Lawrence Khong, PBM
Founding Chairman, Gateway Entertainment
Founding Chairman, TOUCH Community Services
Asia's First Elite Diamond Merlin Award Recipient
- Magician of the Year
With over 40 years of experience, Lawrence Khong, PBM has established himself as one of the most skilled magicians and foremost entertainers in Singapore.
He is the creative brain and fuel behind Gateway Entertainment (GE), a Singapore-based creative entertainment business which he founded in 2000. Together with his daughter, Priscilla, GE has produced and staged some of Lawrence's most astounding performances under the label Magic of Lawrence & Priscilla (MOLP).
As Singapore's only father and daughter illusionist team, Lawrence and Priscilla have fronted some of the finest mega productions and performances and have successfully brought MOLP's label and world-class magic entertainment to audiences around the world.
Co-produced and directed with Priscilla, MOLP's unique brand of theatrical entertainment combines the best elements of magic, music, drama and dance to go beyond the stereotypical magical performance.
Lawrence's ambitious, inspiring and innovative style of magic has earned him recognition and partnerships with internationally acclaimed maestros of magic such as master illusionist Jeff McBride, who collaborated with Lawrence on Magic of Love. After seeing his acclaimed work in From Illusion to Reality, McBride said, "It is a huge show that impressed the professional magicians in Las Vegas, and I knew at that time that this man had a vision, a big vision for one of the most spectacular magic shows ever produced!"
Other than magic, Lawrence has also been in the vanguard of Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2002, he pioneered Project SMILE ("Sharing Magic In Love Everywhere"), which is Gateway Entertainment's companywide initiative to advance magic literacy in Singapore and across Asia through hands-on, enquiry-based magic learning and employee volunteerism.
Lawrence is also the Founder and Chairman of TOUCH Community Services, a registered not-for-profit charitable organisation that has a singular purpose of serving the less fortunate and needy in Singapore.
In recognition of his various contributions to the community, Lawrence was conferred the prestigious PBM Medal in 1998 at the Singapore National Day Awards Ceremony. In 2007 and 2008, he was a finalist for the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year for his community outreach through Project SMILE. That same year, TOUCH Community Services was also awarded the Outstanding Nonprofit Organisation Award, which recognises best practices in volunteers and donors management, including fund-raising practices in a non-profit organisation.
Outside of work and the magic circle, Lawrence spends his free time playing polo. In 2007, he was a country representative for the sport and won a silver medal for Singapore at the 24th Southeast Asian Games held in Thailand. Subsequently, he was also nominated as one of Team Singapore's Top 10 Male Sports Idols. Lawrence is married to Dr Nina Khong and has four children, Priscilla, Anthony, Michelle, and Daniel.
In 2010, Lawrence became the first in Asia to receive the Elite Diamond Merlin Award for the Magician of the Year conferred by the International Magicians Society. This prestigious award, presented to the highest achievers in magic, is equivalent to the Academy Awards, or Oscars, for films and the Emmy Awards for television productions.
in conversation with lawrence
Lawrence: It began in Secondary One (more than 30 years ago) when I walked past a magic shop on my way home from school. I was intrigued by the tricks demonstrated by the owner of the shop. The next few weeks saw my daily visits to the shop after school. I saved up enough money to buy a set of "Multiplying Balls" where four balls appear on the tip of my fingers. It cost me all my week's allowance as well as many hours of practice. This really got me started in magic especially with effects that involve sleight of hand. The more challenging the sleight, the more passionate I was about it.
Lawrence: I learnt most magic on my own through books. This was especially difficult for tricks that involved intricate sleight of hand. In those days, videotapes were not even invented yet.
Q: I understand Priscilla is your assistant magician and trainer. How did she get involved in Project SMILE?
Lawrence: We first did a professional illusion show called the ‘Magic of Love’ together. We want to use our magic skills to do something worthwhile for the community. Project SMILE is something we conceptualised together.
Lawrence: We have grown to love and respect each other tremendously. This has opened many doors for me to talk heart to heart with my daughter about the important issues of our lives, our goals and aspirations, our passions and commitments.
Lawrence: Of course. I believe that there is a little magic in all of us. Once you begin the journey, you will find that learning the art of magic is a lifelong journey. There are many things about magic waiting to be discovered.
Lawrence: For those who are just starting out, find a local magician to learn from. The best way to learn is acquire it ‘live’ or first-hand from an experienced person. Or you can join my School of Magic, where Priscilla and I will help you get started on your journey in magic. The important thing is to perform your magic as much as you can. The more you perform, the better you will get.
Lawrence: I enjoyed our times in Chicago and Los Angeles best. The audience in Chicago was really appreciative and Chicago is really a very happening city. In Los Angeles, we had a great turnout from the Asian community. It was great to see so many Asian faces having missed home for almost two months touring the United States.
Lawrence: One of the greatest magic influence in my life is Mr. Harry Tan. Harry is a gospel magician. In fact, the first time I’ve ever seen magic ‘live’ was listening to him preach and presenting the Gospel with the use of magic. I remembered that message very clearly because he was making the point that seeing is not always believing because we cannot always believe what we see. He used simple but effective tricks to fool us showing us that our senses could be wrong. So I decided to hang around him and learn magic from him. I spent many evenings in his home asking him to teach me some new magic tricks. Of course, now I have progressed way beyond him in magic. Yet, he remains my greatest influence in magic because he got me started.