Movies

Published: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 8:23:45 AM

May the Fourth be with you

Stormtroopers need to keep themselves strong with a place of nasi campur at the local mamak restaurant. – Photos ART CHEN/The Star

Stormtroopers need to keep themselves strong with a place of nasi campur at the local mamak restaurant. – Photos ART CHEN/The Star

In conjunction with Star Wars Day, Star2 captured iconic characters from Star Wars as they roamed the streets of Petaling Jaya.

PLEASE MAKE SURE VADER'S PLATFORM BOOTS AREN'T SHOWING and CROP OUT ANY LRT STATION VIEWS.Out and about: Watch out! Stormtrooper (Daniel Wong), Darth Vader (Abdul Rahim), Imperial Officer (David Brown) and Stormtrooper (Ng Seng Guan) could very well be patrolling a neighbourhood near you.
Watch out! (From left) Stormtrooper (Daniel Wong), Darth Vader (Abdul Rahim), Imperial Officer (David Brown) and Stormtrooper (Ng Seng Guan) could very well be patrolling a neighbourhood near you.

KIRBY Samydurai still remembers the moment he first fell in love with the Star Wars film series.

“I went on a motorbike with my uncle to Cathay Cinema in Ipoh back in 1983. We reached the theatre and it was packed.

“As we took our seats, I saw ‘Darth Vader’ in full costume walking to the front of the theatre, flanked by two ‘Imperial Stormtroopers’. That was the moment,” the IT manager from Ipoh, Perak, recalled fondly.

Today at 37, Kirby owns the Grand Admiral, Imperial Officer and Stormtrooper costumes. And in the same way that the life-sized Star Wars characters first brought joy and excitement to him as a boy all those years ago, he believes it will do the same for many others today.

Those wearing the Stormtrooper costume have their visions restricted as they can’t see anything below the chest. ‘When they’re walking on the street, they may stop a few cars and cause a traffic jam at times,’ Kirby said. Hence, they are always paired with someone who can guide them, otherwise knows as a ‘minder’.

The 501st Legion is an all-volunteer international fan organisation that is not only dedicated to promoting interest in Star Wars but makes it a point to contribute to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work.

Comprising 22 members, the Malaysian chapter of the 501st Legion regularly makes appearances at corporate functions, charity events, orphanages besides organising hospital visits. They do not accept payment but instead encourage donations to be made to charitable organisations of their own choice.

“Everyone in the legion believes in what we do. They give without asking. They don’t want recognition or fame. When they see a kid smile, a wish that came true, or helping put clothes on the backs of the homeless, they are happy,” shared Kirby who is the 501st Malaysian outpost executive officer.

PLEASE MAKE SURE VADER'S PLATFORM BOOTS AREN'T SHOWING and CROP OUT ANY LRT STATION VIEWS.Members pay a hefty price for their costumes. For example, Kirby shared his Imperial Stormtrooper armor costs about RM3000 in the raw format but could shoot to RM6000 with accessories such as belts, boots, holsters and helmets.
Members pay a hefty price for their costumes. For example, Kirby said his Imperial Stormtrooper armour costs about RM3,000 in the raw format but could shoot to RM6,000 with accessories such as belts, boots, holsters and helmets. ‘I did not think much about the cost of the costume; the bigger picture was how many kids and the less fortunate we can help,’ he said.

Founded in January 2006, the 501st Legion is also known for their devotion to building and wearing accurate replicas of the Star Wars costumes, forking out thousands of ringgit at their own expense.

Four members of the legion took their costumes out for a spin recently and were photographed by Star2 in everyday Malaysian settings.

Members of the 501st Legion will be celebrating May the Fourth, otherwise known as Star Wars Day, at Perpustakaan Raja Tun Uda in Shah Alam today. Beginning at 10am, there will be a Star Wars collectible exhibition, flea market, games and a screening of Heart Of An Empire, a documentary about the worldwide 501st Legion fan group.

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, Star Wars, May The Fourth, 501st Legion, Darth Vader, Stormtroopers

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