Thursday 22 October 2009

Snake Charmers and Magicians

I found the snake charmers and magicians around Singapore fascinating when I was a kid. The snake charmers, who were all Indian, would carry their snakes around in baskets and give performances at the Padang and in front of Raffles Hotel. The snakes were meant to have their poison removed before they did their tricks. We were still scared stiff of them though! I remember us all going to Singapore on a shopping trip and Alan and me wandering off so we could watch the street magicians. It was all amazing to us, I don't think there were even magicians on the tv at the time. One trick they did was to hide a ball under three containers,move them around and let someone from the crowd point to where they thought it was. Of course, they were always wrong. This is quite a commonplace trick nowadays but then, it was all new to us. I can't remember if they got money from the audience, either by them guessing which container the ball was under or from them just paying them for the show. Some kids had the gully-gully man come to their birthday parties and he would perform tricks with snakes, card tricks and other acts of illusion. He was very popular at the time. Nowadays, the street entertainers such as the magicians and snake charmers have long since disappeared from the streets of Singapore. It seemed a lot more interesting place back then and has certainly lost a lot over the years.

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