This article is to introduce magicians and magic fanatics to the wealthy history of magic in Singapore. It honours the notable achievements, prominence and significance of neighborhood magicians from the past and current.
The commencing of Modern day Magic in Singapore
It is the general consensus that modern magic in Singapore (post Planet War two) began with the late-Ng Bo
Oen AKA The Excellent Wong. Information on regional magic pre-war is very scarce. The only data found has been on The Great Wong performing at the New World Amusement Park (then situated at Kitchener Highway) 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 specialist magician of his time in Singapore and performed across South East Asia. He was known for his sharp phase magic, Linking Rings schedule and Sword Basket illusion. He was also an specialist craftsman who constructed 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 Fantastic Wong created a substantial contribution to the international magic group by publishing his famous linking rings routine with English script created 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 complete at the fifteenth Planet Congree of Magic in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(For more data on The Excellent Wong refer to ‘The Great Wong Story’ in The International Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115 The Quantum Ring Golden Jubilee Problem)
Yet another local magician who was instrumental in developing modern magic in Singapore for the duration of the commencing was the late-Tan Hock Chuan. He was a teacher by career but done for once-a-year particular functions, charity displays and personal events. He was (and nevertheless is) internationally recognized for his magical innovations. His outcomes and tips are nevertheless marketed supplier objects nowadays and have been printed in a great number of publications (of that time) this kind of as Gen, Spinx, Pentagram, New Pentagram, Swami Mantra, Abracadabra and even Tarbell’s System in Magic. He is the first Asian magician to receive the Spinx Award (1936-37)
Each The Excellent Wong and Tan Hock Chuan have been critical influences to several of the very first generation of Singapore modern day-magicians who have paved the way for future generations.
It was only after the war and during the British Armed forces Administration that magic in Singapore began its rise to the place it is right now. 1950 was the calendar year that the Singapore Magician’s Club was formed by a group 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 acknowledged as The International Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115. 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 first generation of modern magicians. Aside from the founding users of the IBM Ring and The Fantastic Wong (who joined the Ring in 1952 by invitation), some prominent initial generation magicians included Lim Hap Hin, Tan Choon Tee, Tan Bah Chee, Yeo Before long Kian and his scholar Michael Lim.
The Wonderful Wong operated the very first magic shop from his residence cum showroom/ workshop in Singapore at 255-A Jalan Besar the place he marketed his possess handcrafted props as effectively as imported dealer objects from Japan. (This residence/ shop was destroyed in a fire in Dec 1988 leading to him to drop most of his books and props)
During this time period, magicians like The Excellent Wong, Tan Bah Chee, Lim Hap Hin and Tan Choon Tee performed magic programs at the National Theatre Club and the YMCA. They were accountable for creating 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 saw the ‘Golden Age’ of magic with magicians doing at diverse venues across the nation. Aside from regional magicians doing in night clubs, international magicians this sort of as Socar executed a grand illusion present to a complete property at the Capitol Theatre (alongside Stamford Road) and The Great Nicholas at the Sky Theater in The Great Globe Amusement Park at Kim Seng Road (Now, Wonderful 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 along Robinson Highway. Close to that time, common entertainer Victor Khoo’s father Khoo Teng Heng who was a magician, a ventriloquist and hypnotist opened his magic shop at Bras Basah. (exactly where Carlton Lodge stands presently).
During this 10 years, Tan Choon Tee was making a name for himself in the worldwide magic community in the area of Mentalism. He won many intercontinental Linking Ring Awards for his One particular-Gentleman Parades and has two guides revealed by Micky Hades. He was also a normal contributor to quite a few global magic magazines this sort of as Gen, New Pentagram, Magicgram, Magicana and The Linking Ring.
Abroad magicians whom handed by means of Singapore included Milo & Roger, Milbourne Christopher and Maurice Fogel.
The nineteen seventies observed the birth of the second era of Singapore magicians. Some well-acknowledged magicians who acquired started during this time integrated The Wonderful 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 launched on ten March 1973 in friendly ‘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 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 Considerably East Buying Centre. (It would transfer numerous times to different malls but eventually returned again to Considerably East). His shop would soon grow to be an establishment where magicians would acquire different magic merchandise as nicely as satisfy up and discover from each and every other.
It was a assortment haunt for several magicians in the years to appear till the store shut in the new millennium.
During this interval, The Tropicana Night Club, which was located at Pacific Plaza, was a location that had typical magic performances. Many famous magicians also frequented Singapore in the 70s. In 1970, John Calvert carried out at the Countrywide Theatre. In 1972, Albert Goshman frequented Ring 115 to give a lecture. In Manifest Magic Review , “The Professor” Dai Vernon also visited Singapore, lectured and interacted with regional magicians. Other visiting magicians integrated Andre Kole, Billy McComb, and Ali Bongo.
By the 1980s, the regional magic scene was flourishing with healthy memberships for the two primary magic clubs as effectively as a surge in the amount of executing magicians. Many of today’s veterans created 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 ended up performing frequently at general public and private shows in the course of this ten years. Well-liked regional venues for public magic exhibits by magic golf equipment held on a typical foundation at that time integrated the Drama Centre and the Nationwide Museum Theatrette.
The popularity of magic stores also grew and in 1982, Chew Kin Track opened a Magic & Novelty Corner at the Chinese Guide Area of Well-known E-book Co Pte Ltd on the 4th Ground of Bras Basah Intricate. Gician Tan also opened up his initial magic shop at Parkway Parade which subsequently moved to Marina Square and was managed by Richard Ang. Besides this major shop, he distributed magic things and sets by way of department stores
in Singapore and South East Asia.The Singapore viewers was also uncovered to entire world-class magic via numerous magic tv demonstrates and series that have been aired on local Tv such as the David Copperfield specials, Magic Magic and The Ideal of Magic.
International magicians who frequented Singapore throughout this time included David Copperfield, Mark Wilson, Ben Harris, Paul Daniels and Gene Anderson.
The starting of this ten years noticed the introduction of the country’s 3rd era magicians into the nearby magic scene. Prominent 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 nearby chapter of Global Magicians Culture was shaped, founded by its President, Tan Bah Chee though the club’s existence in Singapore was brief-lived.
The late-1990s noticed a enormous surge in magic worldwide popularity owing to David Blaine’s road magic specials. Many folks commenced to ‘get into’ magic and had new mediums to learn the craft this kind of as the introduction of DVDs and the Internet.
A new magic store, Magic Castle & Promotions, opened up by Vijay Kumar at Shaw Towers shortly became ‘the spot to be’ exactly where new magicians would hold out and meet up with.
For the duration of this ten years, Wang Leng’s store in Peninsula Plaza was bought to Patrick Wan. The shop was subsequently bought to Richard Ang and is now effectively recognized as Ang Home of Magic. Patrick Wan opened his new store, Magic Wand, which has spawned into a number of stores 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 fascinating ten years with a lot of visits and performances by popular magicians. Apart 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 integrated Larry Becker, Tim Ellis, Terry Seabrooke, Phil Cass and Albert Tham.
2000 – Current
Magic has continued to prosper at the neighborhood amount in this ten years. New options and abilities have emerged to elevate the art in Singapore. In Might 2000, J C Sum staged the initial at any time neighborhood full-evening theatre show ‘Magic at the Theatre’ at Victoria Theatre. Just a thirty day period afterwards, more than a dozen magicians from the US and Canada came down to Singapore as element of the Magic Competition organized by the Malls of Centrepoint. Magicians this kind of as Robert Baxt, Rocco and Peter Gossamer carried out multiple exhibits at a variety of Centrepoint Malls for in excess of a week.
In 2004, the Singapore Magic Circle (SMC) was created by Aloysius Yeo and with its on-line discussion board drew a new pool of magic fanatics together. SMC has considering that developed to over one thousand members and regularly arrange gatherings, events as nicely as the current Principle:Magic Micro MAGIC Conference in January 2007.
By means of a large-scale theatre magic musical ‘Magic of Love’, Lawrence Khong, a pastor with Religion Local community Baptist Church and his daughter Pricilla, distribute the gospel information.
The multi-million dollar manufacturing has been staged many instances more than the many years across the entire world to unfold the phrase of Christ. Subsequently, the same group arranged two International Competition of Magic conventions in 2003 & 2005. The very first of its type massive magic activities incorporated competitions, lectures, a dealers’ space and performances. Worldwide performers these kinds of as Jeff McBride, Max Maven, Johnny Thomspon, The Pendragons, Lee Eun Gyeol and Tommy Wonder have been booked to perform at the gala demonstrates and lectures.
In current a long time, J C Sum has become arguably the most prominent Singapore magician of this generation. His magic has been witnessed by tens of millions through his stay performances across Asia as nicely as his landmark mass media initiatives on MediaCorp Studio’s Ch eight as well as subsequent ‘Street Illusions’ compilation DVD/ VCD.
His 24-episode ‘Magic in Motion’ sequence can at present be witnessed everyday on Singapore Push Holdings MediaBoxOffice via 2007. In the worldwide magic community, J C has also proven himself as an elite illusion designer from Asia with the publication of his 3 critically acclaimed illusion publications that have been sold in far more than thirty nations to date.
One more gifted award-profitable magician, Jeremy Pei, is increasing the profile of Singapore magic within the regional magic community with his theatre displays, structured lectures, workshops and energetic participation in magic conventions & competitions in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. His exclusive North-Asian influence fashion of magic efficiency has garnered him a following with new budding magicians whom he teaches and guides. He has also launched a number of authentic magic merchandise which are obtainable to magicians throughout the world.
In an additional first, award-profitable junior magician, Kyle Ravin secured a thirteen-episode weekly Street Magic sequence, “Maya” on MediaCorp Studios’ Vasantham Central. This 30min collection saw him execute magic for the Indian local community and celebs across the region.
This 10 years has observed the introduction of even more magic outlets and dealers operate by younger magicians to meet up with the desire of magic enthusiasts and magicians. These incorporate new ‘brick & mortar’ magic stores this sort of as Road Magic by Tan Wei Ping, Challenging Organization by Jimmy Wong, The Magic Corridor by Kenneth Peh as effectively as on-line retailers like The Minor Magic Shop by Ning.