Men of the Year 2015: Fahri Azzat, Activist & Solicitor
Justice is a Sense of Right and Wrong
Fahri developed a sense of the unfairness of things from an early age and his mixed heritage only brought all the attending issues into sharper focus. “I got to see both sides of the divide, and I suppose that’s a privileged position,” he says. As a lawyer he gets to address issues from a legal perspective which presents limitations of its own. “If I got to relive my life, I might have been an engineer or some sort of doctor because I realise the law doesn’t deal with real issues. The root of the problem can be a deeper sense of dissatisfaction with the way life has turned out in general. People are always on the offensive because they don’t want to look weak, but maybe, just maybe, sometimes we need to sit back and think about things,” he adds.
Photographs by Vincent Paul Yong/Studio Verve, Outfits by Emporio Armani, Watches by Bell & Ross
His level-headed approach and keen sense of injustice have made him one of Malaysia’s top human rights campaigners. As grand as that sounds, heartbreak is always around the corner. “Malaysian courts tend to be more conservative. And it’s not uncommon to be told your arguments are rubbish, no matter how much heart you’ve invested in them, especially when you’re trying to push for something new and unfamiliar,” he says.
So how does he keep doing what he does? “I have a great bunch of friends, my ’Loyar Burok crew’. We’re always thinking about how we can do things better, what lessons we can learn from victory and defeat, and just support each other. Yeah we lose, we chill and hangout and we repair ourselves for the next round,” he concludes.