Archive for the 'Leisures' Category



My Memories Of Geylang Serai – Singapura Cinema

This Singapura Cinema was there when my family first shifted in to the flats at Haig Road in the mid 70s. I’m wondering when was this cinema built. During one of my post in my other blog “Images Of Singapore”, Philip Chew told me that the Singapura Cinema was previously known as Taj Cinema.

Finally found one photo of the Taj Cinema in 1963;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

How it looks like now in 2008 from slightly the same view;

Below shows the artist’s impression of the Geylang Serai Redevelopment Plan probably in the 60s;

Credit : National Archives, Singapore 1986. From book : Geylang Serai – Down Memory Lane.

And this is how the aerial view looks now in 2008 with the rebuilding of the 5 blocks;

Do you still remember the bus station before the Block 2 was built?

Credit : Chief Surveyor, Survey Department, Ministry of Law. 1988 Singapore Street Directory.

The name Singapura Cinema sounds so “National” and big like Plaza Singapura. Probably the name “Singapura” is a bit misleading here for this cinema. It is neither big nor grand but still, it’s an icon of Geylang Serai.

When the government redeveloped Geylang Serai in the 60s, the first phase of flats was completed in 1965. The government added facilities like mosque, a theatre and a vocational institute to meet the needs of the residents there. That theatre was the Taj Theatre or Cinema.

A check at the National Archives show building plans were submitted by Shaw for the Taj Cinema in 1965 to be built at Jalan Turi / Changi Road.  The Taj Cinema was a prominent landmark there and was renowned for showing Malay classics or Hindustani movies with Malay subtitles. Too bad there isn’t any photos showing the Taj Cinema in the 60s.

In the 70s, saw the emergence of cinemas like the Singapura , President, Savoy, Liberty, Republic, Woodlands and Changi. Singapura in Geyang Serai (probably renamed from Taj Cinema at this time) still showed Malay, Tamil and Hindustani films.

Below shows the aerial view photo of the Singapura Cinema probably taken in the 70s from the Block 1;

Credit : Kampong Ubi CCC, From book : The Heart Of Geylang Serai.

The spiral staircase can only be visible from the back view. This is how the back view of the Singapura Cinema look like now in 2008;

I remember there used to be a McDonald outlet at this cinema some years back when the cinema was not in operation as shown below;

Credit : Kampong Ubi CCC, From book : The Heart Of Geylang Serai.

Now the cinema was not in operation for quite some time and the McDonald outlet was gone too. There is an eatery, a PUB/KTC outlet and some other shops;

Luckily the Singapura Cinema was left untouched during the recent SER (Selective En-Bloc from Block 1 to 5) on this part of Geylang Serai, else we will have one less heritage icon.

Five Stones

Credit : National Heritage Board, Singapore

I remember when I was in Primary School, the girls in my class were playing five stones whenever the teacher was missing in action. I have never tried playing them as I thought it was more of a girls’ game. So until now, I’ve yet to play them.

They seems to have disappear from my memory until recently this year I saw them again at the National Heritage Fair at Suntec. Likes see how it was played;

So why was it called Five Stones since the pyramid bag contained either beans or sand. It is because Five Stones was originally played with real stones or pebbles. To play the game, one has to complete a series of complicated movement by tossing and catching the stones without missing them. The movement becomes more complicated as one proceed on.

A Nostalgia Show

Received an email from Roger Poon (Creative Producer, Stage Elegance) regarding his team’s entertaining project Stage Elegance. His team consists of Entertainers and Puppeteers.

This is a Multi-Lingual show in Cantonese, English, Hokkien, Malay and Mandarin! Relive the good old amusement days. Party with them in retro-style!

Watch their 50’s themed cabaret performances,
be enthralled their 60’s themed magic shows
and be entertained by their 70’s themed drama-comedy!

The perfect holiday entertainment for everyone since the show is in December this year.

For more detail, contact

Roger Poon
Creative Producer
Stage Elegance

Email: roger@stageelegance.com
Website: www.stageelegance.com

See the entertainment of yester-years creatively brought back to you Live
in the elegant ambience of Jubilee Hall.


From Film & Negatives to Digital

Credit : Straits Times, SPH

Do you still see those advertisements for camera films of brands like Kodak, Fuji or Konica, Sakura, etc… ?

I wonder how many still remember how to load a film into a camera haha? Who knows, a few more generation and nobody knows what is a roll of film…

In the past when I buy a roll of film, at least I must verify it’s 35mm and the film speed that I want like ISO 200, 100, etc…

So where do we load this film to? Of course it’s at the back of the camera (in most cases);

Well that’s my old SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera – Nikon FA. I have already “archived” this camera for a long long time together with many other viewfinder cameras.

“Playing” photography is not a cheap hobby, at least to me. One has to buy film, develop them, and print them. Even the development fees had gone up from $1 to $2, etc… Though at times, the printing of 3R print has gone down from the norm of 30cents each to as low as maybe 15cents or 12cents, but the quality was very bad. You will see the color of the print started to fade after sometimes.

I started to have my first viewfinder camera when I was in Primary School, think probably Pri.5 in 1973. I took about maybe around $50 from my saving to buy it and my godmother discovered it and scolded me. That was a very simple “crazyman” viewfinder camera. Yes, we called it “crazyman” camera in Chinese or Cantonese for those non-focusing or auto focus and auto exposure camera.

When I was in Secondary School, I joined the school’s photography club and learned about film developing, printing, etc…

Of course my love for photography maybe passed down from my father’s gene hehe. He is also an amateur photographer and he had even a enlarger at home. He had setup a darkroom in our old house in Serangoon Road then. So developing and printing was much easier for him.

I remember in the 70s, the Kodak Instamatic cameras were really popular;

Photo Credit : Kodak

In the 80s, people who visit those tourist attraction places without camera may end up buying those “disposable” camera;

Photo Credit : Kodak

You will love this video from Kodak;

Remember those Flash Cubes you have to carry along for your flash photography in the past;

Now most advertisements you see regarding photography is digital camera and it’s accessories. You don’t see those films advertisements anymore. Here is the digital camera my wife bought – a Panasonic Lumix FX01;

Of course for Digital Camera, you will talk about how many MegaPixel. Also it’s Memory Card and not film that it used;

Credit : Wikipedia

It’s now so much more convenient to handle a digital camera that I don’t think I still want to use my film camera anymore haha. I can simply delete those shots that are no good and select those that I want to print it without developing them. Also printing can be as good using those camera printers available now – very affordable too. I don’t even need to go to the Photo or Camera Shop nowadays.

Do you still keep those old free photo albums when you print your photos in the past;

Some Old Tin Toys

The above wind-up tin toys may ring a bell to some but maybe not to the younger generations. They may be rather dull toys to the kids now, but these are some of the fabulous toys that I’m keen to get my hands on in the past.

To play, you just need to wind-up the toys and it will “action”! No batteries needed! But be careful, if you “over-wind” then the toy will breakdown.

If you take a closer look at these toys you bought in Singapore then, majority were made in China;

All the while I thought such tin toys originated from China but I am wrong until I read up on it – History of Tin Toys. In fact, such tin toys only started producing in China in the early 1920s.

Show me yours if you have! Oh, by the way the above 3 tin toys shown are still available at a shop here in Singapore – maybe of limited quantities…

Some Old English Songs

Do you still remember which is the first English song you listened to? I don’t but I remember which song that triggers my love for listening to nice songs haha. OK, it’s this song “Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree” that my Primary School teacher taught us during Music lesson. She brought along a portable record player (like this one shown below) and played that song;

- Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn in 1973.

Yes that was in the 70s during my Primary school music lessons. Of course you will not forget his “Oh my darling knock 3 times” as you always heard it on radio then.

- Knock Three Times by Tony and Dawn

Here are some of my favourites songs of the 60s;

- Puppy Love by Paul Anka in 1960;

He wrote this song “Puppy Love” for Donny Osmond (if you remember the Osmond family).

- Puppy Love by Donny Osmond

Talking about Paul Anka, a singer as well as song writer, was popular in the late 50s and 60s. Here are some of his songs that I loved to listen to;

- 1957 Diana by Paul Anka

- 1959 Put Your Head On My Shoulder by Paul Anka

- 1969 My Way by Paul Anka

- 1974 Having My Baby by Paul Anka Duet with Odia Coates

- 1974 I Don’t Like To Sleep Alone by Paul Anka Duet with Odia Coates

- 1974 She’s A Lady by Paul Anka. This song he wrote for Tom Jones.

- 1971 She’s A Lady by Tom Jones (Tom Jones version)

- 1975 Times Of Your Life by Paul Anka (This is the popular Kodak Ad Song, remember? maybe also Chun See favourite song too)

Tom Jones is another sexy male singer of the mid 60s. One of his popular song was “She’s A Lady” mentioned earlier.

In 1969, he was;

and now;

Photo Credit : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Jones_(singer)

Some of his songs that I love;

- Green Green Grass Of Home by Tom Jones

- Delilah by Tom Jones

- It’s Not Unusual by Tom Jones

So how popular is this song “It’s Not Unsual”? Just quote ” I dare anyone over forty to listen to Tom Jones’ “Its Not Unusual” without singing along to the chorus and attempting a brief Jones like hip swivel.

Not forgetting the King of Rock & Roll – Elvis Presley!

- Love Me Tender 1956

- Jailhouse Rock 1957

- Are You Lonesome Tonight 1960

- Can’t Help Falling In Love 1962

In the 70s my godparents got this type of radio cassette recorders where I used it to listen to radio and try to tape down the songs that I liked.

Here is a photo of those old radio cassette recorder;

And the typical TDK blank cassette tapes that I used;

Luckily in the past, radio had less talk and commercial and they played more songs. Here is another song about racing that I loved best.
Tell Laura I Love Her by Ray Peterson in the 60s.

Another of his top hit;

- Corina Corina by Ray Peterson.

- Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by Shirelles in 1960. Of course there were many version for those songs in other languages.

- I Can’t Stop Loving You by Ray Charles . Though he was gone, but this was a top hit too in 1961.

When I talked about Ray Charles, I tend to think about Stevie Wonder too. Another great singer!

- Part Time Lover by Stevie Wonder

- I Just Called To Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder

- My Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder. Those head shaking action of his seems to become his icon.

- Blowing In The Wind by Stevie Wonder. You must watch this one and listen to what he said before singing.

The original version;

- Blowing In The Wind by Bob Dylan in 1963.

Another version by Bee Gees too;

- Blowing In The Wind by Bee Gees
In 1962 the year I was born, one of the best song was by Neil Sedaka. Another famous singer of the 60s.

- Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Neil Sedaka in 1962;

- Same song when he was older.

- Laughter In The Rain by Neil Sedaka.

- Solitaire by Neil Sedaka. Another great song! I love to see him playing the piano as he is a good entertainer.
Remember I told you I loved to record those songs broadcasted on the radio during my Primary School days on the blank audio tapes. Some of the songs I recorded were;

- Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver in 1971.

Photo Credit : http://www.john-denver.org

A popular country song singer and song writer. Almost everyone who played the guitar then will play this song. In fact, I love quite a lot of his songs;

- Leaving On A Jet Plane by John Denver in 1969.

- Follow Me by John Denver in 1970. Because of him, I then came to know that guitar can have 12 strings and not just 6 strings hehe.

- Sunshine by John Denver in 1971.

- Rocky Mountain High by John Denver in 1972.

- Annie’s Song by John Denver in 1974.

- Perhaps Love by John Denver in1982.

- Perhaps Love by John Denver and Lene Siel. This is a beautiful duet version you shouldn’t miss.

When I looked at John Denver’s hair, of course that will lead me to recall Olivia Newton John. A beautiful singer who fell victim to breast cancer. Maybe you remember her better through that movie Grease with John Travolta.

Photo Credit : http://www.olivia-newtonjohn.com

- If You Love Me (Let Me Know) by ONJ in 1974.

- Have You Never Been Mellow by ONJ in 1975.

- Please Mr Please by ONJ in 1975.

- You Are The One That I Want by ONJ with John Travolta in 1978. This song from the popular movie Grease then. Movies like this one and Saturday Night Fever were very popular with youngster then. Of course we were all trying to dance like them like the fingers pointing slanting up.

- Summer Nights by ONJ with John T. also from the movie Grease.

- Hopelessly Devoted To You by ONJ in 1978.

- Magic by ONJ in 1980.

- Xanadu by ONJ in 1980.

- Suddenly by ONJ and Cliff Richard in 1980.

- Physical by ONJ in 1981. This video will help you to recall the TV entertainment show Solid Gold. Solid Gold was a TV programme to countdown the weekly top ten with their Solid Gold Dancers. A popular TV show from 70s to 80s.

- Heart Attack by ONJ in 1982.

Another popular lady singer during my Primary School time was Anne Murray. Her are some of her songs that I love best;

- Snowbird by Anne Murray in 1969.

- Danny’s Song by Anne Murray in 1973.

- Killing Me Softly With His Song by Anne Murray in 1973. My favourite at that time.

- You Needed Me by Anne Murray in 1978.

In the late 70s, my parents bought a HiFi set comprised of cassette deck, record player, radio, amplifier and a pair of speakers. That was the time where I started buying albums and more blank tapes to record my favourite songs. Here you can see of of my favourite singer Lobo;

See that big headphone on the floor. That was the trend I think at that time haha. Another trend, or rather fashion trend then was the “bell bottom” jeans or pants I wore. It was the fashion at that time hehe!

Some of my favourite songs from Lobo are;

- How Can I Tell Her by Lobo

- Me And A Dog Named Boo by Lobo

- I Love You To Want Me by Lobo

There were simply too many too many nice songs and good singers in the past. It will be never ending if I attempt to list them all here (though after trying for a week, I gave up hehe). Before I end, I don’t think I should before listing Beatles.

- Hey Jude by Beatles

- Yesterday by Beatles

Beatles had inspired other pop groups to form in other countries like the Bee Gees. In 1966, the Bee Gees. Barry, Robin, and Maurice worked together as a group to create and record their own songs. Though they were already singing as Gibbs brothers way before that, but most of us came to know about them maybe through the movie Saturday Night Fever.

The Gibbs Songs – if you wish to know more about this 3 brothers.

- Words by Bee Gees

- I Started A Joke by Bee Gees

- Same song but in the past. Let’s compare.

Last but not least this song for you;

- Holiday by Bee Gees.

Big Splash

Photo Credit : The Big Splash postcard by LimYap Collectibles.

When you mention Big Splash now to the youngster, they may ask you “Where ah?”. It is of course located at the East Coast Park. Not surprising as it now not only lose its colourful slides but also its past glory. Probably built in 1976, and it was then Singapore’s first water theme park. Not only that, the top slide was about 7 storey high too!

How the Big Splash looked like in 2004;

Whenever I see these colourful slides, it brings back beautiful memories – how I enjoyed those slides down especially from the top one. But after sliding down, the walk to the top slide again was really exhausting! Saw the following video on Youtube and it really brings back good memories;

Video Credit : Chikopeh Big Splash Stunt Team

Though in recent years whenever I passed by the Big Splash, all I see is the Seafood International lobster sign – the colorful slides view seems to be a thing of the past. Though it tried to have a seafood restaurant, a mini indoor golf – Lulliput, etc… it still cannot revive this seawater aquatic complex. All these were after the major renovations in 2002 and now, another major refurbishing is going on. What will happen after… we won’t know….

The familiar lobster signboard;

Still undergoing the major refurbishing in May 2007;

Note that the colourful slides are gone;

The Big Splash site is still around but not updated.


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