Magic man

Meet Zl­win Chew, the il­lu­sion­ist from Klang who is re­al­is­ing his dream while sail­ing the high seas.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Front Page - By OC YEOH star2@thes­

HIS name is Zl­win Chew, and he has been per­form­ing his il­lu­sions on cruise lin­ers for more than three years.

This young man from Klang, Se­lan­gor, who hap­pily goes by his given name Zl­win, is to­day re­al­is­ing his dream of mak­ing a name for him­self while sail­ing the high seas.

“I have been blessed with meeting the right peo­ple at the right time, and that in­cludes my man­ager Josephine who is now my wife,” said the 27-year-old ma­gi­cian.

“Right now, we are work­ing to­gether on board the Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. Ev­ery day has its share of fun and ex­cite­ment and chal­lenges.”

Chew was barely 20 when he started out as an am­a­teur il­lu­sion­ist armed with only a deck of cards and per­form­ing in clubs.

Al­ways learn­ing and seek­ing to make his shows big­ger and bet­ter, he be­gan his stint as a cruise ma­gi­cian when he was em­ployed by Star Cruises back in 2012.

He en­joyed that ride, and is happy to con­tinue “wher­ever the seas call me”.

Said Chew: “Be­ing in the cruise ship in­dus­try is rather dif­fer­ent than per­form­ing on land as ev­ery ship changes routes and itin­er­ar­ies ev­ery few months.

“Dur­ing the course of a three-year con­tract, a per­former will get to ex­pe­ri­ence many dif­fer­ent ships in the com­pany’s fleet of ves­sels.

“Get­ting to wake up in dif­fer­ent ports and coun­tries around the world each day is a thrill that never gets old.”

Over the years, Chew has per­formed in 23 cities and 21 coun­tries in six con­ti­nents.

For Chew, how­ever, per­form­ing can be on a grand stage or prac­ti­cally any­where on board the ship.

“A cruise liner’s multi-mil­lion dol­lar stage is ev­ery per­former and en­ter­tainer’s dream plat­form.

“The theatre is noth­ing short of ma­jes­tic with all its state-of-the-art equip­ment to suit all your pro­duc­tion needs,” he en­thused.

“Nev­er­the­less, I re­main a street ma­gi­cian at heart and en­joy tak­ing my per­for­mance to the peo­ple, whether it is on deck or even in the pool.”

For a young ma­gi­cian who is adept with sleight-of-hand tricks, Chew is proud that he has de­vel­oped his own il­lu­sion of lev­i­tat­ing a girl in mid-air.

“Man has al­ways dreamed of do­ing the im­pos­si­ble and mak­ing it hap­pen. One of mankind’s big­gest dreams was to fly, and that was achieved by the Wright broth­ers,” he said.

“We ma­gi­cians, as artists, want to in­spire our au­di­ence to do the im­pos­si­ble, which is what I do in my shows.

“Who knows, one day, an in­ven­tor may be in­spired by an im­pos­si­ble magic act he

Get­ting to wake up in dif­fer­ent ports and coun­tries around the world each day is a thrill that never gets old. Zl­win Chew

wit­nessed on stage to trans­form the world.”

Chew is not one to let suc­cess get to his head and for­get about those who have helped him along the way.

“Peo­ple of­ten get praise for the tough climb up the lad­der and the tri­umphant fin­ish at the top, but what about those who helped make it all pos­si­ble?” he mused.

“Where I am to­day still sur­prises me ev­ery day. I never for­get that I am who I am to­day be­cause of the mul­ti­tude of souls who made it pos­si­ble for me.

“Be­ing on the Royal Caribbean was the re­sult of a big gam­ble for my friend and agent John Tay­lor, who got me on the ship with­out even know­ing me or ever watch­ing my show.

“All he said to me was, ‘I be­lieve in you’, and then he sold my act to the cruise ship. And that was all he needed to do.

“My ca­reer in the magic world for the past seven years was made pos­si­ble be­cause of the many peo­ple who be­lieved in me .”

Chew said his favourite mem­ory from his ca­reer has to be per­form­ing his first il­lu­sion on a cruise ship with his then-fi­ancée.

“It was like a dream come true to be able to pro­duce my own show on a cruise ship and also per­form­ing it with a beau­ti­ful as­sis­tant who was to be­come my fu­ture wife,” he said.

For Chew, there is never a per­fect show. “The mo­ment you think you have put on a per­fect show is the time you should pack your bags and stop per­form­ing,” he ex­plained.

“We are con­stantly work­ing on build­ing our show – chang­ing acts, mu­sic, cos­tumes. We hope that this will be a never-end­ing jour­ney.”

Be­sides per­form­ing his magic, Chew is a keen pho­tog­ra­pher who en­joys look­ing at a frame from a cre­ative an­gle.

“I never leave home with­out my GoPro cam­era. Josephine and I en­joy tak­ing pic­tures of our­selves in our travels.

“We have taken so many great shots of our­selves that peo­ple of­ten ask if we hire a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher to travel with us.

“And then they would gape when we tell them, ‘No, we take our own pic­tures, even if you see us both not hold­ing any cam­era’.”

“I guess we can re­ally do magic!”


Chew and his wife Josephine per­fom as a team in his il­lu­sion acts.

— Pho­tos: ZL­WIN CHEW

Chew has been per­form­ing his magic and il­lu­sions on cruise lin­ers for more than three years.

‘A cruise liner’s multi-mil­lion dol­lar stage is ev­ery per­former’s dream plat­form,’ Chew says.

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