Waking up to a new place each time is nothing short of magical. For someone like Zlwin Chew however, “magical” is an ordinary part of the job.
As the resident headlining magic act on board Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas cruise ship, it is but the perk of his job that allows the talented illusionist from Malaysia to enjoy such privileges.
Aboard a cruise ship that travels the world, the acclaimed Malaysian talent lives a life most people can only dream of. Joined by his fiancee, he gets to tour in luxury while getting paid handsomely for it.
Having performed in the Palace of the Golden Horses, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Manila, Chew has had an illustrious path before settling in the ship. Now that his show is permanently installed aboard the Mariner of the Seas, he gets to do the one of his passions: travelling.
“If I am not a magician today, I would be a photographer riding camels in Egypt and climbing the mountains in Peru,” he told Vulcan Post in an interview.
Two or three times per week, he performs his 45-minute magic routine at the 14,000-seater Savoy Theatre inside the ship. To prepare for each show, he said he needs at least five hours, which includes dressing up and setting the props up backstage.
Not every show is the same though, as Chew revealed:
“I am constantly improving the little details in the show such as when to stop for an applause cue or how to hold my hand in a certain position when I pose. And every 3 months or so, I would challenge myself to change one act in the full show. That way, I keep the shows fresh if guests were to see me again one year later.”
In describing his profession, Zlwin Chew explained what goes behind its mystery:
“The biggest misconception is people thinking that magicians are nothing more than low-class tricksters with no education,” he said. “Magic is a marvelous amalgamation of clever engineering, deceptive psychology, intricate chemistry, elaborate physics, and even advanced mathematics. It takes a lot of scientific knowledge to be able to put on a show worthy of entertainment.”
While most people think that magic is easy, Chew explained that there is always more to it even for the simplest of acts.
One particular trick involved his fiancee doing a quick dress-change following a dance routine with him. Transforming his fiancee’s white dress instantly into a beautiful blue gown in less than three minutes took a lot of hard work for both of them.
“This act is 2 minutes 23 seconds long, but we practiced 2 hours every day for 60 days before we felt we were ready to add it into the show,” Chew said. “However, the work behind the curtain is more fun than tiring. I guess when you really enjoy what you do, anything about the job becomes easy.”
Growing up from a small Malaysian town of Klang, Zlwin Chew knows he needs to raise his game up each time. Striving to do even better than what he has done, the hard-working performer has set his sights to even bigger things for the future.
“I believe when you focus on being the best at what you do, everything good will follow suit,” he concluded.