Teen on mission to spread racial tolerance

Teen on mission to spread racial tolerance
Noble goal: Aidille (left) with shopkeepers at the Oppo store in Low Yat Plaza.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPUR - When 18-year-old Aidille Iman saw videos of the Low Yat Plaza brawl and the racist messages on social media, he never felt more dejected.

"I was sad. My adopted brother is a Chinese convert," he said.

"We eat and live together in peace. I didn't like what was happening nor do I support it," he said.

Aidille knew the only way to counter the negativity going viral was to inject something positive into the blogosphere.

"I wanted to show that Malaysians are united and that this (creating a fracas) was not us," he said.

"So, I thought I could go to Low Yat and speak to the shop owners there to do a video where we all would sing a song together."

The song he chose was Michael Jackson's We Are The World.

But despite his good intentions, the teen faced several obstacles. For one, his secondary school friends were not keen on following him on his sing-along session.

"They were a bit scared of going after what happened," he said.

"So I decided to do it myself. I printed 40 pages of the lyrics and went there on Saturday.

"But there was a lot of police at that time, so I decided to come back the next day," he said.

Clad in a white shirt with the words "Selamat Hari Raya", a peace symbol and the hands of the country's major races holding each other painted on it, Aidille described his first meeting with the Oppo shop assistants yesterday as "awkward and icy".

"They were quite wary and a bit shocked about what I was doing," he said.

"But after we talked awhile, they began to warm up. I told them I saw what happened and I was glad they were okay," he added.

Aidille then made his rounds, breaking the ice with other shops involved in the weekend brawl.

All reacted with caution but soon, smiles were everywhere, he said.

"But they were too busy attending to customers to come and sing the song with me," he said.

"I was quite disappointed about that. I really wanted to make a video of all the races singing together," said Aidille.

"Still, I feel I have accomplished my mission."

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