SINGAPORE RING 115 - March 2019 Magic Meeting Report

Written by John Teo


Harapan Ong is a Singaporean Physics teacher in a local institution. He is a great thinker in magic and a prolific creator as well as an excellent performer of card effects. Although magic is merely his hobby, and he does not perform professionally, Harapan has achieved international acclaims for his card magic through cyberspace, and this has given him a huge following online. 

His recent tome on card magic, aptly named “Principia” after his favourite subject Physics, has sold out internationally. We were so glad he has accepted our invitation to give our Ring 115 a lecture. He also brought along his book “Principia” for sale. 

The lecture took place on the evening of 15 March 2019 at a function room in Hotel Grand Central. It attracted an attendance of 51 people. 

Harapan commenced his lecture by expounding on 3 tips for creating a magical effect. The first is to treat the process as a fun creative exercise, and he showed us the SCAMPER method of generating new ideas. As an example of this, he taught us “Dr Daley’s Last Sandwich”, an effect from his book. We were all told to bring our own deck of cards so that we could follow along with his teaching. 

The second tip is to think critically, do not dismiss an idea too soon, but seek to improve upon it. We should also see value in things that others take for granted. Harapan then showed us his Throw Away Tricks from his book. They utilised the 4 cards that come with custom designed decks and these comprised 2 Jokers, a blank card and a double-back card. These are the cards that many people throw away. Harapan also provided for everyone of us a packet of these 4 cards so that we could follow along with his performance. Here we got to learn the Déjà Vu Count as well as the Fandango move. 

The third tip is to let everything inspire you so that you can make the necessary connection when you see things in their right perspective. 

In the interval that followed, brisk sales of his book was observed. As a bonus, we also got to purchase his lesser known and thinner publications. 

After the break, Harapan performed a series of hard-hitting effects with a deck of cards. He had 3 cards selected: he found one by spelling to it in the deck, divined the second selection, and caused the third chosen card to reverse itself in the deck. He then used the deck as a lie detector in a plunger move. He could tell whether a person was telling the truth or lied, and in the process, located her chosen card. To an interesting patter regarding old school and new school of magical thinking, Harapan found 2 chosen cards in the most unexpected ways. 

Harapan then explained that all these were possible with a memorised deck. He gave his answers to the most popular question regarding a memorised deck: why use a memorised deck and which memorised deck to use? Harapan provided an overview of some popular memorised decks such as the Aronson”s, Tamariz’s and Aragon’s, before explaining his own memorised deck. He then introduced us to his new booklet entitled “A Stack To Forget” which is a parody of Simon Aronson’s “A Stack To Remember”. Harapan also discussed how he memorised a deck of cards. 

Harapan conducted his lecture like a true teacher, using power-point presentations to teach his class. This is easily one of the best lectures we had attended so far. We were inspired and taught how to create new effects, in addition to learning new tricks. Many of us also became converts to using a memorised deck that evening.