By KEVIN TAN
THINK of a magician, and these few things will probably come to mind – a top hat, a white bunny, a pair of doves, and maybe a wand.
If those are too old school for you, then you’d like performer Zlwin Chew.
Chew, 23, is one of the few Malaysians gifted in this art. He calls himself a mentalist – a magician who demonstrates highly developed mental and intuitive abilities.
Mentalists are sometimes called “psychic entertainers” as well, as they appear to have the ability to read minds.
“Among the many subcategories in magic, I chose mentalism because it mostly deals with human nature and psychology,” said Chew, who was a Psychology student at HELP University. “It’s more fun when you do something that people can relate to.
“People can relate to my performance because I use everyday objects, like a watch or a pen, instead of using weird objects that people don’t usually carry around.”
Chew was inspired to learn magic tricks at 18 when he witnessed a magician performing a card trick. “I was really impressed by the trick, and I wanted to find out how he did it,” said Chew. “I wanted to make people feel the same way I felt.”
After just six months of training, Chew got a kick start in his magic career. He became a resident magician in Zouk Club in Kuala Lumpur where he entertained guests with his magic tricks every night.
“Normally I would entertain guests while they waited to enter the club, or perform for VIP guests in the lounge,” he said.
Engagements started pouring in for the mentalist, including performances for the Sultan of Perlis and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He has also worked closely with Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore, adding a touch of magic to their hospitality.
Apart from the many shows he has performed in Malaysia and Singapore, Chew has also spread his magic to countries like India, Turkey, Oman and Australia.
He recently performed on board Star Cruises’ largest ship, the Superstar Virgo, for a month, making him the cruise’s very first Asian magician. “The experience of performing and living on a cruise was really amazing, and I got to meet all kinds of people – but the constant rocking about takes some time to get used to.”
As elaborate and mind-boggling as some of today’s magic tricks and illusions can be, Chew believes the idea behind what they do is fairly simple.
“Every magician should live by this saying, ‘Magic is a powerful tool for people to bring themselves back to a moment of child-like wonder. It has the ability to suspend what you think is logical’,” he said. “And that is what I want to do.”
Watch Zlwin Chew’s performances at zlwinmagic.com.