For the first episode of Wild Ginger Connects, we had model, Alicia Amin, talk to the MP for Muar (and fellow millennial), YB Syed Saddiq, about struggles such as mental health, bullying, brain drain and cancel culture. These are issues that we all face, but how does the youngest Malaysian to take office overcome them?

That’s a question he wishes he would get asked in interviews – how he deals with the stress, but his answer isn’t his cats or exercise. It’s the inspiration he gets from his mother. Awww! The newly-retired teacher raised four (then) troublesome children while being the main bread winner of the family. She’s also been acknowledged as the best teacher in both her school and the state of Johor!

Syed Saddiq on Mental Health

“We have to break that taboo, and for us to do so, there must be that transparent, open national conversation and discourse on mental health. A lot more people must start sharing it – that’s why I truly value when a lot of youth icons start speaking up about it, like Tengku Iman. When that’s shared in public, it gives a sense of familiarity that even people in these particular positions also suffer from it, how they overcome it, and hopefully, will start that conversation among others.”

Syed Saddiq on Bullying

“The last thing which I want is for others to see and then get even more demotivated because of what happens in parliament. For example, if other young people see, ‘If this is how they treat young parliamentarians, then I don’t think there’s a future for me in politics’. I don’t want for them to see that! So, that’s where I think, dealing with it with compassion, speaking up on these issues, getting other members of parliament (even from that particular party) to speak up against these tactics.”

Syed Saddiq on Brain Drain

“Young people have that very passionate and diverse energy – instead of suppressing it, why don’t you address it? Deal with it and try to harness it in a positive way. I think if we do that, we would be able to partially also deal with brain drain – there are obviously many other reasons why, but I think we can at least start by listening to them and taking them seriously instead of, every time they come up with a funky idea, ‘You’re wrong, that’s criminal, goodbye’. That’s wrong.”

Syed Saddiq on Cancel Culture

“If you lock them up with a particular stereotype or because of one mistake, or a few mistakes, then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The person is more likely to commit mistakes over and over again because you don’t guide them to the right path. It’s about really showing compassion, and genuine care, and empathy to bring the person out of that hole.”

Watch the full interview below: