Tag Archives: malaysia

Kudos Malaysia for first step in addressing Rohingya crisis


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Kudos Malaysia for first step in addressing Rohingya crisis
By Zan Azlee

Now Malaysia has decided that they we will take the Rohingya and Bangladeshis stranded at sea in for refuge and assistance. So did Indonesia and Thailand (a bit later!).

Its a good and compassionate move although it came later than it should. It means that Malaysia is after all human and we will help those in need.

However it doesn’t mean that this will set the a precedence for cases like this and that the country will open it’s gates to anyone who come.

I have no problem with Malaysia receiving and accepting refugees. I would agree wholeheartedly even if we decide to be a signatory of the refugee convention.

However, it isn’t as simple as just saying we will now accept refugees. Before the country does that, we need to make sure to set up policies that will allow for refugees to be placed here.

First thing is that we as Malaysians need to change our perception that harbouring refugees would mean the increase in social problems.

Remember how our government decided to give refuge to Bosnians when the war broke out in the former Yugoslavia? Nothing negative came out of that, right?

That worked out well because the government thought things through properly and had a plan for when these people were accepted into the country.

I am also very happy that our foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had made the decision to meet with the Myanmar government to voice our concern.

And by emphasising to them that we are the current chair of ASEAN and how concerned the rest of the ASEAN community is regarding the matter of the Rohingyas.

It is a first positive step to ensure that our regional collective isn’t just a lame duck that only exists to give government officials from several countries to enjoy expensive holidays together.

We also need to realise that Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia agreeing to harbour the 7000 or so people stranded at sea is not a permanent solution to the problem.

This is only a short term fix to a problem that needs a two pronged approach – the short term, which is to address the immediate crisis, and the long term, to solve the oppression happening.

So let’s make sure that the motion is set to now solve the long term problem and that momentum will continue and not stop prematurely in this process.

I like the fact that when the people band together and voice our concern, the authorities listen and decide to do the right thing. And this is exactly what happened in this case.

Good job Malaysia and Malaysians in being a leader and taking the first positive steps to making a difference (even if it took a lot of pressure to finally do it!).

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

Malaysian producers must stop making gender discriminating films


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Malaysian producers must stop making gender discriminating films
By Zan Azlee

I don’t allow my daughter to watch a majority of Malay dramas and movies because   I think they are a bad influence for her as a girl and as a human being in general.

She is at a very impressionable age right now and I don’t want her thinking and perspective on life to be tainted by what she would see on the screen or television.

This is something that I think and discuss about with my family and friends and overall, they all agree that this is the right decision to take.

Let me explain using this simple but true example.

“Abah, why is everyone always shouting and fighting on TV,” asked the daughter of a very close family friend.

“Let’s turn off the television, okay?” responded her father.

I don’t like the fact that so many Malay dramas  like to portray internal family fighting, divorce, rape, degradation of women and the worshipping of material wealth .

Recently, the movie Suami Aku Ustaz receive a loud bashing in the media for apparently being very degrading to women and even seems to condone paedophilia.

I spoke to sex educator, June Low, who had publicly criticised the movie on her Facebook page. Her posting was picked up widely by the media.

She explains that the movie tells the story of a young girl in secondary school who is forced to marry her cousin, an ustaz, because her parents will be going to Mekah for sometime.

“She is 17 years old and loudly expresses her unwillingness to marry. But she has to anyway and I have a problem with that,” said June.

“It shows child marriage in a positive and favourable light when in actuality it is illegal.”

And I have to agree with her because I feel that Malaysia just has too many cases where adults commit rape against underage children and get away with it.

What is despicable is the that they get away with it because the authorities, and even the children’s guardians, seem to think that the best solution is to get them married.

And religion is always used as an excuse because, apparently, once they a married, they would no longer be committing a sin by having sex out of wedlock.

To hell with the fact that the underage child forced to get married will  forever be mentally tortured and have her whole life stunted, a decision not of her making.

Veteran entertainment journalist and Astro AWANI  digital editor, Muzaffar Mustapa, explained that this is a recurring problem in the Malaysian mainstream industry.

“The quality of a film no longer plays a role. The box office takings will dictate the success of a film. And that formula will just continued to be recycled,” he said.

And this is what I’m worried about because Malaysia will never come out of this archaic thinking that is actually decaying the progress of our society.

“You know what would be a good idea for a movie? If it told the story of a strong and independent woman trying to make her way in a society that wants her to become the total opposite,” said June.

Now that would be a movie I would gladly allow my daughter to watch.

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

And by the way, my brother and I also did a podcast about this with June Low. Check it out yo!

 

The Fat Bidin Film Club (Ep 9) – Suami Aku Ustaz


The Fat Bidin Film Club (Ep 9) – Suami Aku Ustaz

It’s amazing how the Malaysian mainstream film industry constantly portrays women in films. We speak with sex and gender expert, June Low, who recently went public with her opinion that the film ‘Suami Aku Ustaz’ degrades women and is peppered with hints of paedophilia.

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Listen to more Fat Bidin podcasts here.

The Fat Bidin Film Club Pic

If Malaysian podcasters got together, could they form a successful collective like PRX’s Radiotopia?


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I enjoy listening to podcasts because it is convenient (I can listen to it on my phone at anytime and anywhere… usually when I’m in the car stuck in a traffic jam!). And I enjoy how creative story-telling can be with just audio as a driver.

Check out a list of podcasts that I listen to religiously.

I also enjoy creating podcasts, and my brother, Aizyl Azlee, and I have two that we produce on a weekly basis. One on media and current affairs called ‘The Fat Bidin Podcast‘, and another on film called ‘The Fat Bidin Film Club‘.

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But with all the passion that I have, I also realise that podcasts really haven’t caught on in Malaysia (unless it has and only my podcasts are the ones not catching on!!). But it has become a really big thing in the United States.

I stumbled upon an article on NiemanLab.org talking about Radiotopia from PRX, a collective made up of ‘podcast producers who are trying to build a shared audience and develop a business model for audio entrepreneurs’.

Only slightly more than a year old, Radiotopia has seen the number of it’s shows grow from seven to eleven and it’s downloads from 900,000 to 7.5 million. Astounding! They also expect to be making more money in sponsorships.

But for now, they will be receiving a grant of US$1 million from the Knight Foundation. The foundation also granted Radiotopia their initial funding of US$200,000 in February 2014 when they first launched.

Now wouldn’t it be great if a whole bunch of Malaysian podcasters got together and started a collective just like this? I wonder how many we can gather if there was actually an effort to do so?

Malaysian photojournalists need to tell local stories instead of only wanting to travel overseas, says Eric Peris


Eric Peris (Photo by Yong Yen Nie)

Eric Peris is one of Malaysia’s first photojournalists. Born in 1939, he started his career in photojournalism by joining Fanfare magazine published by Time Publishing in 1957.

He has had a long and illustrious career and, as reported in an article written by Yong Yen Nie for Invisible Ph t grapher Asia, has sat on the regional selection panel of the Joop Swart Masterclass by the World Press Photo since 1995.

He is 74 right now and, of course, is still taking pictures. His advice for Malaysian photojournalists is what struck me the most.

“Someone once told me they could arrange a trip for me to photograph the Lake District in England. But I told them, ‘We got enough lakes here.’ The duty of Malaysian photographers is to record something about this country. When we only want to travel overseas for our projects, are we saying that we have nothing here? What have we got against our own background, our own culture that we found no interest in them to do creative work with the camera?” he is quoted to have said.

Peris currently has an exhibition running at the Sutra Gallery until 25 May 2015 titled NAMO.

Please read the in-depth profile of Eric Peris written by Malaysian photographer Yong Yen Nie at Invisible Ph t grapher Asia. Very insightful!