At 19 years old, most youths will be frequenting hip cafes, shopping malls or gathering with friends at the local mamak stalls every other night.
Not Aidille Iman, who wakes up at 2am every Wednesday to Sunday to prepare food for his roadside stall at the SS2, Petaling Jaya morning market, where he sells nasi lemak and nasi dagang, among other things.
But that’s not all he does at his food stall dubbed “Project AA”.
Aidille is also an ardent promoter of electoral reform group Bersih’s cause, often seen sporting a Bersih T-shirt at his stall.
As Bersih travelled across the country in its convoy every weekend to raise awareness about its Nov 19 rally, Aidille has instead taken to wearing his Bersih T-shirt on weekends at his food stall.
Speaking to Malaysiakini at his stall yesterday morning, he says he tries to talk to his customers about Bersih and invites them to the Bersih rally to be held tomorrow in Kuala Lumpur.
The teen from Subang Jaya is not affiliated with Bersih in any way, he says, but he believes strongly in what Bersih is trying to achieve.
As the Bersih kid manned his stall yesterday morning, two men walked past and one of them was overheard telling the other that “the food here is good”.
Heeding his friend’s advice, the man stopped to buy his breakfast at the stall and noticed Aidille and his friend wearing bright yellow Bersih shirts.
While his friend was clad in the official Bersih 5 rally shirt, Aidille was wearing a Bersih shirt of his own design, which incorporated elements of unity.
The man asked to take a picture of the two youths in their yellow T-shirts and they acquiesced, posing for the camera.
Satisfied with his picture, the man paid for his breakfast and left.
As the rally neared, Aidille said he had taken to wearing his uniquely designed Bersih T-shirt every day at his stall.
This is not the first time Aidille has tried to raise awareness about issues close to his heart.
Low Yat fracas
Last year, after the Low Yat Plaza mall fracas that brought forth racial tensions, the then 18-year-old decided he wanted to do something positive.
He decided he would go to the plaza and speak to the shop owners to film a video of them singing the Michael Jackson song ‘We Are The World’.
However, he said his friends were scared and busy and he ended up going alone to Low Yat.
Though he managed to speak to the owners of the shop involved in the fracas, he did not manage to film his video due to the store being busy.
Despite that, he said, he felt he had accomplished his mission that day; to spread racial tolerance.
This time, with Bersih, it was no different, as he said he especially wanted to convince his fellow Malays to join the Bersih rally.
This is Aidille’s story, in his own words:
I STARTED THIS FOOD STALL PROJECT in March, first in Kelana Jaya, but after my Raya holidays, I started here instead.
AA means, in my mind, it’s something that has a double distinction.
For example, schools have grades like A, A-minus and A-plus. Mine is double A, hence double distinction, based on the quality of my product.
(I STARTED PROMOTING BERSIH AT MY STALL) months ago, since Malaysia Day, even during Merdeka Day.
I invite my customers to make sure they go to Bersih. I hope all will join, especially my Malay race.
THIS IS NOT A CHINESE TSUNAMI or a DAP thing.
We are living in hell now, (with) the Arab’s donations, the jets, the yacht, grants and now the helicopter going around Ampang to look at bungalows. It’s just ridiculous.
FOR ME, BERSIH IS JUST CONCERNED about our future, our nation, the rule of law. If there is no rule of law, there is no country.
(THE RESPONSE TO THE BERSIH PROMOTION HAS BEEN) JUST AMAZING really. There are even customers who buy three packets of food and give RM100.
There are uncles and aunties warning me to be careful, but to me, fear is not real.
Fear is a choice. Be brave, be strong and be fearless. I just hope that more people will be able to adopt this mindset.
The uncles and aunties, they love to see the young generation taking initiative.
I’VE MADE SOME PLANS FOR THE BERSIH RALLY ITSELF (with the money I’ve earned) but for the time being I will keep it as a secret first.
MY CHILDHOOD ALLOWED ME to understand about life and real values, because this is the master key for all obstacles.
With this, there will be no one accepting RM50 to wear red shirts.
I really don’t agree with this red-shirt issues going on.
I’M REALLY AGAINST RACISM. I think because of the Low Yat Plaza (fracas incident last year) and Bersih 4 rally that I went to last year, it really made my spirit rise.
I HAVE SOME PLANS (to go to college) but to me, what is most important is we fix this problem first. I will make sure I do what I can to save Malaysia.
For me, I hate learning what others are learning.
WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL, MY AMBITION WAS TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER.
I hope that if there is a new administration in the government, I would like to become the inspector-general of police, then for sure I would sack all these circus people, give them free tickets to the Sungai Buloh jail.