Superheroes – there’s something about a costume that inspires people. A symbol that gives hope when it’s lacking. That was the whole premise behind the development of Captain America (in the comics) – to give hope to the troops. However, donning a costume does have it’s own magic as well. You feel more confident and even the sense that you can make a change.
That’s exactly what a group of like-minded Cosplayers have done in Singapore – to come together to give hope and make a change. From Superhero-themed birthday visits to fundraising for charitable causes.
I got the opportunity to catch up with Jacen Khoo, founder of Pause for a Cause – Singapore’s first Charity Cosplay Volunteer Group.
What’s Pause for a Cause (PFAC)?
Living in a fast paced society nowadays often leaves us tired, sometimes jaded, at the end of the day. We are so caught up with ourselves and the things we do, we often forget the little things around us, much less the people around us who need the care, concern and help from others.
One Saturday afternoon last year, I was looking up into the sky and thought to myself, “when was the last time I had taken a moment to appreciate the clouds up in the sky?”
That’s when the idea hit me.
All we have to do is just take a little time out of our routine and commit a little effort and time for a worthy cause.
Why did you start?
As a Cosplayer and a novice prop maker myself, I have experienced first hand the joy a costume can bring to people around me. Costumes also have the bonus of attracting attention even in the busiest of crowds.
So I decided that I could be that link between willing cosplayers and worthy causes. We could put our costumes to good use; whether it’s to attract attention for the volunteer groups to get a chance to educate the public of their cause, or just to drop in to a surprise superhero party in my favourite Iron Man armour.
So on 1st November 2013, a few veteran cosplayers and myself put the thought into action and that was how ‘Pause for a Cause’ (PFAC) came to be.
What are the different events you’ve done?
Since it’s inception, PFAC has supported several events. From street collections for victims of typhoon ‘Haiyan’, KK Hospital visits to the child patients and to granting wishes with “make a wish foundation”, PFAC is always on a look out to contribute that little effort for a cause.
What’s been the most memorable or impactful moment?
There have been so many. There was once particular teenaged boy, who was surprised to see us in our costumes at along orchard road for our street collection for the victims of typhoons Haiyan just last November; the week we just started accepting “missions” for PFAC.
He was awed by what we were there for, and in the crowded 5-foot way, wet and humid from the incessant rain. He took out a purse from his bag and emptied the coins into our collection tin.
“You guys are awesome!” he said.
I gave him an over-the-shoulder hug in my batman get up and told him how big his heart was. We both smiled for the picture and he shook my hands firmly before walking on.
That was a defining moment, which affirms what PFAC stands for and that there are others out there who care, if given an opportunity. And we, were the opportunity.
How can others join PFAC?
Anyone who shares a passion to give others joy can contact us.
Although we are mainly Cosplayers, we do need volunteers to help ‘mind’ the crowd and for other seemingly administrative and non-costumed, but important jobs.