This write-up is to introduce magicians and magic fans to the abundant heritage of magic in Singapore. It honours the noteworthy achievements, prominence and significance of nearby magicians from the past and current.
The starting of Modern day Magic in Singapore
It is the general consensus that modern magic in Singapore (put up Globe War two) began with the late-Ng Bo
Oen AKA The Great Wong. Data on nearby magic pre-war is extremely scarce. The only data located has been on The Great Wong executing at the New Entire world Amusement Park (then found at Kitchener Street) in the 1930s.
The Wonderful 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 across South East Asia. He was identified for his sharp phase magic, Linking Rings schedule and Sword Basket illusion. He was also an specialist 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 Wonderful Wong made a significant contribution to the intercontinental magic local community by publishing his renowned linking rings routine with English script prepared 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 carry out at the fifteenth Entire world Congree of Magic in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(For far more info on The Great Wong refer to ‘The Great Wong Story’ in The Intercontinental Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115 The Quantum Ring Golden Jubilee Issue)
An additional neighborhood magician who was instrumental in expanding contemporary magic in Singapore throughout the starting was the late-Tan Hock Chuan. He was a trainer by profession but done for annual particular activities, charity shows and private get-togethers. He was (and nonetheless is) internationally known for his magical innovations. Manifest Magic Review and concepts are nonetheless marketed supplier objects these days and have been published in numerous publications (of that time) this sort of as Gen, Spinx, Pentagram, New Pentagram, Swami Mantra, Abracadabra and even Tarbell’s Course in Magic. He is the initial Asian magician to obtain the Spinx Award (1936-37)
Both The Fantastic Wong and Tan Hock Chuan had been important influences to many of the initial generation of Singapore contemporary-magicians who have paved the way for long term generations.
It was only soon after the war and throughout the British Armed forces Administration that magic in Singapore began its rise to where it is today. 1950 was the 12 months that the Singapore Magician’s Club was formed by a team of amateur magicians, comprising of English-educated professionals.
In 1951 the Singapore Magician’s Club gained their charter from The Global Brotherhood of Magicians HQ in The united states and was from then on was formally known as The Global Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115. Founding customers of the club at that time provided 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 birth to Singapore’s initial technology of contemporary magicians. In addition to the founding associates of the IBM Ring and The Fantastic Wong (who joined the Ring in 1952 by invitation), some distinguished first generation magicians provided Lim Hap Hin, Tan Choon Tee, Tan Bah Chee, Yeo Before long Kian and his scholar Michael Lim.
The Excellent Wong operated the initial magic shop from his residence cum showroom/ workshop in Singapore at 255-A Jalan Besar where he marketed his own handcrafted props as effectively as imported seller items from Japan. (This home/ shop was destroyed in a fireplace in Dec 1988 causing him to lose most of his textbooks and props)
During this time period, magicians like The Excellent Wong, Tan Bah Chee, Lim Hap Hin and Tan Choon Tee conducted magic courses at the Countrywide Theatre Club and the YMCA. They have been accountable for producing active magicians these kinds of as Charles Choo, Wong Fok Choy, Chia Hearn Jiang, Gwee Thiam Hock and the late-Vijeyacone.
The early 60s also observed the ‘Golden Age’ of magic with magicians executing at various venues across the nation. In addition to neighborhood magicians performing in night time golf equipment, foreign magicians this kind of as Socar done a grand illusion display to a full house at the Capitol Theatre (along Stamford Road) and The Fantastic Nicholas at the Sky Theater in The Great World Amusement Park at Kim Seng Street (Now, Wonderful World Town).
In the late 60s, Wee Peng Guan (Uncle of Charles Choo), opened the 2nd magic shop in Singapore at a shop house together Robinson Highway. All around that time, common entertainer Victor Khoo’s father Khoo Teng Heng who was a magician, a ventriloquist and hypnotist opened his magic store at Bras Basah. (exactly where Carlton Resort stands presently).
For the duration of this 10 years, Tan Choon Tee was creating a identify for himself in the worldwide magic community in the subject of Mentalism. He received a number of intercontinental Linking Ring Awards for his One-Male Parades and has two books revealed by Micky Hades. He was also a standard contributor to several global magic publications this kind of as Gen, New Pentagram, Magicgram, Magicana and The Linking Ring.
Overseas magicians whom handed by way of Singapore integrated Milo & Roger, Milbourne Christopher and Maurice Fogel.
The nineteen seventies saw the beginning of the 2nd era of Singapore magicians. Some properly-identified magicians who obtained commenced during this time provided The Excellent Wong’s son Ng Kee Chee, John Teo, Tang Sai Thong, Ng Seow Kiat, Tang Yeng Entertaining, 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 ten March 1973 in welcoming ‘rivalry’ to the IBM Ring. The club was led by Tan Bah Chee with well known founding users these kinds of as Lim Hap Hin, Tan Hock Chuan and Charles Choo.
Magic shops in Singapore began to spring up throughout 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 store in August 1978 on the 6th ground of Much East Shopping Centre. (It would shift a number of moments to numerous malls but eventually returned back to Far East). His shop would soon grow to be an establishment exactly where magicians would buy a variety of magic products as well as meet up and understand from each other.
It was a range haunt for several magicians in the a long time to occur till the shop shut in the new millennium.
Throughout this period of time, The Tropicana Evening Club, which was positioned at Pacific Plaza, was a location that had standard magic performances. A number of famous magicians also frequented Singapore in the 70s. In 1970, John Calvert performed at the Nationwide Theatre. In 1972, Albert Goshman frequented Ring 115 to give a lecture. In that same yr, “The Professor” Dai Vernon also visited Singapore, lectured and interacted with nearby magicians. Other browsing magicians included Andre Kole, Billy McComb, and Ali Bongo.
By the 1980s, the local magic scene was flourishing with healthful memberships for the two principal magic clubs as effectively as a surge in the number of carrying out magicians. Numerous of modern veterans made their identify in the 80s. Acquainted names like Richard Ang, Patrick Wan, Patrick Ng Wang Lin, Tan Hai Yan AKA Gician, Paul Koh, AB Francis and Gordon Koh had been executing often at general public and personal demonstrates throughout this 10 years. Well-known regional venues for public magic exhibits by magic clubs held on a standard basis at that time incorporated the Drama Centre and the Nationwide Museum Theatrette.
The popularity of magic shops also grew and in 1982, Chew Kin Tune opened a Magic & Novelty Corner at the Chinese E-book Segment 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 Square and was managed by Richard Ang. Aside from this major store, he dispersed magic items and sets by way of department stores
in Singapore and South East Asia.The Singapore audience was also exposed to world-course magic through numerous magic television exhibits and series that were aired on regional Television like the David Copperfield specials, Magic Magic and The Greatest of Magic.
Overseas magicians who frequented Singapore in the course of this time incorporated David Copperfield, Mark Wilson, Ben Harris, Paul Daniels and Gene Anderson.
The commencing of this 10 years noticed the introduction of the country’s third technology magicians into the local magic scene. Well known 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 nearby chapter of Intercontinental Magicians Culture was formed, started by its President, Tan Bah Chee despite the fact that the club’s existence in Singapore was brief-lived.
The late-nineties observed a large surge in magic world-wide acceptance because of to David Blaine’s street magic specials. Several people began to ‘get into’ magic and had new mediums to learn the craft these kinds of as the introduction of DVDs and the Net.
A new magic store, Magic Castle & Promotions, opened up by Vijay Kumar at Shaw Towers before long grew to become ‘the place to be’ the place new magicians would hang out and meet.
In the course of this 10 years, Wang Leng’s store in Peninsula Plaza was sold to Patrick Wan. The store was subsequently marketed to Richard Ang and is now nicely acknowledged as Ang Property of Magic. Patrick Wan opened his new store, Magic Wand, which has spawned into a number of stores in numerous components of Singapore. Steven Sim also opened Magic Supreme at Coronation Plaza which has subsequently moved to Park Shopping mall.
The 90s was an fascinating 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 were also community theatre performances by the Pendragons, Princess Tenko, Andre Kole, Franz Harary, David Copperfield, Rudy Coby and Robert Gallop. Other checking out magicians included Larry Becker, Tim Ellis, Terry Seabrooke, Phil Cass and Albert Tham.
2000 – Current
Magic has ongoing to flourish at the regional stage in this decade. New possibilities and abilities have emerged to elevate the art in Singapore. In Could 2000, J C Sum staged the 1st at any time neighborhood total-night theatre display ‘Magic at the Theatre’ at Victoria Theatre. Just a thirty day period later on, more than a dozen magicians from the US and Canada arrived down to Singapore as portion of the Magic Competition organized by the Malls of Centrepoint. Magicians this kind of as Robert Baxt, Rocco and Peter Gossamer done numerous demonstrates at numerous Centrepoint Malls for in excess of a week.
In 2004, the Singapore Magic Circle (SMC) was developed by Aloysius Yeo and with its on-line discussion board drew a new pool of magic lovers collectively. SMC has because developed to in excess of a thousand users and often arrange gatherings, occasions as nicely as the recent Concept:Magic Micro MAGIC Conference in January 2007.
Through a big-scale theatre magic musical ‘Magic of Love’, Lawrence Khong, a pastor with Faith Neighborhood Baptist Church and his daughter Pricilla, distribute the gospel message.
The multi-million greenback production has been staged numerous moments more than the years across the entire world to spread the word of Christ. Subsequently, the very same team organized two Global Festival of Magic conventions in 2003 & 2005. The 1st of its sort big magic activities provided competitions, lectures, a dealers’ place and performances. Worldwide performers such as Jeff McBride, Max Maven, Johnny Thomspon, The Pendragons, Lee Eun Gyeol and Tommy Ponder ended up booked to perform at the gala demonstrates and lectures.
In current years, J C Sum has become arguably the most distinguished Singapore magician of this generation. His magic has been witnessed by millions through his live performances throughout Asia as well as his landmark mass media assignments on MediaCorp Studio’s Ch 8 as well as subsequent ‘Street Illusions’ compilation DVD/ VCD.
His 24-episode ‘Magic in Motion’ sequence can at the moment be observed every day on Singapore Push Holdings MediaBoxOffice by way of 2007. In the worldwide magic community, J C has also established himself as an elite illusion designer from Asia with the publication of his three critically acclaimed illusion books that have been bought in far more than thirty international locations to day.
Another gifted award-profitable magician, Jeremy Pei, is raising the profile of Singapore magic in the regional magic group with his theatre demonstrates, structured lectures, workshops and lively participation in magic conventions & competitions in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. His distinct North-Asian affect type of magic performance has garnered him a adhering to with new budding magicians whom he teaches and guides. He has also released several authentic magic merchandise which are offered to magicians worldwide.
In one more 1st, award-winning junior magician, Kyle Ravin secured a 13-episode weekly Street Magic series, “Maya” on MediaCorp Studios’ Vasantham Central. This 30min sequence saw him complete magic for the Indian group and celebrities across the nation.
This 10 years has noticed the introduction of even much more magic outlets and dealers run by young magicians to satisfy the desire of magic enthusiasts and magicians. These consist of new ‘brick & mortar’ magic stores these kinds of as Street Magic by Tan Wei Ping, Tricky Business by Jimmy Wong, The Magic Corridor by Kenneth Peh as properly as on-line stores like The Little Magic Store by Ning.March 13, 2020