By LIM MAY LEE
“YOU know what they call us out there, right? A bunch of blondes and softies!” roars a cheerleading captain at her demotivated team.
“People don’t believe in you and what you do.”
While it’s all just part of the script for the CHEER 2015 promo video, the sentiments ring true for many in the local cheerleading scene.
“We could really relate with the video,” said Cheer Aspirations director Lim Chee Wei, who also coaches CA Awesome Legends, the team that acted and performed the stunts in the video, which you can watch on rage.com.my/CHEER.
“Cheerleaders have to work very hard to make their performances look flawless. It looks easy but it isn’t at all,” he said.
The video was so inspiring, Lim shared it with all the secondary school teams he’s coaching for CHEER 2015.
“It describes perfectly how cheerleading really is – and how the public sees us.”
Many don’t see past the bright smiles and pompoms to the sheer grit and determination, as well as physical strength, that cheerleaders have.
Injuries, for instance, are regular occurrences but are generally shrugged off by the cheerleaders in their pursuit of perfection.
“Shooting the CHEER videos, I learnt that injuries are very common, and usually quite bad,” said Elroi Yee, who directed and produced the video for R.AGE.
“I’d see a cheerleader get hurt and just shrug it off during shooting, but then later I’ll hear from his or her teammates just how bad it was,” he added.
Yee decided to emphasise the sports quality of cheerleading, giving the video a dose of sports-movie treatment (think Rocky Balboa’s rousing speech to his son in Rocky III).
“I didn’t know anything about cheerleading, so I met with Coach Chee Wei and his team,” he said. “From that meeting, I could tell how serious they were about the sport, and that helped influence the theme of the video.”
Yee also directed our series on Malaysia’s secondary school cheerleading scene, in the dramatic weeks leading up to the CHEER 2015 Finals, Malaysia’s biggest cheerleading event.
The videos tell the stories of the cheerleaders’ sacrifice for the sport, and how it inspires them to be more disciplined and determined.
Actress Julia Farhana Marin, who plays the team captain in the promo video, was also surprised at how difficult it can be to be a cheerleader.
“I thought, ‘How hard can it be to jump around?’ But in reality, I couldn’t even get myself up to shoulder height!” she said.
But CA Awesome Legends co-captain Ian Chung commended Julia on her professionalism. “She’s never done cheerleading in her life, but it didn’t show.”
Chung said the team was absolutely thrilled to be involved in the promo video. “Being filmed under all that glorious light, with a professional setup, was an amazing experience.”