Amid the frustrations and emotional stress from the Covid-19 pandemic, Sabahan Yohan Charles Jayasuriya tries to lighten up the mood by delivering food aids while disguising himself as Iron-Man.
A real-life hero
Yohan goes around Penampang, Sabah as the superhero Iron-Man as he distributes food aid to the less fortunate and underprivileged. It all started when he was contacted by the president of SMK St Michael’s 98 batch, Randolf Plaza to help send food aid to their former classmates in need.
According to Yohan, the donation came personally from Randolf. “I immediately said yes. I also decided that I would cosplay while I send the aid. Imagine the happiness and surprise they get, especially the kids, when they know they are receiving food aid from Iron-Man!” said Yohan.
Conforming to the current situation, Yohan said that while everyone was trying to pose for a photo with him, they did so but still kept the social distance between. From that experience, he realised that everyone adhered to the movement control order (MCO) rules.
“There was one time I went to the local market to get more supplies. Although people were surprised to see me there, they still maintained their distance and just waved at me. That was when I realised everyone was serious in practising social distancing.”
He also revealed that his MCO endeavour was sponsored by anonymous people that he called ‘The Real Heroes’.
To him, the best memory from his trip was when a kid came out to say, “thank you Iron-Man.” Yohan confessed, “It hit me right there, and I immediately got teary-eyed. It also gave me the extra boost to make sure I did my best to spread more joy. It made me really happy, and I am glad that people felt entertained when they saw me.”
When asked if there were times he was stopped by the police, Yohan admitted that sometimes he was, “They were only doing their job. But after explaining what I was doing to the officers, they let me pass, wished me the best of luck and reminded me to always stay safe.”
Yohan used to be a DJ for night clubs for almost 20 years until he decided to be a freelancer. At the time, he also decided to focus on being a full-time emcee and cosplayer.
He said that he started to cosplay in 2011 for the Hobbycon event. “From there I was instantly hooked, and over time, it turned into a business as well.” Thinking of the smiles he would often get as he cosplayed, he noticed that people — especially the children — would look at him with amazement as he dresses up as their favourite hero.
On the Iron-Man suit, he has a total of three costumes but he uses the lightest (six kilogrammes) and softest to wear during his food aid excursion. His suit was half-made by a friend of his from the Philippines while Yohan himself put on the finishing touches.
Apart from cosplaying, Yohan is also a drone pilot, an exotic chilli farmer, a prop maker and sometimes performs as a clown.