Meet Zlwin Chew, a 29-year-old guy who hails from Klang and has already become one of the top magicians in Malaysia
For almost 11 years, Zlwin has been performing for audiences all over the world in more than 30 countries
From the US to Europe, the Middle East to India, and Asia to Australia, the 29-year-old has impressed thousands with his acts - including Malaysia's very own Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Apl.de.Ap of Black Eyed Peas.
"Sometimes it could be intimidating performing to people of high statures. But I've come to realise that everyone reacts to magic with the same awe of childlikeness. Beneath our status, we are all human of the same race and magic does not discriminate," he shared with SAYS.
"To perform to famous people and non-famous people is to perform to people, all the same."
It all started when Zlwin's friend showed him a magic card trick which left him eager to find out the secret.
This led him down a rabbit hole of magic trick videos on YouTube.
In 2009, he purchased his first set of magic props from an online store.
"I wanted to do magic because I felt something very powerful inside me when my friend performed for me. It was an indescribable feeling which I eventually found out was a 'sense of wonder'... And I wanted to learn how to create this same feeling for people," Zlwin shared.
It wasn't always his dream to become a full-time magician.
Initially treating it as just a hobby, Zlwin only performed for friends and family. But he wanted to reach a wider audience.
So on one afternoon, he dressed up in 'full magician gear' - classic black jacket, pants, and shoes - and drove to AEON mall in Klang.
"I walked to where I knew I could get a crowd – the cinema. Outside the cinema were people sitting around waiting for their time to enter. I mustered up some unknown source of courage and went up to a couple on a bench, introduced myself as a magician and asked if I could entertain them with some magic."
This was the beginning of something that would be a lifelong passion.
With the blessing of his parents, he eventually dropped out of university - where he was doing a degree in psychology - and is now earning more than he could have with the degree
Word eventually got out and Zlwin soon became Zouk Club KL's resident magician for four years. The experience taught him to hone his craft in a dark and loud environment where it was hard for people to see and hear you, he revealed.
To improve his performances, he flew to Las Vegas in 2014 where he studied prop-building from one of the top magic builders in the world.
"I hired a French producer to give me weekly acting classes. I sat down with the biggest minds of magic to learn how to produce a show. I came back to Malaysia a more refined magician with a bigger goal – to perform big illusions on stage.
"When I say illusions, I mean big props with big acts such as appearing a girl from thin air, teleporting yourself from the stage into the audience, to levitate someone in the air with no strings attached, to saw a lady in half, that sort of magic," he shared.
Since then, he has spent the past seven years sailing, living, and performing aboard 10 cruises, including the second largest ship in the world: the Quantum of the Seas, a floating hotel which ferries 6,000 people
"I have envisioned a dream and with God's help, I am today living my dream. To be able to say this is a very humbling experience. Oh, I've had my days of tears and beating. Days of shame and failures... I am who I am today because God brought into my life the right people at the right time. These people believed in me enough to allow me to grow, fall, and help me rise."
"I never could have gotten here alone. Never. I always had someone beside me to hold me when I grow tired, to encourage me in my despair, to lift my eyes towards the heavens before I gave up."
It all began with a desire – to bring people back to a moment of childlike wonder.
This 29 and 30 November, Zlwin will be bringing his show back to KL, where the magic all began!
His show - titled 'life' - will bring the audience on a journey to discover that we can all find magic in the simple things around us.
"I want to show my audience that your life is magical, that your life is yours, and you do not have to want to live another person's life."
Zlwin will be performing at The Gardens Theatre on Level 6 at The Gardens Mall.
Tickets can be purchased here.