Tag Archives: malaysia

The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 45) – May day! May day!

The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 45) – May day! May day!

May Day is the day when the whole world protests, demonstrates and rallies against… well… anything they want. And in Malaysia, it was all against GST (Goods and Services Tax). But do demonstrations serve any purpose in Malaysia anymore? Who knows. Aizyl decided to attend the demo in Kuala Lumpur while Zan chose to go on vacation instead. But they discuss it nonetheless.

Listen to more Fat Bidin Podcasts here.

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.

The Fat Bidin Film Club (Ep 6) – The state of Malaysian indie cinema

The Fat Bidin Film Club (Ep 6) – The state of Malaysian indie cinema

The Azlee brothers find out more about the current state of Malaysian indie cinema. The new wave that came out in the mid-2000s seem to have gone a little bit quiet. But is there a beginning of a revival? They speak to two filmmakers who were part of the early new wave – Tan Chui Mui and James Lee.

Listen to more Fat Bidin podcasts here.

The Fat Bidin Film Club Pic

Limited photo print sale from Zan Azlee’s Afghanistan collection

As most would probably know (or maybe not!), I had gone to Afghanistan in 2011 and embedded myself with the Malaysian military stationed in the mountains of Bamiyan.

I was shooting my documentary ‘Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite‘ and writing my book ‘Adventures of a KL-ite in Afghanistan‘. Also, I was shooting a photo essay for Esquire magazine and providing news features for Astro AWANI and The Malaysian Insider.

Major Dr. Mohd Arshil Moideen leading the team in prayers before heading out.
Major Dr. Mohd Arshil Moideen leading the team in prayers before heading out on patrol in Yadkawlang, Afghanistan (2011).

I would like to humbly offer some of my still photography for limited sale for a few weeks (one photo each week) to anyone who would like to buy it and support solo-journalism.

The photo above would look beautiful on your wall all nicely printed and framed (21cm x 30cm) for RM90. I’ll even throw in my signature at the back of the print. Only 5 prints are available.

And for some context to the photo, here is a video story from the documentary I shot and it explains why the Malaysian military are in Afghanistan.


If you would like to have the photo for your wall, just add it to the shopping cart.

If you are in Malaysia, you can also purchase by transferring RM110.00 (includes RM20 for postage and handling) to Maybank account 1141 2365 9174 via Maybank2U or ATM. Please make sure to e-mail (purchase.fatbidin@gmail.com):
1. Name of item purchased
2. Transaction date/time and reference number
3. Your full name
4. Shipping address

Or if you prefer more bang for your buck, there is also THE ADVENTURES OF A KL-ITE IN AFGHANISTAN SUPER FAN PACK!! You will get the photo, an official t-shirt and the book for only RM120!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support!

The POTA and Sedition Act issue is a deja vu of Malaysia in 2007

Lawyers against the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011
Photo for illustration purposes only

We have been making progress (however little and slow) in the department of freedom of speech and expression in Malaysia over the years. Then, the government had to reverse all that with the new POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) and amendment of the Sedition Act (which was suppose to be abolished, by the way).

I remember back in 2007 when two bloggers, Jeff Ooi (who is now a DAP member and the MP of Jelutong) and Rocky Bru AKA Datuk Ahirudin Attan, were bullied and hauled up to court for blogging their thoughts and opinions.

I was young, energetic and full of idealism then. I even went to court with them and made several video stories on the issue.



Listen to The Fat Bidin Podcast where we discuss POTA and the Sedition Act:

Read several of my columns regarding POTA and the Sedition Act:
Do MPs vote according to their consciences? (The Malaysian Insider)
Give us affordable Internet but take away our freedom to use it (The Malaysian Insider)
Should we be worried about POTA? (Astro AWANI)