Don’t doubt the ‘lost at sea explanation’


Don’t doubt the ‘lost at sea explanation’
By Zan Azlee

As many would know, aside from writing my articles, I am also a broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker. Hence, a lot of my time is spent on film and television production shoots. I shoot alone as a solo-journalist and also with a crew whenever the treatment calls for it.

I have been in many different and sometimes unnatural and even dangerous situations when I am on my production shoots. I have been in quiet and serene environments such as in the jungle, small villages and air-conditioned studios where everything is nice and comfortable.

I have been in war and conflict areas whereby I have had to wear protective gear such as helmets and bullet-proof vests. I have even had to learn to shoot a gun (which I hated). I have been in huge protests, riots and demonstrations where people around me have been shot at, gassed, bludgeoned and even pelted with concrete slabs.

I have had experiences shooting on flat ground, on hilltops and mountains, on skyscrapers, underground, and even in the sky. But I have to admit, there was one situation in which I have to say was the most dangerous of all, and that was when I had to shoot on a boat at sea. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

About these ads

In Focus: The Istanbul riots (Part 2)

‘In Focus‘ tonight is the second and final part of my Turkey Riots special. It’s like BOOM!! So make sure you tune in.

In Focus
Astro AWANI (501)

There is also an online special to preempt the TV version. Just click on English.AstroAwani.Com to check it out.

You can’t teach an old politician new tricks


You can’t teach an old politician new tricks
By Zan Azlee

What happens when an elected representative does something in office that is against the wishes of his electorate? To be more specific, what if he does something without consulting his constituency and is mainly for his own personal benefit?

Well, in most cases around the world, this would be unethical and the elected representative would come under heted pressure and probably lose in the next election. But in Malaysia, it happens to be quite all right. Because, you see, in this country, elected leaders are one step higher than normal people.

What they say is like gospel for everybody. Don’t believe me? Then check out our newspapers. It’s filled with elected leaders saying this and that as advise for the people. Take for example, the new Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Ahmad Hamidi, who recently said that the Sedition Act should not be abolished.

He says this with full aplomb as if his judgment is the right one and should be the decision best for the country. In truth, the Sedition Act is as archaic as the ISA and a sack of fosilised mammoth bones that is about to turn into petroleum and then processed by Petronas. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

You can’t fire me! I resign!


You can’t fire me! I resign!
By Zan Azlee

Watergate – the granddaddy of all political and government scandals. US President Richard Nixon was forced to resign in 1974 as investigations against him being involved in a break-in looked like it was going to lead to an impeachment and conviction.

Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former Senior Advisor, went under investigation for ‘improper political influence over government decision-making’ and was forced to resign in 2007. Well, the US has a lot of high-profile scandals.

In the UK, a sex scandal at 10 Downing Street is currently putting Prime Minister David Cameron in a bind (apparently, details can’t be spared at the moment due to legalities). Actually, the UK government has been facing a string of scandals in the very recent past.

Last week, a Conservative Party MP, Patrick Mercer, was forced to resign the Conservative whip after being caught by the BBC for receiving money in return for posing questions in parliament.

A Liberal Democrat MP, Mike Hancock, will also go through the motions to see if he will be expelled from the party over allegations of sexual assault. And a Tory MP, Nigel Evans, has been arrested for sexual assault.

Many countries all around the world have all kinds of governmental scandals that have caused so many politicians and government officials to be forced to resign from their positions because what they did were wrong.

In other words, if someone has done something wrong (and most importantly, get caught doing it!), the only right thing for that person to do is to own up, apologise and resign from his or her position of trust.

Now Malaysia isn’t void of her fare share of governmental scandals either. We’ve had quite a few that have piqued our interest and created a lot of stir in the country, and even internationally.

But what is slightly different in Malaysia, as compared to the rest of the world, is that the rate of officials resigning and admitting to the blame when they are caught is so much lower than anywhere else around the world. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Can an elected leader choose who he wants to neglect?


Can an elected leader choose who he wants to neglect?
By Zan Azlee

In a democracy, leaders are elected by the people in a society to lead and govern that certain society. The basic elements of a democratic election is such:

1. The people go and vote for the candidates in an election
2. There is a counting process to see how many votes each candidate received
3. The candidate who garners the most votes wins and becomes the elected leader

As you can see, the concept is quite simple actually. And being in Malaysia, a country where Islam is the official religion, I think it is appropriate to see the relevance of the religion in the governance of the country, even if we see ourselves as secular.

And when a leader has been elected, he or she then has the responsibility and obligation to serve the entire society. I would like to stress here that it is the ENTIRE society that he is responsible for.

Islam actually forbids a leader (or anyone, for that matter) to practice partiality and differentiate one group of human being from the other as if one is more deserving than the other. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

N. Dhamendran could be Malay for all I care

N. Dhamendran could be Malay for all I care
By Zan Azlee

In this day and age, the immediate reaction most people usually have when it comes to social and political issues are posted on to social media. As a journalist, my immediate reaction most of the time is to post something on social media as well. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram being my preferred choice.

Then of course, since I have the outlet, I will write about it in more depth in my columns or even in my video reports and documentaries. And in this day and age, reaction and response from others to our comments are also very immediate and, most of the time, without much thought.

Yesterday, I posted an article in the Malay Mail on Facebook and Twitter about deaths in police custody and how Malays and Chinese detainees have died too aside from Indians. This is, of course, my response to the recent death of N. Dhamendran while in police custody. And we all know that the policemen who were allegedly involved have now been charged.

All of a sudden, a person on my friend list commented that when other races die, no fuss is made. But when Indians die, everyone makes noise. And he adds, apparently, that when an Indian dies, they all make noise as if Malay policemen are so evil. Now just back up right there. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

From excitement to fatigue


From excitement to fatigue
By Zan Azlee

MAY 31 – Last week, I had lunch with my friend, Liew Seng Tat, a famous award-winning Malaysian film director of Chinese descent. If you haven’t heard of him, then you know zilch about film. Seng Tat is very politically active. He’s not a politician, he’s just one of the many young Malaysians who have had a heightened sense of political awareness due to developments in the country.

He was at all three BERSIH demonstrations and was even beaten up and arrested during the second one (Remember the famous assault on Tong Shin Hospital? He was in the carpark.). He attends a lot of ceramahs and talks, candle light vigils, protests and even became a PACABA volunteer during the recent GE. And of course there are the Black 505 rallies.

He even sends me all kinds of SMSes, Facebook links and e-mails about politics, the government, news of corruption and human rights abuse, etc. But when I met him for lunch a few days ago at Mahbub in Lucky Gardens, Bangsar, his mood and level of enthusiasm was a stark difference than before. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I’m afraid, really afraid!


I’m afraid, really afraid!
By Zan Azlee

MAY 24 — I’m going to be honest and say outright that I’m afraid of the recent turn of events in our country, with the numerous arrests being made and copies of newspapers being confiscated But it’s a complicated situation that everything is in right now. And I am seriously tired of all these complicated situations that we’ve been in since the election.

Yes, the election has come and gone. And yes, Barisan Nasional (BN) won and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lost. It’s the worst faring by BN and the best by PR. BN was quick to swear in their prime minister, while PR was quick to declare the election process being a fraud and not recognise the results.

And since they won the popular vote, PR leaders started organising rallies all around the country, knowing full well that the turnout would be huge. Yada yada yada. And that’s when all hell broke loose in the BN camp. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Manipulating religion for worldly gains

Manipulating religion for worldly gains
By Zan Azlee

MAY 11 – One Muslim calling the other a kafir (infidel). Muslims simply declaring anything they feel like as being haram. All this while still in the heat of Bersih. What I am referring to is to the article in the New Straits Times which carried the headline ‘Nik Aziz the father of kafirs’.

And I am also referring to the country’s fatwa council declaring that it is haram for Muslims to be participating in Bersih rallies. The New Straits Times wrote that former IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, says that PAS’ Nik Aziz is the father of kafirs. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I’m a liberal Muslim!

I’m a liberal Muslim!
By Zan Azlee

MARCH 30 — As a practising and continuously learning Muslim, I have to take it as my personal responsibility to comment on a recent quote by Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid. The Internal Security and Public Order director of the police said that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made Malaysians liberal.

He then continued to say:

“In a borderless world, human thinking will change greatly, particularly towards the liberal. They will say things which cannot be done can be done… This is what we’re afraid of because when the thinking of Malaysians is driven by negative things, specifically those that can threaten security and public order, it can lead to a situation where the country is no longer safe.”

I have to say that in my humble opinion, this has to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard or read in all my years of being alive. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

Walking 4 Freedom… and the Peaceful Assembly Bill was passed in Parliament anyway…

On 29th November 2011, the Malaysian Bar Council organised Walk4Freedom in protest against the Peaceful Assembly Bill proposed by the government. They had drafted an alternative bill which was presented to Deputy Minister for Law, VK Liew. However, a few hours later, the bill was passed in parliament.

Democracy, Islam and Malaysia’s ruling party

I can’t seem to get BERSIH out of my head! Here’s my latest column at The Malaysian Insider.

Democracy, Islam and Malaysia’s ruling party
By Zan Azlee

JULY 22 — I think the ruling party in Malaysia has become a little bit confused about how they should be governing the country in this day and age. We’ve all heard it mentioned that they fight for the rights of Malays and Islam . . . so much so that they are beginning to sound like a broken record.

Now why do I say they’re confused? Well, they seem to have this thinking whereby Islam rejects democracy when it is really the opposite. They seem to think that the people should not have a voice and that the majority is what they determine instead of what the people determines.

By denying the people their right to express themselves and to determine how they are governed, as in the case of Bersih 2.0, they are really rejecting the Islamic way. But it’s hard to blame them when many of the Islamic countries around the world reject democracy too and seem to embrace autocratic rule. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Why did the police do what they did at BERSIH 2.0?

And this week, my column deals with… what else… BERSIH 2.0!

Why did the police do what they did?
By Zan Azlee

JULY 15 — The tough policeman with the huge muscles grabbed me by my shoulders and flung me towards the sidewalk not caring that I had a press tag around my neck. I struggled to keep my balance and not drop my camera. I barely managed to not trip over the curb.

“Halau cameraman itu! (Get rid of that cameraman!)” screamed the policeman’s other colleagues.

My crime? I was shooting a bunch of arrested demonstrators being led out of Tung Shin Hospital and through a police line. The detainees had their hands “cuffed” and looked pretty much subdued. However, as they were led through the line, they were kicked and punched by the police.

I was on assignment for The Malaysian Insider to gather video footage of the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur on July 9. But I couldn’t get enough footage of that incident since I ended up behind police lines along with other members of the media, cordoned off from what was happening. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Click here to see the rest of my coverage of BERSIH 2.0 (includes photos and video).

Fat Bidin… on assignment at BERSIH 2.0 rally, 9th July 2011

It was a proud day to be a Malaysian. And I was on assignment for The Malaysian Insider… shooting a video package of the event (the above video is the result). I was suppose to meet and interview Khairy Jamaluddin (UMNO Youth Chief), but he got arrested as soon as he step foot into Bukit Bintang (but his group numbers were too few and they marched too short a distance to have any relevance on that day! Sorry KJ!). I was also suppose to meet Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan (Chair of BERSIH 2.0), but she was arrested too soon as well (her group, on the other hand, rocked KL!). I was also stuck at the Masjid Jamek and Pudu stretch and could not go anywhere else, so most (all!) of my coverage is from that area.

My former student, Isabelle Lai, is now a journalist for The Star! How proud I am! Muahaha!

Empty streets… before the rise of the Malaysians!

I love my job!

The police were all ready from the night before… and they look set for some arresting!

McDonald’s taking care of their customers!

The crowd was definitely more than 10,000 strong just in Pudu alone.

But they never made it to Stadium Merdeka. Chemical-laced water and tear gas made sure of that. But rest assured… the crowd’s voice has been heard!

Linus and I just got smoke-bombed!

Albert/Malek and I had to finally sit down to recuperate from the tear gas.

Woooo!! Scary men!

I saw some violent arrests being made on non-violent civilians. My buddy, film director Liew Seng Tat, got arrested and he said he was kicked and even hit after he was cuffed. If you watch my video above, you can see him briefly in the background being led away by police… and also more violent arrests on others. He also said he had a great time in prison and enjoyed dropping the soap at every opportunity he had! Hahaha!

People running away from the tear gas.

Dr Sivarasa Rasiah (PKR) and Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) tried to negotiate with the police to allow them to march peacefully.

Their negotiations failed and they were arrested!

The line of riot police were there… and they cordoned off the media behind it. How the hell were we suppose to do our jobs? I managed to sneak up and do some shooting up ahead. I saw cuffed detainees who were being led away. And as they were being led away, they had to go through a line of FRU police, and through that line, they were kicked and punched even though they were cuffed. I didn’t get to shoot that long as one policeman grabbed me and chucked me aside (you can see it in my video above… you can even hear the police screaming “halau cameraman!”) and told me to go away or else.

Nevertheless, the crowd was massive and loud. I was proud to play my part in democracy.

Malaysiakini.TV caught me on video running like a little bitch! But in defence of my macho-ness… the police were firing in my direction!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers

%d bloggers like this: