Two local Harry Potter fans share their collectibles in S'pore exhibition
Their Harry Potter collection would make any Potterhead go green with envy and squeal like a Mandrake.
Between the two of them, they have amassed more than 450 pieces of collectibles and more than a third of these will be on display at the Singapore Philatelic Museum's Collecting Magic: From Stamps to Wands exhibition, which runs till June.
Their undying love for the famous fictitious wizard and his world has been going for more than a decade.
Miss Jo Chua, 35, a marketing officer, and Miss Chin Xuan, 24, a business development executive, met while working part-time at Harry Potter: The Exhibition gift shop in 2012, and have been friends ever since.
Miss Chua told The New Paper: "Honestly, I was hesitant at first and there was some worry as well.
"I felt like I was sending a part of me elsewhere as the exhibition will run for nearly half a year and that means it will be out of my sight for quite some time.
"However, we have not had any exciting Harry Potter events in Singapore since Harry Potter: The Exhibition, and there was a strong desire to support where I can to bring some excitement to the fans here."
Miss Chua encouraged Miss Chin to showcase her collection as well, and Miss Chin agreed that there were too few Harry Potter events in Singapore.
Miss Chin told TNP: "I'm happy I got a chance to share my items and proud to see that they have a chance to see the world other than hiding in my boxes."
Miss Chua has more than 150 items displayed at the exhibition such as Harry Potter newspaper and magazine clippings, a Diagon Alley Lego set made by her, and a collector's edition of Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, which is one of only 3,000 copies in the world.
Miss Chin contributed four items, including a Hogwarts tapestry, character wands and Hogwarts' house scarves.
TNP checked the prices of some of these items - the tapestry costs about US$39.90 (S$56) while the wands are priced at over US$30.
The pair may have lent the museum a number of possessions for the exhibition, but their collections at home are exhibitions in their own right.
Miss Chua and Miss Chin, who both live in five-room flats, have more than 300 and 150 collectables respectively.
Miss Chua keeps her collectables in two 2m-high cabinets in her room, while Miss Chin's room has a cupboard filled with memorabilia, with costumes carefully tucked away into boxes.
Miss Chin said: "I watched the first movie when I was 11. However, I didn't read the books till much later. After the first book, I was hooked.
"They have been an important part while growing up and helped me through difficult times. Even till now, the wizard world is my escapism."
For Miss Chua, her love for the Harry Potter books started when her mother bought the first four in the series in 2000.
"When I just entered my first year in university in the same year, they caught my attention, but I didn't get them at first," she said.
"Once I started reading, I simply could not stop."
Even with such large collections, the two fans have one prized possession that they cherish the most.
Miss Chua said: "I took a photo during my birthday with twins James Phelps and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley, while they were in town to promote Harry Potter: The Exhibition. It is priceless to me."
Miss Chin's favourite is the Harry Potter Wizard's Collection that she pre-ordered on Amazon. It cost US$312.
Other than scouring websites and shops for items, Miss Chua also makes her own costumes, such as an outfit for Harry Potter character Rita Skeeter and some buildings in Diagon Alley made out of Lego pieces that she sourced.
She said: "It took more than a couple of months, factoring in the time to look for the bricks and to wait for them to be shipped over.
"Building it was mostly trial and error, such as taking references from the books for the details."
Miss Chua also took parts from other Lego sets into making Diagon Alley, which she completed in October 2013, after many months.
"It's hard to put a value to the items, be it a low value one or a rare item. What matters more is the excitement of finding an item that makes the fan in me sing," Miss Chua said.
Miss Chin added: "Everybody has something that they spend on, some on shopping, some on food, some on travelling. As long as it makes you happy, that is the most important."
They have been an important part while growing up and helped me through difficult times. Even till now, the wizard world is my escapism.
- Harry Potter fan Miss Chin Xuan
Collecting Magic: From Stamps To Wands
Want to see the rest of the exhibition? Here are the details of where to catch them.
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Until June 30
Monday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm
Free admission for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
Don't forget to produce your identification card before entering.