Malaysian men lounging in airy baju kelawar or caftans is the most trending OOTD during this MCO season but no one, we repeat, no one, can beat THIS baju kelawar.
Before the Movement Control Order (MCO) began, a video of Batman Malaysia a.k.a Batman Malaysia Dark Knight (BMDK) riding on his Batpod in Puchong went viral.
With his cape flapping in the wind, netizens went crazy watching Batman Malaysia navigate through traffic and all the while keeping in character.
Rojak Daily then got in touch with the elusive Batman Malaysia to speak to him about his baju kelawar, motor kelawar and future kereta kelawar.
Riding into the almost empty parking lot at the Ramly Burger outlet in Bukit Jalil (chill you guys, this was pre-MCO, remember?), watching Batman Malaysia ride into the area on his Batpod, park the vehicle and saunter into the outlet was quite surreal.
This writer said her usual greetings (while in a dreamy daze) and then just stood aside while trying to process the whole "visual".
Batman Malaysia then suddenly said, "Panas and haus lah
. I'm just going to get a drink first, ya?" in a low gruff voice.
Then this adorable 'Batman buying burger' shot was taken.
A childhood dream turned reality
Just like the real Batman, Batman M (susah lah
to constantly say Batman Malaysia) refused to reveal his true identity.
When asked how this whole thing started, Batman M then explained that it was his dream since he was a young boy.
"Batman's story is almost like mine. He is an orphan and so am I. As a young child living at orphanages and foster homes, I needed someone to look up to and for me, that was Batman," he said.
He said that the main difference between Bruce Wayne's childhood and his was that at least Bruce knew who his parents were lah
(Also, Bruce's parents got murdered during a botched robbery but we will not go into the details. 😜)
"I remember using a cloth as a cape and wearing upside down glasses on my head to make it look like Batman's ears. I would then mimic his moves in front of a mirror.
"I was determined to be him but I knew that in order to actually be Batman, I had to be rich. So I studied hard, was lucky enough to land a good job, had a family and then I went back to my Batman obsession," he said while grinning underneath the mask.
First came the suit
Batman M said that the first thing he did was put together his Batsuit.
"My first suit was made by upgrading a bike jacket that I had. I added leather and foam and sewed the piece together. It was not comfortable at all and I remember how after shows, the pieces used to fall off," he said while laughing.
He added that he then went on YouTube to do a bit of research on putting together a proper suit and came up with the second version - which he also sewed on his own.
"You sewed every single piece on your outfit on your own?," questioned this bewildered writer again.
"Well, yes but of course, I used a sewing machine lah," he said while letting out another deep throated laugh.
Batman M was a joker!
"It took me about three months to do it and for me, details are the most important," he said, while adjusting his utility belt and detailing that the entire outfit cost him close to RM25,000 to make.
Yes, Batman M has a cool utility belt with a gun (a toy one, in case you're wondering) and a suitcase full of other Batman accessories including a Batarang, an EMP gun and even smokebombs.
These accessories are often brought out when he attends performances and charity shows.
As for his family and what they think about his "hobby", Batman M said that they were quite accepting.
"They did not know what I was up to at first. I did everything in my 'Bat Cave' which is basically a secret room in my house.
(Why this Batman so cool?!)
"It was a space just for me but when I got the Batpod, that's when my wife and children actually found out what I was up to," he said.
The coolest bike ever
When speaking about the Batpod, Batman M gushed and said that it basically completed his whole look.
"I did not make the bike on my own though. A custom bike maker called Eastern Bobber Malaysia caught one of my shows at a charity event and he contacted me.
"He said that he had built a Batpod but had never brought it out and of course I was absolutely interested. I eventually bought it from him," he said.
He added that when he rode on his bike, everyone took notice.
"People will start waving, traffic will start slowing, people will yell 'Batman, Batman' and it just basically brought joy and excitement to everyone," he said.
Batman M added that it was this factor that he enjoyed the most when he donned his Batsuit.
A love for charitable events
While most cosplayers don their favourite costumes to attend cosplay events, Batman M prefers a different scene.
"I love attending charity events and my favourite events are visiting schools. I go to schools, give motivational talks to kids and they actually listen.
"You can see that I have their 100 per cent concentration when I have the suit on," he said, adding that he also adds gimmicks, organises games and even sings during his appearances.
When asked about an unforgettable experience, Batman M immediately gushed about his visit to a school in Tangkak, Johor where he got to meet a group of orphans.
"They hugged me and excitedly listened as I spoke to them about being an orphan myself. I told them that even though you don't have parents, you can succeed, you can achieve your dreams," he said.
Recounting his school visits, Batman M said that he had gone to close to 40 schools around the country so far but planned to get into the Malaysia Book Of Records by visiting 1,000 schools.
"I also try to go to the more rural areas because people there are poor. They cannot visit places like Universal Studios and so to see a real live Batman would be like a dream come true for some of these children," he said.
Plans for the future
As for the future, Batman M said that he is hard at work putting together his own Batmobile.
"It won't be a replica of an actual Batmobile though. My team and I (we'll explain about the team in a bit) plan to upgrade a Malaysian made car to a local Batmobile," he said.
The team, who also tagged along during the interview, consists of about six people, some in charge of Batman M's accessories, one helps with his cape and suit, others look into photography and he also had a drone operator taking videos as well.
Batman M said that his team was part of the official Batman club in Malaysia and they were all as passionate about the character as he was.
"If I rush, it takes me about 15 minutes to suit up (with help) but if I do it properly, it could drag to about 20 minutes or so," he said.
Suiting up includes adding the accessories, cape and even painting his eyelids and under eye area black (just like the Dark Knight himself).
"My goal is to entertain and work with needy communities. With my mask on, I get more attention, and I use that to do good," he said, adding that he hoped to one day make it to Hollywood.
Life under MCO
Since the MCO started, Batman M has not left his "Bat Cave" but continues to communicate with fans through his social media channels.
His latest posts includes advice to the public, a few comical posts and a constant reminder to adhere to the MCO.
Before leaving, this writer tried again to dig out a few details about the man behind the mask.
"Maybe you could just tell me what you work as?," this writer asked.
"No, no, I will never reveal the man behind the mask because once I'm no more, someone else can take over and the people will never know the difference," he said in his Batman voice before bursting into laughter.
A few pictures and several videos later, Batman M climbed on his Batpod and rode away into the setting evening sun.
Rumour has it that Batman M is a Datuk, that he's a frontliner, another rumour says he's actually Robin in disguise. Whether or not the rumours are true, we can't really be sure. What we know is that he has a kind heart and an absolute dedication to the character.
We can't wait to see the Malaysian Batmobile soon!