Filed under: broadcast, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, astro, astro awani, awani, banjir, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, flood, johor, journalism, malay, malaysia, segamat, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
If this week of mine were to be made into a short film, it would probably be broken up into two main juxtaposing scenes that can be put together.
And it also got me thinking. These two scenes seem to be a constant in Malaysia every single year for almost as long as I can remember.
Interior – air-conditioned trade centre building
The first half of the week involved me being in the Putra World Trade Centre attending the Umno general assembly (as a member of the press and not Umno!). Of course, all the VIPs would be arriving in their luxury cars with their entourages. And when they have their meals, these will be first-class banquet all the way.
Exterior – rubber estate
Kampung Batu 5 Buluh Kasap, Segamat, Johor
The second half of the week sees me travelling to a kampung in Segamat, Johor, which happens to be one of the last kampung to evacuate because of this year’s incredible floods. After holding out for as long as they could, the villagers gave in to the tremendous power of the flood and were forced to move to an evacuation centre.
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, art, artist, barisan nasional, BN, ernest zacharevic, fat bidin, graffiti, johor, johor bahru, johoreans, journalism, malay, malaysia, mural, The Malaysian Insider, zach, zacharevic, zan azlee
I have always been waiting for the chance to give my hometown, Johor Bahru, a nice, big burn! And it looks like the chance is now. It’s not that I don’t like my hometown, I do. I’m as proud to be a Johorean as any other Johorean out there, even if my family and I moved away way back in 1989.
I was so proud that the Johor football team was the first team in Malaysia to ever win the ‘double’ in 1991– the Malaysia Cup and the Premiere League in the same year. But what really annoys me is the blind pride that Johoreans are known to have. So blind that nothing outside of Johor is ever good enough.
Yes, I know! It’s a generalisation on my part. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. Just read on and you will see (hopefully!). Take my wife and her family for instance. Like me, they’re all from Johor Bahru too, and the things they complain about living in the Klang Valley can be so ridiculous.
“Sorry if the sambal doesn’t taste good. KL chili is plastic chili. Not like in JB.”
(I guess all chili bought outside of JB is fake chili?)
“The spaghetti they use to make Laksa Johor in KL is not as good as in JB.”
(Why a local Johor dish needs to have an ingredient originating from Italy beats me!)
“Wow! This noodle soup is really good! I’m sure the restaurant owner is from JB.”
“What kind of party is this? So boring! They’re not Johoreans, that’s why!”
(Now all you readers are getting the picture, right?)
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, circumcise, circumcision, fat bidin, journalism, kalenjin, kenya, malaise, malay, malaysia, marathon, melayu, new media, sunat, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
What are the Malays best known for globally? Aside from being the inspiration for the English word ‘malaise’, I really can’t think of anything much. Well, I think I might have the answer as to why this is so. And it is closely related to a certain tribe in Kenya known as the Kalenjin.
I was listening to one of my favourite radio programmes called Radio Lab and it’s latest episode talked about why the Kalenjin are so good at long distance running. They have dominated the sport like no other superhuman group of people has ever done before, coming in the top three in almost every major marathon in the world.
For example, this year’s Berlin marathon saw Kenyans winning first place right through to fifth. And in the Chicago marathon, they placed first till fourth.
According to David Epstein, “There are 17 American men in history who have run under 2:10 in the marathon. There were 32 Kalenjins who did it in October 2011”. Epstein is a sports journalist and writer who wrote the book ‘The Sports Gene’, and was interviewed on the Radio Lab episode.
Now many unproven reasons, or should I say urban myths, have been thrown about as to why the Kalenjins are such good long distance runners. One of the most popular reasons for this is that in the past, the tribe did not have any other mode of transportation other than their legs. So they ran everywhere.
But the actual truth may be due to the Kalenjins having to go through cultural circumcision when they reach puberty. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, bajet 2014, barisan nasional, budget, budget 2014, chinese, cina, fat bidin, journalism, Keadilan, malay, malaysia, najib razak, pakatan rakyat, parliament, racist, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
So it’s been exactly one week since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tabled the National Budget 2014 in Parliament. There I was, sitting in the newsroom listening to him speaking and enjoying the attention he was getting.
There is also the cut in subsidy for sugar. It’s going to cost substantially more now so we won’t be a diabetic nation. But it is guaranteed that every other food product in the market will increase in price too.
There is also the increase in the income tax bracket and also the abolishment people having to file their tax returns. So it really looks like Budget 2014 is trying very hard to address the country’s fiscal deficit.
That’s what everyone is focusing on and it’s all good and well. But I think I’ll choose to highlight something else. If you notice, the Prime Minister announced all kinds of incentives for the Bumiputeras and the Indian community.
And guess what? Hardly any incentives were announced for the Chinese community. Actually, there was nothing. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: app, apps, car, drive, driving, fat bidin, gps, journalism, malaysia, road bully, roads, street, The Malaysian Insider, traffic, waze, zan azlee
Malaysia is a country with people that have no manners or civic-mindedness when it comes to being on the road and driving. Behind the wheel, even the most docile grandmother will turn into a vicious, uncouth and vile language-speaking spawn of Lucifer.
I have to admit, I get pretty edgy when I’m driving too. Even the slightest unintentional wrongdoing by another driver gets me screaming and throwing certain fingers around. But I think everything is about to change. And this is all because of a wonderful app available on the smartphone called Waze. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, BN, christian, christianity, fat bidin, god, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, media, muhammad, muslim, quran, The Malaysian Insider, tuhan, zan azlee
Call me murtad (apostate), I don’t care. Call me syirik (polytheist), I don’t care. Heavy accusations in Islam, these two. I hope the accusers have the necessary proof, evidence and criteria to do so. I, an official Muslim, hereby publicly declare that I have no problems with other religions aside from Islam using the word Allah to refer to God.
Most of the times when I write my column, it is to address a readership that is as wide and as general as possible without targeting too specific a group. But this week, I am writing to Muslims in particular (err, but if you are an infidel, you can still continue reading!), and especially Malay Muslims.
As Muslims, we are obligated to believe in the existence of the prophets and this includes the prophet Jesus, who brought to the world Christianity, and even Moses who brought Judaism. As a Muslim, we are also obligated to believe in the existence of the holy books and this includes the Bible which taught Christianity and the Torah which taught Judaism.
And, when we believe in all this, we also have to believe that all Abrahamic religions come from one God, and in Arabic (the main language of Islam’s Quran) the word is Allah. So, when an argument is made that Christianity and Islam are two different religions, no one can deny it. It’s true. These are two different religions.
But when it comes to God, both these different religions refer to the same God. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet (oh crap, did I just objectify God as a rose?). [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, education, fat bidin, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, multicultural, multiracial, racism, racist, school, sekolah, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
Last week, my wife and I were called to our daughter, Athena’s, school by her teachers. They had something to report, they said. All kinds of thoughts went through my mind. Did she blow up the school toilet? Set the classroom on fire? Beat up another student?
“Athena is doing fine in school as far as her mid-year review is concern,” said the teacher.
“So she didn’t blow up the school toilet!” I sighed in relief. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: broadcast, directing, documentary, internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, auditor general, barisan nasional, BN, corruption, documentary, endless possibilities, fat bidin, film, journalism, ketua audit negara, lost at sea, malaysia, media, new media, news, pdrm, police, politics, The Malaysian Insider, zahid, zahid hamidi, 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]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, cpa, crime prevention act, draco, draconian, fat bidin, internal security act, isa, journalism, law, malaysia, media, new media, news, The Malaysian Insider, zahid hamidi, zan azlee
How well do we know our politicians in Malaysia? We know them well enough to know that they are populists when it comes to election period.
How many people remember when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, announced that the Sedition Act be abolished? It was before the elections. Then, when the elections were over, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Ahmad Hamidi, stated that it should not be abolished.
And how many people remember when the Prime Minister said that the Internal Security Act would be abolished? It was before the elections. Then, when the elections were over, two days ago as a matter of fact, the Home Minister stated that there will be amendments made to the Crime Prevention Act.
Study the amendments carefully and you will notice (as many have) that the Crime Prevention Act will then become a new form of Internal Security Act. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, dato onn jaafar, fat bidin, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, racism, racist, saiffuddin abdullah, The Malaysian Insider, tunku, tunku abdul rahman, umno, zan azlee
My colleague, Dzulfitri Yusop, a fellow journalist, asked me yesterday if I could make one positive statement about Umno or name one positive member of Umno.
I laughed. Too many people like to assume that I am anti-establishment just for the sake of being anti-establishment all of the time without being rational.
So I thought really hard to come up with a positive statement to show that I was not one of those ABU (Asalkan Bukan Umno, or Anything But Umno) people. We have to always keep an open mind, right?
Quite some time passed by and I still could not think of anything positive to say about the party aside from it being formed in my home state of Johor.
All jokes aside, I do know that Umno was formed with the best intentions in mind to help the Malays have political and authoritative powers in Malaya (and later Malaysia).
It was a party that was meant to protect the rights of the Malays and be a voice for them so that they will not be oppressed. Quite noble, I agree.
But the very fact that it was to protect a particular race makes it, in my opinion, totally unsuitable to be a political party because no one country consists of only one race. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, bumiputera, fat bidin, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, najib razak, new media, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
The Bumiputeras of Malaysia. The princes of the land. The race that has the ruling blood flowing through it’s veins. The rightful owner of Malaysia. Or so they say.
Before I continue, let me declare that although I know that the term Bumiputera also defines those of the indigenous ethnicities in Malaysia, I am specifically only refering to the Malays in this article.
For the sake of harmony and equality, affirmative action was put in place in the state system so that the Malays could prosper along with the other races in Malaysia.
They were given all kinds of handouts such as land, property, university quotas, corporate quotas and even literally cash (as in the case of Bumiputera handouts).
The objective was to give an advantage to the lagging Malays so they could then compete on an equal level with the rest of Malaysia.
It’s like a handicap in the sport of golf. Someone who isn’t as good would have a higher handicap so he or she could compete on an equal footing with someone better and who have a lower handicap.
The objective of this affirmative action was to provide the Malays with the essential confidence and know-how to finally compete on equal footing.
Like in the sport of golf, the main objective of a player is to finally turn professional and not have a handicap at all. That is when you know you are at par with the best.
Now that the country is turning 50 years old, one would wonder how strange it is that this Bumiputera affirmative action plan is still in place. You mean after 50 years, the Malays still need a handicap?
I guess they have gotten accustomed to all the handouts that they are now spoilt and cannot survive without these handouts to help them along.
But what else is new in what I am saying? People have been harping on this matter for many years and still nothing is being done about it.
The Malays feel like they deserve the sky and the moon, while the other races in Malaysia feel neglected and bertrayed in their own country.
You would think that after 50 years have gone by, the Malays, or even Malaysia as a whole, would have progressed and moved on.
But no. The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has just declared that to take the place of the old affirmative action bible, he will announce new policies that aims to further help Bumiputeras. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, jalur gemilang, journalism, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, new media, news, shabery cheek, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
I’ve met Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek on countless occasions. Usually it’s to interview him, but there were times when we just had a drink or meal to chat.
I honestly think he’s a very nice person and many of the things he does in his capacity as a member of the cabinet and a politician have good intentions.
Being the Minister of Communication and Multimedia (of which he has held the portfolio once before), I’m sure he is familiar with how the media and public perception works. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, journalism, malaysia, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
When an elected minister or politician says or does something that doesn’t make sense or is not becoming of a leader, who is to blame? Many would say that the minister or politician would be to blame since he or she is the one saying or doing the action. But now how valid is that?
So every member of the public would know them, their demeanour, personality and how they would react in different situations. In fact, it’s much easier than that, to tell you the truth.
Most of them have sheep mentality and just do whatever a member of their particular party is supposed to do. No one really is allowed to think for themselves.
Party comes first. And you really will know what to expect already. So don’t pretend to be surprised when you see them do or say something shocking.
When the public votes for them, they already know who and what they are voting for. So, by this we can make a very simple deduction that it really is the fault of the voters. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, alvivi, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, racism, racist, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
It seems that one of the big discussions amongst Malaysians at the moment is if we are actually getting too sensitive. This is because of the “offence” that we have been taking over all kinds of issues.
First of all, there was the Alvivi case where this idiotic Chinese couple took a picture of themselves eating bak kut teh which they spread online and offended the Malays in the country.
After that, an owner of a private resort allowed a group of Buddhists to meditate in a room which was also allocated as a surau. And this offended the Malays in the country.
At a first glance, I can see the reason why many people are starting to think that Malaysians are actually getting too sensitive for their own good.
But at a second glance, I think I’m beginning to see a trend here. Can you see it? It seems like those who constantly get offended happen to be Malays. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, air nira, alcohol, allah, arak, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, halal, haram, islam, jakim, journalism, malay, malaysia, muslim, new media, perkasa, tapai, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
First and foremost, I would like to wish you assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and a blessed Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I would like to apologise for writing this letter during the festive season when most of you would be on leave with your families.
However, I strongly believe that the reason that I am writing is justified and commands your immediate attention. If nothing is done, I am fearful that the faith and aqidah of many Malay Muslims in Malaysia may be at risk.
On the second last day of Ramadhan, my family and I decided to head out and enjoy iftar (I loathe using the term ‘buka puasa’ it is so un-Islamic!) together at a very prominent hotel in Shah Alam, Selangor. The hotel is called Concorde.
We were very impressed with the buffet spread that was on display in the hotel’s coffee house and felt that the extremely expensive price was justified. So, in other words, we were happy to have good food and good company that evening.
However, as I was walking around the different food islands in the centre of the coffee house, I came to the dessert island. And what I saw horrified me to my wits end! I could not believe my eyes! There in open display was a plate full of tapai!
Now correct me if I’m wrong. JAKIM has issued a statement declaring that for any dish or drink to be considered halal, it needs to have less than 0.01% alcohol content. This practically means that there has to be zero alcohol content.
Tapai, as we all know, is a traditional Malay kuih that is prepared by fermenting pulut or ubi kayu. But, as we all also know, when you ferment food stuff, it turns into alcohol. Yes! I said alcohol! Haram jaddah! [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, islam, journalism, Keadilan, kuala lumpur, malay, malaysia, media, muslim, new media, news, The Malaysian Insider, umno, zan azlee
In just a matter of approximately a month, we Malaysians have been flooded with all kinds of propaganda that seems to be threatening our racial harmony. First, there was the stupid, moronic, idiotic and imbecilic couple Alvivi and their Bak Kut Teh spirited Ramadhan wish to all Malaysians.
Now, we have this harmless video of a Muslim woman who made a video (three years ago, mind you) with herself and her dogs wishing people Selamat Hari Raya.
Now for this third one, it gets a little bit tricky. Many say its insulting to Islam. I, however, do not think so since there is nothing stated anyway in the religious books that say dogs are un-Islamic (but I’m a dog-lover, so sue me).
I could not care less about whether Islam is being insulted, if there is a big racist plot to bring down all the non-Malays in the country, or if the fork ran away with the spoon. What bothers me is the fact that on Facebook timeline (yes, the world has come down to this – when an entire societal situation can be extrapolated from FB!), things are not rosy.
My timeline has been divided into two distinct sides – those who are on one side, and those who are on the other. And it pains me to see this happening. With all these stories coming out in the media, there has never been a larger rift in Malaysia than I can ever remember in my entire 35 years of being alive.
I cannot help but wonder if all these are just part of an elaborate media strategy with an aim to create dischord and disharmony amongst Malaysian… for selfish reasons. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, eat, fasting, fat bidin, food, islam, journalism, makan, malay, malaysia, puasa, ramadan, ramadhan, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee
It gave me the shock of my life when I found out about it. It was posted all over the Internet. A bunch of Malay-looking (and hence, presumably) Muslims were all sitting huddled over a drain in a back alley. They were gobbling up food like they were desperately hungry.
Some were having rice, some were eating wanton soup, and some, even instant noodles. I felt it was disgraceful and inhumane that they were forced to eat in such a decrepit environment that not even animals deserved.
The public, of course, were outraged! And they really made it known through social media. Out of all places, how could they be forced to eat by a drain in a back alley! And of course, when something gets so public, politicians started to get into the fray as well, condemning what they saw being posted and reposted on the Internet. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, allah, alvivi, barisan nasional, BN, chua soi lek, fat bidin, hate speech, ibrahim ali, islam, journalism, malay, malaysia, new media, news, ridhuan tee, sedition, The Malaysian Insider, zan azlee, zulkifli noordin
I had made it a point to not comment in my writings or even mention in any conversations that I had about the Alvivi bak kut teh puasa incident. They are obviously cheap attention seekers who deserve not even a single ounce of my time and intellect.
And Alvilvi is just obviously plain stupidity. And just like the rest of us, I wish we could jail people for stupidity too. But we can’t. Now let’s look at the real hate speech makers out there that have actual intentions of hate and are getting away with it scot-free. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, barisan nasional, BN, fat bidin, ipcmc, isa, journalism, malaysia, media, new media, news, pdrm, police, sedition, sedition act, The Malaysian Insider, wan junaidi, zahid hamidi, 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]
Filed under: internet, journalism, new media, The Malaysian Insider, writing | Tags: 1malaysia, child, daughter, fat bidin, father, general election, journalism, malaysia, school, The Malaysian Insider, vote, zan azlee
As a parent, you start to lose control of your children as they start to grow up, get older, mature and become less needy. And as s a parent, you have to learn to let go. It’s the natural way. I just didn’t think it would happen as soon as Athena turned two!
Athena is quite an active child. It’s like she has a solar panel on her head that constantly charges her batteries and allows her to have limitless energy. And leaving her cooped up at home everyday when her mother and I are out at work seemed to be boring her out.
So we decided to send her off to school. After a bit of hunting around, we found a nice little kindergarten that accepted kids from the age of two. Perfect! The first few days (weeks actually!), she went through the separation anxiety phase where she would cry when we drop her off but be fine 2 minutes after we leave.
It’s been a couple of months of her attending school now and we’ve noticed certain things about her that we had never seen before. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]