoke English.

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Lemah berbahasa Inggeris menjadi benteng menimba ilmu
Oleh Zan Azlee

Saya ingin berkongsi pengalaman saya sebagai seorang pensyarah yang mengajar kebanyakkannya pelajar ijazah. Walaupun ia lebih anecdotal, saya rasa ia tetap relevan.

Saya pernah mengajar di institusi pengajian tinggi swasta (IPTS) dan juga awam (IPTA). Di IPTA, saya dapati lebih kurang 70 peratus pelajar saya yang tidak mahir dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

Secara teknikalnya, seseorang itu tidak boleh dianggap kekurangan daya pemikiran analitik dan kritikal semata-mata kerana tidak mahir dalam sesuatu bahasa. Tetapi dari pandangan reailtinya, ia memang mempengaruhi cara pemikiran seseorang, terutamanya kalau bahasa yang tidakk dikuasai itu adalah Bahasa Inggeris.

Dari pemantauan saya, kebanyakkan pelajar saya yang kurang kebolehan Bahasa Inggeris tidak seluas pandangan dan pendedahan mereka berbanding pelajar yang lebih mahir.

Saya mengajar pelajaran yang berkaitan media, kewartawanan, siaran dan penjenamaan. Dan walaupun banyak sumber rujukan saya adalah asal tempatan, lebih banyak lagi yang dari dunia antarabangsa.

Pelajar yang mahir Bahasa Inggeris lebih terdedah pada sumber dan bahan rujukan antarabangsa dan mereka boleh berfikiran kritikal apabila kami mengadakan perbincangan.

Hakikatnya, kebanyakan maklumat dan ilmu pengetahuan yang terkini di serata dunia disampaikan dalam Bahasa Inggeris kerana ia adalah bahasa pengantar utama.Jika seseorang itu lemah dan kurang memahami Bahasa Inggeris, ia tentu sekali menjadi satu halangan untuk mereka menimbal ilmu dan juga memperluaskan pandangan mereka.

Mereka ini akan seolah-olah lebih tertutup dunia mereka kerana tidak dapat akses kepada maklumat yang dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Ini adalah satu kelemahan.

Memang benar, kita sebagai rakyat Malaysia, perlu mengutamakan bahasa kebangsaan. Tetapi ia tidak bermakna kita lupakan terus kebolehan Bahasa Inggeris.

Dan memang benar juga terdapat negara di mana rakyat mereka boleh dianggap lemah dalam Bahasa Inggeris tetapi jauh lebih maju seperti Jepun dan Korea Selatan.

Tetapi, kalau kita lihat, jelas bahawa mereka cekal membuat kajian dan pembelajaran mereka sendiri sehingga berjaya menjadi peneraju dalam sesetengah bidang seperti teknologi, internet dan sebagainya.

Dan kerana ini, ia membuat masyarakat luar pula yang sanggup mempelajari bahasa mereka supaya boleh mengambil kesempatan untuk menimba ilmu dan memperluaskan pandangan.

Adakah Malaysia sudah sampai tahap itu? Bukanlah lebih elok bagi masyarakat kita kalau kita memperkuatkan kemahiran Bahasa Inggeris?

Kita harus sedar bahawa Bahasa Inggeris adalah bahasa global atau universal yang sangat penting pada zaman sekarang.

Adakah kerana ego yang tinggi kita seolah-olah tidak mahu mengiktirafkan fakta ini sehingga kita sanggup membina benteng ilmu untuk masyarakat kita?

[Artikel ini pertama kali disiarkan di KopitiamEkonomi.Com]

The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 56) – News gets trolled by an “NGO” and people troll the concept of racism


The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 56) – News gets trolled by an “NGO” and people troll the concept of racism

News agencies were pranked by an NGO with little to its name last week. Zan and Aizyl also discuss the “racial” side of the Low Yat incident and what it means.

Listen to more Fat Bidin Podcasts here.

It seems like a happy Raya this time around


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It seems like a happy Raya this time around
By Zan Azlee

There has been a little bit of progress this Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia. There was no call from the ignorant Muslims to not wish non-Muslims Selamat Hari Raya.

There has been no uproar over a certain brainless and insensitive couple who would normally eat Bak Kut Teh and wish people happy Ramadan.

We somehow have managed to silence one very vocal Chinese Muslim lecturer who doesn’t know anything but to spew out hate and negativity.

(See… it works when you stop giving attention to people like them!)

Of course, we had one small recurring incident where a stupid teacher in a school had made a remark that non-Muslim students need to drink in the toilet. But everyone showed their disgust.

As for me, I celebrate Hari Raya like I’ve always done since I was little. It would be together with my family that consists of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and a couple of Mat Sallehs.

They practice a variety of religions. Some are Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Taoist, Hindus and definitely a few agnostics and atheists too.

And all this sure adds up to a lot of problems!

First there is the noise. Everyone talks and for the uninitiated, it can get quite confusing. There would be people speaking in English, Cantonese, Malay, Mandarin and whatever else.

Then there is the food. There’s just too much variety of it! There’s the halal kind, there’s the non-beef kind and there’s the vegetarian kind. Everybody gets equal opportunity to eat.

Thirdly, we don’t really know what celebrations we are actually celebrating. It gets confusing when we all celebrate everything from Chinese New Year to Deepavali and Ching Ming.

And, the younger generation who are still under ten years old get all their greetings confused. They don’t know when to say Maaf, Zahir dan Batin or when to say Kong Hei Fatt Choy!

But one thing is for sure, we all really have a freaking good time celebrating together. Not a single thread of animosity exists between us. Well, we are blood family anyway.

Sure, there are bigger problems that we are facing. Malaysia has so far never seen such scandals and controversies as big as the 1MDB scandal.

And it seems that one by one, more corruption accusations are coming out such as the MARA real estate purchases in Australia and the old polymer notes scandal.

The economy as at a low point. The value of the Ringgit has been at an all time low. Cost of living is high  and petrol price flunctuates so much it isn’t helping the country’s revenue much.

But at least these are problems that does not involve race or religion (I’m going to excuse the MARA one) and just affects the entire Malaysian community.

And these problems, while they may be big and intimidating, should not be unsolvable when we are united as a people and as a country.

So to every single Malaysian, have a blessed and happy Hari Raya.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

I’m Malay – can I succeed outside of Malaysia?


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I’m Malay – can I succeed outside of Malaysia?
By Zan Azlee

I’m a fiercely independent person. I like to be my own man and if I do anything, I like to believe that I did it on my own, because of my own capabilities and skills.

And that is the reason why I don’t play golf as a recreational sport. It’s because golf has a handicap system where people who are bad will be able to compete with even the best of them.

I believe that you have to work hard from wherever you are to be among the best and if you don’t, then you are not deserving to be among the best.

For example, when I first started working after graduating from university, my parents wanted to buy me a car. At first, I said okay and I got a car from them.

But then, I started feeling embarrassed driving it because, here I am, a grown up adult with a job, driving around in a car that my mummy and daddy gave me.

So I decided that I had to pay for it myself. I immediately took over the car loan that was under my mother’s name and serviced the instalments myself. I am my own man.

That’s why Dina Zaman’s latest article titled ‘Unappreciated in my own country’ where she talks about Malay professionals who moved away from Malaysia to ply their trade resonates with me.

They wanted to do well outside and be recognised for their capabilities and skills rather than because they were born of a certain race or the connections that they had.

Thinking back, the issue that Dina discusses in her column was one of the influencing factors why I decided to pursue my postgraduate degree overseas.

I wanted to see if I could hack it outside after graduating from a local public university in Malaysia. And I did it with flying colours.

I know my complaint might seem a tad ‘first-world’. But hear me out. I want to prove that I can do things on my own and not because I am of a particular race living in Malaysia.

When I wanted to pay for my own car, it was because it hurt my pride to think that people might be saying, “Oh, his parents bought it for him. No wonder!”.

And when I graduated from local university with my first degree, it also hurt my pride to think that people might be saying that, “Oh, he graduated from a public university. No wonder!”.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a big believer and advocate of inclusivity from the socio-economic point of view. We need to have social and economic fairness.

Those who are financially and economically less privileged need to be assisted so they can be on equal footing with the rest and so that social mobility is possible.

But it should be based on on the right criterias, and definitely not on race. Affirmative action should be in place for the less privileged all around and not just for the Malays.

Sometimes, I too do feel like moving overseas and seeing if I could actually thrive in my profession outside of Malaysia and not have this affirmative action issue over my head.

But thoughts like this make me nervous. What if it is true that I am in whatever position I am in now because of affirmative action?

What if my thoughts of people saying, “Of course Zan can do all this in Malaysia. No wonder!”, are true? What if these people are right and if I ply my profession outside, I might not make it?

Well, this is the exact mentality that we need to kill – I need to kill – so that my children will not be affected by it like how I am being affected by it.

Enough time has passed that Malays don’t need the crutches that have been helping them stand up all this while. It’s time to let them stand on their own.

Just like the game of golf, once you move out of the amateur zone and become a professional, all handicaps are done away with and it solely depends on how good you are.

And if I do play golf, I would much rather be playing it professionally.

[This article appeared originally at The Malaysian Insider]""