Ninie Ahmad: Off her yoga mat.

Her affirmations of staying optimistic especially when she's (upside) down.

I might not win on Malay TV (again) but I am never defeated.

with 10 comments

Earlier this June, I was invited to be a guest on Malaysia’s leading actor and comedian (I have to describe this since my website’ statistic shows that 30% of my readers are not from Malaysia) Afdlin Shauki‘s new talk show called EK ELEH to be aired on Astro’s new channel called Astro Warna. Astro Warna is one of the channels introduced in Astro’s new package called Astro Mustika and to be able to view these channels, one has to pay an additional RM12.95 on top of the normal subscription fee.

When I got the call, I was thrilled and over-the-top excited knowing that other guests every week have included a string of most familiar faces on Malaysia entertainment industry to name a few – Siti Nurhaliza, Mawi, Estranged, Nabil, YASMIN AHMAD, Atilia, Mila paired with selected personalities from interesting fields. I was paired with one of Malaysia’s beloved film director, Aziz M. Osman (from XX-Ray, Puteri Impian, Idola and Seri Dewi Malam success) during that particular episode of Ek Eleh.

As usual, every Friday night exactly at 10pm, I will switch the Astro channel to CH132 only to see Afdlin NOT in the attire I remember him wearing during that shoot in June (mind you – I have been subscribing and paying additional RM12.95 on top of my RM165.++ Astro bill monthly for the past five months just for a glimpse of myself in this show) UNTIL TONIGHT.

I started calling my mom, my baby sister and texting my close friends to tune in as I will finally be on tonight. I wanted them to see that I pretzeled Afdlin himself to a Parivarta Anjali Mudra (Inverted Prayer Position) on national TV!

To my utmost surprise and biggest horror, they replaced my (almost 20-minutes of full-on) interview with ‘the best footage’ out of all 26 episodes as this would be their last episode ever.

I can’t say I am not furious because I am.

They (Ek Eleh production team? ASTRO? Afdlin himself?) could have had the courtesy to AT LEAST call and inform me in advance and saved me the RM12.95 X 5 (months to strictly watching Ek Eleh hoping it was my episode aired every week) I have been paying plus the embarrassing Friday nights I did not go out just to not miss my (only?) TV appearance.

And to do this on the very last time it is aired?

I feel sorry FOR THEM for they feel the need to do this.

I feel sorry for all Malay media that still feel reluctant to feature me and help promote BE Yoga as to they thought yoga is banned in Malaysia.

I feel sorry for all of you that still think yoga is banned in Malaysia.



excerpt from The Star, 2 December 2008:

Sultan: Don’t harp on trivial issues


The Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, known as a person who speaks his mind, gives his views on several current issues – from the changing political scenario after March 8 to the recent fatwa on yoga.


Could Tuanku comment on the controversy surrounding the fatwa prohibiting Muslims from practising yoga?

State religious matters come under the jurisdiction of the Rulers. It is a state matter. In states with no Sultans, it is the King who decides. It is not the prerogative of the Mentri Besar or Chief Minister, let’s be clear.

In the case of a fatwa, there are many steps to be taken before it can be gazetted. The state Fatwa Council, chaired by the Datuk Mufti, has to deliberate on such matters. Anyone can make proposals but finally, it is the Ruler who has the final say.

Islam is a beautiful religion. It is a practical religion. It must be known for its values and compassion. It is not about punishments or banning this or that. This has unfortunately happened. Islam is not about force. Substance is more important, let’s not forget.

I noticed that in the case of the yoga issue, some people seemed eager to jump the gun by making announcements to show their authority when they have none. The result is confusion. Muslims and non-Muslims are confused.

An indepth and thorough study by the state Fatwa Council must be conducted before any decision is sent to me for approval.

Our beloved Sultan of Selangor who is the Ruler of Islam in Selangor and all other Sultans & Kings in all states in Malaysia DID NOT EVEN APPROVE of this ‘Yoga Ban’ fatwa – so who are you to assume otherwise?

Wake up, Malaysia (and Malaysian media)!

I have had enough of:


CUSTOMER A: Can I just sign-up for Pilates classes at BE Yoga?

ME: May I know why?”

CUSTOMER A: My husband does not allow me to join yoga classes.

ME: Have you or your husband been to a yoga class personally?

CUSTOMER A: Errr, no.


CUSTOMER B: Do you offer other classes like Belly Dance or Aerobics class?

ME: No, we don’t. We are a yoga centre.

CUSTOMER B: Oh, that’s too bad. My church does not encourage yoga as a workout. They say it is an evil movement.

Please put a stop to embarrassing ourselves, other Malaysian Malays, other Malaysian Muslims after that headlines of ‘MALAYSIA BANS EXERCISE FOR MUSLIMS’ on CNN, BBC and the world already!

Yoga is NOT a religion and if you really did follow the final ruling last year, you would acknowledge that yoga is NOT banned after all.

Peace, light and plenty of common sense.


Written by Ninie Ahmad

November 28, 2009 at 12:24 AM

10 Responses

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  1. We endure and we educate. And the rest? Is up to the audience/listeners to decide for themselves, for better or for worse. We can do no more than that.

    My heart goes out to you for the replacement of your interview segment but I am sure more recognition/interviews will come you way, esp. given how you commit yourself so whole-heartedly to your calling.


    Life for Beginners

    November 28, 2009 at 9:34 AM

  2. how did you find about it? (the reason why they banned your episode).


    November 28, 2009 at 10:12 AM

  3. Great post, great blog!


    November 30, 2009 at 12:39 AM

  4. I can’t believe they did that. But then again, this is nothing new – what people don’t understand, they choose to ignore. That’s just typical human behaviour.


    December 1, 2009 at 1:17 PM

  5. I haven’t commented on your blog since you moved (i think) but I have the strongest urge to chip in today! I feel your angst.. i really do. I’m not a TV person (but i can be a couch potato)…and I turned on the TV one miserable morning a couple of months back and it was some program running in the morning. They had this slot for “Healthy Living” (in BM la..i terlupa what izit dy)…and a group of Malay ladies (not meant to be racists..I’m just describing) were there to teach some “healthy lifestyle” through senam pagi that you can do anytime and anywhere… GUESS WHAT????????????? SHE WAS SHOWING SURYA NAMASKAR!!!!! ON FREAKING NATIONAL TV!!!! and all she freaking has to do is change the freaking names like “bengkok belakang…stretch tangan”…OMG! I almost died-ed a million times thinking of the big hoo-haa they made about Yoga and Islam! I DONT CALL THAT PRACTICING WHAT YOU PREACH!


    December 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

  6. and… (rubbin in further eh? sowee)…it sounds like they didn’t realize the person they invited on their show is a Yoga Instructor!! DUH!!


    December 2, 2009 at 4:02 PM

  7. Ninie, come back on BFM. Let’s talk about this!


    December 2, 2009 at 7:14 PM

  8. hi. i admire your guts for standing up for what you believe in. i agree with what you said, sadly, a lot of people out there tend to misinterpret things and some just blindly follow whats being said to them.


    December 6, 2009 at 10:29 PM

  9. As a silent reader of your blog, I would like to ask you, does Parivarta Anjali Mudra (Inverted Prayer Position) got something to do with Hinduism? Sorry if I pissed you off with this stupid question.


    December 7, 2009 at 10:32 PM

  10. I’m sorry, but I find this really funny…especilly SCENE B!


    December 9, 2009 at 3:55 AM

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