Singaporean Smurfs head to Paris
TRAVERSING the cobbled pathways of Paris was a group of unlikely tourists clad in blue and white. They turned heads wherever they went last Saturday - and it's no wonder why.
The eye-catching bunch, comprising over 50 people, had their faces painted blue in the likeness of the Smurfs - tiny, blue creatures from a Belgian comic.
This writer was part of the blue-faced gang as a Singaporean Smurfette, complete with the female character's signature look: sleeveless white dress, white conical cap and yellow locks.
I was one of many Smurf Ambassadors from 28 countries, out in full force on Global Smurfs Day to celebrate the 85th birthday of the Smurfs' creator, the late Peyo.
Amid the sea of blue faces was a family of die-hard fans from South Korea, a sexy Brazilian Smurfette in a pair of five-inch killer heels, and Singapore's other ambassador, 98.7 FM DJ Divian Nair.
But, out of all the Smurfs who were present, the most distinguished one with "royal blue blood" had to be Peyo's descendant, his daughter, Ms Veronique Culliford.
Dressed like any other Smurf in blue and white, Ms Culliford was there to join in the celebrations with her husband and daughter.
While speaking to Singaporean media, she revealed an interesting fact: She was born just three weeks after the Smurfs in 1958.
Ms Culliford said: "I see (the Smurfs) as my big brothers, I've seen the Smurfs around me since I was born... My father created one story, and he never imagined the success (the series) enjoys today."
The Smurfs movie was a box-office hit when it was released in 2011, and now it's making a comeback on the big screen with The Smurfs 2, which will open in Singapore cinemas in August.
That's the reason why the festivities last Saturday were one massive affair spanning across the capitals of two countries - Belgium's Brussels and France's Paris. Belgium is the country of the Smurfs' origins, while Paris is the setting of the upcoming sequel.
The journey from Brussels to Paris was made extra memorable when we walked down a blue, not red, carpet to a special train emblazoned with Smurf characters of the likes of Papa Smurf and Smurfette.
Once in Paris, we were chaperoned to an open double-deck tour bus that took us around to famous sites, such as the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame.
Along the way, the enthusiastic contingent waved to kids squealing in delight and belted out "la la la" to the tune of the Smurfs' signature theme song.
At a stopover at the river bank facing the Eiffel Tower, flash-mob dancers and Smurf mascots boogied in unison to the upbeat tune of Britney Spear's Ooh La La from the film's soundtrack.
Thanks to the immense popularity of the Smurfs, I felt like a star for a day. Never in my life had I had so many strangers coming up to me to ask to take a photo with me, not to mention my first time walking down a blue carpet lined with trigger-happy photographers clamouring for this Smurfette's attention.
Shedding my blue skin at the end of the day, I went back to being my normal, civilian self.
But, hey, I may just don my yellow wig and white dress, and slather on some blue paint, just to get some star treatment back in Singapore.
The Smurfs 2 opens in cinemas in August.