Picture by The Enthusiasts
Or to Singaporean Cosplayers; Saikang Warriors.
Saikang = Wash the drain (usually to describe unpleasant tasks )
If you’re confused, let me first explain the role of a Saikang Warrior.
A Saikang Warror/Helper/ Handler is simply someone who does whatever that is humanely respectable but required of him/her to help Cosplayers or Photographers to achieve their objective. As demeaning as it sounds, trust me when I say they are such an indispensable role in the Cosplay Community. We often hear and see the Cosplay Queens and Kings with their amazing photographs but the truth is, it usually wouldn’t be possible if there wasn’t someone to hold the reflector/comb their wig/ throw petals/ flip their wig/ create smoke/ create wind/ be a dynamic mirror stand or clothes stand.
Any Cosplayers who have worn bulky costumes would know how difficult it is to walk around without someone to help you open the door, keep the annoying kids in check or drink a sip of water.
Saikang Warriors to Cosplayers, are really heroic warriors that help them in their times of need. I can never express my gratitude enough to friends who are willing to take a day of their life to dedicate to HELPING ME do all the above nonsense for free!
Which is why I always try my best to repay them by making sure they get fed with snacks and drinks during the shoot and of course, return the exact favor they bestowed upon me; be a helper for them the next time.
Granted yes, a Saikang Warrior doesn’t get any benefit nor recognition, but it is one of the best ways to bond with a fellow cosplayer. Cosplay may be a solo journey but to produce a Cosplay photograph or Video it can never be done alone.
To achieve this picture, so many people had to be involved and we had to coordinate our actions tightly. You can read about how we did it in my Shakugan no Shana Final Photoshoot post.
If you’re new to this community and want to make friends, volunteer yourself to be a helper for them in their next photoshoot or event! I won’t lie and say being a helper is comfortable, it’s not. It’s a lot of time wasted just waiting for the cosplayers to get ready, running around to get stuffs for them , getting burnt under the sun and sometimes it even involves guarding a pile of bags alone. How boring is that?!
But the admirable thing about Saikang Warriors is their effort to do their best for the better of the group, for the better of someone else. It’s a pretty noble notion if you ask me. If you’ve just got inspired to become a Helper in your Cosplayer friend’s next photoshoot then make sure you also get into the right mind set. They are not any hard and fast rules but below are my 2 cents on what it means to be a helper.
Firstly, it’s not a glamorous job. Be prepared to stand for hours under the hot sun or be prepared to run around looking for combs a lot, you might even have to do the boring task of holding a reflector and not do anything else for a while!
Secondly, remember it’s about the photographs and making sure the cosplayer looked their best. So always be on the look out for whatever you think you can do to better the picture or the cosplayer. Ask the Cosplayer if she needs to touch up her makeup and volunteer to get her her makeup stash. If their wig is running stray, offer to comb it for them. If the team looks drained out, offer to help them get drinks or something. In short, I always remind myself to make myself useful!
Third, smile! Be happy! Joke! have fun! Loosen up! There will probably be a lot of screw ups and embarrassing moments in a cosplay shoot, opinions may clash and tensions may run high and things might not go as smoothly as everyone expected. But as long as the team (which includes YOU) is able to laugh it off, things will proceed a lot better. Not to mention a lot more enjoyably! As a helper, contribute your smile too =)!
Maria helping me to smooth my wig for my Just Be Friends Cosplay PV. Behind the scenes entry here.
A BTS camwhore with Cvy & Maria who came to help my Homura Akemi Photoshoot. Who helped me create the smoke, starved till 9pm because my shoot hadn’t ended, took the last train back and lastly cheered on me so much. Okay, they weren’t cheering on me, more like joking and finding entertainment for themselves but hearing their happy laughs and having them around to play with me in between the shots was really heart-warming.
Much thanks to Rayuzaki for helping me hold my wings for my SKIP BEAT shoot in Australia last year! Even though your sister was involved in the shoot too, it was really nice to have another pair of hands to help us here and there!
Random photo of Sara taking a photo of Reiko and me fooling around with my sword. I can’t forget how much help Reiko rendered me and her incredible patience in helping me to flip my hair or costumes near a hundred times that day. And her patience is only rivaled by Sara who had to look over our belongings in a pavilion stand ALL BY HERSELF for a few hours >_<. I didn't mention in my Photoshoot entry but we stayed till near 12 midnight. And other than Brian who was taking the same route as me, everyone else had to cab home on their own budget T_T. I feel terribly guilty whenever I think of it and wish I had enough cash on me to pay for their cab fare instead….
So so so so many people to thank but so little time.
So yes, I want to say thank you again to all my friends who have helped me in my cosplay endeavours before. I don’t have the courage to tell you personally so I’ll blog it out \o/ (Okok, I did thank them personally and via digital messaging before la….but I want to reinforce now)
I’m sorry if this post sounds so horribly incoherent, there’s so much random points I would like to share but it seems like I’m too sleepy to gel them well enough.
Do you know someone who is an amazing Saikang Warrior/Handler/Helper and wants to thank them? Tell them by commenting in the comments area and share the entry with them! Much thanks to The Enthusiasts for motivating me to finally blog about this!