TWO Malaysians were among the recipients of this year’s Merlin Award, also known as the Oscar equivalent in the magic industry.
The award is conferred to magicians all over the world who demonstrate a high standard of performance and to those who have made important contributions to the field of magic.
Tony Hassini, who founded the International Magicians Society (IMS) in 1968 and created the award, was recently in Malaysia to present the award to the founders of the Visiber Group, Datuk Patrick Tan and Datuk David Hew.
According to Hassini, five Malaysians have received the award to-date, including Tan and Hew.
They were chosen for their contribution to the magic industry in Malaysia.
“Magic is not just about dollars and cents but more than that. When we perform at hospitals and orphanages, we put smiles on faces,” he said.
In recent years, Tan and Hew have been actively promoting the art of magic in Malaysia under the brand Magic Talisman, which was founded with the aim of creating interest in the art of magic, popularising the art, and further improving the knowledge and understanding of magic among the public.
Tan and Hew have been in the magic industry for more than 20 years and eight years repectively.
The former said he was 12 years old when he first saw Hassini performed.
“(Learning) Magic can help steer the young generation to the right path. It can instil discipline and confidence,” Tan said.
Hew said the award was a recognition of their contribution to the industry.
“Magic is not just about performing on stage but the discipline behind it. This industry is still in its infant stage in Malaysia, we still have a long way to go.
“It takes a lot of hard work but we would like to educate the young so that they acquire skills,” he said.
Previous recipients of the award include famous magicians and personalities in the magic industry such as David Copperfield, Criss Angel, Siegfried and Roy, and Lu Chen.