This report is to introduce magicians and magic fans to the wealthy background of magic in Singapore. It honours the notable achievements, prominence and importance of nearby magicians from the past and existing.
The beginning of Modern day Magic in Singapore
It is the general consensus that modern magic in Singapore (submit Entire world War 2) started with the late-Ng Bo
Oen AKA The Excellent Wong. Details on local magic pre-war is really scarce. The only details found has been on The Wonderful Wong performing at the New Planet Amusement Park (then found at Kitchener Highway) in the 1930s.
The Wonderful 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 throughout South East Asia. He was known for his sharp stage magic, Linking Rings schedule and Sword Basket illusion. He was also an specialist craftsman who built 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 Great Wong made a significant contribution to the intercontinental magic group by publishing his renowned 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 execute at the fifteenth Globe Congree of Magic in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(For a lot more data on The Excellent Wong refer to ‘The Excellent Wong Story’ in The Global Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring one hundred fifteen The Quantum Ring Golden Jubilee Issue)
Yet another regional magician who was instrumental in growing contemporary magic in Singapore for the duration of the starting was the late-Tan Hock Chuan. He was a teacher by occupation but carried out for yearly particular functions, charity shows and personal functions. He was (and even now is) internationally acknowledged for his magical inventions. His consequences and concepts are even now marketed seller objects these days and have been published 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 Program in Magic. He is the 1st Asian magician to get the Spinx Award (1936-37)
Each The Great Wong and Tan Hock Chuan have been important influences to many of the very first generation of Singapore modern-magicians who have paved the way for future generations.
It was only after the war and throughout the British Armed forces Administration that magic in Singapore started its rise to in which it is today. 1950 was the 12 months that the Singapore Magician’s Club was shaped by a team of amateur magicians, comprising of English-educated specialists.
In 1951 the Singapore Magician’s Club received their constitution from The International Brotherhood of Magicians HQ in America and was from then on was formally identified as The Intercontinental 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).
The 50’s gave birth to Singapore’s very first generation of modern magicians. Besides the founding associates of the IBM Ring and The Fantastic Wong (who joined the Ring in 1952 by invitation), some distinguished initial era magicians included Lim Hap Hin, Tan Choon Tee, Tan Bah Chee, Yeo Soon Kian and his college student Michael Lim.
The Excellent Wong operated the 1st magic shop from his house cum showroom/ workshop in Singapore at 255-A Jalan Besar exactly where he bought his very own handcrafted props as effectively as imported dealer items from Japan. (This home/ store was ruined in a fire in Dec 1988 leading to him to drop most of his publications and props)
In the course of this period of time, magicians like The Excellent Wong, Tan Bah Chee, Lim Hap Hin and Tan Choon Tee executed magic programs at the Nationwide Theatre Club and the YMCA. They had been dependable for generating lively magicians such 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 doing at different venues across the country. Aside from local magicians doing in evening clubs, foreign magicians these kinds of as Socar done a grand illusion show to a full house at the Capitol Theatre (alongside Stamford Street) and The Excellent Nicholas at the Sky Theater in The Wonderful Entire world Amusement Park at Kim Seng Street (Now, Fantastic Planet City).
In the late 60s, Wee Peng Guan (Uncle of Charles Choo), opened the next magic shop in Singapore at a shop property alongside Robinson Road. Close to that time, 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 Resort stands at the moment).
In the course of this ten years, Tan Choon Tee was generating a identify for himself in the worldwide magic neighborhood in the discipline of Mentalism. He gained several worldwide Linking Ring Awards for his 1-Man Parades and has two textbooks printed by Micky Hades. He was also a standard contributor to numerous international magic magazines such as Gen, New Pentagram, Magicgram, Magicana and The Linking Ring.
Overseas magicians whom handed by means of Singapore incorporated Milo & Roger, Milbourne Christopher and Maurice Fogel.
The 1970s saw the start of the 2nd technology of Singapore magicians. Some effectively-identified magicians who acquired started throughout this time incorporated The Great 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 founded on 10 March 1973 in pleasant ‘rivalry’ to the IBM Ring. The club was led by Tan Bah Chee with distinguished founding associates this kind of as Lim Hap Hin, Tan Hock Chuan and Charles Choo.
Magic stores in Singapore began to spring up during the late seventies. Ng Kee Chee established up a magic stall at Yaohan in Plaza Singapura and Wang Leng opened his shop in Peninsula Plaza. Charles Choo opened his store in August 1978 on the 6th ground of Much East Searching Centre. (It would go numerous instances to various malls but at some point returned back again to Much East). His shop would quickly become an establishment exactly where magicians would purchase various magic goods as properly as fulfill up and discover from every single other.
It was a variety haunt for numerous magicians in the several years to arrive until the shop shut in the new millennium.
During this period of time, The Tropicana Evening Club, which was situated at Pacific Plaza, was a location that experienced standard magic performances. Many renowned magicians also visited Singapore in the 70s. In 1970, John Calvert done at the Nationwide Theatre. In 1972, Albert Goshman visited Ring one hundred fifteen to give a lecture. In that identical 12 months, “The Professor” Dai Vernon also frequented Singapore, lectured and interacted with local magicians. Other going to magicians incorporated Andre Kole, Billy McComb, and Ali Bongo.
By the 1980s, the neighborhood magic scene was flourishing with healthy memberships for the two principal magic clubs as nicely as a surge in the amount of executing magicians. Several of today’s veterans produced 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 performing often at public and non-public exhibits in the course of this ten years. Well-known neighborhood venues for general public magic exhibits by magic golf equipment held on a typical basis at that time integrated the Drama Centre and the Nationwide Museum Theatrette.
The acceptance of magic retailers also grew and in 1982, Chew Kin Track opened a Magic & Novelty Corner at the Chinese Ebook Part of Popular Book Co Pte Ltd on the 4th Ground of Bras Basah Complicated. Gician Tan also opened up his 1st magic store at Parkway Parade which subsequently moved to Marina Sq. and was managed by Richard Ang. Aside from this major store, he dispersed magic products and sets through division stores
in Singapore and South East Asia.The Singapore audience was also exposed to entire world-class magic by means of numerous magic tv displays and sequence that ended up aired on local Tv set which includes the David Copperfield specials, Magic Magic and The Very best of Magic.
International magicians who frequented Singapore in the course of this time included David Copperfield, Mark Wilson, Ben Harris, Paul Daniels and Gene Anderson.
The beginning of this ten years noticed 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 Worldwide Magicians Culture was fashioned, started by its President, Tan Bah Chee although the club’s existence in Singapore was short-lived.
The late-nineties saw a enormous surge in magic international reputation thanks to David Blaine’s street magic specials. A lot of people started out to ‘get into’ magic and experienced new mediums to learn the craft such as the introduction of DVDs and the World wide web.
A new magic store, Magic Castle & Promotions, opened up by Vijay Kumar at Shaw Towers quickly grew to become ‘the location to be’ the place new magicians would hold out and meet up with.
For the duration of this decade, Wang Leng’s shop in Peninsula Plaza was sold to Patrick Wan. The shop was subsequently marketed to Richard Ang and is now properly acknowledged as Ang Residence of Magic. Patrick Wan opened his new shop, Magic Wand, which has spawned into several outlets in different components 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 numerous visits and performances by popular magicians. Apart from lectures by Michael & Hannah Ammar, Mark Leveridge and Wolfgang & Sonja Riebe there have been also public theatre performances by the Pendragons, Princess Tenko, Andre Kole, Franz Harary, David Copperfield, Rudy Coby and Robert Gallop. Other browsing magicians included Larry Becker, Tim Ellis, Terry Seabrooke, Phil Cass and Albert Tham.
2000 – Existing
Magic has ongoing to prosper at the local stage in this ten years. New opportunities and skills have emerged to elevate the art in Singapore. In May 2000, J C Sum staged the initial at any time local entire-night theatre show ‘Magic at the Theatre’ at Victoria Theatre. Just a month 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 sort of as Robert Baxt, Rocco and Peter Gossamer performed multiple displays at different Centrepoint Malls for more than a 7 days.
In 2004, the Singapore Magic Circle (SMC) was produced by Aloysius Yeo and with its on-line discussion board drew a new pool of magic fanatics jointly. SMC has since developed to above 1000 customers and regularly organize gatherings, activities as nicely as the current Concept:Magic Micro MAGIC Conference in January 2007.
By way of a massive-scale theatre magic musical ‘Magic of Love’, Lawrence Khong, a pastor with Faith Community Baptist Church and his daughter Pricilla, unfold the gospel concept.
The multi-million dollar production has been staged many moments in excess of the years throughout the world to distribute the word of Christ. Subsequently, the very same crew structured two Worldwide Competition of Magic conventions in 2003 & 2005. The 1st of its kind huge magic activities included competitions, lectures, a dealers’ area and performances. International performers this kind of as Jeff McBride, Max Maven, Johnny Thomspon, The Pendragons, Lee Eun Gyeol and Tommy Question were booked to execute at the gala exhibits and lectures.
In current many years, J C Sum has grow to be arguably the most distinguished Singapore magician of this generation. His magic has been noticed by millions through his live performances across Asia as well as his landmark mass media projects on MediaCorp Studio’s Ch eight as effectively as subsequent ‘Street Illusions’ compilation DVD/ VCD.
Mysticism & Psychic -episode ‘Magic in Motion’ sequence can at the moment be observed every day on Singapore Press Holdings MediaBoxOffice by way of 2007. In the global magic neighborhood, J C has also proven himself as an elite illusion designer from Asia with the publication of his 3 critically acclaimed illusion textbooks that have been offered in much more than 30 countries to date.
One more proficient award-successful magician, Jeremy Pei, is boosting the profile of Singapore magic inside of the regional magic group with his theatre displays, arranged lectures, workshops and energetic participation in magic conventions & competitions in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. His distinct North-Asian affect design of magic performance has garnered him a adhering to with new budding magicians whom he teaches and guides. He has also introduced multiple first magic items which are obtainable to magicians throughout the world.
In another very first, award-successful junior magician, Kyle Ravin secured a thirteen-episode weekly Street Magic series, “Maya” on MediaCorp Studios’ Vasantham Central. This 30min sequence saw him carry out magic for the Indian local community and celebrities across the region.
This decade has observed the introduction of even much more magic retailers and dealers operate by younger magicians to satisfy the desire of magic enthusiasts and magicians. These incorporate new ‘brick & mortar’ magic stores such as Street Magic by Tan Wei Ping, Tough Business by Jimmy Wong, The Magic Hall by Kenneth Peh as well as on-line stores like The Tiny Magic Shop by Ning.