The Power of Community: Desk Diary – December 16, 2020

  • Life

I kept scrolling on my news feed only to stumble upon an interview with Singaporean cosplayer Rea Kami on The Royal Singapore. I was halfway through it when I stopped and wrote another Desk Diary.

It was not until recently that I learned of Rea as an outspoken person, and this interview she had is compelling. Best of all, she gives quite good laughs.

To summarize, in her days in school, she said “she was just very slow when it came to social situations.” She then pulls up this Japanese phrase: 空気読よめない. Kuuki yomenai. KY. Can’t read the air. Can’t read the atmosphere.

I get that feeling.

When I was in elementary and high school, I did quite a lot of things that made me cringe. (It gets more cringing as I remember each one of those moments.) I felt like an outcast, and while I don’t want to admit it, it was on my account.

When I stepped into college, I felt like I belong. I ask myself, “was I too early for all of this?”

Look, I did sure had my worst moments even during my college time, inside and outside campus, such as practicing laissez-faire without fully understanding the consequences.

When I landed my first job – not in the events industry, but in the call center, for around 5 months – all I had to do was work. The worst thing about this kind of work is the shifting schedules you had to survive – that means you don’t have that much time for anything else.

As I go off-tangent, I pause my hands and watch Rea’s interview again. You need to watch the full video, I swear.

“I try not to remember much of secondary school as much as I can.”

I relate to this. I don’t want to remember my elementary or high school days too. Skip that. If I weigh in my moments there, I feel bad for most of it. It gets worse for Rea who realizes halfway that she’s being bullied, heck being sexually harassed.

She doesn’t have that much friends, but she is happy to get high grades. “Just study your worries away.”

Rea had a 9-5 job but she quit to go into cosplay full-time, earning her SG$7,000. Then the pandemic hit.

This pandemic is a smack back to reality – ope there goes gravity – and so we had to make some damn choices again, else we be damned.

So she goes back to school – this time, an acting school. I think to myself, “what if I can get back to school again?” I wish I could – I could take some free lessons online, get a certificate and all – but with the current work load and me spreading myself too thin, I still prefer to do it in a physical class.

Unfortunately, physical classes won’t work no thanks to the pandemic. Most things have to be at home, online – work and hobby altogether.

To cap off the interview, she shares to everyone what the power of community means to her:

“Essentially, a lot of people say that it’s such an expensive hobby. You spend so much money on this weeby hobby that ultimately serves no purpose 10 or 20 years down the road.

But it is because of this hobby that I have friends all the way in Canada, I have friends all around the world that I can turn to, or talk to or to crash in their houses when I visit countries.

It’s an investment, sure, and it might not pay off, but I really have no regrets.”

I remember the times where I file a work leave to get out of town to feature events that the typical cosplayer in the metro won’t dare to go to because of the distance, and I had met so many people doing so.

I learned that Baguio’s cosplay community are full of memers, and if I had the luxury to do so, I want to live in Cebu. Or Singapore.

Perhaps, the only thing that I don’t want in life is to be shunned. Ignored. To not have a voice.

I’m happy to be in this community as it gave me a voice and I don’t get ignored. Thank you for having me.