This post is to introduce magicians and magic fans to the abundant heritage of magic in Singapore. It honours the noteworthy achievements, prominence and significance of local magicians from the earlier and current.
The beginning of Modern Magic in Singapore
It is the standard consensus that contemporary magic in Singapore (post Planet War 2) commenced with the late-Ng Bo
Oen AKA The Great Wong. Info on neighborhood magic pre-war is quite scarce. The only details discovered has been on The Great Wong carrying out at the New World Amusement Park (then situated at Kitchener Road) in the thirties.
The Fantastic Wong was born in 1908 in Shanton, a city of the Guangdong Province, China and immigrated to Singapore in 1933. He was the only professional magician of his time in Singapore and carried out throughout South East Asia. He was identified for his sharp phase magic, Linking Rings regimen and Sword Basket illusion. He was also an skilled craftsman who developed all of his props by hand. He had the reward of figuring out the mechanics and methodology of magic props and fabricating them from scratch.
In 1962, The Excellent Wong made a considerable contribution to the intercontinental magic group by publishing his renowned linking rings regimen with English script written by Tudor Brock. Davenports Magic in London distributes his manuscript to day. 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 much more data on The Wonderful Wong refer to ‘The Excellent Wong Story’ in The International Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring one hundred fifteen The Quantum Ring Golden Jubilee Problem)
Yet another neighborhood magician who was instrumental in increasing present day magic in Singapore during the starting was the late-Tan Hock Chuan. He was a trainer by job but carried out for annual special events, charity demonstrates and non-public events. He was (and even now is) internationally recognized for his magical innovations. His effects and suggestions are even now promoted dealer things right now and have been printed 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 Course in Magic. He is the first Asian magician to receive the Spinx Award (1936-37)
The two The Great Wong and Tan Hock Chuan had been important influences to numerous of the first generation of Singapore modern-magicians who have paved the way for potential generations.
It was only soon after the war and throughout the British Navy Administration that magic in Singapore began its rise to in which it is today. 1950 was the yr that the Singapore Magician’s Club was formed by a group of amateur magicians, comprising of English-educated experts.
In 1951 the Singapore Magician’s Club gained their constitution from The Worldwide Brotherhood of Magicians HQ in The us and was from then on was formally recognized as The Global Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring a hundred and fifteen. Founding customers of the club at that time incorporated Tan Ewe Chee (President), Yeo Soon 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 delivery to Singapore’s initial era of modern day magicians. In addition to the founding users of the IBM Ring and The Excellent Wong (who joined the Ring in 1952 by invitation), some distinguished first technology magicians included Lim Hap Hin, Tan Choon Tee, Tan Bah Chee, Yeo Before long Kian and his college student Michael Lim.
The Great Wong operated the 1st magic store from his residence cum showroom/ workshop in Singapore at 255-A Jalan Besar in which he bought his personal handcrafted props as nicely as imported supplier items from Japan. (This property/ store was ruined in a hearth in Dec 1988 leading to him to lose most of his publications and props)
During this time period, magicians like The Excellent Wong, Tan Bah Chee, Lim Hap Hin and Tan Choon Tee executed magic classes at the Nationwide Theatre Club and the YMCA. They have been liable for producing lively magicians this kind of as Charles Choo, Wong Fok Choy, Chia Hearn Jiang, Gwee Thiam Hock and the late-Vijeyacone.
Manifest Magic Into Your Life saw the ‘Golden Age’ of magic with magicians doing at diverse venues across the place. Besides local magicians executing in night time clubs, international magicians such as Socar performed a grand illusion show to a total residence at the Capitol Theatre (alongside Stamford Road) and The Great Nicholas at the Sky Theater in The Excellent World Amusement Park at Kim Seng Street (Now, Excellent Entire world City).
In the late 60s, Wee Peng Guan (Uncle of Charles Choo), opened the next magic store in Singapore at a shop house alongside Robinson Street. All around that time, well-known entertainer Victor Khoo’s father Khoo Teng Heng who was a magician, a ventriloquist and hypnotist opened his magic shop at Bras Basah. (the place Carlton Lodge stands currently).
During this ten years, Tan Choon Tee was making a name for himself in the international magic local community in the area of Mentalism. He received several worldwide Linking Ring Awards for his 1-Guy Parades and has two textbooks printed by Micky Hades. He was also a regular contributor to several worldwide magic journals these kinds of as Gen, New Pentagram, Magicgram, Magicana and The Linking Ring.
Overseas magicians whom passed through Singapore incorporated Milo & Roger, Milbourne Christopher and Maurice Fogel.
The 1970s noticed the beginning of the second generation of Singapore magicians. Some well-recognized magicians who got started throughout this time included The Great 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 Association of Magicians was established on 10 March 1973 in friendly ‘rivalry’ to the IBM Ring. The club was led by Tan Bah Chee with well known founding associates this sort of as Lim Hap Hin, Tan Hock Chuan and Charles Choo.
Magic stores in Singapore started to spring up for the duration of the late seventies. Ng Kee Chee set up a magic stall at Yaohan in Plaza Singapura and Wang Leng opened his store in Peninsula Plaza. Charles Choo opened his shop in August 1978 on the 6th flooring of Much East Buying Centre. (It would transfer several moments to a variety of malls but at some point returned back again to Significantly East). His shop would before long turn out to be an institution the place magicians would acquire numerous magic merchandise as properly as satisfy up and understand from every other.
It was a selection haunt for several magicians in the several years to come until the store shut in the new millennium.
For the duration of this time period, The Tropicana Night Club, which was situated at Pacific Plaza, was a venue that experienced standard magic performances. Several famous magicians also visited Singapore in the 70s. In 1970, John Calvert performed at the Countrywide Theatre. In 1972, Albert Goshman visited Ring one hundred fifteen to give a lecture. In that same year, “The Professor” Dai Vernon also frequented Singapore, lectured and interacted with regional magicians. Other checking out magicians incorporated Andre Kole, Billy McComb, and Ali Bongo.
By the 1980s, the regional magic scene was flourishing with healthier memberships for the two major magic golf equipment as nicely as a surge in the variety of carrying out magicians. Many of modern veterans manufactured 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 doing regularly at community and private exhibits throughout this 10 years. Popular nearby venues for general public magic shows by magic clubs held on a typical basis at that time provided the Drama Centre and the Nationwide Museum Theatrette.
The recognition of magic outlets also grew and in 1982, Chew Kin Song opened a Magic & Novelty Corner at the Chinese E-book Section of Popular Book Co Pte Ltd on the 4th Flooring of Bras Basah Intricate. Gician Tan also opened up his very first magic store at Parkway Parade which subsequently moved to Marina Sq. and was managed by Richard Ang. Aside from this main shop, he dispersed magic objects and sets by way of office retailers
in Singapore and South East Asia.The Singapore viewers was also exposed to world-class magic through several magic television displays and sequence that ended up aired on regional Television set which includes the David Copperfield specials, Magic Magic and The Ideal of Magic.
Overseas magicians who frequented Singapore for the duration of this time integrated David Copperfield, Mark Wilson, Ben Harris, Paul Daniels and Gene Anderson.
The commencing of this 10 years observed the introduction of the country’s 3rd era magicians into the local magic scene. Distinguished budding magicians incorporated 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 regional chapter of Global Magicians Modern society was formed, established by its President, Tan Bah Chee despite the fact that the club’s presence in Singapore was brief-lived.
The late-nineteen nineties saw a huge surge in magic international recognition owing to David Blaine’s avenue magic specials. Numerous people commenced to ‘get into’ magic and had new mediums to discover the craft this sort of as the introduction of DVDs and the Internet.
A new magic store, Magic Castle & Promotions, opened up by Vijay Kumar at Shaw Towers soon turned ‘the spot to be’ the place new magicians would cling out and meet.
During this ten years, Wang Leng’s shop in Peninsula Plaza was sold to Patrick Wan. The shop was subsequently sold to Richard Ang and is now nicely identified as Ang House of Magic. Patrick Wan opened his new shop, Magic Wand, which has spawned into numerous retailers in different areas 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 renowned magicians. Aside from lectures by Michael & Hannah Ammar, Mark Leveridge and Wolfgang & Sonja Riebe there had been also community theatre performances by the Pendragons, Princess Tenko, Andre Kole, Franz Harary, David Copperfield, Rudy Coby and Robert Gallop. Other checking out magicians integrated Larry Becker, Tim Ellis, Terry Seabrooke, Phil Cass and Albert Tham.
2000 – Present
Magic has continued to prosper at the local degree in this 10 years. New chances and talents have emerged to elevate the art in Singapore. In May possibly 2000, J C Sum staged the first ever nearby total-night theatre present ‘Magic at the Theatre’ at Victoria Theatre. Just a month afterwards, more than a dozen magicians from the US and Canada arrived down to Singapore as part of the Magic Festival organized by the Malls of Centrepoint. Magicians this sort of as Robert Baxt, Rocco and Peter Gossamer performed several exhibits at various Centrepoint Malls for above a week.
In 2004, the Singapore Magic Circle (SMC) was created by Aloysius Yeo and with its on-line forum drew a new pool of magic enthusiasts jointly. SMC has considering that developed to over 1000 users and often manage gatherings, activities as properly as the modern Idea:Magic Micro MAGIC Conference in January 2007.
By way of a big-scale theatre magic musical ‘Magic of Love’, Lawrence Khong, a pastor with Faith Local community Baptist Church and his daughter Pricilla, spread the gospel information.
The multi-million greenback creation has been staged several instances in excess of the a long time throughout the planet to spread the phrase of Christ. Subsequently, the very same staff arranged two Worldwide Competition of Magic conventions in 2003 & 2005. The initial of its sort huge magic occasions included competitions, lectures, a dealers’ area and performances. International performers these kinds of as Jeff McBride, Max Maven, Johnny Thomspon, The Pendragons, Lee Eun Gyeol and Tommy Surprise were booked to execute at the gala demonstrates and lectures.
In modern a long time, J C Sum has grow to be arguably the most notable Singapore magician of this era. His magic has been seen by tens of millions through his live performances across Asia as nicely as his landmark mass media tasks on MediaCorp Studio’s Ch 8 as nicely as subsequent ‘Street Illusions’ compilation DVD/ VCD.
His 24-episode ‘Magic in Motion’ collection can at the moment be noticed every day on Singapore Press Holdings MediaBoxOffice through 2007. In the worldwide magic local community, J C has also proven himself as an elite illusion designer from Asia with the publication of his three critically acclaimed illusion textbooks that have been marketed in a lot more than 30 countries to date.
Another proficient award-profitable magician, Jeremy Pei, is elevating the profile of Singapore magic within the regional magic group with his theatre displays, structured lectures, workshops and energetic participation in magic conventions & competitions in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. His distinctive North-Asian affect design of magic functionality has garnered him a pursuing with new budding magicians whom he teaches and guides. He has also introduced a number of authentic magic merchandise which are accessible to magicians globally.
In an additional 1st, award-winning junior magician, Kyle Ravin secured a 13-episode weekly Avenue Magic collection, “Maya” on MediaCorp Studios’ Vasantham Central. This 30min collection observed him perform magic for the Indian neighborhood and celebs across the place.
This decade has noticed the introduction of even more magic retailers and dealers run by youthful magicians to meet up with the demand of magic fans and magicians. These include new ‘brick & mortar’ magic retailers such as Street Magic by Tan Wei Ping, Difficult Business by Jimmy Wong, The Magic Hall by Kenneth Peh as effectively as on-line stores like The Little Magic Shop by Ning.