Entertainment

Star Wars May the 4th in Asia is a week of crazy awesome

I'm a big fan of Star Wars, but had always steered clear of May the Fourth celebrations. Then this year, I celebrated for a whole week.

Fans who dress up as Imperials from the 501st Legion getting ready to do the Star Wars Run in the stifling Singapore heat.
Aloysius Low/CNET

For most, Star Wars Day started and ended last week on May the Fourth. Me? I took a whole week to indulge in crazy Star Wars stuff, something that I never do despite being a massive fan for most of my life.

Truth be told, I've never been what you call a hardcore fan. I've never dressed up in costume, nor owned a single Star Wars toy. The lightsaber that I wave around at movie premieres came courtesy of my sister. Most of my previous Star Wars May the Fourths were spent silently judging as others spout silly "May the Fourth be with you" lines to show how on it they were with geek culture.

I decided this year would be different. Singapore hasn't always made it easy to celebrate Star Wars Day, but recent years have seen a crazy amount of interest in Star Wars thanks to the new crop of movies. There are now plenty of events, appearances by costumed fans from the 501st Legion, runs and even toy sales to capitalize on the craze.

As it turns out, there's plenty to do for Star Wars fans in Southeast Asia.

Lego Star Wars is apparently a thing

I started off the week heading up to Legoland Malaysia, a short one-hour drive from Singapore. The theme park has been hosting a Star Wars festival since 2014 and having never been there, I wasn't sure if I was actually looking forward to the experience.

I'm not a big fan of toys, and Lego Star Wars to me was just marketing and way too expensive of a hobby. Sure, the new 7,500 piece UCS Millennium Falcon is pretty sweet, but it wasn't something I'd be buying soon.

Built in 2014, the Lego Star Wars Miniland was a small area of the park, and it was actually pretty awesome. Split into seven small sections, each dedicated to a film and one to the Clone Wars TV series, the designers managed to capture the best moments in each movie for its Lego-made dioramas.

From the palaces of Theed out of The Phantom Menace, to the Ewok-infested jungles of Endor in Return of the Jedi, the Miniland gave me the urge to rewatch the entire series again for the nth time. The wife was less enthused, having fallen asleep in both Episode IV and V when watching for the first time (at which point I figured I was fighting a losing battle).

Besides the Miniland, Legoland Malaysia also had a speed building challenge, with the top prize being the aforesaid UCS Falcon set. Building an X-wing starfighter out of solely 2 by 8 brick pieces was much harder than it seemed.

Then it was time for the Imperial March, which featured members from regional chapters of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion walking through the theme park in terribly hot and humid weather. It's a wonder their plastic outfits didn't melt in the 97 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures.

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The Lego Millennium Falcon gets ready to escape from Docking Bay 97 at Mos Eisley space port.

Aloysius Low/CNET

I'm a superfan?

Back from Malaysia, I was pretty certain my Star Wars fix had been satiated. But it turns out I got volunteered by friends to take part in a superfan quiz on national radio, with the prize being two tickets to the premiere of Solo: A Star Wars story at the end of the month.

I've done news spots on radio before, but it's much different attending a radio event as a contestant. It's a lot more nerve-racking, for one. But, armed with my trusty lightsaber and a Yoda shirt, I was determined to take home the top prize.

Unfortunately for me, I lost to a lady dressed in a Chewbacca onesie (in the picture below, I'm the dude on the left), who told me she crammed for the contest like it was an exam. Disappointed with the results, I decided I had to rewatch the entire franchise again as punishment for my failure. Having run short of time, I settled on just rewatching Rogue One on Netflix instead, which still ranks up there next to Empire Strikes Back in my books.

Congrats to Lilian “Chewy” Huang, the Rebel Alliance is proud of you for kicking some Yoda and Vader butt in ONE FM’s...

Posted by ONE FM 91.3 on Thursday, May 3, 2018

Star Wars running

Split into two running tracks for the first time, the May 5 Star Wars Run in Singapore saw participants running on either the Light or Dark Side, with the majority of the 10,000 runners overwhelmingly choosing the Dark Side, which I'm told was the less scenic route (which I'm guessing is probably like the Sarlacc Pit).

I decided to finish my Star Wars week checking this out, and maybe even attempt to finish a route. My wife, who was at this point was exasperated by the countless Star Wars events I had put her through (which included listening to the Star Wars soundtrack by John Williams on loop), told me I was on my own.

While most runners were comfortably dressed in a T-shirt and running shorts, the Dark Side route had a whole bunch of Stormtroopers taking part in full costume. Joining the crowd on the Light Side, I strolled along for about a kilometer before giving up. It was just too damn hot and humid.

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A First Order Stormtrooper wastes no time in setting the pace of the run.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Headed home, I gave a quick admiring glance at the runners who were giving it their all. As the sunset soon settled into dusk, I realised I managed to get past the entire week without succumbing to pressure of spouting the cheesy date meme.

Mistaking sweaty me for an exhausted runner, a staff member smiled and wished me a happy May the Fourth, even though it was already the May 5.

"May the Fourth be with you," I replied to her, before cursing internally.

Ah well.

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