Everyone have their own calling of purpose in life.

Back then in 1997, Sailormoon was such a hit and almost everyone was crazy over the anime in Singapore. I was planning for an upcoming performance for Teachers' Day. Instead of doing the standard singing or acting, I decided to put up an act 'Sailormoon', along with some of my classmates.The process from drafting the story into a script to making the show was really fun. We had to add in elements of surprises and important morals to make the story interesting. We went through the whole process of casting, rehearsals, sound and lighting effects etc. Perhaps it was a crazy thought, but I went ahead to make 3 sets of Sailormoon costumes and bought the toy wand for visual effects. We were laughed at for being childish by some of our school mates during our secret rehearsals, but we didn't give up. Surprisingly, after the actual performance, we had almost the whole school including some teachers stood up and they were clapping and cheering for us! That was really amazing~

To many people, cosplaying may be just a moment of fun. However, behind all that is a lot of effort and hard work put together. To be a cosplayer it takes a lot of patience, crafting skills, determination, an eye for details, and courage and so on and so forth. I have seen many creativity and friendships born with many cosplayers helping one another. Seeing them perform on stage in their costumes with confidence and passion in their eyes, with their friends cheering from the crowd, is what I find most fulfilling about cosplay.

I opened a shop from 2006-2012. During that time, I have helped countless cosplayers by hearing their goals and woes may it be about their cosplay or personal lives. I am really touched they wanted to reach out to me as most of them have parents busy working or they come from a broken family or were bullied in school. I am happy to be able to guide them and rekindle their faith and hope in life. Being a parent myself, I'm sure most parents needs to work to provide better for the family. Because of that, they couldnt spend much time with their kids. I strongly believe guidance is very important to any growing kids/youths, as it can save them from regrets in the future. Everyone wants the best for their kids and that goes the same for me. I have met quite a lot of parents who were curious and concerned about their kid's activities. I am most glad to ensure them that their children is promising or in some cases, encourage them to have more faith in their child.

One of the project I have taken up was to help families of 3 generations to cosplay together. I conducted workshops with the grandparents/parents, shared what is cosplay all about and saw them cosplay together with their grandchildren. Witnessing the bond they shared, it is all so endearing to me. Even after closing my flag store, I'm really happy to have regular contact and meet ups with all these people that I have met in my life. They started out as customers to friends, and some are precious friends for life. I do admit that having my life surrounded by younger people, I started to drift from topics like properties, shares, in-law woes etc. However I'm sure everyone have their own calling of purpose in life. And, I enjoy mine.

Some people may think I had an easy life thus I can enjoy my life and extra time to help others. However unknown to most people, among my years of running

my store, besides the drama and politics from competitors, I was actually facing a short tempered and abusive husband who never gave me any allowance. Having 'woke' up from my illusion of 'married and happily ever after' at the end of 2011, I fell into depression and can no longer focus on my shop thus had it closed in 2012 when the lease ended. I am thankful for my friends and youths who came back for me and helped me thru my 2 years of depression. Its such an irony that I can help others but I cant help myself. I was still smiling on the outside, encouraging others, performing dances with all smiles when I actually felt dead inside of me. However, I never give up. It wasn't easy either. There were some youth's dreams on my hand, waiting to be fulfilled. Having certain connections, I want to bring these youths closer to their dreams.

I'm fortunate that my family accepts me for who I am, except the occasional scares I gave my dad whenever he wakes up and sees me in all sorts of heavy makeup due to cosplay. Whenever I travel overseas for invitations, I have also learnt to put on sunglasses during my breakfast to avoid scaring people early in the morning. My own siblings also grew interest in cosplay and sometimes joins me for events.

May it be cosplay or other forms of hobby, it is always nice to see one encouraging, respecting and appreciating one another for it. Cosplayers are not clowns, emo people, reality escapist, free models etc. Sadly for cosplay, especially the days when it was first written, most media do not understand cosplay well. Additionally, due to certain articles/incidents, some people have the misconceptions that cosplayers enjoy wearing skimpy clothes for attention and we have the wrong kind of attention coming at us during events. There may be a small percentage of such, however it is unfair to deem the whole community as so. We are a bunch of anime passionate people who makes anime becomes reality in the form of art.
Elizabeth Seah