People: Magic Of Living Your Dreams

22 Oct

Young magician DAVID LAI KEAT CHIANG intends to tell the world magic has far more to offer than outdated tricks and a hard living.

“I WAS first intrigued by magic as a child. But then again, which child hasn’t been fascinated by a floating bill or the sight of a woman being sawn in half?

But magic, to me, was more than just a curiosity. It stimulated my mind… and frustrated me at times. Most importantly, magic entertained me.

So I decided to learn the trade.

I started with children’s tricks, which you can find at toy shops, but lost interest after a while. At 15, though, I suddenly realised that magic could give me an advantage over the handsome hunks in getting the girls. So I took it up again.
I brushed up on my sleight of hand and soon progressed to mentalism, a subdivision of magic using the human mind. In lay people’s terms, I’m called a mind magician. I deal with subliminal messages, suggestions, persuasion and memory, and script it all to put together an entertaining show.

These days, I perform mostly at corporate events, hitting the five-figure target monthly. My clients now range from politicians (including the current

Magic of living your

Young magician DAVID LAI KEAT CHIANG intends to tell the world magic has far more to offer than outdated tricks and a hard living.

dreamsand former Prime Ministers) to local and international celebrities, and even royalty.

Two years ago, I met Hannah Tan at an event in Malacca. It was a college prom event that she was hosting and we were both seated at the main table. I introduced myself and gave her my card and she asked, “What on earth is a mentalist?”

The next thing we knew, we were hanging out at a mamak shop. Hannah strikes me as a pretty down-to-earth person. I’d say Hannah is the most down-to-earth celebrity I have met.

We became friends and met on numerous projects. Hannah has been helping me in my career by getting me corporate shows from her contacts.

A few months ago, she shared with me an idea called the “H” Factor, a nationwide youth creative workshop for Malaysian youths (16 to 25 years of age) which will aim to discover their creative inclinations in fields such as comedy, TV hosting and dancing.

I liked the idea very much. I’m the most junior of the “H” Factor bunch which includes celebrities such as Harith Iskander, Hans Isaac, Fellest Yan and Serena C.

In Malaysia, if any child goes up to his parents and says that he wants to become an artiste, his parents will try to knock some sense into him. The child will be told to study hard, get a good job and live a good life.

What happened to passion? What happened to living a happy life? What happened to chasing your dreams?

Some people think that you can’t survive on the income of a local entertainer. Not true. I make a good living from performing corporate shows.

Another stigma has to do with drugs, excessive drinking and partying, and sex scandals. This is an exaggerated generalisation. Although there are some who indulge in vice, many celebrities set good examples, such as Hannah.

So what can I bring to “H” Factor?

Hannah has asked me to perform during a tour. I’ll be presenting a short stage show and giving memory demonstrations, like how to improve the memory.

Besides entertaining participants with mentalism, I also want to tell them how important it is to follow their dreams. Education is important. If you like math, by all means, do something related to it.

I suffered for five years trying to obtain a civil engineering degree. I survived but I wasn’t happy. Those years were some of the worst years of my life.

I also want to teach teenagers how to expand a unique skill. You can’t learn mentalism from a book. That’s like learning how to act or sing by reading a book. I want to share my experience: how I started from scratch to get to where I am today.

Lastly, I want to change the perception people have about local magicians.

When you say “magician”, the first image people have is of a guy in a cheap tuxedo pulling a rabbit from a hat. I want to bring a sense of class to the art so magicians and mentalists get the respect they deserve.

I enjoy what I do and am making a good living. Life can get better, not just for me but for other young people as well.

The next round of the “H” Factor workshop will be this Sunday in Kota Kinabalu. For details, call Jessica at 019-356-1111 or log on to”

New Straits Times

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