Young magician dreams of touring abroad

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Harry Houdini, one of the most famous magicians of all time, once said that magic is the ��sole science not accepted by scientists, because they can’t understand it.�� But to ordinary people who simply enjoy a good magic trick, they don’t really care about how the tricks are performed. All they want is to be amused and to experience a sense of wonder in believing something they used to believed was impossible �X by watching a magician pull a rabbit out of his hat. This is also what attracted Huang Po-han (���f��), a young Taiwanese magician, to start learning magic nine years ago. ��Watching a magic trick can return people back to infancy, when everything is new and unknown,�� said Huang.

After first learning to perform magic tricks in his high school days, Huang later became the youngest national champion at the Taiwan Magic Development Association’s annual magic contest, and he has continued to show his skills at international competitions. Only recently, the 24-year-old became one of only a handful of Taiwanese magicians invited to stage shows at Magic Castle, home of the Academy of Magical Arts, in Hollywood, California. He entertained the audience with his eight-minute show that incorporates Oriental elements by dressing as Xu Zhimo (�}�Ӽ�), a Chinese poet renowned in the 1920s, at the Mecca for professional magicians. ��It was the perfect opportunity for me not only to show off magic from Taiwan but also to learn from some of the best in the business,�� he said. Where the Story Begins

Speaking to The China Post in a recent interview, Huang, a graduate of National Taiwan University (NTU) said his first encounter with magic was in his high school sophomore year after he joined a magic club in his high school. He immediately fell in love with performing magic tricks, an activity that gave him a strong sense of satisfaction he could not find in anything else. ��People want to be fooled and expect to be fooled when they watch a show, and that gives me a strong sense of satisfaction,�� he said. Huang said he is not a talented magician by birth.

Instead, he practices every trick he learned during every available waking moment. He observes things all the time to come up with new tricks. This level of perseverance and determination as well as his deep love for magic are the driving forces behind his earning of the championship title in the Taiwan Magic Development Association’s annual magic contest in 2010.

The title paved the way for him to become a rising star in the Taiwan magician scene. Aside from participating in competitions locally and internationally, Huang has also been invited to put on shows for a Chinese national TV station. He continued to work on magic after he was admitted to NTU for a degree in environmental engineering, and what started as a pastime and a hobby gradually became the most important part of his life. That was also when he first came up with the idea of dressing like the Chinese poet Xu in staging a magic performance. The eight-minute-show was originally prepared for a competition in his sophomore year. Oriental Elements Show Commenting on the show, Huang said he always wanted to do something different from other magicians. So unlike most magicians that wear tuxedos or suits and do poker tricks, Huang chose to put Oriental elements into his performance.