The third installment in our How I Found My Magic series is here! The guest for this interview is none other than Harapan Ong, the King of punny jokes and card magic. Learn more about Harapan through the following paragraphs.
Harapan Ong is one of the brightest card magic stars of recent years. He gained the attention of the magic community with his first major release called Close Culls. His book Principia has been among the bestselling books since its release. He also shared his creations through Opticks, a video project accompanied by a limited deck of cards. Speaking of cards, Harapan also released a marked deck under his brand, Harapan Magic.
Many people love Harapan for his creative approach to card magic, combining easy principles with sleight of hand. Everybody who follows Harapan on Instagram knows his Harapunny style of humor.
Do you want to know how Harapan got into magic? Was card magic always his favorite genre of magic, or is it a coincidence he got into it? He answers those and many more questions in the next part of our How I Found My Magic series. Enjoy!
What made you start with magic? Was it the wonders, curiosity, getting to know the secrets, or something else?
I think, just like any kid, I was definitely more interested in just knowing how the magician did those tricks on stage. I remember being really impressed with the David Copperfield TV specials I watched, and I spent hours trying to figure out how he changed the card during his Grandpa’s Aces routine.
I figured that he must have somehow moved a card from the bottom to the top – and that’s how I figured out the idea of pushing the bottom card of a packet into right-hand Classic Palm before depositing it on the face of the packet to effect a color change.
How did you find yourself specializing in card magic? What fascinates you about it the most?
It’s funny because I started magic from reading all the kid’s magic books I could find at my local public library, and these books usually contain a myriad of different types of tricks. I definitely did pick up a few card tricks in those books, but I don’t think I really got hooked on card magic until I got my first magic DVD at a local magic shop in Singapore.
What happened was that I, as a shy 11-year-old boy, was looking to get a DVD in the shop. The shopkeeper asked me in an intimidating way, “So, what kind of magic would you like to learn?”
I stared at him blankly because I didn’t even know there were separate genres of magic. The shopkeeper continued, “What do you want? Cards? Coins? Ropes? Stage – “ And before he could finish, I stuttered, “Cards!” because that was the first thing he said. So he reached up on the shelf, took out a DVD, and handed it to me. It was Bill Malone’s “On The Loose Vol. 1” by L&L Publishing. And the rest is history. I sometimes wonder if I’d be a coin magician today if that shopkeeper had said “coins” first before “cards.”
Was there any other type of magic you tried to pursue or explored in the past? If yes, what made you go with card magic instead?
Definitely, in fact, I think it is important for magicians who have a specialization like I do to remain open-minded and curious enough to learn bits and pieces of other types of magic. As I said, when I started out, I learned all types of magic (mostly close-up stuff) with all types of objects. So even now, I am able to pull off some coin stuff and some tricks with everyday objects and so on. It surprises some magicians who think of me only as a “card guy.”
Who are your “magic heroes,” people you admire most, and why?
You. You, the reader, are my magic hero. On a more serious note, there are simply too many to name. I would say that any magician who takes their work seriously is a hero to me. This attitude could manifest as originality, such as people like Lennart Green, or as ingenuity like Alex Elmsley or John Bannon, or pure unadulterated sexiness like Tony Chang.
Why did magic stick with you for that long?
I’d like to think it is because magic provides an endless sense of wonder and amazement. Still, I think the unfortunate real answer is that as a shy, insecure teenager, I used magic as a social crutch for my failings when it came to having a personality or making friends. Hence, being known as the “magic guy” became inseparably baked into my identity and sense of self-worth, so much so that I find it hard to imagine myself not doing magic one day. Man, that’s a sad answer.
What keeps you inspired after the years?
Watching my peers and people often much younger than myself be so damn good at magic and sleight-of-hand. It lights a fire under me and keeps me pushing myself to continue practicing, improving, and creating.
If you could give one tip to your younger self, what would it be?
We hope you now love Harapan as much as we do. If you’re not already, make sure to follow him on Instagram to watch his creative tricks and funny videos.
Who should we interview next for this series? Let us know!