I remember the first time I met Abdillah Zamzuri.
I was attending an outdoor demonstration at Speakers' Corner in July last year, organised by independent group From Singapore to Palestine. A gathering with more than 300 people raising awareness on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, 30-year-old Abdillah was one of the speakers, who touched on the importance of the integration of different communities. After exchanging contacts on Facebook, we met for coffee and had a great chat, along with another mutual friend of ours.
As modern friendships go, we hardly saw each other after that, and he became that friend whose life and times you keep abreast of only through Facebook and Instagram updates. From there, I had always gathered that he mentors youths and holds creative workshops — which is why I almost fell off my chair when I saw Abdillah's face on television recently.
It's not everyday you personally know of someone running for the General Elections. In between his rallies and campaigns as a Singapore People's Party (SPP) candidate for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, I managed to chase him down for a rapid fire interview.
Why did you decide to run for elections?
I felt that it was my duty to step up, to speak up for the voices of the young.
Mrs Lina Chiam's values of speaking up for the people in a fair manner resonates with me.
When you're not running for elections, you are...
Bringing life to stories in schools through drama, educating the importance of arts and culture to our young ones and playing music covers on my guitar.
In your opinion, what are the issues facing Singaporean millennials?
Survival in the globalised world — how Singaporeans can continue to be relevant and adaptable to global changing environments.
What has been your biggest learning experience from this so far?
Singaporeans want a change. They want their voices to be heard.
Where do you see yourself going in politics in the future?
Fighting for youth and education causes.
How has social media changed the course of elections?
Two ways: 1. People know where to get information from and how to filter information. 2. You are under tight scrutiny as candidate.
What advice would you give a young person who's keen to enter politics?
Say a prayer, and get blessings from your family.
What does an election candidate eat for breakfast?
I have two prata kosong and one egg prata.
Lastly, what's the one change Singapore needs right now?
A change of heart.