This post is to introduce magicians and magic fanatics to the prosperous historical past of magic in Singapore. It honours the notable achievements, prominence and significance of neighborhood magicians from the past and existing.
The beginning of Present day Magic in Singapore
It is the general consensus that contemporary magic in Singapore (post Planet War 2) started with the late-Ng Bo
Oen AKA The Excellent Wong. Information on neighborhood magic pre-war is very scarce. The only info located has been on The Fantastic Wong executing at the New World Amusement Park (then located at Kitchener Street) in the 1930s.
The Great Wong was born in 1908 in Shanton, a city of the Guangdong Province, China and immigrated to Singapore in 1933. He was the only skilled magician of his time in Singapore and done across South East Asia. He was known for his sharp stage magic, Linking Rings schedule and Sword Basket illusion. He was also an professional craftsman who constructed all of his props by hand. He experienced the present of figuring out the mechanics and methodology of magic props and fabricating them from scratch.
In 1962, The Fantastic Wong manufactured a substantial contribution to the worldwide magic community by publishing his renowned linking rings schedule with English script written 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 complete at the 15th World Congree of Magic in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(For far more details on The Great Wong refer to ‘The Fantastic Wong Story’ in The International Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115 The Quantum Ring Golden Jubilee Issue)
One more neighborhood magician who was instrumental in expanding present day magic in Singapore throughout the beginning was the late-Tan Hock Chuan. He was a trainer by job but performed for annual particular activities, charity shows and non-public parties. He was (and nonetheless is) internationally recognized for his magical innovations. His effects and concepts are nonetheless promoted seller objects nowadays and have been printed in countless publications (of that time) such as Gen, Spinx, Pentagram, New Pentagram, Swami Mantra, Abracadabra and even Tarbell’s System in Magic. He is the 1st Asian magician to get the Spinx Award (1936-37)
Each The Wonderful Wong and Tan Hock Chuan have been important influences to a lot of of the very first era of Singapore modern-magicians who have paved the way for potential generations.
It was only following the war and during the British Armed forces Administration that magic in Singapore started its rise to in which it is nowadays. 1950 was the calendar year that the Singapore Magician’s Club was fashioned by a team of amateur magicians, comprising of English-educated professionals.
In 1951 the Singapore Magician’s Club received their charter from The International Brotherhood of Magicians HQ in The us and was from then on was officially identified as The International Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115. Founding users of the club at that time incorporated Tan Ewe Chee (President), Yeo Quickly Kian, Lim Kim Tian, Lim Hap Hin, J.H Stafford, L.A Joseph, J.W Jackson (Vice-President) and Tan Hock Chuan (Secretary).
Manifest Magic Review gave beginning to Singapore’s 1st generation of contemporary magicians. Apart from the founding members of the IBM Ring and The Excellent Wong (who joined the Ring in 1952 by invitation), some notable very first generation magicians incorporated Lim Hap Hin, Tan Choon Tee, Tan Bah Chee, Yeo Shortly Kian and his student Michael Lim.
The Wonderful Wong operated the first magic shop from his house cum showroom/ workshop in Singapore at 255-A Jalan Besar the place he bought his own handcrafted props as nicely as imported vendor things from Japan. (This property/ store was wrecked in a fire in Dec 1988 triggering him to shed most of his textbooks and props)
In the course of this period of time, magicians like The Fantastic Wong, Tan Bah Chee, Lim Hap Hin and Tan Choon Tee conducted magic classes at the Nationwide Theatre Club and the YMCA. They have been liable for making active magicians such 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 performing at diverse venues across the nation. In addition to local magicians executing in night time golf equipment, foreign magicians this kind of as Socar executed a grand illusion display to a full house at the Capitol Theatre (alongside Stamford Highway) and The Great Nicholas at the Sky Theater in The Excellent Entire world Amusement Park at Kim Seng Street (Now, Fantastic Planet Metropolis).
In the late 60s, Wee Peng Guan (Uncle of Charles Choo), opened the next magic shop in Singapore at a store property together Robinson Highway. Around that time, well-liked entertainer Victor Khoo’s father Khoo Teng Heng who was a magician, a ventriloquist and hypnotist opened his magic shop at Bras Basah. (where Carlton Resort stands presently).
In the course of this 10 years, Tan Choon Tee was creating a title for himself in the international magic group in the field of Mentalism. He won many international Linking Ring Awards for his One-Gentleman Parades and has two textbooks printed by Micky Hades. He was also a regular contributor to many worldwide magic publications these kinds of as Gen, New Pentagram, Magicgram, Magicana and The Linking Ring.
Overseas magicians whom handed through Singapore included Milo & Roger, Milbourne Christopher and Maurice Fogel.
The seventies noticed the delivery of the 2nd era of Singapore magicians. Some effectively-acknowledged magicians who got commenced for the duration of this time incorporated The Excellent 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 Association of Magicians was started on 10 March 1973 in welcoming ‘rivalry’ to the IBM Ring. The club was led by Tan Bah Chee with prominent founding customers this sort of as Lim Hap Hin, Tan Hock Chuan and Charles Choo.
Magic outlets in Singapore commenced to spring up for the duration of 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 6th flooring of Much East Searching Centre. (It would transfer many instances to various malls but eventually returned back to Much East). His store would shortly become an establishment where magicians would get various magic goods as well as meet up with up and find out from every single other.
It was a range haunt for a lot of magicians in the a long time to appear till the shop closed in the new millennium.
Throughout this interval, The Tropicana Night time Club, which was located at Pacific Plaza, was a venue that experienced typical magic performances. A number of popular magicians also visited Singapore in the 70s. In 1970, John Calvert carried out at the Nationwide Theatre. In 1972, Albert Goshman visited Ring a hundred and fifteen to give a lecture. In that identical 12 months, “The Professor” Dai Vernon also visited Singapore, lectured and interacted with nearby magicians. Other going to magicians provided Andre Kole, Billy McComb, and Ali Bongo.
By the 1980s, the neighborhood magic scene was flourishing with healthful memberships for the two primary magic clubs as properly as a surge in the quantity of doing magicians. Many of modern veterans manufactured 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 have been doing frequently at community and private displays throughout this 10 years. Common regional venues for general public magic exhibits by magic golf equipment held on a typical basis at that time incorporated the Drama Centre and the Nationwide Museum Theatrette.
The acceptance of magic retailers also grew and in 1982, Chew Kin Music opened a Magic & Novelty Corner at the Chinese E-book Section of Common Guide Co Pte Ltd on the 4th Floor of Bras Basah Sophisticated. Gician Tan also opened up his initial 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 way of division merchants
in Singapore and South East Asia.The Singapore viewers was also uncovered to planet-class magic through several magic television displays and sequence that have been aired on nearby Television set like the David Copperfield specials, Magic Magic and The Best of Magic.
Foreign magicians who visited Singapore throughout this time included David Copperfield, Mark Wilson, Ben Harris, Paul Daniels and Gene Anderson.
The starting of this decade saw the introduction of the country’s 3rd generation magicians into the neighborhood magic scene. Prominent budding magicians included 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 neighborhood chapter of Worldwide Magicians Culture was shaped, started by its President, Tan Bah Chee though the club’s existence in Singapore was quick-lived.
The late-nineteen nineties observed a massive surge in magic global reputation due to David Blaine’s street magic specials. Numerous folks started to ‘get into’ magic and experienced new mediums to learn 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 hold out and meet.
In the course of this decade, Wang Leng’s shop in Peninsula Plaza was offered to Patrick Wan. The store was subsequently marketed to Richard Ang and is now nicely recognized as Ang Home of Magic. Patrick Wan opened his new shop, Magic Wand, which has spawned into a number of retailers in different elements of Singapore. Steven Sim also opened Magic Supreme at Coronation Plaza which has subsequently moved to Park Mall.
The 90s was an thrilling decade with many visits and performances by renowned magicians. Apart from lectures by Michael & Hannah Ammar, Mark Leveridge and Wolfgang & Sonja Riebe there have been also general public theatre performances by the Pendragons, Princess Tenko, Andre Kole, Franz Harary, David Copperfield, Rudy Coby and Robert Gallop. Other going to magicians incorporated Larry Becker, Tim Ellis, Terry Seabrooke, Phil Cass and Albert Tham.
2000 – Current
Magic has continued to prosper at the neighborhood stage in this ten years. New possibilities and talents have emerged to elevate the artwork in Singapore. In May 2000, J C Sum staged the very first ever local complete-evening theatre demonstrate ‘Magic at the Theatre’ at Victoria Theatre. Just a thirty day period afterwards, much more than a dozen magicians from the US and Canada arrived down to Singapore as element of the Magic Pageant organized by the Malls of Centrepoint. Magicians this sort of as Robert Baxt, Rocco and Peter Gossamer performed numerous exhibits at a variety of Centrepoint Malls for above a week.
In 2004, the Singapore Magic Circle (SMC) was developed by Aloysius Yeo and with its on-line forum drew a new pool of magic fanatics collectively. SMC has because grown to more than a thousand users and frequently manage gatherings, occasions as effectively as the recent Notion:Magic Micro MAGIC Convention in January 2007.
By way of a large-scale theatre magic musical ‘Magic of Love’, Lawrence Khong, a pastor with Faith Neighborhood Baptist Church and his daughter Pricilla, unfold the gospel concept.
The multi-million dollar generation has been staged several instances in excess of the a long time throughout the planet to spread the phrase of Christ. Subsequently, the same crew structured two Global Competition of Magic conventions in 2003 & 2005. The initial of its kind large magic functions incorporated 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 were booked to carry out at the gala displays and lectures.
In current a long time, J C Sum has turn out to be arguably the most notable Singapore magician of this era. His magic has been observed by millions by means of his stay performances throughout Asia as properly as his landmark mass media assignments on MediaCorp Studio’s Ch 8 as effectively as subsequent ‘Street Illusions’ compilation DVD/ VCD.
His 24-episode ‘Magic in Motion’ series can presently be observed everyday on Singapore Press Holdings MediaBoxOffice by way of 2007. In the global 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 offered in more than 30 international locations to day.
One more gifted award-successful magician, Jeremy Pei, is boosting the profile of Singapore magic inside of the regional magic group with his theatre displays, organized lectures, workshops and active participation in magic conventions & competitions in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. His exclusive North-Asian affect design of magic overall performance has garnered him a subsequent with new budding magicians whom he teaches and guides. He has also launched several first magic items which are obtainable to magicians around the world.
In yet another first, award-winning junior magician, Kyle Ravin secured a thirteen-episode weekly Road Magic series, “Maya” on MediaCorp Studios’ Vasantham Central. This 30min series saw him complete magic for the Indian community and celebrities throughout the nation.
This 10 years has observed the introduction of even a lot more magic stores and sellers operate by youthful magicians to fulfill the demand of magic fanatics and magicians. These contain new ‘brick & mortar’ magic outlets these kinds of as Avenue Magic by Tan Wei Ping, Challenging Organization by Jimmy Wong, The Magic Hall by Kenneth Peh as effectively as on-line shops like The Tiny Magic Shop by Ning.