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23/06/2008
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Reporter: Kong Yen Lin (NTU) Photos: Concept Magic

本地首女魔术师 90秒“逃出生天”

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Ning Cai, otherwise known as her stage name "Magic Babe" Ning, performs magic on stage. And no, she is not just a pretty assistant, but the magician.

Dubbed Singapore's only professional female magician, "Magic Babe" Ning is a refreshing change to the traditionally masculine nature of the local magic scene.

While women used to play subservient roles to male magicians as assistants or dancers, Ning calls her own shots in her One Gal Shows, which she performs at corporate events.

She said: “It's intimidating especially when you're a minority, but it was imperative for me to prove that I'm not just a pretty face.”

“I'm glad that I broke the glass ceiling as Singapore's first pro female magician. And I think it's time women stepped up to this- after all, we're having an increase in female CEOs, doctors, and other professionals, what more about magic!”

magic2.jpg She confesses that a rebellious streak and a love for the unconventional has been in her blood since young.

Cutting a svelte figure in a black tank top and leather boots, the feisty 26-year-old recounted a particularly memorable episode in primary school when her classmates brought toys to school during the post-exams period.

“The other girls brought barbie dolls while I took my He-Man toy and planted it on the table. He really seemed quite out place,” she said with a laugh.

Born the eldest of three girls to a businessman and F&B Trainer, Ning describes herself as 'a total tomboy'.

“I spent a part of my childhood playing with my guy cousins. And I've always been the cheeky and mischievous one who'd drive my folks up the wall.”

Years later,  she is continuing to break stereotypes.

Since joining illusionist J C Sum's magic production house as a performer and marketing communications manager in 2006, her next big break in her career would be a death-defying stunt called 'The Impalement Cage Mega Escape”.

Blindfolded and shackled, she would have to escape within 90s before an overhanging bed of steel spikes come crashing down on her.

Held in Clarke Quay on July 5, it is the first time in South East Asia that such an act will be attempted in full view of a live audience, without shields or covers.

And with that, she will also be launching Ultimate Magic, Singapore's first permanent illusion show, and also the nation's first $1 million contract of its own.

To add on further to that list of achievements, she will also be the first Singaporean to headline the gala show of the Southern England Magic Convention next January.

Her star is also shining, with local film maker Eric Khoo approaching her for a lead role in his upcoming movie. An experience she described as "flattering" and "surreal".


The self professed "adrenaline junkie" also admits to having a fetish for all things lethal and lovely, and has been keeping a collection of Japanese sais and katana swords, which she incorporates in her acts.

While she may be a tough cookie on the outside, the mass communications graduate from Australia's RMIT University has a soft spot for children.

A Creative Director of Mighty Magic Factory, an educational and entertainment company for kids which she co-found with J C, Ning also produces shows for kids to raise awareness on issues like fire safety and saying "no" to smoking.

In fact, she had her humble beginnings performing at magic shows for the Children's Cancer Foundation four years ago.

This year, she adopted a seven-year-old Mongolian boy, Gunbileg Batsaikhan, through World Vision, a Christian charity dedicated to helping children and families of developing nations overcome poverty. By contributing a monthly sum, she helps fund his education and living expenses.

It was a life changing encounter with impoverished street children in Thailand that touched her deeply and reminded her to be thankful of what she has.

“I strongly feel that all kids deserve a fair chance at a good education.”
 

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