Friday, June 30, 2006

Yumi Dumi Doo

I checked the time nervously. Why wasn't she here yet? My colleagues Rita and Soo Lee were also bore worried faces, and Eina was not any less anxious about her friend's late arrival. Flustering backstage during the matinee show for Cartoon Network Live!, we could hear the sounds of the ongoing fiesta coming to a close. A miscommunication problem led to Ala coming late for the post-show Character Meet & Greet session, and she was currently situated in the middle of a nasty jam in town. Eina, already geared up in her Ami costume, looked at me squarely between the eyes and said, "I have a feeling you might have to jump in for Ala..."

Me? Doing a professional mascot job before hundreds of high-maintenance children and their even more high-strung biological caretakers?

The shrieks of a thousand toddlers touched unmeasurable decibels as the confetti cannons burst a colorful shower into the sky. The show was over.

"GET HER IN THE COSTUME NOW!" Eina screeched.

As I yanked on the skin-tight black bodysuit, I could see in my head the two main stars of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi emerging from their secret hideaway to welcome a swarming frenzy of pint-sized fanatics, only for Yumi to trip over her foam-padded rockstar boots and land on her oversized head, of which the impact would cause it to pop off and fling across the room to cause a hairline fracture in the skull of an unsuspecting nanny, threatening the welfare of each baby held in either arm. The kiddie adulation as well as my occupation as Assistant Events Manager would come to a shocking halt, as I get my face kicked at by the underaged mob with a simliar verocity that Santa would receive had a boy from a broken home ripped off his snowy white cotton beard, rendering the Westernized image of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas... not so jolly.

Despite the fantasy of failure, a job to be done was a job to be done. I stepped into the purple costume and got zipped up by Soo Lee and Rita, who then enclosed my limbs in fuzzy flesh.

"You can dance right? The important thing is that you can dance," Eina stressed.

To have satisfactory body coordination was one thing, but to showcase it whilst inside a completely new body that I'm only given a few seconds to adapt to is another.

Still, I somehow had no regrets telling Eina beforehand that I was curious about giving the whole mascot thing a shot if Ala couldn't make it on time. A retard craves to be loved from time to time. Even if it is by miniscule strangers who will never know who I really am, but would sell their souls to shake an enourmous four-fingered hand.

Yumi's hollow head was lowered onto me to rest upon my shoulders. My vision was entirely pitch black, save for three small holes covered with a thin mesh to form the eyes and mouth. Yumi's head was abnormally tall with her eyes placed way above my head, so only the mouth was of optical benefit. I had to work up a crowd with all five senses cut down to a fraction of their acuteness for the next half hour. And to think that all people see from the outside was a happy bouncy smiling idiot from La La Land.

Eina is also good to go, and it's showtime. Soo Lee swings the door open to the blaring helium-voiced theme song of Cartoonival. A human hand grabs my cartoonified one to guide me out to the screaming masses, with fuschia-haired Ami leading the way. The latex platform soles numb my feet from the raw sensation of walking as I wave briskly to the families thronging to the Meet & Greet area.

Once they usher Eina and I into the safe confines of the queue-rope enclosure, Soo Lee and Rita flip into strict crowd management mode. I do my retard jig to the music, and get the occasional tap on the shoulder by my popstar compadre to remind me that I have to go crazy on my air guitar. I forget that Disco-very the motherfunker is no more. Yumi the wild child of kawaii must rock the house.

Soo Lee and Rita start letting the families in for the photo-taking. A sponsor representative is armed with her chunky purple polaroid camera. The children stream in from the queue like autumn leaves on a bubbling brook. Just when I am getting accustomed to the easygoing pace, the leaves transform into logs, and the brook into white rapids. I am pushed to and fro, my body squeezed and twisted in strangely-positioned bear hugs. I step on several feet without being able to apologize. I grope around for a hand when I hear my colleague encourage the nervous children to "Shake hands!". I pose for cameras I can't see. The heat is intensifying. My shoulders are sinking under the weight of the Yumi's head.

All these difficulties pale in comparison to the moment a father strides in with his baby girl hoisted on his forearm. She looks straight into my meshed mouth and cries a cry that embodies a most gruesome murder of merriment.

The minutes start to stretch and I feel the heat seeping through to my bones. Once the crowd dies down, my colleagues and co-workers start devising ways to pose with Eina and I. One of the venue personnel who works closely with us on the show wants to join in, and asks where I am so we can pose together. Rita points to me and lets the laughter let rip. I want to pull the middle finger at them, but if only I had one.

Once the Meet & Greet session comes to an official close, my office company close in for a snap,

and make sure...


that they revel in the opportunity...


to bully a colleague...


by keeping her in her costume...


for those few minutes longer.


I hear someone saying that the mascots need to get out of their costumes before they faint, so Eina and I wave our goodbyes and get ushered back to the the backstage area. My head is removed, and everyone around me gasps. I don't understand why until I bend down, and bodily fluids rush from my hair to the floor. I am mega-drenched.



My colleagues help peel off the costume and I slump into a chair. They stare at me in wonderment at me and at a feat that was far from what was expected in my scope of employment. Eina congratulates me on a job well done, as so does Ala, who had arrived in the nick of time to watch me perform her role in the last few minutes. If the Cartoon Network directors find out that their character was portayed by a professional retard they would skin me alive. But I don't care. I am delightfully dizzy and laughing uncontrollably, the only thought in my head being the last that anyone would have expected:

Let's do that again!

14 Comments:

Anonymous michelle said...

well done da! i've never seen u so happy before :D

12:05 PM  
Blogger Fashionasia said...

kekeke...and they wanna bring disney here.....

11:01 PM  
Anonymous az samad said...

haha. i wish i was there!!!

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Keith said...

I know exactly how you feel.

Every year at Christmas I put on a BIG RED AND WHITE SUIT and become the Man himself.

And trust me, it's the same hot, sweaty, child-scarring and exhilarating experience all the way through.

8:25 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

michelle,
yeah it was jolly good fun. thanks for helping me out that day too!

fashionasia,
i'd be up for goofy's suit any day, doubt i have the height for it though...

az samad,
i wish you were too! hope to see you soon.

keith,
I almost forgot about you and yoru santa gigs. it fits you perfectly well I must admit. i'll make sure i'll earn a pressie from you, i've been a good girl this year. haha.

5:20 PM  
Blogger cyber-red said...

ohmygosh like sauna man im sure

hugs!

9:15 PM  
Blogger Albert said...

Ironically, I think you are best represented by the first few pictures.

3:38 PM  
Blogger commonjack said...

i was 'Quiki' the Nestle NesQuik Rabbit once. had to give out balloons to children in Subang's Carrefour. had to go out for 30 mins every hour from 9am to 5pm.

the kids were adorable although i couldn't really see all of them properly.

but the parents were terrible! they were the ones pulling at my tail or my ears and my hands! and i couldn't even see them. my assistant and i struggled to hold on to the balloons because some 'Parents' snatched them from our hands - sometimes almost tipping me over!

reminds me of that cult Pink Floyd song ... "Parents! Leave those kids alone!" ... :)

11:33 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

cyber-red,
who needs the gym eh? :P

albert,
you know, i hate to admit it, but i think so too.

dilettante,
gosh, and i thought i had it bad... it's strange to think that the real rascals are the grown-ups. tsk tsk tsk. thanks for sharing though, i'd personally would have never thought of 'bunny masquerading' being in your already extremely long list of talents.

6:44 PM  
Blogger boon&sue said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous soolee said...

U all also dunno! She got Astma Attack later!! nvr change! so playful. but WELL DONE LAR!! the most active davina i've ever seen!

11:02 PM  
Anonymous evan said...

hey dav,

just dropping a note to ask you to check out this casting call.

http://www.travelandlivingasia.com/5takes/

hehe.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Jorge Cruz said...

Can I have your yumi mascot costume please?

3:58 AM  
Blogger Jorge Cruz said...

Since your not wearing it can I have it?

5:05 AM  

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