This article is to introduce magicians and magic lovers to the wealthy history of magic in Singapore. It honours the notable achievements, prominence and significance of neighborhood magicians from the earlier and existing.
The commencing of Contemporary Magic in Singapore
It is the common consensus that modern magic in Singapore (put up Entire world War 2) commenced with the late-Ng Bo
Oen AKA The Excellent Wong. Details on neighborhood magic pre-war is really scarce. The only info identified has been on The Great Wong performing at the New World Amusement Park (then situated at Kitchener Street) in the nineteen thirties.
The Wonderful Wong was born in 1908 in Shanton, a metropolis of the Guangdong Province, China and immigrated to Singapore in 1933. He was the only expert magician of his time in Singapore and done 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 developed all of his props by hand. He had the gift of figuring out the mechanics and methodology of magic props and fabricating them from scratch.
In 1962, The Wonderful Wong manufactured a considerable contribution to the international magic community by publishing his renowned linking rings regimen 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 Planet Congree of Magic in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(For a lot more info on The Wonderful Wong refer to ‘The Excellent Wong Story’ in The Intercontinental Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115 The Quantum Ring Golden Jubilee Problem)
An additional nearby magician who was instrumental in increasing contemporary magic in Singapore for the duration of the commencing was the late-Tan Hock Chuan. He was a trainer by profession but done for yearly particular events, charity demonstrates and private functions. He was (and still is) internationally known for his magical innovations. His outcomes and concepts are nonetheless marketed seller items nowadays and have been published in countless publications (of that time) this kind of as Gen, Spinx, Pentagram, New Pentagram, Swami Mantra, Abracadabra and even Tarbell’s Course in Magic. He is the initial Asian magician to receive the Spinx Award (1936-37)
Equally The Wonderful Wong and Tan Hock Chuan have been important influences to a lot of of the first technology of Singapore present day-magicians who have paved the way for potential generations.
It was only soon after the war and in the course of the British Armed forces Administration that magic in Singapore commenced its increase to the place it is nowadays. 1950 was the 12 months that the Singapore Magician’s Club was shaped by a group of amateur magicians, comprising of English-educated experts.
In 1951 the Singapore Magician’s Club gained their constitution from The Intercontinental Brotherhood of Magicians HQ in America and was from then on was formally recognized as The Worldwide Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring one hundred fifteen. Founding associates of the club at that time incorporated Tan Ewe Chee (President), Yeo Before long 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 1st era of contemporary magicians. Aside from the founding members of the IBM Ring and The Great Wong (who joined the Ring in 1952 by invitation), some prominent 1st era magicians provided Lim Hap Hin, Tan Choon Tee, Tan Bah Chee, Yeo Soon Kian and his pupil Michael Lim.
The Wonderful Wong operated the 1st magic shop from his house cum showroom/ workshop in Singapore at 255-A Jalan Besar in which he marketed his personal handcrafted props as effectively as imported seller things from Japan. (This property/ store was ruined in a hearth in Dec 1988 leading to him to shed most of his publications and props)
Throughout this period of time, magicians like The Wonderful Wong, Tan Bah Chee, Lim Hap Hin and Tan Choon Tee carried out magic courses at the National Theatre Club and the YMCA. They were accountable for generating 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 noticed the ‘Golden Age’ of magic with magicians performing at diverse venues across the country. Besides regional magicians executing in evening golf equipment, overseas magicians this kind of as Socar done a grand illusion display to a total home at the Capitol Theatre (alongside Stamford Street) and The Fantastic Nicholas at the Sky Theater in The Fantastic Planet Amusement Park at Kim Seng Street (Now, Excellent World Town).
In the late 60s, Wee Peng Guan (Uncle of Charles Choo), opened the next magic store in Singapore at a store residence along Robinson Street. About that Spiritual & Shamanic Cleansing , well-liked entertainer Victor Khoo’s father Khoo Teng Heng who was a magician, a ventriloquist and hypnotist opened his magic store at Bras Basah. (where Carlton Hotel stands currently).
Throughout this 10 years, Tan Choon Tee was creating a name for himself in the global magic local community in the field of Mentalism. He won several worldwide Linking Ring Awards for his One particular-Guy Parades and has two guides published by Micky Hades. He was also a typical contributor to quite a few global magic magazines this kind of as Gen, New Pentagram, Magicgram, Magicana and The Linking Ring.
Abroad magicians whom passed by way of Singapore incorporated Milo & Roger, Milbourne Christopher and Maurice Fogel.
The nineteen seventies noticed the delivery of the next era of Singapore magicians. Some properly-recognized magicians who acquired began for the duration of this time provided The Fantastic Wong’s son Ng Kee Chee, John Teo, Tang Sai Thong, Ng Seow Kiat, Tang Yeng Enjoyable, 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 members these kinds of as Lim Hap Hin, Tan Hock Chuan and Charles Choo.
Magic shops in Singapore commenced to spring up in the course of the late seventies. Ng Kee Chee set up a magic stall at Yaohan in Plaza Singapura and Wang Leng opened his shop in Peninsula Plaza. Charles Choo opened his shop in August 1978 on the 6th ground of Much East Searching Centre. (It would shift many moments to numerous malls but eventually returned back again to Far East). His shop would quickly turn into an establishment exactly where magicians would buy a variety of magic merchandise as well as fulfill up and understand from every single other.
It was a selection haunt for several magicians in the several years to occur till the store closed in the new millennium.
During this interval, The Tropicana Evening Club, which was situated at Pacific Plaza, was a location that experienced typical magic performances. Several famous magicians also visited Singapore in the 70s. In 1970, John Calvert performed at the Nationwide Theatre. In 1972, Albert Goshman frequented Ring one hundred fifteen to give a lecture. In that identical calendar year, “The Professor” Dai Vernon also visited Singapore, lectured and interacted with local magicians. Other checking out magicians integrated Andre Kole, Billy McComb, and Ali Bongo.
By the eighties, the regional magic scene was flourishing with wholesome memberships for the two primary magic clubs as well as a surge in the quantity of executing magicians. A lot of of present day veterans created their title 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 were executing regularly at general public and personal shows throughout this ten years. Common nearby venues for general public magic shows by magic clubs held on a standard foundation at that time included the Drama Centre and the Nationwide Museum Theatrette.
The reputation of magic stores also grew and in 1982, Chew Kin Music opened a Magic & Novelty Corner at the Chinese E-book Section of Popular E-book Co Pte Ltd on the 4th Ground of Bras Basah Sophisticated. Gician Tan also opened up his first magic shop at Parkway Parade which subsequently moved to Marina Sq. and was managed by Richard Ang. Besides this main shop, he distributed magic items and sets via office retailers
in Singapore and South East Asia.The Singapore audience was also uncovered to planet-course magic by way of a number of magic tv demonstrates and collection that ended up aired on local Tv set such as the David Copperfield specials, Magic Magic and The Very best of Magic.
International magicians who visited Singapore during this time incorporated David Copperfield, Mark Wilson, Ben Harris, Paul Daniels and Gene Anderson.
The starting of this 10 years observed the introduction of the country’s 3rd era magicians into the local magic scene. Well known budding magicians provided 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 Modern society was shaped, established by its President, Tan Bah Chee despite the fact that the club’s existence in Singapore was short-lived.
The late-nineteen nineties noticed a massive surge in magic international recognition due to David Blaine’s road magic specials. Several individuals started to ‘get into’ magic and experienced new mediums to learn the craft this sort of as the introduction of DVDs and the Web.
A new magic shop, Magic Castle & Promotions, opened up by Vijay Kumar at Shaw Towers quickly became ‘the location to be’ where new magicians would dangle out and satisfy.
During this 10 years, Wang Leng’s store in Peninsula Plaza was sold to Patrick Wan. The store was subsequently offered to Richard Ang and is now properly identified as Ang Residence of Magic. Patrick Wan opened his new shop, Magic Wand, which has spawned into many retailers in various components of Singapore. Steven Sim also opened Magic Supreme at Coronation Plaza which has subsequently moved to Park Mall.
The 90s was an fascinating decade 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 public theatre performances by the Pendragons, Princess Tenko, Andre Kole, Franz Harary, David Copperfield, Rudy Coby and Robert Gallop. Other visiting magicians provided Larry Becker, Tim Ellis, Terry Seabrooke, Phil Cass and Albert Tham.
2000 – Current
Magic has ongoing to flourish at the local level in this ten years. New chances and talents have emerged to elevate the art in Singapore. In Might 2000, J C Sum staged the very first at any time neighborhood entire-evening theatre show ‘Magic at the Theatre’ at Victoria Theatre. Just a month afterwards, much more than a dozen magicians from the US and Canada came down to Singapore as element of the Magic Festival arranged by the Malls of Centrepoint. Magicians such as Robert Baxt, Rocco and Peter Gossamer done multiple demonstrates at a variety of Centrepoint Malls for over a week.
In 2004, the Singapore Magic Circle (SMC) was designed by Aloysius Yeo and with its on-line discussion board drew a new pool of magic enthusiasts together. SMC has because grown to over 1000 users and routinely organize gatherings, occasions as effectively as the recent Principle:Magic Micro MAGIC Conference in January 2007.
By means of a big-scale theatre magic musical ‘Magic of Love’, Lawrence Khong, a pastor with Faith Neighborhood Baptist Church and his daughter Pricilla, spread the gospel message.
The multi-million dollar production has been staged numerous occasions above the years across the world to spread the word of Christ. Subsequently, the identical team organized two Worldwide Festival of Magic conventions in 2003 & 2005. The very first of its kind large magic functions incorporated competitions, lectures, a dealers’ place and performances. Intercontinental performers these kinds of as Jeff McBride, Max Maven, Johnny Thomspon, The Pendragons, Lee Eun Gyeol and Tommy Wonder ended up booked to execute at the gala shows and lectures.
In current several years, J C Sum has become arguably the most notable Singapore magician of this generation. His magic has been witnessed by millions through his dwell performances across Asia as properly as his landmark mass media tasks on MediaCorp Studio’s Ch eight as properly as subsequent ‘Street Illusions’ compilation DVD/ VCD.
His 24-episode ‘Magic in Motion’ sequence can at the moment be noticed every day on Singapore Push Holdings MediaBoxOffice via 2007. In the intercontinental magic group, J C has also set up himself as an elite illusion designer from Asia with the publication of his 3 critically acclaimed illusion guides that have been marketed in much more than 30 countries to day.
An additional talented award-profitable magician, Jeremy Pei, is increasing the profile of Singapore magic inside of the regional magic neighborhood with his theatre shows, structured lectures, workshops and active participation in magic conventions & competitions in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. His distinct North-Asian impact fashion of magic functionality has garnered him a subsequent with new budding magicians whom he teaches and guides. He has also launched several first magic merchandise which are obtainable to magicians worldwide.
In yet another 1st, award-successful junior magician, Kyle Ravin secured a thirteen-episode weekly Street Magic sequence, “Maya” on MediaCorp Studios’ Vasantham Central. This 30min sequence saw him carry out magic for the Indian neighborhood and famous people throughout the region.
This decade has seen the introduction of even much more magic outlets and dealers operate by youthful magicians to satisfy the desire of magic fanatics and magicians. These incorporate new ‘brick & mortar’ magic outlets such as Road Magic by Tan Wei Ping, Tough Organization by Jimmy Wong, The Magic Hall by Kenneth Peh as well as on-line outlets like The Small Magic Shop by Ning.