This article is to introduce magicians and magic lovers to the rich background of magic in Singapore. It honours the notable achievements, prominence and importance of nearby magicians from the past and current.
The beginning of Modern day Magic in Singapore
It is the basic consensus that present day magic in Singapore (post Globe War 2) started with the late-Ng Bo
Oen AKA The Wonderful Wong. Information on local magic pre-war is quite scarce. The only data found has been on The Wonderful Wong carrying out at the New World Amusement Park (then found at Kitchener Road) in the 1930s.
The Fantastic Wong was born in 1908 in Shanton, a town of the Guangdong Province, China and immigrated to Singapore in 1933. He was the only skilled magician of his time in Singapore and performed throughout South East Asia. He was known for his sharp stage magic, Linking Rings routine and Sword Basket illusion. He was also an specialist craftsman who built all of his props by hand. He had the present of figuring out the mechanics and methodology of magic props and fabricating them from scratch.
In 1962, The Fantastic Wong manufactured a significant contribution to the international magic neighborhood by publishing his popular linking rings schedule with English script composed by Tudor Brock. Davenports Magic in London distributes his manuscript to date. In 1982, he was invited by the Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques (FISM) to perform at the fifteenth Planet Congree of Magic in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(For far more info on The Fantastic Wong refer to ‘The Wonderful Wong Story’ in The Worldwide Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring one hundred fifteen The Quantum Ring Golden Jubilee Problem)
Another neighborhood magician who was instrumental in growing present day magic in Singapore in the course of the beginning was the late-Tan Hock Chuan. He was a trainer by occupation but executed for once-a-year special functions, charity shows and non-public functions. He was (and nevertheless is) internationally known for his magical inventions. His effects and suggestions are nevertheless marketed vendor items these days and have been published in a great number of publications (of that time) these kinds of as Gen, Spinx, Pentagram, New Pentagram, Swami Mantra, Abracadabra and even Tarbell’s System in Magic. He is the very first Asian magician to get the Spinx Award (1936-37)
Each The Excellent Wong and Tan Hock Chuan had been critical influences to several of the first era of Singapore present day-magicians who have paved the way for future generations.
It was only right after the war and in the course of the British Military Administration that magic in Singapore started its increase to exactly where it is today. 1950 was the yr that the Singapore Magician’s Club was formed by a group of novice magicians, comprising of English-educated professionals.
In 1951 the Singapore Magician’s Club gained their charter from The Intercontinental Brotherhood of Magicians HQ in The united states and was from then on was officially identified as The International Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring one hundred fifteen. Founding members of the club at that time included Tan Ewe Chee (President), Yeo Shortly Kian, Lim Kim Tian, Lim Hap Hin, J.H Stafford, L.A Joseph, J.W Jackson (Vice-President) and Tan Hock Chuan (Secretary).
The 50’s gave beginning to Singapore’s 1st technology of modern magicians. In addition to the founding members of the IBM Ring and The Fantastic Wong (who joined the Ring in 1952 by invitation), some distinguished 1st generation magicians provided Lim Hap Hin, Tan Choon Tee, Tan Bah Chee, Yeo Before long Kian and his student Michael Lim.
The Excellent Wong operated the very first magic shop from his residence cum showroom/ workshop in Singapore at 255-A Jalan Besar exactly where he offered his personal handcrafted props as nicely as imported seller things from Japan. (This house/ shop was wrecked in a fire in Dec 1988 causing him to shed most of his textbooks and props)
For the duration of this period, magicians like The Great Wong, Tan Bah Chee, Lim Hap Hin and Tan Choon Tee executed magic programs at the National Theatre Club and the YMCA. They have been dependable for making lively magicians this sort of as Charles Choo, Wong Fok Choy, Chia Hearn Jiang, Gwee Thiam Hock and the late-Vijeyacone.
The early 60s also saw the ‘Golden Age’ of magic with magicians carrying out at different venues across the place. Aside from regional magicians carrying out in night golf equipment, overseas magicians this sort of as Socar carried out a grand illusion display to a complete residence at the Capitol Theatre (together Stamford Street) and The Fantastic Nicholas at the Sky Theater in The Great World Amusement Park at Kim Seng Road (Now, Fantastic Entire world City).
In the late 60s, Wee Peng Guan (Uncle of Charles Choo), opened the second magic store in Singapore at a store house together Robinson Highway. About that time, popular entertainer Victor Khoo’s father Khoo Teng Heng who was a magician, a ventriloquist and hypnotist opened his magic store at Bras Basah. (the place Carlton Resort stands currently).
In the course of this 10 years, Tan Choon Tee was producing a identify for himself in the international magic local community in the field of Mentalism. He won many worldwide Linking Ring Awards for his One particular-Male Parades and has two publications revealed by Micky Hades. He was also a regular contributor to many intercontinental magic publications this sort of as Gen, New Pentagram, Magicgram, Magicana and The Linking Ring.
Overseas magicians whom passed by means of Singapore incorporated Milo & Roger, Milbourne Christopher and Maurice Fogel.
The seventies saw the delivery of the second generation of Singapore magicians. Some well-identified magicians who received began during this time provided The Excellent Wong’s son Ng Kee Chee, John Teo, Tang Sai Thong, Ng Seow Kiat, Tang Yeng Fun, Bob Chua, Eric Leong, Tan Teck Seng, Lawrence Tham, Tan Tuan Seng, Lawrence Khong and Andrew Kong.
The Singapore Affiliation of Magicians was established on 10 March 1973 in helpful ‘rivalry’ to the IBM Ring. The club was led by Tan Bah Chee with prominent founding associates this kind of as Lim Hap Hin, Tan Hock Chuan and Charles Choo.
Magic shops in Singapore started to spring up during the late seventies. Ng Kee Chee established up a magic stall at Yaohan in Plaza Singapura and Wang Leng opened his store in Peninsula Plaza. Charles Choo opened his store in August 1978 on the sixth ground of Considerably East Buying Centre. (It would go a number of occasions to different malls but sooner or later returned back again to Significantly East). His shop would quickly turn into an establishment exactly where magicians would get various magic merchandise as nicely as satisfy up and find out from each other.
It was a variety haunt for many magicians in the years to come until the store closed in the new millennium.
For the duration of this interval, The Tropicana Night Club, which was located at Pacific Plaza, was a location that experienced regular magic performances. A number of popular magicians also frequented Singapore in the 70s. In 1970, John Calvert done at the Nationwide Theatre. In 1972, Albert Goshman frequented Ring one hundred fifteen to give a lecture. In that very same year, “The Professor” Dai Vernon also visited Singapore, lectured and interacted with neighborhood magicians. Other going to magicians included Andre Kole, Billy McComb, and Ali Bongo.
By the nineteen eighties, the neighborhood magic scene was flourishing with healthful memberships for the two main magic golf equipment as properly as a surge in the amount of carrying out magicians. Several of today’s veterans produced their name in the 80s. Common names like Richard Ang, Patrick Wan, Patrick Ng Wang Lin, Tan Hai Yan AKA Gician, Paul Koh, AB Francis and Gordon Koh had been carrying out frequently at community and non-public shows for the duration of this 10 years. Well-liked neighborhood venues for community magic exhibits by magic clubs held on a typical basis at that time included the Drama Centre and the Nationwide Museum Theatrette.
The reputation of magic stores also grew and in 1982, Chew Kin Tune opened a Magic & Novelty Corner at the Chinese Book Part of Common E-book Co Pte Ltd on the 4th Flooring of Bras Basah Intricate. Gician Tan also opened up his first magic store at Parkway Parade which subsequently moved to Marina Sq. and was managed by Richard Ang. In addition to this main store, he distributed magic items and sets by means of section retailers
in Singapore and South East Asia.The Singapore audience was also exposed to entire world-course magic by means of many magic tv demonstrates and series that were aired on neighborhood Tv including the David Copperfield specials, Magic Magic and The Ideal of Magic.
Overseas magicians who visited Singapore during this time provided David Copperfield, Mark Wilson, Ben Harris, Paul Daniels and Gene Anderson.
The starting of this ten years noticed the introduction of the country’s third generation magicians into the regional magic scene. Distinguished budding magicians integrated Enrico Varella, Sherman Tjiong, J C Sum, Joe Yu (Chan Ee Kang), Nique Tan Li Keong, Prakash Puru, Kiki Tay, Alex Tan and Jeremy Pei.
The local chapter of International Magicians Society was formed, launched by its President, Tan Bah Chee although the club’s presence in Singapore was quick-lived.
The late-nineties saw a large surge in magic world-wide acceptance thanks to David Blaine’s road magic specials. Numerous folks started out to ‘get into’ magic and had new mediums to discover the craft such as the introduction of DVDs and the Net.
A new magic shop, Magic Castle & Promotions, opened up by Vijay Kumar at Shaw Towers quickly turned ‘the spot to be’ the place new magicians would hang out and fulfill.
For the duration of this 10 years, Wang Leng’s shop in Peninsula Plaza was sold to Patrick Wan. The store was subsequently bought to Richard Ang and is now nicely recognized as Ang Residence of Magic. Patrick Wan opened his new shop, Magic Wand, which has spawned into numerous outlets in various parts of Singapore. Steven Sim also opened Magic Supreme at Coronation Plaza which has subsequently moved to Park Mall.
The 90s was an interesting 10 years with many visits and performances by well-known magicians. Aside from lectures by Michael & Hannah Ammar, Mark Leveridge and Wolfgang & Sonja Riebe there ended up also general public theatre performances by the Pendragons, Princess Tenko, Andre Kole, Franz Harary, David Copperfield, Rudy Coby and Robert Gallop. Other visiting magicians integrated Larry Becker, Tim Ellis, Terry Seabrooke, Phil Cass and Albert Tham.
2000 – Current
Magic has continued to prosper at the local degree in this decade. New chances and abilities have emerged to elevate the art in Singapore. In May 2000, J C Sum staged the first at any time local entire-night theatre show ‘Magic at the Theatre’ at Victoria Theatre. Just a thirty day period later on, much more than a dozen magicians from the US and Canada arrived down to Singapore as part of the Magic Pageant arranged by the Malls of Centrepoint. Magicians this sort of as Robert Baxt, Rocco and Peter Gossamer performed a number of displays at a variety of Centrepoint Malls for over a 7 days.
In 2004, the Singapore Magic Circle (SMC) was developed by Aloysius Yeo and with its on-line forum drew a new pool of magic lovers jointly. SMC has considering that grown to in excess of one thousand associates and often arrange gatherings, functions as well as the recent Concept:Magic Micro MAGIC Convention in January 2007.
Through a huge-scale theatre magic musical ‘Magic of Love’, Lawrence Khong, a pastor with Religion Community Baptist Church and his daughter Pricilla, unfold the gospel information.
The multi-million dollar manufacturing has been staged several instances over the a long time throughout the entire world to spread the term of Christ. Subsequently, the exact same crew structured two International Festival of Magic conventions in 2003 & 2005. The 1st of its kind massive magic activities included competitions, lectures, a dealers’ area and performances. Global performers such as Jeff McBride, Max Maven, Johnny Thomspon, The Pendragons, Lee Eun Gyeol and Tommy Surprise ended up booked to carry out at the gala shows and lectures.
In recent many years, J C Sum has turn out to be arguably the most prominent Singapore magician of this technology. His magic has been seen by millions through his stay performances across Asia as well as his landmark mass media assignments on MediaCorp Studio’s Ch 8 as nicely as subsequent ‘Street Illusions’ compilation DVD/ VCD.
His 24-episode ‘Magic in Motion’ collection can currently be witnessed day-to-day on Singapore Push Holdings MediaBoxOffice by way of 2007. In Private party magician , J C has also recognized himself as an elite illusion designer from Asia with the publication of his 3 critically acclaimed illusion guides that have been offered in much more than thirty countries to day.
One more talented award-profitable magician, Jeremy Pei, is raising the profile of Singapore magic in the regional magic neighborhood with his theatre shows, structured lectures, workshops and lively participation in magic conventions & competitions in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. His unique North-Asian influence type of magic overall performance has garnered him a pursuing with new budding magicians whom he teaches and guides. He has also unveiled a number of authentic magic merchandise which are obtainable to magicians worldwide.
In another 1st, award-successful junior magician, Kyle Ravin secured a 13-episode weekly Road Magic series, “Maya” on MediaCorp Studios’ Vasantham Central. This 30min series noticed him carry out magic for the Indian group and superstars throughout the place.
This decade has witnessed the introduction of even a lot more magic outlets and dealers run by young magicians to fulfill the demand from customers of magic lovers and magicians. These consist of new ‘brick & mortar’ magic retailers such as Street Magic by Tan Wei Ping, Tricky Company by Jimmy Wong, The Magic Hall by Kenneth Peh as well as on-line shops like The Minor Magic Store by Ning.