I am no “Magic Police” but like any other human being with a working ethical moral compass, it really sickens me when Singapore magicians do dishonest or unscrupulous things that ruin the reputation of others here. I suppose it’s pretty much how a few bad eggs trying to scam people overseas led the rest of the world to shun businesses from South Africa now 😦
Several weeks ago, I blogged about my bitter disappointment about a magician I used to look up to, who committed identity fraud but somehow tripped himself up. Karma’s a b*tch. Well. Now, there’s another local magician has gone one step further… or should I say lower. SIGH.
J C was contacted by several distressed magicians from the US and UK (who have A LOT of incriminating evidence) who were scammed by a Singaporean dealer by the name of Aaron Chee (real name: Chee Li Yao), who sold products under the name of Ace Illusions. One particular ‘product’ he sold was something he called ‘Abuse’ which he claimed could mark the surfaces of playing cards that could be seen with special glasses or contact lenses. That sounds pretty funky doesn’t it? Well it’s pretty expensive too.
Unfortunately, NONE of the magicians got any working product delivered because, very conveniently, the package broke enroute to them from Singapore and everything became one big dried out mess. When people wrote in to complain, Aaron promised he’d send over a new one (he never did of course) and that it was the first time it happened because everyone else received it okay and were very satisfied with the product… A pack of lies that were found out later, of course.
Each magician lost several hundred US$ on the transactions because later, Aaron ‘disappeared’ from contact. There was no high-tech, special concoction in the liquid he sent over of course. One of his victims tested it out and realized the solution in ‘Abuse’ was just thinner. What a pack of lies! 😦 It’s horrid people like him that makes me feel so embarrassed to be Singaporean. He’s giving the rest of us Singaporeans a horrible name & reputation because of his greed and selfishness!
The world is getting smaller because of the internet and Aaron used the highly popular international magic forum, The Magic Café to prey on his unsuspecting victims. After all his wrongdoings came to light, they found out that this UGLY SINGAPOREAN had multiple usernames (Ace Illusions, Aaron Chee, Symmatrix and Cupmagic) to create marketing hype and false impressions of his “products” on the internet forum.
Right now, four of Aaron’s usernames have been banned from Magic Café after numerous complaints and evidence where brought up against him to Steve Brooks and his crew of moderators who manage the place. Several posts that Aaron used to self-promote his products using his various usernames (seriously, reading through it makes you wonder if the guy is schizophrenic) have also been deleted.
You’d think we should all maybe give this guy a break, because people make mistakes. But there is a huge difference when someone does it wrong the first time & you give them a chance because you are compassionate… BUT this guy’s moral compass seems completely screwed up because he’s at it again! Yes, he’s been at it before. SIGH.
Some years back, he’s already had very unethical business practices including marketing lousy products without any efforts in ensuring that the product’s even workable (e.g. TrueFly routine that got totally ‘killed’ by magic reviewers.) You can read all about this if you do a search on the Magic Café. He marketed the product under Symmatrix then. If you’re a magician who’s been in magic for awhile you’d be in the know about this Symmatrix character – totally shady, dishonest with crappy written English for his products!
As Symmatrix, Aaron even marketed our Chinese ‘Hell’ coins (you know, paper ‘ghost money’ to burn as offerings to the dead) as ‘custom made’ special palming coins to overseas magicians who did not know better. What a stretch huh? 😦
Now, he markets under Ace Illusions for a different ‘product’ range, selling illusions and bigger, more expensive props. It reminds me of those small-time conmen who set up a business, do a scam, then close it down and set it up under a different name. An overseas magician who bought illusions from him still hasn’t got his props delivered, or even his money back.
What is truly sad about all this is that it really reflects badly on ALL of us Singapore magicians. Here is a quote from one of the magicians who contacted J C:
“You and your fellow Singaporean magicians (especially those who are trying to sell goods overseas) may wish to post on the Café in the not too distant future, mentioning that you have distanced yourself from Aaron and have nothing to do with his operation. The reason is because I am fielding several PMs from persons who are expressing concern about dealing with Singaporean dealers due to the Aaron fiasco. As word spreads of his being banned, there might be others that don’t differentiate between Aaron and others from Southeast Asia.”
As far as I know, several of the US magicians have made official police reports to the Commercial Affairs Department and other government agencies to try to get their money back & clamp down on Aaron’s acts of dishonesty before anyone else gets scammed again. Will he go to jail? I don’t know. But we all know that the arm of the law is long and our police take crime seriously and aren’t a force to be trifled with. I think it serves him right. So what if he’s a fellow Singaporean? He’s getting his just deserts and what he’s done totally disgusts me!
To add on to his past crime (TrueFly) for the benefit of younger magicians and Muggles (you non-magic folks *grin*) who aren’t aware of what he previously did, we have first hand knowledge of the situation and Aaron (under the Magic Café username of Symmatrix back then) took the close up coin magic routine that 14 year old ‘Sean Osiris’ toyed with, and produced the booklet. Aaron wrote, printed and produced TrueFly. Young ‘Sean’ had nothing to do with the production of the marketed item and it was Aaron who ‘took the initiative’ to market it.
As a result, the product was completely ‘bashed’ by magicians and dealers around the world. Instead of taking ownership, this is what Aaron posted in Magic Café:
“I am so terrible sorry for the result that that brought to this situation. All the publication and printing is all by Sean Osiris. All the copies that I got was from him and I was deeply disappointed in for the comments posted here… “
As you can see by the bad English, it is no wonder that no one could understand what he was writing in the instructional booklet for TrueFly. Hank Lee, one of the biggest magic retailers around, actually pulled off the product and apologized to customers – offering a full refund back because they realized that the instructional booklet was crap. BTW, his writing is like this, even on his marketing copy on his website. But what really sickens me is that this grown man was trying to use a kid as his shield, conveniently dumping all the blame on an innocent 14 year old who shared a coin routine he came up with because he trusted Aaron and regarded him as a friend!
I believe in Karma. What doesn’t get you today will bite you in the butt someday. Why can’t people just play nice? Sigh. Friends, just be careful of Aaron Chee Li Yao. Jerks like him really give us Singaporeans a bad name! 😦