ASAMtv Live from Polyfonix: Charles J Tan


ASAMtv Presents: Love Strips no. 1

by Lutfi Hakim and Jiayueh Choong for ASAMtv.

Like us on Facebook! http://on.fb.me/theasam 


Sketch video up!

The Asam crew scour Fitzroy Gardens for subjects to capture with their pen, camera and videocameras.

This is the first time ASAM has organised a sketch event, and there will be more to come.

Join us next time!

Video by Lutfi Hakim for ASAMtv.


ASAM sketching session 1

So we successfully held our first ASAM sketching/photography event.
Turn-up was good, those who woke up early on a sunny Sunday morning reaped benefits in the form of colourful pictures (to add to their collection).

Picture credits go to Christina Seow, Charlene Chen, Tom Kitchen, Ratna Wu, Sue-Anne Lim. For beautiful old-school camera pictures, you can follow Charlene at http://plasticstory.tumblr.com/

Some more pictures of...


Pity Poetry #1

We try something new this week: Pity Poetry.

This the chance for all the ASAM (otherwise known as Aku Sepi Aku Merana) fans out there, to share their emo-ness to the world.

Don't limit your unhappiness to status messages and constricting tweets, put them here for all cyberspace to see for eternity.

As Shrek would say, 'better out than in!'

As no proper poet managed to send their pieces in time, as the editor I thought I'd get the ball rolling with 2 cringingly amateur, but definitely emo, poems of mine.

If you think you can spare me further embarrassment in the future, send your works to asam.melbourne@gmail.com - Ltf

Soul-baring begins after the jump


Best of October's ASAMevent 2010

Videos after the jump

3rd ASAMevent and counting

I always been in love with live acts where spontaneity rules. Sure, there are hiccups, but a person is only a mere human being. This is the philosophy of ASAMevent.

So what is this ASAMevent? ASAMevent is a platform for people to share their stuff with others. To express their feelings and thoughts to the audience rather than keeping it to their self. Better yet they do it by expressing those sentiments through their songs, poems, movies, and etc.

continues after the jump


Local boys Fear of A Brown Planet bring up the heat at Allah Made Me Funny's Melbourne gig

A group of people walked out of the audience after a joke about ANZAC Day.  ‘It’s not funny!’ a lady shouted to the comic before walking out with the rest of the group. The comic, Amer Rahman, coolly replied, ‘Then why is everyone else laughing?’

continues after the jump


Joaquin Phoenix doesn't want to be famous?

We will never know if Casey Affleck made a mistake when he let slip that 'I'm Still Here' is a work of fiction early in the film's release. The announcement, planned or otherwise, colours how a viewer views this mockumentary.

 For a long time, the many stunts, appearance and media buzz that sprung from Joaquin Pheonix career change allowed the project to be question mark in the public's mind: is this actually happening?
The number of views, column inches and airtime that the Letterman appearance alone generated showed how valuable this confusion was to the makers of the movie.

Continues after the jump


Short Flicks 2010: good stories shine through anyway

I guess it’s natural to be dismissive of home movies. We generally like our entertainment to be shiny and smooth-looking, qualities generally absent from the grainy outputs of our wannabe auteur friends.

For the technical purist, La Trobe Student Film and Theatre’s Short Flicks, would have been an unmitigated disaster. In the time it took to watch the 9 shorts, you would have learned a lot about how not to shoot a film.

continues after the jump

Not being a friend’s home screening, slipping out for a drink midway wasn’t an option. Sitting through it was the only polite thing to do, besides being the only option. Slinking out unnoticed from the middle row of a cinema is actually very hard to do.

By now, I would’ve made a fair number of new enemies with the above review, but wait seething friends, there’s more!

Films are more than just dollies and good lighting and good, levelled sound, it’s also about the story.

Technique has to come paired Tale. We end up with Avatar otherwise.

The short films screened at Short Flicks offered many different stories to the viewers. The coordinators selected very well, and judging by the audience’s reaction, their efforts were much appreciated.

The beauty of the short film format is the flexibility to experiment and really be out there, without having to really worry about trivial matters like continuity, plausibility and the like.

The shorts on show demonstrated this. The final selection covered a wide range of genres, from bro-coms to surrealist love stories. There were few dull moments in the program.



Built around the simple premise of being slusheed by a masked stalker, George Lingard’s  beautifully shot tale of suspense plays on the paralysing dread we feel when facing predictably bad days.

In the dark

Is there a term for human-furniture romance? This short film follows the budding romance between a girl and a desk lamp. A surreal love story set in the suburbs, we see how everything just wants to be loved.


Almost like a stoner movie of two bros writing each other’s eulogies. Almost.


Short Flicks introduces future auteurs

by Syar S Alia

Short Flicks is a short film program held by La Trobe Student Theatre & Film and has been going on for more than 10 years. We ask for script submissions - they can be about anything and can be anywhere between 1 minute (or even less if you want) to about 20 minutes (we negotiate with those who want to do something longer, we try and encourage people to keep it simple) - sometime in May, select from those submissions a handful to support and fund. We have 9 this year that has made it all the way from script, and on October 4th when we show them at ACMI cinemas, to screen.

continues after the  jump


In Sydney: The Robots Came... and Went

When I first came to Melbourne, I was intrigued with public sculptures in the city, like the three business men and the dog at the corner of Collins and Swanston St, which is apparently named Larry Latrobe!
credit: http://melbourneartcritic.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/melbourne’s-public-sculpture/

I mean, sculptures makes us stop and stare admire, and think; which is what I was happy to see happen in Sydney for The Robots Are Coming exhibition (being part of the organizing team that made it happen).

continues after the jump

Spring 2010: what to wear?

Say goodbye to harsh weather and icy winds, Melbourne, because winter is finally over. It's finally time to keep our heavy coats away, reorganize our wardrobes and make way for spring. This season, it's a lot about getting girly and feminine- lace, nude, light-wash chambray and flowers!

Style tips and more after the jump! 

'14 years on, Sheila on 7 is still our home'

ASAMtv is super excited to introduce our latest guest: SHEILA ON 7!

video after the jump


Make anything a reason for you to write

So you're a writer in your mid 20s/30s. Yes young, and have everything else against you. Are you being overly critical
or is it just the nature of young ones to feel insecure and think that nothing is right. 

Credit: Dylan
When, you first picked up a pen and wrote, you just wanted to bash everything up, from the public's bad taste in music, typical soapy films that you think should only be in vcds, not in the cinema, on how cities should have more green places and so on and so forth.

Apart from maybe causing an uproar to the readers, you gain something. You revise your style of writing, your language, and your content. Maybe back then you are 'too young' and wanted some attention from the readers that you opt for extreme edgy kind of writings. Though, not all things suddenly turns wrong. It's just you.

continues after the jump


sunday sketching, 26/9/2010, 10.30am

Date: Sunday 26th September
Time: 10.30am
Venue: Fitzroy Gardens, meet outside conservatory

Photography, drawing
You need not be an amazing artist, just bring some pen and paper or your camera. Meet us, get into chat mode, and we’ll get some creative juices flowing in no time! And soon, we’ll be exchanging notes and ideas! It’ll be fun!
And the best part is, it’s FREE! (Did you know that people pay amounts to sketch at life drawing classes?)

Jia's story after the jump


We 'eid' too much

We're taking a break to rest our bursting stomaches today.

Who knew having so many nasi himpits, rendangs, almond londons, tat nenas and assorted other juadah cause so much discomfort!

From the ASAM family, Selamat Hari Raya!


Cory Doctorow: Artists earn more from sales if they do more

Don’t hate that downloader, he might be making you rich. ‘The most profligate downloaders are the most profligate anything,’ according to Cory Doctorow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ‘They are the ones who enjoy the most music, the one who downloads the most music and goes to the most gigs.’ Artists and content creators risk destroying valuable, financially lucrative, relationships by coming down hard on the illegal activity of these fans.


Marriage, the invitation to bridal misery

By Jiayueh Choong



So I’ve found the reason why Disney insists on playing on the sappy story line where the ditzy princess’ aim in life is no higher than settling for marriage with Mr. Love-at-first-sight.

Ever noticed that treasure-seeking adventure stories mostly involve an exploding temple/shrine/cove? I believe that therein lies a subconscious moral, to warn us that money should not come that easily to those who don’t work hard for it. Robbing/taking treasure that you did not collect comes with great life-threatening risks.


A backstage ticket to Malam Gemilang 2010's trailer shoot

In a special collaboration with KUAM, ASAMtv goes behind the scenes of this year's Malam Gemilang trailer shoot.

The producers recreate the feel of a 60s cocktail party on a chilly afternoon in a Melbourne suburb, with cues from classic P Ramlee films, giving it a unique Malaysian flavour.

Check out the costumes!

Video by Lutfi Hakim for ASAMtv.

Malam Gemilang 2010 Trailer after the jump.


Just Acapella it!

So you think you got talent eh? Rest assure, your not the only one with the talent. Here are round of talents that i've managed to gather, thanks to Youtube that had made the talent-sphere more reachable which might inspire you out there to go for extra mile. Seriously, don't hold back, unleash your talent. Who knows you might change the world. ;)

The Acapella.


So it's Merdeka again...

The humidity, the heat, the haze, we are thousands of miles away from all that.
credit: Zaiful

The cramped units of the cheap flats, the perilous hours on the roads; some of us have never seen that, some of us would rather forget.
But come the 31st, we raise our hands chant, 'Merdeka.'

Wanita dalam Pasungan: Some girls just don't get it

This movie was made in the late 70's, we were reminded halfway through the Q&A. 'Women in Indonesia then weren't expected to voice out,' Hendrick Gozali, the illustrious Indonesian producer, said. Male figures were not to be challenged. The thought itself was indecent for women.

So goes the thread in the movie 'Wanita dalam Pasungan' (Shackled Woman), a movie from 1980 screened as part of the Indonesian Film Festival. Fitria, a Javanese girl from Jogjakarta, is put under pasungan by her father to lift her insanity. He locks her away for years until a nosy Jakartan reporter discovers her existence and convinces her to tell her story.


CINtA: Nafsu pintu iman?

Tema Cinta sememangnya tema yang laris didagangkan didalam mana-mana produk baik dari penulisan, komposisi musik maupun filem. Namun intepretasi seorang karyawan dalam mempersembahkan tema ini berbeza-beza selari dengan apa yang seorang karyawan mahu audien mereka rasa.

Lambakan filem-filem yang menjadikan cinta sebagai tema utama dalam penceritaan mungkin kadang merimaskan namun harus kita sedar bahawa ini adalah satu tema yang universal dan utuh untuk dipersembahkan sejak mula manusia bekarya.

CINtA adalah satu filem pendek arahan Steven Facius yang baru sahaja tamat pengajian di Jakarta institute of Art dan karyanya ini adalah projek akhir tahun graduasi. Cinematografi filem ini memang baik disamping warna gambar yang merefleksikan elemen ikhlas dalam menyampaikan karya. Mungkin pembaca terpinga dan rasa seakan pernah menonton filem ini dek kerana terdapat beberapa filem keluaran Malaysia dan Indonesia yang menggunakan tajuk yang sama. Namun karya Steven Facius ini bukan seperti kisah cinta yang lain yang sarat memainkan emosi penonton yang fokus semata-mata pada hubungan antara sang teruna dan dara (Yang berakhir dengan pasangan berjaya melalui lautan duka lara dengan cinta mereka)


Crashing at SoundSekerta event.

Oh My Goshhhh, we did our first international artist interview!! Sorry for being all over excited! Pardon me.
Ok (exhale, inhale) . Last week we TERJAH at our neighbor nation event to see on what is the fuss about it. SoundSekerte as they call it, is a anual event held by PPIA to celebrate the traditional Indonesia culture and the modern indonesian culture.

For a start they have the coolest host ever. Pulling of lots of seriously good jokes that had made the audience laugh their lungs out (though we were having a problem understanding the jokes are). Apart from the traditional performance they also held Awards for the Indonesian studying/living here.

Lets go to best part, they have Ello for the first guest artist performer. At first I was kind of blur on who is this dude that have some kind of affaction with lots of this Indonesian girls. After singing Oasis and Radiohead cover, I have to admit that this macho-like dude is GOOD! I was informed that he was an Indonesia Idol winner, so no wonder. I should have studied his song earlier before coming to the event since most of his Indonesian song I really haven't have heard of. Yeah what a loss.

Right after that, the one and only Sheila On 7 came off rocking the stage. This is my all time favorite Indonesian band which I've listen to over and over during those schooling days. Playing their top-chart songs, they sure knew the audience mood well! Eros couldn't have been better with those smooth lead which I've been dreaming to watch him play live.

Overall it was awesome stuff by Sheila On 7. 14 years and still rocking. The best part is, we got them on ASAMtv!!! which would be at the web anytime soon, kan Mr Editor ;)
Roger and off.


A Pilgrim's journey

It really is a mindless film.

People bursting into coins, vegan super powers, and demon hipster chicks.

No part of the movie makes logical sense. No not even the plot about battling seven evil exes to win the girl.

The damsel here would be Ramona to her hapless knight in glow-in-the-dark armour, Scott Pilgrim. I mean, seriously, are we supposed to believe that Michael Cera is capable of anymore than looking and mumbling awkwardly. Yet here he is, leaping great distances, out-ninjaing his opponents, and other non-loserly activities, which of course includes getting the girl.

Actually, with social convention as a guide, you could say that he's already won the girl quite early on which renders the whole business of fighting the league of evil exes moot. Unless of course, the purpose of the skirmishes is to proclaim ownership over Ramona. For a character that's supposed to strong and independent, it's weird that Ramona would let her exes own her so physically like this.

Too many brain cells at work. Must switch off to enjoy.

Scott Pilgrim against the world is a fun movie that references everything from too cool for you hipsters to 8 bit music, things instantly relatable to the generation that grew up in the 90s. It accurately captures the spirit of these and mines it for hilarious amounts of irony that there is rarely a dull moment in the movie. With great music to go along with it.

So no don't come to the cinema hoping for a paradigm shift after the credits roll. If you need a movie to do that for you, you'd probably need to get a life anyway.


Melbourne Gadoh premier: killing the 1Malaysia fantasy

I wouldn't call it a mixed crowd. I saw many familiar faces, the core group of student activists who inevitably were at every event anyway. Here and there were friends of friends, significant others and the odd Australian who was roped in to watch somehow.

It was a premier, of sorts, a Melbourne premier, for Gadoh, a Malaysian film from 2009. It's difficult to not think of the movie as cliched, and it probably avoided even greater obscurity by it's frank communal dialogue.

The muhibbah-ist that I am, I found little amusement in the strong language used against each other by the opposing races. Melayu and Cina lah. Cina pendatang, Melayu bodoh, Cina pengotor, Melayu malas are all too familiar taunts from my growing up in Kuala Lumpur trying to fit in between groups of friends of different backgrounds that even when used in comic situations, I cannot laugh.

Of course, we Malaysians don't hate each other that much. We love our food irrespective of its origin.

So it was over Nasi Lemak, post-movie, that the conversation turned to hate. 'Is there really that much tension between the races?' asked the innocent. The answers varied: "Yes" "There were fights everyday in school." "Not to that extent." "Not everywhere." The answers were as diluted as the teh tariks.

Very little evidence exists to suggest that Malaysia is a frank and honest-speaking country. Maybe behind closed doors with fellow conspirators we share, but out in the open we live in a constant shade of bland; vague and dull.

So why do we continually put up with the increasing levels of ineptitude, injustices, and unhappiness?

Is the fact that our splintering society still works for us today enough for us to continue to say 'It's still alright.'?

Maybe we need films like 'Gadoh' to jolt us awake, no matter how rudely, and make us realise the dysfunctional relationship we've been sharing for so long. The realisation does not come with a solution, but it can be the start of a process towards a real solution. It can be the spark that makes us want to know the strangers who've been around us for so long, and start to understand them.

Then, maybe, we can actually live with one another under the same roof.


The Cinematic Muslim

It's hard for muslims to find a flattering image of themselves in movies. I'm one of them, trust me, I know. The muslim (or Arab - it doesn't matter really) characters inevitably revolve around terrorists, people oppressed by terrorists, people who want to be terrorists, or people who don't want to be associated with terrorists.

There is some variety, but it just seems a little monotonous.


Hujan kadang-kadang turun lebat

Pumped up from their explosive gig at Overdrive Miss Libertine, we pin down the hyper boys from Hujan for an exclusive Melbourne interview for AsamTV.

With a new album in the pipeline, Hujan is riding high, with no signs of the storm clouds clearing. We get them to explain their insistence on remaining independent despite commercial success, and how Hujan the organisation is run.

The launch of the phone that is supposed to change things that last year's phone changed

The iPhone 4 is finally in Melbourne.

Though we were personally weren't in the market for one, being the good little geeks that we are, we marched through the winter cold down to Bourke St to be there at its midnight Melbourne launch yesterday.

No way were we going to pass on the chance to be witnesses to a part of tech history.

There were long lines of people clad in layers of clothing standing patiently,single file, on both sides of the street. One line headed into the Telstra shop, while the other Optus, but all these people stood there in the cold, for hours by now, waiting for their turn to enter the shops and purchase Steve's new magical wonder.

Or was that the iPad now?

Rare moments of geek glamour

There's no point turning this article into a teardown of the device for two reasons:
  1. We don't actually have one on us to play around with
  2. Your average shopper's not buying the phone for its impressive specs.
Besides, you're going to get one anyway. It works, and it makes perfect sense after all.

So when are you getting yours?


Will Bieber Fever last the night?

The name, the songs, the haircut, all impossible to avoid for most of us

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="148" caption="Credit: Jonasismymiddlename"][/caption]

within the realm of popular culture.

You can proclaim your ignorance and purity, but I doubt there are many left amongst us who has not been touched by Bieber Fever.


Human Nature #1-5

Zahirah ‘ZZ’ Zulkifly, our guest writer, spends a lot of time working in and out of student organisations.Currently MASS's sitting president, ZZ mines her experience to share with us some of her observations on ‘Human Nature’.

Human nature #1: Where you come from can have a positive or negative effect on your personality. But usually, it's negative.
We all have friends who come from rural and city areas. Have you noticed that there can be significant differences between the two? Like it or not, location and surroundings influences the way we act and behave a lot.  An old Malay saying says, “masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang kerbau, menguak” which simply means that you have to adapt yourself to the surroundings where you are. This might be the main reason people change as they move to a new location. How good or bad the changes are? It is up to the person’s tolerance to peer pressure as well as his or her principles. All you have to do is just remember, who you are, your roots and your purpose of being there.

Living the news through Twitter

Freelance journalist Andrew Marshall's tweets on the shooting of Thai general Seh Daeng in Bangkok yesterday was widely retweeted by Twitter users who were interested in the latest developments in Thailand.

Marshall, currently reporting in Thailand, gave instantaneous updates of the incident and through his tweets (seen above) we get as sense of the uncertainty and chaos in the minutes that followed.

Inaccurate information and errors, likely unchecked, is rapidly posted anyway to readers. An unforgivable oversight in other reporting circumstances which could cause the journalist his credibility, but not so on Twitter.

Rather the contrary is true, as more readers 'followed' @Journotopia (Marshall's Twitter page) after the first tweets despite the error.

For all the attention it receives, Twitter is still seen by many in journalism as a frivolous novelty. There remains a major absence of veteran and working journalists from the site (though this is slowly changing), and a confusion remains on how to use the site.

Major news organisations concerned with the effects of their reporters tweeting to their reputation (and bottomlines) have put out guidelines on its use. Reuters' Handbook on Journalism, for example, instructs its employees to 'Not scoop the feed' in their tweets in its new social media section, while The Washington Post expressly forbids it employees from expressing any content that is less than objective.

Credibility and profit matters aside, there is little innovation in the way major news organisations utilise the technology to rewrite journalism. Instead, we find new and exciting trends emerging from the margins.

In the ongoing Thai troubles, an increasing number of news readers are looking to alternative sources for the newest developments as they happen. In what is looking to become trend for news junkies, readers are following multiple twitter feeds for the latest unfiltered information from various unconnected sources, with little regard for their journalistic status.

The updates are constrained by Twitter's 140 character limit, and individually can only communicate bits and pieces of a situation. It is in a timeline that contains multiple feeds that we see the net effect of the information, as they slowly come together to create a landscape of what's going on from different vantage points, and potentially from different viewpoints.

In what pundits have dubbed 'ambient journalism', this is a new way of experiencing the news, though not without the expected pitfalls.

As there can be as much misinformation as there is information, concerns on the reliability of ambient journalism hampers its usefulness.

But when read as a 'first draft of history', it becomes invaluable.



Throughout the show, my eyes kept sliding down to the knees and elbows of the actors looking for marks and bruises. The play's physical intensity operated at a level higher that i was accustomed to that at times I could not tune out the thought that someone might get hurt.

Trans-mute combines elements of butoh and cabaret to create a show that was at times odd, puzzling and violent. 'There is no story here,' I've been told, leaving me, and the audience, to our devices to interpret the chaos onstage.

Bollywood: Panduan untuk hidup dalam kisah cinta agung

Menyoroti kembali zaman kanak-kanak aku, tampak warna-warna yang boleh aku kenal pasti sebagai 'distinct' yang membentuk paling kurang tidak aku yang sekarang. Aku dibesarkan dengan menonton pelbagai jenis hiburan yang terhidang di peti televisyen. Ada yang membina, ada yang entah apa-apa. Menonton seleksi kartun Disney dan rancangan siri Sesame Street paling tidak memberi gambaran akan pelbagai perkara yang kebanyakan menunjukkan moral itu bagaimana.


AsamTV Zee Avi

AsamTV. Zee Avi. 'Nuff said.


Real roles for reel men

There has to be an end to the wimpy deadbeat male characters we see in movies today. But more importantly, there must have been a start, before which cinema actually portrayed responsible, respectable men.

Have audiences not tire of the many man-childs filling the screen? Shallow with the emotional maturity of 15 year-olds, for whom life seem to revolve around sports, videogames and bongs. The thought that film-makers are only producing characters like these because people are able to identify with them makes me worry too much about our young males that I simply refuse to believe it.


ASAMTv with Reza Salleh Malaysian Independent Singer-songwriter

It ain't easy being indie

In this week's episode of Asamtv, Azrina meets with Reza Salleh at his recent gig in Melbourne.

Reza shares his thoughts on his inspirations, life as a musician, and selling out.


Backstage at Muzika

I'd say my first real involvement with Muzika Musim Luruh began two weeks before the event in the basic radio studios of 3ZZZ in Fitzroy. I was butting in on the Malay program that night, and the committtee members turned up to promote the event.

They brought along with them free tickets to give away, and once announced, the studio phones were never hotter.

An auspicious start, it seemed, for the final stage of a project four months in the making.


An ancient confession

It’s a book that chased me around. Recommended, referenced, and mentioned, so I read it. I bought myself the abridged Penguin version with the pretty cover that said ‘God grant me chastity and continence but not yet.’

An awfully familiar line around here. Something you'd say to yourself to silence your conscience when you habitually do something wrong.

This saint had a mistress and a son born out of wedlock. He had a mother too, and she never stopped praying for him. He knew this of course but was determined to do things by enquiry and reason, more so than faith. He harboured Manichean views before he turned Catholic.

At this point of reading the book, I am reminded of the saying that it is better to be stupid in truth rather than rationalising error. Sometimes being too intelligent just doesn’t pay. There are catalogues of views, opinions and thoughts right in front of us, each offering their different takes on things. The PC thing to say here is that every opinion is equally valid. History would tell us otherwise.

Maybe it’s not about validity, but about the right of every opinion to exist and be expressed so that they its claims may be taken apart and put back together for validation.

Humbleness must be what we need to always keep us grounded. St Augustine was fortunate to have received an epiphany that made him leave his world of sin. Miracles and epiphanies however aren’t much of an option for us earthier individuals, so that only leaves us with humbleness. The humbleness to listen to other people’s views and recognise their merits, but more importantly, the humbleness to listen to other people’s thoughts and recognise our faults.

The title of the book is 'Confessions of a sinner'. Don't bother reading if you aren't one.


My Tribe: A Home For Your Work On The Web

by: Juliana Zainal Aznam

Looking for a place to share your work?My Tribe is the perfect opportunity for you to submit audio, video, stills and text on the web.


Basking within the vibes of Zee Avi

Zee Avi was playing two shows in Melbourne recently did you know? If you didn't . . .


Well I had the opportunity to see the show and personally meet her for a chat so obviously I have nothing but nice things to say about her because as far and I'm concerned we're best mates whether she likes it or not.

Her music, is good. But you all know that. You've subscribed to her YouTube channel when she was still known as KokoKaina, you've sang and swayed along to her songs to the point that your ears start twitching and you get strangely excited when you see an uke, and you've bought the CD's or snagged it off iTunes. However, you've might not seen her play live and to that I say 'you're missing out on the most important part of the marvelousness that is Zee Avi'. I am one of those people who prefer my music live. "the medium is the message" as Marshall McLuhan would put it and everyone who hears it nods. The show was.. [ believe it or not, I paused and left my laptop for about 40 minutes trying to think of a suitable adjective and i finally found one ] ... fun. Incredibly fun. Watching a lady in an oversized sweater with an uke playing songs that are lyrically and atmospherically heavy is just so much fun. I would imagine that it would be hard to stay chirpy when singing about drug addiction and cheating partners, but everyone was singing along, swaying, especially these two big, tall, burly, ang mohs who were at the top of their lungs cue "my phone was on silent, I was at the gym!". Good times.

I caught up with her after the show and we hung out with a small group of friends and chatted about, owh gosh, all sorts of things, art, old school movies, Bob Marly, Tarsem Singh, Quentin Tarantino, malaysian food, malaysian urban slang, the works. She is such an affable, approachable person, it's beautiful. And why shouldn't she be? A friend of mine commented on a ring that Zee was wearing that night that had a Piet Mondrian influenced design on it and she responded with a Vito Corleone impression, she got excited when she saw my clone trooper keyring and when we talked about malaysian food she just sulked. "don't la guys, I rindu". I guess before last night, I only recognize her on YouTube, posters, cover's of CD's. Things. In my head the idea that she is just as Malaysian as I am just blurred along the way. I was wrong. And am glad of it.

I got home way past midnight, with a feeling in me that I initially thought was star-struck. But gathering my thoughts I came to understand that emotion as satisfaction of being involved in a decent conversation. She's so approachable, so friendly, and I had so much fun talking to someone who was so actively involved in turning creative ideas into songs.

You should be able to tell, I'm finding it hard to keep this as a music review because I've met her and spoke to her, and listened to her past the barriers of webcam, microphone, stage, and she's wonderful. I am excited to see what she would do next as a musician. And I do wish her the best.

Asam Siam
Wiriyak Suvanmani

Zee Avi's website link : www.zeeavi.com
Zee Avi's iTunes : click here


The Asam Team at Asam Event March 2010 Videos

Naturally we'd put our videos up first!

More after the break.


Farish Noor's book of lectures reimagines Nusantaran history

A lot of people will find a lot of things wrong with this book. Malay ultras will not appreciate their much-loved Hang Tuah reframed as the universal man, Islamic types would have much to say about the celebration of hindu-buddhist pasts, and the people of the region would not like the thought that they continually feed the neo-feudal foundations that form the governments of the day.


Alice in Wonderland.

Before I begin, we need to be clear that the reason why Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) is so famed, and I dare say, immortal in the literary world is that he is a logician that speaks nonsense. And obviously I mean it in the most impressed manner. He has a way with words that skates beyond that is understandable but still capable of forming images in our heads. And that was the entire point of Alice in Wonderland. Knowing that itself, I do not think that it translates very well into a movie.


Reading, problems and art

Here's a little something from The Age.

"Reading is our favorite art form to consume. 84% of Australian say they read books"

Impressive figure eh? You cannot walk around Melbourne and not see at least one person reading a book, whether while in a tram, or waiting for one, in the park or even when lining up for movie tickets.

How many of you turn to books when you have a problem? Life problems, I mean. I dare bet that most of you have never thought of such an idea before. Many of us would turn to friends, who tell us how cruel life can be, sobbing while slowly expressing how difficult breaking-up is, angrily complaining how much of a jerk  your so-called best friend is. Others might  just keep to themselves and hope that time will heal the heart, the friendship, the annoyance.

Friends are not entirely reliable when it comes to solving problems though. Most of them are just there to comfort you, telling all those good things you wanted so much to hear. I'm not saying thats bad. But lets put it this way; it's good in a bad way because at the end of the day your problems aren't really solved. In fact, your problems may even worsen when you discover that those words of advice weren't truly the keys to solving your problem.

Here's an example. Let say you had a huge fight with one of your best friends. You go to another best friend and tell them about the fight you had. The friend might comfort you and might wanted to cool you down by saying that the best friend is a jerk and should apologize. The problem is, you were the bad one.

I'm not making a generalisation, and saying that all friendly advice is 'ill-advised'. But to say that most of them are, would not be an overstatement.

I once had this huge problem (for me at least, i'm not sure if anyone else would call it that). Apart from not having a friend that i can and truly rely on (don't tell them, its just how I feel), I kept to myself, and repeated those magic words "time heals". It worked for me before, But not this time. The issue  continued to haunt me. At last i told a friend and asked for his advice. Though his advice was fairly logical, I could not figure out whether it was told to comfort me or to solve the problem.

Thats when i tried something different. I bought this book that is fairly related to the problems that i was having and started reading it. Reading the book, i felt if as i'm talking to the soul itself (mine of course), which provided me with an insight into what my problems really were about while the author gave some advice on how to deal with/solve them. The thing with the book is, you surely knew that the book would never please you. Most of the advice is bitter but medicine taste worst eh? and look at what miracles medicine has brought us.

Furthemore, all of the writing was written based on the experience of thousands of people facing the same problems that we have. So the odds of solving the problems are high enough. You'll be amazed to find out that you are not the only one having such miserable life, and others are much worse off. The key is solving it once and for all. Not just hoping some good words to please you and time healing miracle.

At the end, its all up to you. No matter how much books you  read, or advice you hear, be it from friends, family, you are the one that have to do the final step in acting accordingly to solve the problem. God will never help you, if you yourself never make an effort in doing so.

Now, no wonder Australian love reading books and even regard it as an art form. Reading is for nerds? Think again!

Melbourne essentials

If you find yourself alarmed by the hail falling from the sky last weekend, don't. That is merely the way Melbourne shows its love to newcomers, by throwing rocks at them like boys do to girls in sekolah rendah.
Epic Hail by Shiny Things

I'm seriously sorry for you new arrivals. When I first came here some time ago, things were normal. Summer was hot and dry, you could hate the Prime Minister without having to explain yourself, and you got curry-bash because you deserved it. It's all different now, nothing's the same now. You, my Bata-wearing new friends, are in a completely different Melbourne.

Down in front by looking glass
In my role as unsolicited guide, I first offer this piece of sagely advice: gather every thought you have about Melburnian campus life, and chuck it in the bin (some local lingo there, take note). A SAM or AUSMAT certificate does not prepare you for life within the hallowed halls of Parkville, Clayton, or Hoyts Melbourne Central if you're in RMIT. You will find little discipline, motivation and support, and that's just for waking up for 9am classes. Taking it easy is an extremely seductive option, but do so at your own perril. (rolling r added for effect.)

Make friends, and soon. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to break into cliques. In university, girls (and boys) are like cookies; you snooze, you lose.

And please, if you're here with mates (aha!), don't forget them just because you have some unexplainable need to hangout with whatever new bunch of people who take you in out of pity. Pity works for some people, but for the rest of us it's just sad. Besides, you might need those bridges you burnt one day in the future. Which can turn out to be not so distant sometimes.

Being active is good, but don't invest to much of yourself in clubs and societies. You can make friends outside of club circles. You should make friends out of club circles. Constant club meetings does not necessarily lead to deep meaningful conversations. Which you need; trust me.

Have fun. Responsibly. Think off all the crazy stuff you can do now with your new-found freedom. Do only half of that. You need your brains for your studies too. And writing for ASAM.

So those are some tips plucked from my reservoir of wisdom that I now share with you my fob brethren. Heed them, and tread wisely the road ahead. Godspeed.


YHA Sydney Harbour

My 2nd day in sydney began abruptly. A staff member stormed into my dorm, and announced that 'two boys were supposed to have checked out at ten am'. It was already 10.15. That was how I got turned out of my room. A humiliating experience, but educational nonetheless. Never overstay your welcome, or checkout time.

Yha apparently has a 10pm checkout time, strictly enforced (as i had recently discovered) failing to comply with this will incur you a fine.

The rooms were good for hostel standards. clean, neat, with a private bath in each room, travelers have a choice of renting out the male, female or mixed dorms (four to a room), or the twin sharing ones.

This is a backpackers hostel, so you will be sharing rooms with other people. if you're the sort to mingle with new people, you'll find plenty of opportunity here to get to know people from all over the globe, and their associated smells, sounds and sleeping habits.

View Larger Map
Rooms start from 46 dollars a night, check in at 2pm.

Upcoming events: Massive BBQ


"Bring Your Appetite!"

Upcoming Events: Pesta Warisan Melayu

The Victorian Malay Community is a community that values the uniqueness and beauty of their proud heritage. This is personified in their arts and culture. The passion of their arts is not only in their song and dance but is reflected in their traditional attire/wedding costume, customs and craft. The tantalizing Malay Cuisines is world renown and celebrated in all occasions.

Upcoming events: Muzika Musim Luruh

This autumn, Melbourne hosts Muzika Musim Luruh – the only event designed to explore and showcase the musical talent of Malaysian youth in Victoria, Australia.


Fashionosophy: The Other's clothes

Syazwina Saw returns with another edition of Fashionosphy.

Some of you may have read my previous article, and perhaps are well aware of my extreme dislike of leggings. Of course, though there were few dissenting voices in the comment pages, there are people who disagree. To paraphrase a dear friend and violent critic, I was wrong to think that people dressed without thought.

This is what I don't understand by Malingering

‘People actually do think when they dress,’ she argued. Fashion did not rely on what the wearer was thinking when he/she bought said piece of clothing, but instead what value they placed on it once they put it on their selves.

A pair of leggings may look perfect on a model on a runway, but those characteristics the leggings embody are values that the designer and the model placed on it. The value they placed on it is what we – the common people who drool over the runway stills – call ‘fashion’.

Problem is, we expect those same attributes to magically transform us once we put them on. We copy these styles and trends in hopes that they will make us attractive, and pretty, and confident, whereas it actually works the other way around. Fashion as self-expression then gives way to clothes being expected to express who we are.

It’s the same in the way we treat our traditional clothes. We’ve projected on our baju kurungs, baju melayu, sarees, dhotis, cheongsams and samfoos the same values that foreigners see in them: as exotic, formal clothing, only meant for special events and for that token expression of national/cultural pride. It’s as though we’re viewing these symbols of our culture as ‘the Other’ – as though they don’t belong to us, and that we merely borrow them.

So who do we blame for this internal westernisation that’s happened to our generation? The media? MTV? Project Runaway? Tim Gunn, the style guru in Runway? (No, not Tim Gunn! He’s so awe-tastic!)

It’s a sad side effect of globalization, unfortunately. It’s prevalent worldwide, as the world comes closer and closer together, and power politics come into play and dictate what we see as ‘normal’ and ‘everyday’.

simplicity cheongsam 1447 by carbonated
What we can do is to downplay this alienation of our culture. We can stop viewing our traditions only via National Geographic documentaries and our fashion only through Zang Toi’s reinterpretations. Let’s start wearing our clothes like they are ours – own them, and not just on special occasions. Yes, even in a foreign land like Melbourne. In fact, Melbourne with it’s eclectic fashion sense will even embrace your culture and it’s traditional dress. I’ve found there’s no other place where wearing the baju kurung has felt more natural.

This business of wearing ‘traditional wear’ to class and to work may seem passé to your fellow countrymen, but stuff them.  Fashion is about our values, on our selves.


Sound engineer needed for Muzika

A message from our friends at Muzika Musim Luruh:

Muzika Musim Luruh, is a charity gig to be held on 7 April 2010 in Melbourne.

We urgently need a sound engineer to be in charge of mixing and other related activities on event day.



Asam blog is taking a short break while your team of crack writers relax. recuperate and rejuvenate.

Normal programming will resume in two weeks time.

Any messages of love, concern or marriage proposals can be sent to Asam dot melbourne at gmail dot com.

See you soon!


Mat Jenin di Rod Laver Arena

Ini kisah seorang Mat Jenin yang tiada pernah berhenti untuk berangan-angan, bermimpi. Orang kata dia ini hampir gila. Masakan tidak, untuk mengeluarkan sejumlah wang yang besar hanya untuk menatap dua insan memukul balas sebiji bola kuning di tengah arena biru, bagi kebanyakan tiada langsung tampak berbaloi.

Namun Mat Jenin ini tidak sedikit mengambil pusing. "Apa aku kisah, bukan aku guna duit engkau." Jawab Mat Jenin ini.

Suatu hari, datang dua orang insan dari teluk Altona. Seorang tampak sibuk, bekerjaya. Tugas menghantar watikah menjadi sumber pendapatannya. Dan yang lagi seorang sibuk mengelola pelbagai persatuan. Orang kata beliau sangat berpengaruh di negeri ini. Berkatalah salah seorang dari mereka.

"Hai Jenin, kau tak mahu segak berbaju Melayu di kalangan lautan manusia hari itu nanti"

"Gila apa, aku masih waras lagi"

"Ini bukan kerja gila hai Jenin. Maharaja Najib telah pun sibuk mewarwarkan projek 1malaysia malah Maharaja sebelum ini selalu menggunakan slogan Malaysia Boleh, apa kamu tak mahu menyahut seruan maharaja?"

"Ini peluang hai Jenin untuk kamu dikenali di pentas dunia, silap hari bulan namamu akan mahsyur di pentas dunia"

Mat Jenin pulang berfikir dalam akan cadangan itu dan akhirnya nekad untuk berbaju Melayu di temasya itu.
Berangkat lah Si Jenin ke gelanggang beradu Rod Laver Arena sambil segak berbaju melayu. Namun songkok tiadalah dapat dia temui malah kalau ikutkan hati mahu sahaja dia ke Melaka menempa Keris untuk di bawa bersama


"Tanah Malaysia?"

"Ia pak"

"Ada apa gerangan berpakaian segak? Ada keraian?"

"Tiada keraian cuma mahu berbangga dengan baju ini di negara orang", malu Si Jenin yang sebenarnya beliau mahu namanya dikenali, mahu masyhur.

Petarungan antara Gladiator Federer dan Gladiator Murray berlangsung dengan gah. Pembukaan diserikan dengan alunan musik oleh kugiran Jersey Boys amat meruntun jiwa. Setiap lontaran suara memukau hadirin hanyut dalam khayalan.

Ada bisik-bisik mengatakan si jaguh Federer akan tewas kepada anak muda Murray, namun pengalaman mengatasi segalanya. Gladiator Federer mudah mengetepikan Gladiator Murray walaupun di akhir set Murray agak degil untuk dijinakkan.

Penonton bersorak puas. Si Jenin takjub dengan disiplin penonton yang senyap bilamana permainan berlangsung. Kalau ada pun yang bersuara ketika permainan berlangsung akan diherdik sehingga dia tiada berani bersuara. Ini yang anak Malaysia perlukan menurut hemat Si Jenin, disiplin.

Gembiralah Gladiator Faderer membawa pulang kemenangan ke-16 di arena Grand Slam. Tepukan gemuruh penonton memenuhi setiap ruang arena.
Si Jenin puas dengan setiap acara yang berlangsung dan sedar bahawa banyak yang perlu orang kampung halamannya belajar untuk menjadi terbaik dan dikenali di pentas dunia. Tiada jalan mudah.

Si Jenin menyangkakan dengan berpakaian Baju Melayu namanya akan masyhur namun ternyata jangkaannya meleset. Namun dia tidak pernah berhenti. Di samping untuk meningkatkan kualiti diri dia berjanji akan menjajah disetiap kejohanan dengan berbaju Melayu dan selepas ini bersongkok lengkap. Pengembaraan Mat Jenin baru sahaja bermula....

"Hai Ali Baba, Wimbeldon kamu berbaju melayu lah!"

"Challenge accepted", dengat loghat British si Ali Baba.