And Oh, These Are My Superpowers is a new workbook aimed at helping young people open their minds. It tells the stories of five icons from the local performing arts scene – theatre activist Normah Nordin, playwright/director Chin San Sooi, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre executive producer Datuk Faridah Merican, Five Arts Centre founding member Datin Marion D’Cruz, and sports commentator/director Datuk Rahim Razali – and draws inspiration from their struggles and successes.
We asked the five legends of the workbook a few questions about their favourite superheroes, and what super powers they’d want in their lives:
Chin San Sooi
Favourite superhero: I have no favourite superhero as it were. But one person who really inspired me when I was young was this Russian dancer named Anna Pavlova. She took Russian ballet throughout the world. In her day, travel was not like how it was now. She had to travel by cattle boat, and even rehearse on it. But her fervour and perseverance to take ballet around the world was remarkable.
What superpowers would you like? More time to sleep! (Laughs) Because sleeping is very important for rest, and it lets you dream a little bit more.
Favourite superhero: Batman has always thrilled me. In the now generation, though, I think my superhero is James Bond. Look at the things that he’s done! The cars that he drives, the bikes that he rides … he never dies! He’s wonderful. And he’s good-looking and gets the girls to boot! If I were a film star, I’d love to act with James Bond.
What superpowers would you like? I’d like to be able to answer all the questions in my head. Questions like “How do I do certain things to help the performing arts further?” “How do I get the powers-that-be to listen to what we are trying to say?” “How do we get them to say tax exempt status for the arts is absolutely necessary?” I’d snap my fingers and get the answers.
Favourite superhero: When I was growing up, the only superhero we had was Superman. I used to find him quite funny, how he always had to go into the phone booth to change, and how he wore his underwear on the outside! (Laughs) I also admire Jesus. He did have superpowers, and he changed the face of the world!
What superpowers would you like? None. I watched this video on YouTube in which they asked this young girl the same question. And she said: “I don’t want superpowers. I already have the best superpower in the world, and that’s my imagination.”
Favourite superhero: My parents. See, they both came from poor families, with no education. My mother taught herself to read and write, and she made sure all her children got an education. When my sister didn’t get through her Form 3, they didn’t give up on her but made her go for typing classes. I had parents who believed in what I did – what more could you ask for?
What superpowers would you like? I would like to be able to send everyone for art education. An art education is a sharpening tool for your senses. A person with sharpened senses will be a perfect human being.
Favourite superhero: Superman. He’s been my hero since I was a young boy. He was my first introduction to comic books and super stories!
What superpowers would you like? I’d be like Superman! I’d like to be able to fly. I’d use my powers to help people, and save the world!