Local female magician wants to break gender stereotypes
Female magician wants to break gender stereotypes in male-dominated industry
US actress Lizzy Caplanplays the sole female member in magician quartet Four Horsemen in the Hollywood caper Now You See Me 2.
And in the movie, which is showing here, Caplan's character crushes the stereotype that women are primarily assistants in the world of magic.
And so does full-time local magician Adeline Ng, 28.
"I would go to an event, talk to the producer... and after talking, he'd ask, 'So, where's your magician?'" she told The New Paper.
Miss Ng, who has performed in Australia and India, added that she has experienced such encounters "enough times".
While she was not offended because she "knew it would happen", she was surprised that these stereotypes existed within the local magic community.
When Miss Ng performed on local web series M For Magic in 2012, male magicians would tell her they were surprised she could perform sleight of hand - a skill magicians are familiar with - because she's a woman.
"I thought, 'Why would you be surprised? I'm a magician'," she said.
"I can understand when people outside the industry don't really understand female magicians. But within the magic circle, there is still some (discrimination)."
Ever since Magic Babe Ning, whose real name is Ning Cai and is arguably Singapore's most prominent female illusionist, retired from the scene two years ago, Miss Ng is, to her knowledge, the only solo professional female magician here.
She picked up magic after reading UKmagician Nicholas Einhorn's book, The Practical Encyclopedia Of Magic. But it remained a hobby until she met Cai and illusionist JC Sum when she was 19.
Miss Ng said: "Ning got me an audition for (Sum's company).They were looking for someone who could juggle and do magic, and I fit in perfectly."
MAGIC BABE MENTOR
She began performing at children's parties while studying biological sciences at Nanyang Technological University, and turned professional after graduating in 2010.
She also worked closely with Cai at her shows. Miss Ng, who considers Cai "a big sister", said it was through observing Cai's career that she realised the challenges female magicians faced.
"I saw people (go from) dismissing her as just a sexy woman to actually realising that she's got chops. (Female magicians) should use it as motivation to show the guys, 'Hey, I can do it too, and I can do it better'."
I would go to an event, talk to the producer... and after talking, he'd ask, 'So, where's your magician?'.
- Miss Adeline Ng
He does magic with an iPad
Mr Alexander Yuen performs magic tricks using an iPad and has even gone on to create iPad apps for his performances.
The 29-year-old told The New Paper: "It's fulfilling to see something you created from scratch, from just a few lines of code, become part of a showcase...
"I (also) realised that you can visually recreate a lot of things (on the iPad), which adds a new boundary to magic."
According to Mr Yuen, the visual aspect of iPad magic is so immersive that some spectators claim to physically feel a trick that he is performing on the iPad screen.
He said: "The eyes...trick the brain. This is a whole new sensory experience."
Mr Yuen, who started practising magic at 15, was introduced to iPad magic while studying psychology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2012.
His NUS schoolmate and fellow magician Jonathan Low suggested using an iPad so that they would stand out on local web series M For Magic.
Even though Mr Low went on to perform iPad magic on the show without Mr Yuen, requests for such magic shows soon followed.
Since then, he has performed in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.
And even though his tricks are centred around the tablet, he does not consider the iPad to be the star of his show.
He said: "It's just a tool that I use to create an experience. The end goal (of entertaining audiences) is still the same."
Accident halted career for 2 months
STAR-STRUCK: Mr Shin Lim (above, with his injured thumb) has met renowned director Francis Ford Coppola. PHOTO: KEI IZUMI
He became known after appearing on US reality TV competition Penn & Teller: Fool Uslast year and successfully "fooled" the judges, US magicians Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller, with a six-minute card routine.
Mr Shin Lim's segment went viral on YouTube and has over 17 million views.
Since appearing on the show, the 24-year-old, who was born in Canada and raised in Singapore before moving to the US in 2002, told The New Paper via e-mail that he's "received many gigs".
He added: "(I have performed) at some very prestigious private events for some very important people."
While he declined to reveal more, he considers meeting The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola to be the highlight of his performances.
Last July, he represented North America in FISM in Italy, a triennial event considered to be the Olympics of magic, and was named the world champion in close-up card magic.
However, Mr Lim's career came to a halt in March this year when he accidentally cut two tendons in his left thumb while preparing for a high-risk stage act.
He had to have surgery and couldn't perform until May, forcing him to miss out on three television appearances and other performances.
He has since recovered and has successfully executed the act, but now wears a metal mesh glove when working with sharp objects.
Mr Lim hopes to headline his own show. He said: "I want every piece and moment to be originated by me. This way it's fresh, original and most importantly, it'll have the same (style or tone)."
Inspired by David Blaine
TRICKS AND TREATS: (Right) Mr Alexander Yuen using a smartphone to perform a trick at a wedding. PHOTO: ALEXANDER YUEN TRICKS AND TREATS: Mr Sng Ming Da recently performed in Amsterdam and will do a show in Bristol next month. PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
This local magician hopes to take the Singapore name to Europe.
Last week, Mr Sng Ming Da, 25, performed at Amsterdam's Casablanca Variete theatre and EdelWise Festival, and in early next month, he'll perform at Bristol's Illusions Magic Bar. The festival and these venues are known among the magic community.
"The shows went very well, the response from the audience was great," he told The New Paper.
Mr Sng learnt street and close-up magic from books and DVDs at 14after seeing US magician David Blaine on television. He started performing at parties when he was 16.
In 2009, he came in second in the 1st Street Magic competition here, and went on to perform at corporate events.
As for his gigs in Europe, he said he had actually wanted to plan a post-graduation holiday.
But magician friends in Europe encouraged him to also perform during his trip, so he sent his credentials to the people behind the venues in Amsterdam and Bristol.
Since graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from Nanyang Technological University in May, Mr Sng said he's been able to make a living as a professional magician.
But he declined to reveal how much he makes or the number of shows he does a month.
He said: "I know a lot of magicians who are working hard and are not doing that well. So I'm just thankful."