HKspidey: A Superhero Without Super Powers
He dons a red and blue suit, saves people in danger and keeps his identity hidden. Most people would recognise the iconic Marvel comic book character Spider-Man but Hong Kong has its own superhero.
By Vicky So & Ceci Lam
Adviser Ms Sandra Lowe
Pages editor Vicky So
HKspidey can be spotted around the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is a popular place for buskers. But who is this person? No one knows and perhaps never will. Our Voice has a one-on-one interview with HKspidey who, like his namesake, wants to keep his true identity a secret.
“I don’t see myself as a cosplayer. I just love the message of Spider-Man,” said HKspidey during a break from his performance at the Star Ferry Pier.
No matter how busy this commercial area is or how busy and distracted people are, passers-by are always captivated by his outfit and stop to ask for pictures. Some of his diehard fans frequently turn up to support him.
When he lets people take a picture, he kindly asks people to donate money in appreciation, but instead of keeping it, he gives all the funds he raised to charities such as the Hong Kong Red Cross and Children’s Cancer Foundation.
His philanthropy has led to HKspidey becoming a social media success, gaining more attention, with 12,000 followers on Instagram today.
Brave, sincere, righteous and responsible are the characteristics of the fictional comic book hero, Spider-Man (aka Peter Parker). This story inspired HKspidey.
After watching “Spider-Man” (2002), the main character became his favourite superhero. HKspidey and Spider-Man share many similarities, so the Hong Kong fan always considered the comic book hero as his role model in real life.
HKspidey comes from a single-parent family and lives with his mother, just like Peter Parker and Aunt May.
Dressing up as HKspidey in his leisure time has enriched his life. “I was such a nerd. My life used to be quite boring, but being HKspidey kind of change my inferior and introverted personality. It makes me much happier,” he said.
He realized that it was not only about entertaining people but also helping them. “I love helping the needy and spreading positivity to others. This is also the motivation for me after having done this for 1.5 years,” he said.
He wanted to show the strong sense of justice and mission, just like Peter Parker, and do something for society, so he took this as a golden opportunity to help people in need.
HKspidey once receive a fan letter. He said, ‘After a performance, I was sitting in McDonalds and counting the funds while reading a fan letter. I was sobbing and feeling so emotional after I read though encouragement.” He also interacts with his fans frequently. “They talk everything with me. It is so funny that some of them even ask me for suggestions to resolve their homework and relationship issues.
To physically look like Spider-Man, HKspidey has undergone extensive preparation. He has studied his hero’s body language, gestures, various poses and also how he speaks.
As Spider-Man has a very flexible body, he has worked out in the gym to sculpt a more similar body shape. HKspidey would also only speak in English to people since he wanted to be like the character Peter Parker. All this effort shows his dedication to the role he dons on Sundays.
People initially misunderstood HKspidey because they did not know his intentions and how the donated money would be used.
“I have done nothing wrong so I won’t give up so easily,” he said without any hesitation.
Some people had even hurled abuse at HKspidey, which had upset him. He had also been interrogated by police officers, who threatened to charge him for Illegal begging and loitering, and forced him to take off his mask when he was perform in front of The One shopping mall.
HKspidey had never experienced such situations before and he felt he had done nothing wrong, so he was a bit frightened and aggrieved at the time.
Police finally released him and warned him not to perform again in front of The One mall. As he had just started, HKspidey did not want to give up so quickly and easily, so he decided to keep giving joy to the public by performing around the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui where a lot of street performers gathered.
Many people are curious about “who the man is under the Spider-Man suit”. HKspidey had thought about revealing is identity but decided against it for the moment. He also keeps this secret from his family and friends, just like the comic book story.
Fortunately, HKspidey’s mother and his friends still do not know, but his secret had nearly been exposed several times.
For example, he was filming a vlog at home along and was just wearing the Spider-Man mask, but his mother suddenly returned and he had to quickly take off his mask, pretending as if nothing happened.
Sometimes HKspidey has taken photos with his friends, but they are unaware of who he really is even though he recognised them.
Engaging in charity work in the name of HKspidey has made his life more meaningful because he can spread joy and happiness to people.
But he also hopes to take his charity work a step further. Apart from donating money, his goal is to visit with more of the needy.
He said he would like to make hospital visits to children who are suffering from chronic diseases, which was similar to what actors Robert Downey Jr (who plays Iron Man) and Chris Evans (aka Captain America) had done.
Though superheroes may only be in comic books, HKspidey has learned from their spirit and applied this in reality. People choose their own individual way to help others and HKspidey puts on a suit to become a “real superhero” and a Spider-Man”.