Tuesday, 23 July 2013

by Chin Wye Mun, Class of 2014, Junior 1 Cempaka

I'm sure that at some point or other, we have all desired to be superheroes. We all have dreameed of being able to see through walls or to run at the speed of light or lift cars like we were picking up a pencil. We all have given Spiderman's signature pose a try, hoping to find webs sprouting out of our fingertips. We all have ran circles around the house, hoping we'd suddenly be able to feel our feet burning up from our incredible speed and to see the world in smudges of colour.  I'd also bet that a handful of you have dressed up as a superhero for Halloween or any other costume party.

Why do we like superheroes and what is it about them that makes us want to emulate them so badly? Sure, they're cool to watch and it's nice to pretend that we can swing from one building to another or burn stuff with our eyes. Not to mention the thrills we feel during the fight scenes with the evil villain. However, when it really boils down to it, I think it's the benevolent part of the job that's more important about being a superhero. In fact, when you think about it, superheroes are really just one step away from being villains.  

Yet, they are not, because they seek justice, not revenge; compassion, not ruthlessness. They have managed to overcome the darkness in their hearts and look past thoughts of revenge. We admire their sacrifice, for they have given up all possibilities of living a "normal" life for the better of society. They watch over us silently but bravely, they put others before themselves and are prepared to put their lives on the line for people they don't even know. As the Powerpuff Girls' familiar opening theme puts it, superheroes "have dedicated their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil".

Besides that, superheroes give us hope because we can always trust them to pull off their astounding rescues and save the day at the end of it all. I mean, just when we think all is lost, a man clad in red underwear and blue tights appears in the nick of time to stop the 100-ton burning aeroplane from crashing down onto the screaming citizens of Smallville. While the city runs amuck and people are turning into lizards, cue the Amazing Spider-Man to fight off the reptile mutant and disperse the antidote with just a second left to spare. After all, they don't call him "Amazing" for nothing.

Nonetheless, as the years go by and we grow up, everyone eventually comes to the painful realization that our favourite childhood superheroes do not actually exist.

Even so, the message that superheroes bring still lives on. It may be unreal, tales spun out from 'make believe', but like all forms of fiction, they still inspire.

Furthermore, fret not for we may not realize it but we do live among superheroes, in a way.  A superhero is someone who saves the day and is willing to sacrifice for others. Think of all the regular, workaday lives that "save" our day. For example, bus drivers, janitors, security guards, and firefighters. You may not find Thor banging his hammer in front of your house or Aquagirl going for a swim in your local swimming pool but you can find a pretty good carpenter with an equally capable hammer to fix your door as well as a qualified lifeguard to watch over the pool patrons.

I highlight these people because I personally feel like they're often overlooked. I feel that they are very rarely praised or given recognition, unlike entrepreneurs and politicians even though their jobs are equally challenging. They work long hours too and hold jobs that may not seem exciting but if not for them, we would live a less secure and convenient life. In truth, we don't thank them enough for their services. It's time we start showing our appreciation to these everyday superheroes who help us go about our daily routines smoothly and peacefully.

Finally, I also urge you to become an everyday superhero. You don't need radioactive material or super high-tech weapons. Find something that you're passionate about or something that you're good at. Then figure out how it can benefit others, no matter if it's singing or cooking or gaming. There's something for everyone and there's a chance for us all to become a superhero too. Even just being alive, keeping a smile on your face and letting that happiness inspire and infect others, is already a "superpower". I believe that everyone has a superpower deep inside them.

Start looking for yours.

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