Cashing in on Star Wars

With only a little over 2 weeks before the latest Star Wars movie Rogue One sneaks into cinemas here, brands are going into hyperdrive with #simisaialsostarwars. Starting with Citibank. The consumer-friendly bank released tickets on Nov 28 (Monday) to watch the latest Star Wars adventure on iMAX, 3D BEFORE anyone else on the planet has a chance to see what goes into making an interplanetary death ray.

In the interest of the hunt, here’s a list of what other #simisaialsostarwars activities you can look forward to, starting with…

Quick links: Uber | Gold Class | Supermama | Typo | The Falcon’s Hangar | Elohim by Sabrina Goh | Vivocity | Citibank | SMRT

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Star Wars: Force for good

We’ve always known Star Wars was more than just a movie. JJ Abrams demonstrated it the most with his Force For Change initiative where donors gave in benefit of UNICEF Kids (Force for Change). Donors were then given a chance to win roles on the movie or tickets to the gala premiere of The Force Awakens. Even actors like Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill got in on it. So much awesome.

Closer to home, the local 501st Stormtrooper garrison would go to benefits and charity events as a show of (pun intended) Force to help less privileged kids. We even heard they’re trying to bring Joshua Tan, who’s paralysed and a huge Star Wars fan, for the screening of The Force Awakens. Mad props to them. More pictures of Joshua Strikes Back here.

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The talented artist kissing a Stormtrooper from the 501st Legion, Singapore Garrison.

Fans of Star Wars come in all shapes and sizes — and talent. These super pretty, adorable Star Wars pins were hand drawn by Ashley Yan, an 8-year-old artist attending school at the Rainbow Centre. The Rainbow Centre is a school for children with autism. It is also a non-profit charity that serves children and youths with a diverse range of special development and learning needs.

(Left to right; top row): Yoda, Darth Vader, Han Solo, R2D2. (Bottom row) Luke Skywalker, Leia, Yoda, C3P0

Ashley kissing R2

Aww.. how cute. Besides drawing, Ashley also loves to dance and sing as we recently learnt.

To help raise funds for a new wing for her school, Ashley drew these pins. A set of eight pins go for $50. Pins include Luke Skywalker, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3P0, Darth Vader, and Yoda.  

If you don’t have your The Force Awakens movie tickets yet, the Rainbow Centre are giving away tickets for donations you make towards the new wing. Pins and tickets, of course, are while stocks last. But the Rainbow Centre told us they can make more pins. Just call 6472 7077 before you make your way down. The Rainbow Centre is located at 501 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149306.

All donations come with a 300% tax deduction too. Give more, receive even more. Star Wars is indeed the movie franchise that keeps on giving.

Thank God for Force Friday

So it’s 4am and I’m too excited to sleep.

I’d just returned from the Singapore leg of the global unveiling of Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise. Even before the midnight launch at Toys R US United Square, there had been a global unboxing livestreamed around the world on YouTube. While there had been many toys touted and coveted, I had personally kept my eye on the Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens MIllennium Falcon, which has – gasp! – an old Han Solo minifig! Of course, it was available at our Force Friday launch for $299 but being on crutches meant I had to choose my purchases carefully.

The queue into United Square atrium snaked around the mall

Rebels and Empire forces worked together to keep the rabble in line

Wisely, I decided to keep to a BB8 theme for the night. I’d arrived an hour ahead of the event and was promptly labeled 165 in the queue – which had, by this time, snaked around the basement atrium at United Square. Then it’s hunkering down for the hour.

My queue number – 165. Almost a lucky number, I think

My queue number – 165, almost a lucky number. I think. This ticket also lets me collect a goodie bag at the end of the night.

Nearing midnight, there was a sudden countdown and the queue lurched forward. It didn’t move very fast nor very long though. We’d barely taken five steps before the queue stopped again. This wasn’t unexpected, here was a very determined crowd of people who are craving the latest toys for The Force Awakens – and they WILL NOT BE rushed.

The entrance to the toyshop! I feel like a kid at Christmas!

The entrance to the toy shop! I feel like a kid at Christmas all over again!

Waiting in line didn’t wane our excitement. Of course, the good folks at the 501st Legion made sure we had lots of photo opportunities and there were many kids bashfully asking for portraits with their favourite Sith, Jedis, stormtroopers, scout troopers, rebel pilots and TIE pilots.

Jedis, stormtroopers, everyone wants to lay their hands on The Force Awakens merchandise

Jedis, stormtroopers, everyone wants to lay their hands on The Force Awakens merchandise

When push came to shove, even TIE pilots had to help direct fans to the nearest cashiers. With about 10 cashiers on hand, the queue moved very quickly as you can tell.

TIE Pilots were roped in to manage the very well controlled crowd

TIE pilots were roped in to match fans with cashiers

A “drone” view of the crowd taken by this lonely photographer from the top.

A lone photographer taking aerial shots

A lone photographer taking aerial shots

Lots of merchandise were on display but these First Order stormtroopers were begging to be shot.

Bag these First Order Stormtroopers!

Bag these First Order Stormtroopers!

After an hour of waiting, and another hour browsing the store on crutches – trying very hard not to get my foot trampled on – these were my two precious buys. The coveted Sphero BB8 app-enabled droid ($239) and the Hasbro Black Series Rey with BB8 doll.

Purchases for the night: Sphero BB8 and Black Series Rey with BB8

Purchases for the night: Sphero BB8 ($239) and Black Series Rey with BB8 ($39.90). Considering what i was up against, I think the purchases have been tempered.

Before I head to dreamland to play with my new acquisitions, I leave you with an unboxing of the Sphero BB8 droid. I hope you enjoy it!

May the 4th be with you!

Singaporeans are pretty lucky to be ahead of the time zone in America. For one, we get to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron before the U.S. audience, and we’re smart enough to make use of the Long Labour Day weekend to celebrate May the 4th, also known as Star Wars Day (for the by-now-obvious May the 4th be with you — imagine saying the Jedi mantra with a lisp — parallel) three full days ahead of the North American audience. In accordance to Star Wars creed, one must make use of any opportunity to celebrate this momentous occasion with pomp and lots of capitalistic procurement of coveted Star Wars toys.

This ever-vigilant Arc Trooper was on duty to prevent any Jedi shenanigans... oh, err, never mind. Move along...

This ever-vigilant Arc Trooper was on duty to prevent any Jedi shenanigans… oh, err, never mind. Move along…

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Mace and Palpatine: The Force is strong with Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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The Star Wars Celebrations begins!

The day is finally here. The one I’ve been preparing for all my life. My parents have ignored my pleas to celebrate it but I’ve persisted. Finally, I get to celebrate my birthday!

I’ve got my blaster ready to shoot first

But that’s not why you’re here. Tomorrow (1am Singapore time), the doors will open to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California – the biggest gathering of Star Wars geeks ever seen on this galaxy. While I am unable to join the festivities, Disney Studios have arranged for a simulcast of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel from Anaheim. We are one of only 23 countries to be given this honour.

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