The last Jedi in Singapore strikes back for charity

Azmi of FightSaber brings a new hope to underprivileged youths and disabled children.

He may not be the only Singaporean who enjoys dressing up as his favourite Star Wars character. But Azmi Danuri's lightsaber performance and costuming organisation, FightSaber, is recognised by Lucasfilm, the production company behind the sci-fi franchise.

"It's quite an honour and a privilege," said the 31-year-old, who is FightSaber's founder and president. 

While the group's official status meant invites to exclusive Star Wars events like the gala premiere of The Force Awakens in 2015, the non-profit group has not forgotten their roots of giving back to the community through performances and appearances for charity.


Both Jedi and Sith from FightSaber were invited to celebrate Star Wars Day on May the fourth this year.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIGHTSABER'S FACEBOOK

Youth.SG spotted the group in 2012, when we wrote about communities that found each other over the internet. Since then, the fan group has expanded internationally, opening five other chapters within Southeast Asia, and has partnered charity groups and organisations such as Beyond Social Services and Riding for the Disabled Association, showcasing their saber-wielding skills at several fundraising events.

Azmi, who has an uncle with down syndrome, empathises with the struggles of his beneficiaries.


Jedis and Siths from Fightsaber have been performing for underprivileged youths and disabled children for seven years.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIGHTSABER'S FACEBOOK

The freelance videographer, who was brought up by his single mother after his father died, said: "Some of the kids we work with at Beyond Social Services are from single-parent families, and some do not have parents at all. My mother worked very hard to provide for my siblings and I, so I'm not underprivileged, but I understand how difficult it is for single parents to bring up their children."

"It's always nice to perform for the youths and disabled, to make them feel like everybody else and they get to enjoy what we enjoy. It's a warm feeling when you interact with them, and it makes you want to do more for them," said Azmi, who owns six customised lightsabers. 

All the performing outfits that the members of FightSaber use are tailored to
the strict guidelines set by Lucasfilm, such as this one worn by Azmi.
IMAGE CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/KYLIE KAY

The group, made up of members from ages 16 to 39, meets up once a week at Cairnhill Community Centre to practise their fight choreography. Their lightsabers are customised by their local sabre smith Kit, and each costs over $200.

And while FightSaber does not get paid for their performances, they encourage event organisers to donate a certain amount to charity.


Azmi hopes to bring happiness to children in hospitals too.
VIDEO CREDIT: MINISTRY OF CULTURE, COMMUNITY AND YOUTH

FightSaber member Alexander Tan, 26, feels that the best reward from these events is seeing the smiles on children's faces. 

He added: "It's a lot to a child when they see their favourite characters come to life. When you dress up as a character…it lifts up spirits and emotions."

Alexander, who has been practising his lightsaber skills with the group since 2015, added: "We want to inspire youths, that giving back to the community doesn't have to be just through donations or doing charity work. It can actually be simply doing what you enjoy and giving back at the same time."

BANNER AND TEASER CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/KYLIE KAY