FAT BIDIN MEDIA


The age of the new journalist

sojo

The age of the new journalist
By Zan Azlee

In my slightly over a decade period as a professional journalist, I see myself as lucky having gone through both the traditional and the new journalism era. I also consider myself lucky to have gained experience in all forms of journalism media, from print to broadcast and also online.

And even luckier, to have been a part of large media organisations and also running as a one man freelance and entrepreneurial journalist. All this definitely gives me (or at least I think it gives me) some weight when it comes to commenting on and even practicing journalism.

Before you all start dissing me about being self-gloating and self-righteous, just here me out. At the end of the day, I’m writing this column and not you! (I kid! I kid!) Jokes aside, I feel very passionate about journalism and the media and want nothing more than to see it thrive and see more and more people get in to it in Malaysia.

So it really pains me when I see young journalists (and many old ones too) these days who don’t want to give themselves a chance to experience and learn new things. Here’s a tip – I hear working in a bank offers good employee benefits! [Click to read the rest of article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

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‘IN FOCUS’ is on NJOI AWANI’s YouTube page… means you get to watch it over and over again!

If you missed the first episode of IN FOCUS, which was on Astro AWANI 501, then you’re in luck! You get to watch it on NJOI AWANI’s YouTube page over and over and over and over and over again! The first episode sees me checking out how the street protest industry works in Egypt in Tunisia!

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Working together with Karim Raslan on the TV version of his column ‘Ceritalah’… on Asto AWANI!

Ceritalah Malaysia is the TV version of Karim Raslan’s long running newspaper column and book series where he travels the country speaking to ordinary Malaysians to get a sense of the true Malaysia. I used to read Karim’s writings more than ten years ago when I first started writing myself (funnily.. I haven’t read his stuff in quite a while now! muahaha!). But now we’re working together… and it’s pretty cool!

Produced by Zan Azlee and Karim Raslan for Astro AWANI (501). Every Monday nights, starting tonight, at 9:30pm (with repeats throughout the week).

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Television news sucks and my advice is necessary!

revamptv

Television news sucks!
By Zan Azlee

JAN 4 — Yes, it sucks big time and those involved in it have put themselves too high on a pedestal to realise this. Newspapers globally are already in a crisis (except for The Star, whose circulation is mysteriously increasing!). Television news seems to have the potential of heading the same way too and is slowly losing viewers, if it does not heed my all-important advice.

I wonder if anyone agrees with me that watching news on television has really been uninspiring these last few years? I don’t think I have to wonder. To be honest, I’ve actually stopped watching television news altogether. I get my news fix almost solely from online sources now and I know so many people who do the same.

I feel very strongly that television news should just stop trying to compete in breaking news. Just outright cease and desist. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



IN FOCUS… a new documentary series on Astro AWANI by… who else… the ZANSTER!

Come the new year of 2013… I am producing and hosting a new documentary series called IN FOCUS every Tuesday nights at 8:30pm on Astro AWANI (501). It covers current and social affairs, local and international. Expect all the awesomeness, machoness and coolness of Zan Azlee… and others too, of course!

The first three episodes is all about the Arab Spring after two years have gone by. I go to Egypt and Tunisia (and cancelled Syria… not macho enough lah!). So don’t forget to watch the premiere first episode of IN FOCUS this Tuesday (1st January 2013), 8:30pm, on Astro AWANI (501)!



Google’s top 2012 searches… that led to my website!

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2012 according to Google
By Zan Azlee

DEC 28 ― The year is coming to an end and it is time to look back and reflect upon the momentous events of the passing year. I thought it would be a good idea to look back at 2012’s top ten searches on Google… and that led to my website, Fatbidin.com!

10. Ridhuan Tee Abdullah

Number ten could be one that has given me the most pleasure this year. I disagree with everything this academician, TV host and writer ― whose real name is Tee Chuan Seng ― says. We had a brief heated exchange in our respective columns (his is in Sinar Harian), from which I emerged victorious.

9. Kabul

Being the gloriously brave war journalist and adrenaline junkie that I am, I went to Afghanistan to shoot a documentary. After a decade of war and after the Taliban, it’s quite a surprise that the country is still getting media coverage.

8. Bersih 3.0

This has to be one of the lowest points of the year. I witnessed things that I don’t ever want to witness in Malaysia again. The police were brutally attacking demonstrators and even journalists like a bunch of street thugs ― after they removed their nametags, of course. But the spirit of Malaysians that gathered, now that was a high point.

[Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



TUNKU – The Documentary

I co-produced/directed a documentary on Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, for Malaysia Day with Noor Azam Shairi, an old Kelab Seni Filem buddy who is also now my colleague. The documentary, titled TUNKU, airs today (16 September 2012) at 6:30pm on ASTRO Awani (501). (Click here or the image above to watch the promo)

Repeats will be on:

Monday 17 Sept – 11am
Tuesday 18 Sept – 3:30pm
Thursday 20 Sept – 2:30am
Friday 21 Sept – 11:30am
Saturday 22 Sept – 5pm

It is the iznit of the izzle in the golden drizzle!



Irritating Hari Raya TV ads!

Irritating Hari Raya TV ads!
By Zan Azlee

AUG 17 — Have any of you seen the latest batch of Hari Raya television commercials yet? I don’t know about you but I’m getting pretty annoyed and irritated by them. It seems to me that they are all competing with each other to see who can make Malaysians cry the most… no matter what the cost! It’s like the end justifies the means or something. The worst this year has to be the one by Bernas.

It starts out at a boarding school or orphanage of some sort where a lot of young children are about to leave for the Hari Raya holidays. Everyone of them has family members coming to pick them up except for these two boys. One is speech-impaired and the other is blind.

The speech-impaired boy tells the blind boy about his mother in the village. So the blind boy suggests they ditch the school/orphanage and find their way to the village. They go through all kinds of challenges that would make me, a grown man in my 30s, give up on life. But, of course, these boys persevere. When they do reach the village, guess what? The speech-impaired boy’s mother is dead! They are there to visit a grave and he tells the blind boy that they can share a mother!

Well, cut my chest open, tear my heart out, throw it on the ground, stomp on it a few times, pick it back up, put out some cigarettes on it and shove it back in! What will they do next year to top off this year’s TV commercial? Film a quadruple amputee rolling on the ground and flash the words “Selamat Hari Raya” on screen? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Wanna lose weight? These KL-ites have a found a very submissive way to do so!

A couple of months ago, I did a report for Dutch TV’s VPRO Metropolis programme about obesity in Malaysia. It finally went on air in The Netherlands and is available to view online. I shed quite a lot of sweat following these… err… big-boned… participants as they shed the kilos! Click here to view the video or on the image above.



We’re better off than Syria, Egypt and Libya… so shut up?

A Malaysian Spring? Not!
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 1 — It’s annoying to me when I meet people who say that we should be thankful to be living in a country like Malaysia and that there are so many countries worse off than us.

“Look at Somalia. They’re all hungry there.”

“Do you want us to be like Syria where people are being killed?”

“Thank god we aren’t Palestine!”

“The poor in India live a terrible life!”

“Look at the poor Iraqis and Afghans!”

“At least we’re not in a situation like the Malays in Southern Thailand!”

I don’t deny that Malaysia isn’t a bad country and I do have a very decent quality of life. I have work and can provide for my family. My family and I are very happy and there is no doubt it is because we’re living in Malaysia, and I am definitely thankful for that. But that does not mean we do not need to improve. And to improve, we need to have a benchmark. [Click to read to the read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Teach a man to make videos… and you teach him to fish for a lifetime!

Empowered by video
By Zan Azlee

MAY 18 — One of the main objectives of the existence of the media is to give a voice to normal people, or the rakyat. But sometimes, this objective gets lost when the media themselves get a bit overwhelmed (or big headed?) by all their obligations.

That’s why I always jump at the opportunity to help give a voice to the common folk, or the rakyat. That’s how, last week, I found myself in a small village called Kampung Sukau in Sabah, teaching locals how to tell stories using video. [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]



Violence against Malaysia – My Bersih 3.0

Violence against Malaysia
By Zan Azlee

MAY 4 — I waited for almost a week before actually writing or posting anything much about the recent Bersih 3.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur. There were so many emotions, I wanted to make sure that I was calm and coherent before actually commenting on it. And now that everything seems ever so slightly clearer to me, the one thing that affected me most that Saturday was the violence that occurred.

The day had started early for me and walking all around the city, I felt the almost party-like atmosphere amongst all the Malaysians that had gathered. Dataran Merdeka, of course, had a heavy police presence. It was cordoned off with metal fencing and even scary-looking barbed wire. But, as I mentioned, the atmosphere was very festive and I guess the intimidation wasn’t working that well.

When the rally was in full force, I was standing alongside the leaders as they were giving their speeches and encouraging the people to sing. Once everyone was as close to Dataran Merdeka as possible, I heard the leaders declaring the rally a success and calling for the crowd to disperse. The crowd didn’t disperse and I made my way behind the barricade and police line with the help of my press tag. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Click on the thumbnails below to launch the photo essay.



I will be covering BERSIH 3.0 live

I will be covering BERSIH 3.0 live (28th April 2012).

Follow me on Twitter @fatbidin

Follow me on Facebook /fatbidin or /zanazlee

Follow me on YouTube /fatbidin

Follow me on Instagram @zanazlee

Follow me on Socialcam @zanazlee



Come throw eggs with me. It’s the democratic way!

Democracy. It’s happening!
By Zan Azlee

APRIL 27 — The heat of the general election can be felt. Rumours have been rife about it happening in June, then September, and now back to June again. Squabbles are happening between the political parties. Squabbles are happening among the NGOs and squabbles are also happening among the normal rakyat.

Each political party is claiming itself to be the righteous one. NGOs are pushing their agenda, taking advantage of the heightened social awareness. The rakyat are scattered. Some are just blind faithful to the side they are supporting. Many are on the fence while more just think that there’s really no quality choice.

Then there’s the media. We all know how all these years the mainstream media has always been tightly controlled (or self-controlled) in favour of the party in power.

But it looks like things are changing. Last year, I was a “live” guest on a radio station and I happened to mention Bersih 2.0. I was immediately interrupted and censored. This year, that same radio station, on the same show I was on, actually had a whole episode discussing the upcoming Bersih 3.0 quite openly and honestly. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



iPhone Journalism in Syria

Inspiring journalism!

iPhone Journalism
By Zan Azlee

MARCH 16 – Solo-journalism has been my passion for many years now and it has been the basis of almost all my journalistic work till today. For the many news reports I do and documentaries that I produce, I would write, shoot, edit and take my own photographs, literally as a one-man-crew.

And I get to do all this thanks to all the technology available today. I have small broadcast quality video cameras, laptops for editing and mobile Internet. Over the years, solo-journalism has started to grow. Big broadcasters such as the BBC, CNN, Channel 4, etc, have been experimenting with the concept.

I, myself, have contributed news stories and documentaries that were produced solo-journalism style to some of these big broadcasters. But there really hasn’t been an entire news network or agency that has actually converted fully to solo-journalism in obtaining their content.

But things might just change seeing that one of the big international news networks, Al Jazeera International, recently aired a documentary shot fully with an iPhone. [Click to read the full article]



The Obedient Wives Club… getting their 15 minutes of fame on Dutch TV!

Being a correspondent for The Netherlands’ VPRO Metropolis TV means I get to cover loads of interesting stories. Recently, I got to spend some time with the members of the infamous Obedient Wives Club based in Kuala Lumpur, with thousands of members all over the world! Maybe I should get my wife to join them! Muahaha!

(Click on the image above to view my video report or just click HERE.)



Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite (Part 10 – Living at the feet of Buddha)

This week is part 10 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 10 here:

Living by the feet of Buddha
By Zan Azlee

FEB 13 — After the days I spent on patrol with Malaysia’s MALCON ISAF 2 in the rural areas of Bamiyan building water filters, educating health officials and saving lives, I was glad to be back in the safety of Kiwi Base in the city of Bamiyan.

Bamiyan is actually one of the safest provinces in Afghanistan and this is due to its population of predominantly Hazarat people who fiercely reject the Taliban. They are Shiites and were terribly oppressed, hurt and killed during the rule of the Taliban. So walking the streets of Bamiyan city is really like a walk in the park compared to in Kabul.

Now that I was feeling a bit secure and safe, I wanted to do something that I had dreamed of since I was 15 years old. That’s right! I wanted to go and see for myself, with my own two eyes, the great Buddhas of Bamiyan.

I was apparently still under the responsibility of the Malaysian Armed Forces, and the commander, Lt Col Rusman Sanip, did not want to allow me to roam outside of the army base on my own (although I had spent all my time in Kabul alone before meeting up with them in Bamiyan!). He was kind enough to escort me together with a couple of security team members. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite
Part 10 of 10
‘Living by the feet of Buddha’
Zan fulfills his 19 year dream of seeing the Buddhas of Bamiyan! And he discovers the ultra poor Hazarats living at his feet… literally.

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 10).

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 9 – A Taliban ambush)

This week is part 9 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 9 here:

A Taliban ambush
By Zan Azlee

FEB 6 — The next day, we all had to wake up early because our vehicles were supposed to start rolling right at dawn. We were in for another challenging journey and heading deeper into the heartland of Afghanistan. I decided to forego another shower since the temperature in the mountains of Bamiyan were in the single digit in the early mornings.

Before we headed out, we had a security briefing. This is a must since it is when everyone gets information on the journey and also to talk about any emergency plans should there be an attack by the Taliban. After the briefing, we had the mandatory prayers for a safe journey and then we headed out.

This time, the journey was almost twice as difficult. The mountain area we had to go through was higher and rougher. Security was another concern since we were moving further away from central Bamiyan and heading nearer to the border with Daykhundi province, which had a stronger Taliban presence. This time it was serious and I made sure my bulletproof vest was strapped on tighter than ever. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite
Part 9 of 10
‘A Taliban ambush’
While embedded with the Malaysian Armed Forces in Afghanistan, Zan and the soldiers encounter a Taliban ambush.

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 9).

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 8 – Lending the Afghans a hand)

This week is part 8 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 8 here:

Lending the Afghans a hand
By Zan Azlee

JAN 30 — We arrived in Yadkawlang in the evening after travelling for several hours. Yadkawlang is a small village in Bamiyan province. The Malaysian troops (MALCON ISAF 2) were due to conduct a blood donation drive and also to fit a water filtering system at the village well. When we arrived at the location, which was a school, another group from MALCON ISAF 2 was already there and had set up tents for the day’s event. They had arrived several days earlier and had been staying at the Yadkawlang base.

A group of villagers had already gathered and the commander was informed that the local mullah, Ali Muhammadi, had also arrived. One of the mullah’s men rushed inside the school block to call him. When the mullah came out, the commander greeted him and they proceeded to brief the crowd that had gathered. The main reason the mullah was involved is to convince the villagers that what the Malaysians came here to do is for the benefit of the village.

The local Afghans are actually very apprehensive about foreigners and I can only guess that it must be due to the decades of oppression they have faced from the foreigners that have invaded their country; from the British to the Russians and now the Americans. So it was important that MALCON ISAF 2 implement the proper strategy if they wanted to penetrate and help the local community. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite
Part 8 of 10
‘Lending the Afghans a hand’
Zan is embedded with the Malaysian Armed Forces as they patrol 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 8).

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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