FAT BIDIN MEDIA


Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite (Part 6 – Skateboarding in Skateistan!)

This week is part 6 of my multimedia documentary, Guide To Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite, which includes video, still photos an text. As you would know, this is concurrent with the 10-part feature on The Malaysian Insider website, of which you can view part 6 here:

Skateboarding in Skateistan!
By Zan Azlee

JAN 16 — Merza Muhammadi is one of the best skateboarders in Afghanistan. This 17-year-old is an instructor and mid-level manager at Kabul’s only skatepark, Skateistan, and is looked up to by hundreds of Kabul kids. But Merza hasn’t always been in this positive situation. Only four years before, he was working the streets cleaning cars to help support his family. 

“Skateistan has been a real positive influence in my life,” said the ever-smiling Merza. 

Started in 2007, Skateistan is more than just an ordinary skatepark. It’s an NGO that aims to bring together the many different ethnic youth in Kabul, whether privileged or not, through the sport of skateboarding.

“Skateboarding really fits the Afghan psyche in the sense that it challenges the local kids to overcome personal fear and limitations in whatever situations,” explained founder and executive director, Oliver Percovich. 

Merza had always been interested in skateboarding ever since he saw pictures in a skateboarding magazine, but never had the opportunity to try it out. Not until he met Oliver who was working in Kabul at that time and often skated near an old fountain in a park on the outskirts of the city. That was back in 2007. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite
Part 6 of 10
‘Skateboarding in Skateistan!’
Skate or die on the streets of Kabul.

Full Synopsis:
Zan Azlee, a Malaysian KL-ite journalist who has lived all his life in non-conflict zones, travels to Afghanistan to see if he can come up with the best travel guide for the country. With no idea what he is getting himself into, he dodges suicide bombers and IEDs, and even gets embedded with the army, to plan out the best tourist route in Afghanistan. This is a multimedia documentary produced by Fat Bidin Media and directed by solo-journalist Zan Azlee.

To view all the episodes, head to FATBIDIN.COM/AFGHANISTAN.

Click the thumbnails below to launch the photo essay (Part 6).

Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available… just give me a buzz if you are interested and we can talk! If you would like to own original FAT BIDIN MEDIA documentary films and books to enhance your coolness factor, visit the FAT BIDIN e-STORE!

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Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite (Part 5 – Rambo is alive and kicking in Afghanistan!)

This week is part 5 of my multimedia documentary, Guide To Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite, which includes video, still photos an text. As you would know, this is concurrent with the 10-part feature on The Malaysian Insider website, of which you can view part 5 here:

Finding Rambo in Afghanistan!
By Zan Azlee

JAN 9 — No matter how much I read and watch the news about Afghanistan, the one thing that always frames my perspective when it comes to the country is its Islamic extremism. And I know that this is how many people around the world perceive it as well. So, during my time in Afghanistan, one of the issues that interested me was the fact that so much of the country’s culture had been suppressed, or even eradicated, by the Taliban during their rule.

And now that the United States has blown the Taliban out of political power, a lot of this culture, which was deemed haram by the Taliban, is making a comeback. I spoke to Ahmad Bilal Raghbat, my local fixer, about this and the first thing that came to his mind was movies.

“I love watching movies but during the Taliban time, cinemas were shut down,” said the big Bollywood fan.

After days of driving and walking around Kabul with Bilal, I noticed that there was actually quite a big cinema in the middle of the city right next President Hamid Karzai’s office. It’s called Ariana and you can hardly miss it due to all the brightly coloured movie posters adorning the walls on the outside. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite
Part 5 of 10
‘Finding Rambo in Afghanistan!’
Zan finds Rambo, Nicholas Cage and Dolph Lundgren in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Full Synopsis:
Zan Azlee, a Malaysian KL-ite journalist who has lived all his life in non-conflict zones, travels to Afghanistan to see if he can come up with the best travel guide for the country. With no idea what he is getting himself into, he dodges suicide bombers and IEDs, and even gets embedded with the army, to plan out the best tourist route in Afghanistan. This is a multimedia documentary produced by Fat Bidin Media and directed by solo-journalist Zan Azlee.

To view all the episodes, head to FATBIDIN.COM/AFGHANISTAN.

Click the thumbnails below to launch the photo essay (Part 5).

Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available… just give me a buzz if you are interested and we can talk! If you would like to own original FAT BIDIN MEDIA documentary films and books to enhance your coolness factor, visit the FAT BIDIN e-STORE!



Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite (Part 4 – The Last Jew in Afghanistan)

(Last week, I received news from my friend and fixer, Ahmad Bilal Raghbat, that his father, Abdul Baqi Raghbat, an advisor for the Afghan Ministry of Tribal and Border Affairs, was assassinated by the Taliban in his hometown of Kandahar. May God bless his soul.)

This week is part 4 of my multimedia documentary, Guide To Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite, which includes video, still photos an text. As you would know, this is concurrent with the 10-part feature on The Malaysian Insider website, of which you can view part 4 here:

The Last Jew in Afghanistan
By Zan Azlee

JAN 2 – I had heard rumours that there was a Jew, apparently the last Jew in Afghanistan, living in Kabul when I was planning my trip there. I knew that I had to make sure I meet this person. Pursuing the story about the last Jew wasn’t meant to be a scoop since it’s been reported before.

But what I was really interested in was to just meet him and listen to his story first hand and to shake his hand myself. So, when I finally arrived in Kabul, and all the 9/11 anniversary hype had died down, I told my fixer, Ahmad Bilal Raghbat, that I wanted to look for Zebolon Simantov.

We walked around Flower Street where Simantov was reportedly living and started asking the people there if they knew of such a person. After a few false alarms, we finally found a restaurant owner who just pointed to a flight of stairs at the back.

We walked up one floor and marched through a narrow and dusty corridor. We arrived at a pastel-coloured wooden door. I knocked. A slightly overweight, middle-aged Caucasian-looking man opened the door. I asked him if he knew Zebolon Simantov.

“Yes, that’s me,” he said in Pashto, which was translated to me by Bilal.

I was finally meeting face to face with Zebolon Simantov, the last and only Jew living in the entire Afghanistan. I introduced myself as a journalist from Malaysia and said that I would like to interview him on camera. He nodded and invited us in. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite
Part 4 of 10
‘The Last Jew in Afghanistan’
Zan haggles over an interview price with the last Jew standing in the whole of Afghanistan.

Full Synopsis:
Zan Azlee, a Malaysian KL-ite journalist who has lived all his life in non-conflict zones, travels to Afghanistan to see if he can come up with the best travel guide for the country. With no idea what he is getting himself into, he dodges suicide bombers and IEDs, and even gets embedded with the army, to plan out the best tourist route in Afghanistan. This is a multimedia documentary produced by Fat Bidin Media and directed by solo-journalist Zan Azlee.

To view all the episodes, head to FATBIDIN.COM/AFGHANISTAN.

Click the thumbnails below to launch the photo essay (Part 4).

Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available… just give me a buzz if you are interested and we can talk! If you would like to own original FAT BIDIN MEDIA documentary films and books to enhance your coolness factor, visit the FAT BIDIN e-STORE!




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