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December 7, 2020

Flashback: Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma Book Launch

Missed out on the super-fun during our Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma book launch event? Needed to save the day from some pressing ah-ma-gency?

Don’t worry – in this recap, we will revisit the session’s most ash-citing moments. We will even show you how to inspire children to come up with their own superhero identities as well!

For those who are not familiar with Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma, it is an intergenerational family-friendly superhero graphic novel that follows Ash and her grandmother as they navigate superpowers and dementia. 

Follow this ensemble of strong, self-starting women – of all ages! – as they use teamwork to reconcile everyday problems with their newfound superhero identities. Filled with a mix of action-packed and emotionally-charged moments, this heartwarming story encourages children to explore the challenges of growing up and ageing in an empathic yet fun manner. 

Click here to buy the book and find out more! (For the ambivalent, why not click on this ash-tonishing excerpt before you decide?)

For those who want to experience the book launch in its entirety, a video recording is available on our Facebook page. Otherwise, keep on reading to see the workshop’s highlights – up, up, and away we go!

ASH_Ah_Ma_Group_Hug

Guest speaker Ivan Loh from Lien Foundation inaugurated the launch with an insightful talk on what dementia is, and how children can play a part in helping family members who suffer from it.

In his speech, Ivan touches on how the rising incidence of dementia is an issue of pressing concern not just in Singapore, but in many other developed nations with rapidly aging populations as well. Because of this aforementioned trend, it is imperative that younger generations, especially children, are exposed to the concept of ageing and its difficulties. In turn, this awareness can help remove existing stigma associated with age-related degenerative conditions, and can reduce the disconnect between younger and older generations.

There are many ways in which children can play a role in the lives of family members who are experiencing dementia. By involving them in the lives of their seniors, not only will children gain first-hand experience on how dementia affects their loved ones, these interactions have also shown to be helpful in impeding the acceleration of the illness.

To summarise the key points of the talk:

  • Encourage children to spend more time socialising with their grandparents – even if they are suffering from dementia. The key point here is to reaffirm that their family members are still the same people who love them!
  • Be patient when interacting with seniors who have dementia, even if it means repeating oneself or talking slower and louder. Conversations help keep these seniors included and engaged with the rest of the family, and provide a respite from boredom and isolation.
  • Non-traditional mediums, such as graphic novels, are great for learning about ageing and dementia. The accompanying illustrations make the topics more accessible and interesting, and can motivate children to learn more about the subject beyond the given material.

After getting an introduction to one of the core concepts of Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma, creators Melanie Lee and Arif Rafhan shared some behind-the-scenes tidbits from when they were working on the book:

Melanie opened by mentioning how strong female leads like Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle and the no-nonsense landlady from Kung Fu Hustle inspired her to create an eldery female superhero character.

Putting the idea onto paper wasn’t an easy process – it ended up taking Melanie and Arif nearly two years to finish Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma!

ASH_Script_Behind_the_Scenes

To highlight that Ash and Ah Ma are homegrown, self-funded superheroes – you don’t need to be a genius billionaire to become a successful superhero! – from Southeast Asia, Arif incorporated these influences into Ash’s and Ah Ma’s designs. 

From button-on capes to rubber gloves and footwear, we hope that Ash and Ah Ma’s ingenuity in improvising their superhero outfits will inspire children to be equally creative in their projects!

ASH_Char_Creation

After the participants were introduced to how easy it is to make up a superhero persona and a corresponding costume, Melanie and Arif proceeded to the main activity of the event: Superhero Workshop!

To help the participants conceptualise what kind of superheroes they want to be, we created the following set of worksheets to get them thinking about not just fictional superheroes, but also real-life heroes they look up to. Do they want to have the strength and confidence of Wonder Woman? Or would they prefer to have the (seemingly!) otherworldly organisation skills of their parents instead? The sky’s the limit! 

After everyone had decided on their superhero personas, the Arif took over to explain how to make and decorate a personalised superhero mask.

Participants could then choose from one of the two methods to obtain a mask template:

1. (For those with a printer) Via our premade template

2. Or by following Arif’s freehand method.

 ASH_Mask_DIY_Instructions

A flurry of paper, colouring materials, and supervised scissors-use later, we were now a group of superheroes!  

Here are some examples that our superheroes-in-training created during the workshop:

 ASH_Shreya_Mask

ASH_Sophia_Mask

If you want to participate in our superhero workshop at your own time, don’t forget to tag us with a photo of yourself – in your mask! – using the hashtag #AmazingAshandSuperheroAhMa on Facebook and Instagram, or email us at readcomics@differenceengine.sg. The world could always use more heroes! 

To get more insight on the life of superheroes, follow the adventures of Ash and Ah Ma by getting a (print or ebook) copy of the book today! 

We hope everyone had fun – we sure did! – and we look forward to seeing everyone again at our future events. Stay super!

ASH-group-shot

 

To find out more about Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma, head here!

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