Thursday June 8, 2006
ALLAN Yong Seow Poh, also known as “Uncle Allan” to many
of his younger fans, set out to prove to himself that he could make
it in the entertainment industry, and 10 years on, he has achieved
His passion for variety arts propelled the 46-year-old
ventriloquist to start his own company, Allan & Friends Studio.
“When I first ventured into puppetry and ventriloquism, it was
more a way of communicating with young people,” said Yong.
“Back then, I did not know how I would be able to survive. I had
no agent, and knew no one in the entertainment industry,” he added.
But with encouragement from
friends and relatives and the support of his family, Yong believes
he has proved he is capable of making a living out of his hobby.
Yong (centre) with some of his
“We learn to overcome challenges one by one, trusting God to help
us pull through.
“Today, we have about 20 side entertainers and associates with
Allan & Friends,” he explained.
Each performance is an opportunity for the Economics graduate
from Monash University to further improve on his trade.
“It is all about trial and error. We continue to improve each
time we perform,” said the former youth worker.
Averaging between two or three shows a month these days, Yong is
mainly engaging his time to train and mentor other entertainers.
Ventriloquism has always been his forte.
“It is the best means of building bridges with audiences of all
ages,” he said, “People love talking puppets.”
His favourite puppets, Ernie, Eddy and Coconut, have been with
him from the beginning.
“Ernie, who is a younger version of Eddy, is a Sesame Street
puppet and is mischievous and always ready to answer back.
“Coconut, on the other hand, is a shy and innocent male
character. They make a great team on most of my shows.”
Yong explained that ventriloquism was a simple art, but took a
great deal of practice to master.
“It is all about illusions. The first few minutes are the most
crucial moments, when the audience's focus is on you and not the
“Once their focus is on the talking puppet, then it gets easier
as people would not notice the movement of your lips,” he said.
In the early years, Yong's wife Veronica also doubled up as a
clown, known as “Bubbles.” Today, she is the financial controller
for Allan & Friends Studio.
“We are also getting many corporate clients who hire us for their
family events,” he said.
“Chief executive officers of major corporations also need to
laugh. When people ask me my business, I always tell that we are in
the laughing industry. People pay us to laugh,” he said.
Among many he has entertained included Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,
during a special tour of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport
before its official opening.
“We were all stationed at different locations at KLIA, where we
were supposed to surprise the then Prime Minister,” he said. “The
moment he arrived, we sprang into action with our little gimmicks.”
Besides corporate clients, Allan Yong has also entertained
princes and princesses throughout the years during their birthday
“It is always fun making people laugh.
“We all need a good laugh at the end of the day,” he added.