40th Star Wars anniversary celebrations
THE galaxy far, far away has for the first time come to Malaysia in a big way, in the country’s largest ever Star Wars convention for two days under one roof.
The film franchise began in 1977 and has so far produced seven episodes and a spin-off movie which has caught the imagination of millions of followers, including thousands in Malaysia.
Julian Kong Choong Weng and three other Star Wars fans hatched the idea for this weekend’s event to unite 20 fan-base groups in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the Force in Petaling Jaya.
“We have started to plan this one year ago, and I am very happy that all the fan groups here have committed themselves to show their love for Star Wars,” Kong told The Malaysian Insight on the first day of the event in Sunway Pyramid.
Kong said there were only four fan groups that initially signed up for the event but 16 other groups later joined the bandwagon.
“As you can see there is the Star Wars lightsaber group, drawings, collectors… there is actually more, but for this event, we just want to lay a foundation for all the fan groups to assemble together.”
Kong also said the event had both the dark and light side of the Force to work together to gather funds for the Spastic Children’s Association of Selangor & Federal Territory (Scasft).
“Take for example the paintings here or the badges, the funds collected from the sale of these merchandises go directly to the Scasft.”
Rafie Edruce, Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club President, wearing a Resistance Admiral Officer uniform, said that if you are interested in movie-accurate costumes, there are many groups you should look out for, with two that are famous the world over - the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion.
“So if you want to dress in costume as an imperial officer of any kind, such as Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine and all that, then the 501st will be the group that you can go to for reference and advice for costuming.
“As we know in the Star Wars universe good and evil it is just a different point of view, so if you want to become a character like a Jedi, and have a movie accurate costume as well, you may ask and refer to the Rebel Legion for help,” he said.
The Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club (SWMFC) was founded in December 2011 to serve as a platform for all parts of the Star Wars Malaysia fandom.
“Say if you want to meet another lightsaber enthusiast, then you can join the SWMFC, but at the same time you like to collect collectables too, the club then can provide for you.”
Rafie said the reason why Star Wars is well loved by Malaysians because of a storyline that is easy to relate to, which is good triumphing over evil.
“And it doesn’t hurt that there are so many aspects of it from Star Wars that are out of this world, things like lightsabers, nobody would conceive what a lightsaber is until Star Wars came along.
Also, the small community in Malaysia has also contributed to the strong relationship of the Malaysian Star War fans, Rafie said.
“The population here is less than 30 million people, so we are such a diverse fandom, so it’s not just costume or light sabers, we have modders, legos, people who collect the table top games, people who collect the vehicles, it is such a diverse community concentrated in a very small country.”
Rafie also said that the other Star Wars fan groups including himself would love to have another event like this again in the future.
Star Wars vintage collector Peter Lai, also known as Trooper Lai said that it took him all his life to collect the vintage and near mint collectables that are now displayed at Sunway Pyramid.
“I started collecting in 1979 when after I watch the first Star Wars movie, it was in colour and it was so exciting, I knew I had to start collecting them.
The 40th Anniversary of the Force event today had activities like Saber Academy to train kids to battle with a lightsaber, tutorials for assembling model kits, prop making session, trivia and more.
Starting at 10am, the highlight of the day tomorrow will be the Star Wars auction where various Star Wars merchandise will be sold to raise funds for the Scasft. – May 21, 2017.