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Magicians in Action!


Written by John Teo

Catch A Tiger by the tail in the 2022 Chinese New Year Magic Show For Nursing Home Residents and Hospice Patrons.


What does “catching a tiger by the tail” mean, especially for the Lunar New Year of the Tiger in 2022? defines it as “Something too difficult to manage or cope with,” as in our magician group’s insensitivity to fully understand our audience’s real language needs when presenting a YouTube magic show last Christmas.

“What kind of magic show should we do for the majority aged Chinese-speaking audiences in the nursing homes and the hospice?” Those were the questions eight of us from IBM Singapore Ring 115 were asked following our 2021 Christmas magic show on YouTube done in English!

As most of our Singaporean audiences could not understand English well, they then made a request for a dubbed version in Chinese. But magician Victor Ng, the expert filmmaker among us, advised against dubbing as it would be more time consuming, costly and the production quality poor. Instead, a brand new magic show in Mandarin with 3 major dialects would be our answer when the Chinese New Year (CNY) runs from February 1 to 15. Hence the idea of doing a magic show on YouTube in late January for ushering in the Year of the Tiger was born!



JK Tan the multilingual magician was roped in as our Master of Ceremony together with magician comedian David Wu. JK Tan surprised us with his clever use of paper cutting in unfolding a ferocious Tiger and the production of the feline “Hu” 虎in Chinese calligraphy. What a discovery for this hidden talent!

David Wu amused with a pseudo Fish fluttering from a silk with the word ‘fish’ which rhymes with ‘surplus’ in Chinese. His prancing puppet Lion Dance added to the festive gaiety; and Turning Vouchers to Cash complete the fun acts.

Performance by Ng Ek Hwang in Teochew was a welcoming act to the seniors who grew up in dialect- speaking environment. She entertained the audience with her CNY variety of festive well wishes, sprouting bright coloured flowers, flowing buntings and red packets filled with the “Fu” 福 blessings. She also caused her new year’s toy Tiger to appear and vanish in the dove pan with magical grace.

Henry Tio employed his big hammer to turn pellets into gold and silver coins, twisted a few sticks into a colourful square frame to remind us how changes can affect our daily life especially during the two pandemic years. He also did the “mix and match” using 8 playing cards to amaze the audience by mixing them at random according to the audience’s choice. At the end of the routine there was a perfect match of two cards.

Siew Kim Siang used the magic hut to welcome neighbourhood friends to enjoy a meal there. He cited “Love your neighbour as yourself” - the Bible message that

teaches us to be a good neighbour to all mankind and even to wild but friendly animals from the forest next door!

In between busy filming at his home, Victor Ng mesmerised his audience with “Rabbits in changing colours”.

Siew Seng Ming used his home-made cardboard props to surprise us with his multi-coloured balls appearing and vanishing instantly. The appearance of the Taiwanese famed “Qiao Hu” 巧虎 or “Agile Tiger” appearing from an empty cylinder sprang pleasant surprise among the audience.

Carson Goh strummed his guitar and belted out: “Top of the World” before doing magic acts with a toy Tiger appearing from empty box followed by Conversion of low denomination bills filled in Red Packet to higher value ones.

Besides the appreciation expressed by the nursing home residents and the hospice, we are much encouraged by the response from the YouTube audiences which numbered 902 viewers as of 27 Feb 2022.

The trio’s engagement with the hospice on 24 Feb was the day set aside in every month by HCA in celebrating their clients’ birthday with entertainment provided by groups like the IBM trio (Ng Ek Hwang, Henry Tio and Victor Ng). “We are invited to interact with volunteers, staff and 10 clients as Befrienders on Zoom after the viewing of our magic show on YouTube.” All present were elated.

Siew Seng Ming suggested that besides engaging nursing home residents and hospice patrons, we should also consider reaching out to lonely and vulnerable seniors who stay on their own, with little or no family support, and are not actively engaged with other elderly agencies and the community through various senior service centres. “We contacted Reach Community Services who had agreed to incorporate our CNY video in their program for their Senior Service Centres during the festive period.”

JK Tan reported on a meeting with the St Luke’s Eldercare manager: “He has agreed to use our CNY video for his centres. There are 25 centres and a few nursing homes.” Our magician group of 9 is agreeable with the suggestion. Are we catching the Tiger by the tail? Not so, for the joy that God gives us will make us strong!

Reported by:

Henry Tio & Siew Kim Siang