J C Sum

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J C Sum
JC Sum (m Idea Youth Choice Awards, 2011).jpg
Taken at M:idea Youth Choice Awards 2011
Born J C Sum (Sum Jan-chung)
5 December 1976
Residence Singapore
Occupation Illusionist, Illusion designer, Entrepreneur
Website jcsum.com
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Sum.

J C Sum (Sum Jan-chung) is a Singaporean illusionist and illusion designer. Nicknamed "The Thinking Man's Magician", J C is one of the most highly regarded illusionists and illusion designers from Asia. AsiaOne named him as "one of the most celebrated illusionists in Asia"[1] and MagicSeen called him "The Ace in Asia".[2] The Straits Times stated that he is "Singapore's most famous magician"[3] and The Business Times Singapore, credited him for bringing "magic to the mainstream market in Asia".[4]

J C, along with his partner 'Magic Babe' Ning, have been credited for popularising magic in Singapore by the local media and magic organizations.[5]

In Mar 2012, J C signed on as a FLY Entertainment artiste.

Magic career[edit]

Early career[edit]

J C studied at Victoria School and Victoria Junior College.

J C first found his interest in magic at a very young age of 12 years and began performing professionally at the age of 16.[1] In 1993, J C joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Singapore Ring 115 and took part in the 1994 Close-up Competition where he took 2nd Place with an original Cups and balls routine. He subsequently won the 'Most Entertaining Magician' title at the 1996 IBM Ring 115 Close-up Magic Competition.[6][7]

In 1998, his "One-Man-Parade" was published in the March issue of The Linking Ring, the official publication of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. This collection of original magic effects earned him two coveted Linking Ring Awards the next year.

Throughout his junior college school days and time in national service in the Army, J C performed shows and was also booked to perform close-up magic weekly at various hotels & restaurants such as Shangri-la, Hilton, Four Seasons, Tony Romas and Lion City Hotel.[1][6][7][8] After national service, he was admitted to the National University of Singapore where he majored in English Language & Sociology, with a minor in Philosophy. He gave up a 4th year honors degree to pursue magic full-time.[9]

His early influences in magic include David Copperfield, Dai Vernon, John Carney, David Williamson, Darwin Ortiz, Paul Harris, Wayne Dobson, Jim Steinmeyer, Lance Burton, The Pendragons, Franz Harary, Frank Garcia, Michael Ammar, Richard Ang, Tang Sai Thong, Michael Lim and Pastor Lawrence Khong.[2][6][7][10][11]

By the new millennium, J C was performing illusion shows for corporate & special events across Asia.[12][13][14][15]

Current Live Shows[edit]

J C Sum with fans after show, February 2009

Currently, J C performs all his live shows with 'Magic Babe' Ning.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] Their equal partnership as a professional magic duo has been acknowledged as "very groundbreaking and refreshing".[6] Channel News Asia highlighted that they represent "The New Faces of an Age-Old Art Form",[32] and acknowledged them as "Singapore's celebrity magic duo".[33] The Straits Time called them "Asia's Most Famoust Illusionists".[34] AsiaOne called them "The Hottest Duo in Town".[35] AXN also acknowledged that "...J C Sum and 'Magic Babe' Ning have fast smashed some new grounds in Asian magical realms".[36] As a duo, they have helped put Singapore on the world map with their performances and illusions.[8][32][37][38] They continue to present their illusions shows across Asia.

In August 2008, J C & Ning starred in Ultimate Magic – Singapore's First Permanent Illusion Show at The Arena in Clarke Quay, the top entertainment district in Singapore.[6][8][10][30][39][40][41][42] The show has since ended its year-long run in August 2009.

In 2010, J C & Ning performed at The Boiler Room in St James Power Station for a one-week run. Named Sexy Magic/ Urban Illusions the show ran from 26 January 2010 – 30 January 2010.[43][44]

On 27 March 2010, J C & Ning also performed along other celebrities in the Earth Hour 2010 concert held at the Esplanade Park, Singapore's premier arts venue.[45][46][47]

J C's teleportation mega illusion and new version included in The Arena permanent show was highlighted in The Straits Times in an article that discussed how creative artists protect their intellectual property rights.[48] To protect the secret of this teleportation act, J C has four different vendors fabricate different parts of the teleportation chambers and final assembly is done by his own team.[49]

Television & Broadcast Media Projects[edit]

J C's first television break came in the 2004 President's Star Charity where he performed a series of illusions including his 'Crystal Striptease' illusion with former radio personality Jamie Yeo (now with ESPN Sports Asia), a personalized card routine of the President of Singapore, S.R. Nathan, and finally making a car appear along with Singapore sports Olympians. Together with a host of local celebrities, the show raised S$2.83 mil for various beneficiaries.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

In 2006, J C starred in Singapore's first street magic television series, as part of Jack Neo's popular Top Fun variety show for Channel 8, MediaCorp Studios. The series was created specifically for J C by MediaCorp Studios.[11][15] The segments were subsequently compiled and released as a VCD/ DVD titled Street Illusions, distributed by TS Group in Singapore and Malaysia. The same year, he also appeared in 3 episodes of a variety television show performing street magic for the Shanghai Oriental Television Station, China.[2]

In 2007, J C starred in Magic in Motion, a 24-part Street Magic series produced for Singapore Press Holdings' MediaBoxOffice (SPHMBO).[3][6][56]

In February 2009, J C, together with 'Magic Babe' Ning appeared on Channel 8's "Five Stars Carnival" for a series of segments which showcased their grand illusions.[38]

In May 2009, J C and Ning made an appearance on cable television. J C and Ning were the first magicians ever to appear on "Asia Uncut", an English talk show that airs on the Star World cable network. They presented Ning's signature "Straight Jacket Striptease" and "Light & Space" illusion.[57]

Subsequently in July 2009, J C and Ning also appeared on AXN EBuzz for their "The Impossible Record" event.[36] They were also featured in Sony Style TV Magazine as well as the season finale for The Amazing Race Asia 4 in late 2010.

In Aug 2010, J C & Ning represented Singapore on "Duel Mahakarya Magician" on RCTI, Indonesia TV. They performed alongside Indonesia's top magicians and other international magicians including Peter Marvey, Marc Spelmann and Omar Pasha. The live TV show was watched by 20 million viewers.[58][59]

In 2011, J C & Ning were chosen to star and host one of the two Singapore's first 3D television show.[60] The show was to showcase Singapore's Arts & Culture and J C & Ning's brand of magic. The 3D TV Special was commissioned by Singapore's Media Development Authority.

J C & Ning are also the first ever Singapore artistes to be booked to perform on the famed long-running TV show, Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde in Paris, France. The show was broadcast internationally. The episode aired on 31 December 2011 and was the highest rated TV show of its time slot on French TV.[61]

In 2012, J C & Ning were featured in an episode of Itte-Q!, a Japanese variety show. The episode featured variety stars who took 'lessons' from J C & Ning.[62] In the same year, J C & Ning also appeared on Italian TV in the show, La Grande Magia.[63]

In December 2012, J C & Ning were invited back to Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde in France where they were booked to perform once again in the New Year's special.

Mega Illusions[edit]

On 18 August 2007, J C successfully presented the largest single live illusion ever staged in South East Asia,[64] "The Impossible Teleportation" Mega Illusion.[6] He teleported himself in 5 seconds, from street level while surrounded by more than 9000 spectators and reappeared on the roof of a skyscraper, 50 floors above, within a ring of witnesses. The Mega Illusion was staged at Raffles Place, the heart of the business district in Singapore.[26][64][65][66][67][68]

On 24 September 2008, J C & Ning successfully staged "South East Asia's Biggest Magic Event at the Singapore River"[69] by teleporting 3 people across the iconic Singapore River in 2.5 seconds.[6][10][20][22][31][40][70][71][72][73][74][75] Named "The Impossible Teleportation", the mega illusion was part of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix Season[69][71][76][77][78][79][80][81][82] and was witnessed by more than 5000 spectators.[22][31][73]

On 27 June 2009, J C & Ning set a new world record with their performance of 15 grand illusions in 5 minutes.[36][83][84][85][86][87][88][89] Entitled "The Impossible Record", the magic act was the closing finale for Singapore River Festival 2009.[36][90][91] The event was officiated by Singapore Book of Records and International Brotherhood of Magicians.[92][93][94] The event was witnessed by over 3000 people and is the first ever magic record to be adjudicated by Singapore Book of Records.[83]

On 22 August 2009, 16,000 people witnessed J C & Ning teleport a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI from the Volkswagen showroom to the stage in 8.5 seconds.[95][96]

On 12 December 2010, J C & Ning vanished five audience while they were elevated 24 ft (7 m) high up in the air in front of over a 1,000 strong audience at the Asian Civilisations Museum.[97][98][99] The illusion stunt was called "The Aerial Exit", and it was the grand finale of the National Heritage Board's 2010 "Explore Singapore" campaign.[98][99][100]

On 7 January 2012, J C & Ning officially set the world record by being the very first illusionists in the world to capture the thoughts of 100 random people in under 60 minutes.[101][102][103][104] The record was set with 9 seconds to spare.[102][103] Called "The Mind Heist", the world record breaking feat was also J C & Ning's first ever mega illusion was streamed live on the internet.[105]

In Aug 2013, J C & Ning were part of the closing highlights for Singapore Night Festival 2013, for which they performed two mega stunts.[106] The festival was organized by Singapore's National Heritage Board and it was the first year where local acts were the closing highlights.[107] As the grand finale of the festival, J C & Ning performed “The Ultimate Inversion" where they escaped in tandem from two straitjackets each while they were suspended upside 50 ft in the air from a burning rope. The feat was recognized by Singapore Book of Records as Singapore's First Tandem Upside Down Double Straitjacket Escape from a Burning Rope.[107][108]

J C's next mega illusions include the teleportation of a large inanimate object,[83][84] reading the minds of 1000 people, vanishing a train[4][10] and an illusion that will showcase Singapore's racial harmony.[22] He was in talks with Sentosa years ago to make the Merlion tower vanish but the project got canceled due to the SARS outbreak.[10]

The Impossible 4D Prediction[edit]

On 27 January 2010, J C & Ning successfully predicted in advance the winning 4D lottery numbers that they made one week before.[109][110][111] Named "The Impossible 4D Prediction",[112] the stunt is a new psychological illusion stunt, different from past Mega Illusions.[43][44][113]

The prediction was sealed in a giant red packet which was locked in a clear container and suspended high above ground in front of mega nightclub St James Power Station's main entrance on 22 January 2010. The chest was under tight security for 5 days before J C & Ning revealed the 4D prediction "live" on 27 January.[43][44][114]

Before their prediction was shown to be correct, it was revealed that they had also sealed a cheque of $10,000 made out to the Children's Cancer Foundation as a personal donation to the charity.[109][110][111] It was later revealed that the donation did not come from the winnings of the lottery as they intentionally bought a "null" number of "0000" to reaffirm their stand of not condone gambling and not using their skills for unethical gain.[43][44][109][110][111][113][114]

The stunt created much media and online buzz resulting in the term "magic babe ning" being the No. 1 searched item on Yahoo Singapore on 21 January 2010. Their successful prediction was also one of the top stories on Google News Singapore as well as the top entertainment story on 29 January 2010, 11am.[115][116][117] Popular comedy TV show, "The Noose" did a satirical news story on the prediction (Season 3/ episode 3) in which J C & Ning made a special cameo appearance.[118]

3 Sides of Magic[edit]

"3 Sides of Magic" is a World Lecture Tour presented by Ning and J C Sum. It debuted in Penang in February 2012 with an attendance of about 35 magicians, including hobbyists, professional and semi-professional performers.[119]

The Duo presented a collection of practical and original routines that ranged from close-up acts, illusion productions and a variety of mentalism routines.

It also made news in Singapore when Razor TV featured a 3-part series on the lecture on 7 April 2012.[120]

Achievements and Awards[edit]

J C has achieved several records and awarded numerous awards including:

  • “Outstanding Achievement & Contribution to Magic” Award (2013), International Brotherhood of Magicians, Singapore Ring 115[107]
  • "First Tandem Suspended Upside Down Strait Jacket Escape" (2013), Singapore Book of Records[107]
  • "Patrons of Magic" Award (2012), International Brotherhood of Magicians, Singapore Ring 115[103]
  • "Largest Mind Reading Feat: 100 Minds in 60 Minutes" (2012) Singapore Book of Records[103]
  • “Special Recognition Award for Contributions to the Arts & Media Community” (2011) from the School of Film & Media Studies, Ngee Ann Polytechnic[121]
  • Merlin Award "Most Original Illusionist of the Year" (2009), International Magicians Society[122][123][124]
  • "Most Number of Grand Illusions Performed in 5 Minutes" (2009), Singapore Book of Records[94]
  • "Master of Magic" (2005) International Festival of Magic, Bangladesh
  • Two Linking Ring Awards (1999) International Brotherhood of Magicians (U.S.A)

Illusion Design & Products[edit]

Limited Edition "Pentad Deck"

J C designs many of his own illusions for his shows. He has written six books on illusion design and presentation.[15][37][38][125] In 2011, J C's illusion books were re-published with updated editions and made available to worldwide magicians via Murphys Magic Supplies, the largest wholesale magic company in the world.[126]

Besides books, J C has also released DVDs on magic and illusions together with Ning. In 2011, J C & Ning released two DVD sets. "Behind the Illusions" in particular, was highly acclaimed and made the best-seller list on Murphys Magic Supplies.[127]

J C and Ning also released a limited edition poker deck, "Pentad Deck" in December 2011. The deck commemorates Ning & J C's half a decade milestone as "Asia's Most Lethal Combination in Magic." The card deck was designed & hand-drawn by an artist based in Japan.[128]

J C's published works & DVDs include:

  • One Man Parade, The Linking Ring (March 1999)
  • The Magic Notebook (1998) – Lecture Notes
  • One Man Parade, The Linking Ring (November 2002)
  • Illusionary Departures (July 2004, 2012)
  • The Event Illusionist (December 2004)
  • Equilateral (August 2006)
  • Beyond the Stage (January 2007) – Lecture Notes
  • Urban Illusions (2009)
  • Pack Flat Illusions for Kid's & Family Shows (2011)
  • The Event Magician Volume 1 (2011)
  • The Event Magician Volume 2 (2011)
  • Urban Underground (2011) - DVD
  • Behind the Illusions (2011) - DVD
  • Illusionism (2012)


In Singapore, J C is recognized as a creative entrepreneur & marketer for making magic a successful career and business.[3][4][12][14][129][130] He is the founder & creative magic producer for "Concept:Magic",[131] which produces his shows, special projects and manages magic talents.[4][6][8][14][42] He is also the co-founder (along with 'Magic Babe' Ning) and executive producer for "Mighty Magic Factory"[132] a Kids' Educational and Entertainment Company.

J C was a Spirit of Enterprise Nominee 2007 which recognizes individuals/ business with exceptional entrepreneurial spirit.[6][133] He is highly influenced by Jack Trout's & Al Ries' 'Positioning' marketing strategy which he adopts extensively in his businesses.[4][6][129][130]

J C and Ning are also currently the highest paid magicians in Singapore.[134][135][136]

In March 2011, J C was invited to speak at the first TEDxNTU event where he was the closing speaker.[137] At the event, he shared his thoughts on creativity in his talk entitled "Behind the Magic: The Value of Being Different".[137][138]


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External links[edit]

Related Videos[edit]