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COSPLAY IDOL COMPETITION 2011 (SENIOR CITIZEN EDITION)

   

BRANDISHING his plastic sword in the air and yelling Japanese war cries, the cosplayer went up the stage yesterday.

Mr William Hiu, who was dressed in a traditional Japanese outfit, was playing Zatoichi, a blind swordsman from a long-running Japanese television series. He drew loud cheers from the crowd at Hougang Mall.

But he was no over-exuberant teenager. Mr Hiu, who won first prize in the solo category of the cosplay competition, is 57 - and he is blind.

His depiction of Zatoichi was also named most popular character in the first cosplay competition here for senior citizens and their families.

Supported by Council for Third Age, it was held as part of celebrations for Grandparents' Day.
A few years ago, he was suffering from depression after losing his sight to a hereditary eye disease.

"I never used to participate in anything. But I've overcome my blindness," said Mr Hiu, who has two adult daughters.

Taking part in the cosplay contest was his way of proving that a person should not be limited by age, or in his case, blindness.

"The most important thing is your mindset. Many people, when they get old especially, don't accept themselves and they think negative thoughts," he said.

   

Retiree Robert Wong, 70, was also game to play dress-up with his grandson, five – year – old Immanuel.

The pair won the group category dressed as the popular Nintendo video game characters, Mario and Luigi of the Super Mario Brothers. Both wore matching blue overalls and moustaches, and gamely struck poses for the audience.

Mr Wong said that when his daughter first encouraged him to take part in the cosplay contest, he had no idea who the Super Mario Brothers were, She had picked the characters so he and Immanuel could take part together.

"Cosplay is usually a young person's thing, so it's more challenging for seniors to do it," Mr Wong said in Mandarin. "But it's really very enjoyable and I got to know more people as well as spend more time with my family."

His wife and daughter also took part in the competition.

Fei Yue Community Services helped to dress up and prepare the participants for the competition.