MEET THE CANDIDATES: 10 Questions With Rebekah Cilia
SideStreet Malta sits down with PN candidate for 7th and 11th districts Rebekah Cilia before the 2022 general election to ask 10 questions as part of our 'Meet the Candidates' series.
Q1: What makes you proud to be Maltese?
I think it's the fact that whenever we need to come together, we have come together as a whole country. Even during COVID, even when there are people who need our help, like we saw with the gatherings for Ukraine that they brought food. We always seem to come together in the time of need. And I think that's what makes us Maltese. The fact that we are different at times. But friends, family, we're close. We care about each other. And I think that's a very important aspect in society.
Q2: In the next couple of years, which social issue merits more of our time and attention?
I know it's a bit of a cliche, but it is mental health. Especially with COVID. We've seen a lot of people that I've spoken to, a lot of people who didn't have any mental health issues. But because COVID has restricted us, has closed us off. I think mental health has become even more of a priority. I mean, even just mentioning my nanna for example, she's 88 going to be 89. She's still very vibrant. She loves going out. COVID, it was difficult, because she had to stay and she couldn't go out. I've spoken to a lot of my colleagues at university in the law course and it was really difficult for us. Having lectures online, always being behind the screen. I mean, even for me as a mature student, it was hard, let alone for 18, 19 year olds who are just starting off their life. So, yeah, mental health issues and also because it impacts other things like poverty, social isolation. It impacts a whole load of other social issues within society.
Q3: What has been your most memorable moment in politics so far?
The whole experience has been memorable. I was telling you even before. We started this, that it's been such an Eye-Opener, it's opened my eyes to a lot of realities. If I had to say one specific moment, it would be not so. It was still memorable, but not in a positive way was in ATTARD. There was a small protest. Someone had called me down close to where I live and I was literally standing under a tree and they're cutting it down on me and I'm seeing the tree coming down and all I could do is stand there and try to make a stance by just standing there. So that that was something I definitely remember.
Q4: If you had to go for a beer with a member of the rival party, who would it be
and what would you talk about?
I think it would be Miriam Dalli for two reasons. One, because she's a woman in politics. And I think she's made it through as a woman, she's a strong woman. So I think that would be an interesting conversation to have. I know she has children, so I would like to know how she's gotten through with it. And so that would be interesting from that aspect. But also, it would be a good conversation to have in terms of her ministry, which is the energy ministry, which is something I look into, I like to discover I like, I would like to work on if I am elected to Parliament so that'll be a very interesting conversation. I have a few proposals for her and things she might have been able to do differently as well. But it will be a very interesting conversation.
Q5: What is your ultimate comfort food?
Anything carbs related. Pizza, Pasta, even imqarrun. I love my Maltese dishes anything to do with carbs, but again imqarrun kusksu. My mother still cooks quite traditionally so I think I've kept to that.
Q6: What did you learn about yourself over the course of the pandemic?
Hmm. I learned that. I like being outside much more than I thought I mean, I love being at home I love staying at home, but having to have to be inside and not being able to speak to people and communicate. I didn't realise the importance of it. So I think the fact that we had to stay inside and not be able to communicate with our friends face to face I realise the importance of face to face contact. I mean, mobiles, messages. We kept that, but it's not the same. It just wasn't the same. So I think that was the thing I learned the most. Also, I think that how vulnerable I am and as a society and humans. I was really scared at the beginning, I admit it, I was, And now the war, I mean, we're not maybe as resilient as we would like or as, I don't know. Strong or ever you know, ever. Growing, sort of growing, growing into technology, digitalisation. But yet we have this sort of humane vulnerability. If you had to go for a beer with a member of the rival party.
Q7: Describe the last time you felt embarrassed and why?
So I was in at someone's home and I asked to go to the bathroom. And there was a glass door and I smashed my face. I was so embarrassed. I literally smashed my face against the glass and my nose ended up good. Yeah, it was embarrassing.
Q8: What do you think your 18 year-old self would think of you now?
I don't think she would have expected this at all. I don't think she would have expected this at all. My ambitions were more on an academic level, so I had to study, to get a good job. I think she would be proud that I went out of my comfort zone and I'm trying to make a difference.
Q9: Which foreign leader do you admire and why?
Oh, she's not per se a leader She's a Congresswoman, AOC. she's done politics differently. Maybe I don't agree with her on everything but she's done politics differently and that's what I intend to do. I don't want politics to be us and them. You know, it needs to be politics for the people and AOC has really, really done that. She's done the Green New Deal recently, which I think was was really good in terms of incentivising the environment and how we can promote the environment through jobs and the such. So I think she's the one who I aspire to in terms of how I want to get to Parliament. It's not about getting a vote, it's about being part of the people. And AOC really does that.
Q10: Why did you get into politics and why should young people do the same?
The day they killed Daphne, I felt I needed to do something. I had been an engineer behind the desk. I wasn't really voicing my opinion. I wasn't really making I felt a change directly for the country because all professions make changes, but directly I felt I needed to do something that day. I tried to do investigative journalism as much as I could, and I felt I was making a change. But what I started to realise was that if I really wanted to make a change. I needed to go to Parliament because that is where the laws are made and that is where the decisions are taken. Well, that's how I said yes, finally. And it's been a journey. It's been a journey. But I feel that youths should at least not everyone wants or should become a politician. Definitely not. But taking control of your life
through politics, through understanding Through your vote, this affects your day to day life. It affects everything you do. Anything that that is part of your life stems from politics. So I would stay away from the partisan politics, take an interest in politics, see what's going on around you because it affects you day to day. And that's where I think youths should really be a part of everything they do within their own life.